Between Lake Winnipeg and Hudson Bay, Opasquia (pronounced O-pas-q-way) is a designated Wilderness Park amid the vast stretches of unpopulated terrain. It is a non-operating park, which means it does not have any visitors’ facilities and the only way in is by air, but it also means you will find that ultimate solitude. Backcountry camping is still permitted, and there is even one fishing outpost/outfitter within the park’s one million acres (473,000 ha). In Ontario, you can find outfitters and floatplane service for Opasquia at the end of the road in both Pickle Lake and Red Lake. In Manitoba, Bissett and Matheson Island are the closest services to this remote park. Check with your outfitter or floatplane service for costs; air charter service is charged by the kilometer/mile and will vary with the price of fuel.
Jump off Points:
Park & Permit Info
Classified as “non-operating” by Ontario Parks, information is limited at this time. Tripping in Opsaquia, more than any park in northwestern Ontario, puts the onus on you, the paddler, to enjoy the total process of planning a true wilderness trip.
Open fires are permitted in the park as a rule. Trippers should monitor the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources wildfire web-page for current information and possible restrictions due to dry conditions.
Maps & Routes
There’s no guidebook for the area, so plan on guiding yourself via topographical maps or with advice from local outfitters or park officials.
According to Ontario Parks, Opasquia’s main reason for selection as a park is the two kilometer wide, 100 meter high Opasquia Moraine that overlooks the area. Wave-cut terraces and raised beaches show the effect of glacial Lake Agassiz on the moraine and surrounding landscape.
As a vast, northern wilderness, Opasquia hosts a range of wildlife, but is best know for its thriving wolverine population.
Northern and walleyed pike should be abundant, and selected lakes are likely to harbor some big lake trout according to park officials. A valid Ontario fishing license is required.