||Vern Fish is the former Executive Director of the Black Hawk County Conservation Board in Waterloo, Iowa. He has run wild rivers from the Mexican border to Hudson Bay and north to the Arctic Circle. He completed the Ontario Parks Northwest Wilderness Quest in 2018. Vern is currently the President of the Friends of Wabakimi and serves on the board of directors of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation Board and Conservation Corps of Minnesota/Iowa. He also serves as a Commissioner for the Black Hawk County Soil & Water Conservation District.
The Wabakimi Area is a vast, virtually-roadless wilderness that includes almost 10,000 square miles of land in northwest Ontario. Sandwiched between the cascading falls along the Albany River and the Ottertooth Creek Canyon, the area includes five Provincial Parks, two Conservation Reserves and Crown Lands in parts of five forest management units. More than 4,000 miles of historically and culturally significant canoe routes criss-cross this boreal forest. The gateway to this huge wilderness complex is Armstrong, Ontario, which is about a three hour drive north of Thunder Bay, Ontario. In other words, it is possible to drive to this canoeing wilderness.
Because of its sheer size and complexity, the Wabakimi Area is a daunting area to explore. Fewer than 700 paddlers enter this wilderness annually. It is rare to even see another canoe during the entire length of a trip. Currently there are no guide books, and Fisher and McKenzie do not sell maps for this region. Planning a trip may be more challenging then portaging the remote and rugged Ottertooth Canyon.
The Friends of Wabakimi is an international organization that was created in 2014 to advocate for the protection of this wilderness complex. We want the Wabakimi Area to become an exceptional wilderness recreation destination. To do this we offer a detailed planning map and five map volumes that provide portage and campsite details for this wilderness. We are also sponsoring the Wabakimi Canoe Route Guide, the first guide book for this area.
To help the first time paddler or the veteran voyageur plan a trip into this remarkable wilderness, we will share our experience and insight. We also hope to reveal the first glimpse of the Wabakimi Canoe Route Guide. Explore and protect Wabakimi with us.