Canoe Country Wilderness Canoeing
by © Lee Hegstrand


Camp Ecology

Bad form lady!Campsite impacts from heavy use is a serious concern for the Canoe Country, so please tread lightly. Quetico campsites do not have latrines, so travel at least 150 feet from the water and bury your excrement in eight inch deep "cat holes.” Also bury your feminine sanitary products or carefully burn your toilet paper to prevent unsightly backwoods appearances. Bury all fish cleanings to discourage bear campsite intrusions (except fish entrails may be left on shoreline rocks well away from the campsite, if gulls are present).

Use biodegradable detergents and soaps sparingly and do not ever wash in the water. Note that even biodegradable soaps pollute. Strain your dishwater and throw this gray water at least 150 feet away from streams or lakes. Pack out all garbage (food scraps and dishwater strainings). As was stated above, it is illegal to burn plastic. Do not dispose food scraps into the latrines or bears may destroy the latrine to retrieve the food and clean up all food scraps on the ground or a bruin may be attracted to that campsite to the chagrin of the next campers.

Make sure your campfire is dead out before leaving - drown and stir the coals to make sure. Do not peal live birch trees, use a chemical fire starter instead. Keep fires to a minimum (both size and frequency) and instead cook with a stove. In many areas firewood is getting difficult to find. It is better to canoe out and gather firewood at another location rather than near the campsite as most others attempt to do. Fuel should be downed wood rather than sawing dead limbs from trees as such a practice creates an unsightly and unnatural forest appearance. Do not cut green trees or carve into trees.

The author recommends that toothpaste not be used because, when flushed out of the mouth, it leaves an unsightly mess. Bicarbonate of soda is an acceptable alternative to toothpaste or simply brush alone using a new toothbrush. Pick up all foil scraps, twisties and even debris left by others and pack them out. Do not "improve" campsites by building tables or seats. Sit on Crazy Creek type camp chairs or logs and use your overturned canoe or flat rocks as a table. It is illegal to remove moss or pick flowers, instead leave the campsite in its natural condition. Note, however, that it is legal to pick berries in the Canoe Country and many pancake breakfasts have been delightfully supplemented with wild raspberries or blueberries.

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