Quetico Provincial Park covers 4,800 square kilometers of untouched wilderness in Northern Ontario's Pre-Cambrian shield rock forest, and Park is the second largest "natural" park in Ontario. It was established as a park in 1913, but at that time trapping, commercial fishing, mining and logging were still allowed within its boundaries. The park is located roughly 160 km West of Thunder Bay and covers 4665 square km of rough terrain. The park lies within the Superior Structural Province. Its bedrock is composed of siltstone, slate and greywacke commonly metamorphosed to biotite-quartz-feldspar.
The primitive area of drinking water lakes, sand beaches and towering pine forests has no peer on the North American continent for the adventurer seeking solitude, superb sport fishing, and the opportunity to study rare wildlife in its native habitat. While natives of the Lac La Croix Indian band are allowed restricted motor use on some perimeter lakes, visitors to Quetico Park may not use outboard motors and remote interior areas must be explored by canoe. No hunting, roads, or development of any kind are allowed and firearms are prohibited.
The Quetico area was first inabited by people soon after the last ice sheet retreated roughly 12,000 years ago. Native people still use the Park area. Quetico has a colorful fur trade history and lies on a former major canoe route to the Great Plains from Lake Superior.
The park is characterized by its haphazard drainage pattern. Ultimately all waters in Quetico drain into the Arctic Ocean westward through Rainy Lake to Lake of the Woods, Lake Winnipeg, and into Hudson Bay. It should be noted that several of the Park's watersheds lie outside its boundaries, so that activities occurring outside the Park can have a direct impact upon it. The most common soil in Quetico is a ground moraine composed of sand mixed with rocks and gravel forming a discontinuous layer usually less then one meter deep. The soil is very base, and low in nutrients.
During the late 1800's, farmers, loggers, and miners were moving into northern Minnesota. Railroads were soon to follow, allowing extensive mining and logging operations to be undertaken. Much of the north woods would never be the same again.
As the park lies in a transition zone between the boreal forests to the north, the mixed forests to the south, and the great plains to the west and southwest it contains diverse flora. Fire and logging have exerted a strong influence on the present forest cover of Quetico. Approximately fifty percent of Quetico'a area has been burned in the past 100 years. As a result of this disturbance from logging and fire, less then 5% of Quetico's forests are over 100 years of age, and over 50% are under 60 years of age.
Remote Area Border Crossing (RABC) Permit
In order to enter Quetico Park, visitors must have a Remote Area Border Crossing (RABC) permit. Delivered by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), it allows the bearer to cross the border into Canada at certain remote areas without reporting to a port of entry, as long as imported goods are declared. Click here for more information on the permit and how to obtain one.