Nopiming, an Ojibwe word, means “entrance to the wilderness;” a portal into the Canadian Shield, characterized by the same Boreal forest and ancient granite as its neighbors, Atikaki and Woodland Caribou Provincial Parks. Nopiming is designated as a “natural” park however, as opposed to a “wilderness,” and is thus far more accessible. From the towns of Bissett and Lac du Bonnet you can drive right into the park and up to the 4 campgrounds. You can also stay at the 3 lodges and dozens of backcountry campsites. The downside is this means that 62% of Nopiming’s 350,000 acres (142,000 ha) are used for resource extraction. The more canoeists use the park and rally for its preservation, though, the more hope it has for protection. Paddling opportunities abound, and for some the accessibility makes Nopiming the perfect destination: great for shorter trips, with families, or as a place to paddle out from Woodland Caribou Park.
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Park & Permit Info
Classified as a Natural Park, Nopiming’s purpose is to preserve areas that are representative of the Lac Seul Upland portion of the Precambrian Boreal Forest Natural Region. The 550 square mile park offers fantastic lake and river paddling and–combined with its sister, Woodland Caribou Provincial Park to the east in Ontario–offers a large wilderness to explore and admire. Nopiming, in fact, means “entrance to the wilderness,” in the Anishinabe language. It’s an apt name for a park that mingles wild land and road accessibility. There are no backcountry fees in the park, camping fees are only charged for car-camping sites.
Travelers in the park can find up-to-the-minute information on wildfires via the Manitoba Conservation Fire Program web-page.
Maps & Routes
There’s no guidebook for the area, so plan on guiding yourself via topographical maps, maps available via the Manitoba government maps store, or with advice from local outfitters or park officials. The park offers a map suitable for trip planning online.
Archaeological research around Nopiming shows evidence that various groups of native people lived in the area for at least 8,000 years. One location produced evidence of a workshop where tools were fashioned from native copper 4,000 years ago. Fragments of pottery made about 1,500 years ago, show that early inhabitants mined local clay for their work.
Mining of another sort precipitated a short boom-time in the area. From the teens of the 1900s through the 1930s, gold and silver was arduously mined from the Precambrian rock of the region. Ruins of the large Central Manitoba Mine can be found north of Long Lake on the Nopiming Trail.
Nopiming contains some of Canada’s oldest rock, formed about three billion years ago. The last Ice Age, however, and the resulting glacial Lake Agassiz, put the finishing touches on Nopiming’s landscape. As the glacier melted, it deposited clay, gravel and small boulders on the bare rock. Additional deposits of clay and sand were left by the once great lake.
Fishing for northern and walleye pike and lake trout is a popular pursuit in Nopiming. Anglers must possess a valid Manitoba fishing license and observe provincial laws and limits.