Over the course of last summer and the past few weeks of this spring, Path of the Paddle trail stewards have been working hard with the amazing support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation to maintain ALL 152 portages along the routes entirety. The task has been a major undertaking in accessing, travelling, and caring for the paths that make a 1,000km paddling route possible, and we recognize that with wind and weather a trail can change in the course of an hour, but this project has provided paddlers with the assurance that they will find a portage where their travels lead them. We also want to point out the incredible and tireless work of the Quetico and BWCA trail crews who keep corridors open for which POP travels in sections, these folks are the hardest travellers in the Northwest.
With the support from OTF, Path of the Paddle was able to confidently employ maintenance teams from Kenora to Thunder Bay, those experienced and knowledgeable in the intricacies of trail work, to ensure future visitors have an excellent experience. Sometimes, maintenance crews would tidy up a campsite that was becoming a little overrun, and other times, they would turn a borderline bushwhack into the pathed out trail we recognize as a portage. This work is taxing and time consuming, and it was our desire to create an experience for visitors that would afford confidence in their trip planning, a major undertaking for an association that is led and sustained by dedicated volunteers. With the OTF grant funding, POP stimulated the local paddling economy while investing in the future use of natural spaces where visitors find solace, recreation, and escape in the beautiful waters of Northwestern Ontario.
All that is left now is for paddlers to get out there and start their wild adventures! Remember, these portages are old and those who care for them work hard through the rain, bugs, blowdown and mud so thank a trail worker next time you cross paths.