December 13, 2012 at 10:55 pm #4702
PLEASE NOTE… Access roads will be inspected as soon as the snow melts and that they can be visited. We “guestimate” first visit to take place in the later parts of April. Keep dropping by for updates.
There are no roads within the boundary of Woodland Caribou Prov. Park. There is, however, a network of old forest access roads in areas adjacent to the park that allows relatively easy access to the park at Leano, Onnie, Johnson and Lund Lakes. Small directional signs point you to your destination along the way and a parking area is found at each entry point.
The following information will be updated as needed and will prepare you if you plan on driving these back roads:
Flat / Suffel / Iriam Rds– The green sign off Hwy 618 reads “Flat Rd” and once turned onto the road, a second sign welcomes you to the Suffel Lk Rd. :confused: It’s a long story – just know you are on the right road to eventually access Johnson, Onnie and Leano. The first 18km (11 miles) of the Suffel Rd is wide and semi-maintained. It is relatively well traveled and therefore quickly turns into a nasty washboard. Travel slowly. Hitting a rough patch can easily cause serious teeth shattering while your vehicle “dances” sideways and lands you in the ditch :eek:.
Once pass the Black Bear Lodge parking area, the road becomes a 1-lane bush road with plenty of turns, hills, and potholes to keep you alert.From here on out, there is no road maintenance. The adventure has begun.
Somewhere pass the Johnson entry point the Suffel / Suffel Rd extension crosses an invisible line to become the Iriam Rd. You will cross a total of 9 low-level crossings before reaching the Mile 51 Rd, the turn off to the Leano entry. Low-level crossings are where culverts have been pulled out and the road surface designed to permit water to flow freely over the roadbed in high water conditions or after a rain. These work really well and discourage beavers from damming or plugging culverts. While you do not necessarily require a 4X4 vehicle on this section of the road, you do need generous bottom clearance to negotiate these crossings. Expect to take a little over a ½ hr to drive to Johnson and nearly 2 hrs to Leano from Hwy 618.
Leano Rd (=Mile 51 Rd)– This is your last 5km stretch to the parking area and first portage to Leano Lake. Leano Rd is a narrow 1-lane road with grass centre and many potholes to negotiate. Good News – The thick and encroaching alders that bordered this road has been cut back last fall. We should be looking at a clear passage for the next few years. Mile 51 is in good shape… passable but a slow drive. See if you can spot caribou, moose, or large bears in the area.
LongLegged Rd – The approach to Leano from Ear Falls via the Manitou Falls Dam Rd (Hwy 804) and Longlegged Rd was once the preferred option to reach Mile 51 Rd to Leano. However, it now receives very low maintenance and is not monitored as closely as we do the northern approach using the Suffel/Iriam Rd. Park signage may be missing – needs addressing. Two or 3 low-level crossings will be encountered as you near the Mile 51 Rd. Note that if emergency repairs are required on these backroads, the Suffel/Iriam Rd will receive priority. If choosing this option, expect to travel at least 2 hrs on a gravel road before reaching Mile 51 and Leano.
South Pakwash Rd – For a number of years, those traveling from the west (Manitoba and Kenora) had the option of taking Hwy 658 from Kenora to Reddit then South Pakwash north all the way to Long Legged Rd to reach Mile 51 Rd and the Leano entry. In recent years, a large washout at Rogers Lk created a road block forcing travelers to take a detour east on the Conifer Rd. Hunters have since patched up the washout and gotten across but we do not monitor the conditions of this road system at all.
Nungesser / Pine Ridge / McIntosh Rds – These roads lead you to the Lund Lk entry point, in the north east half of the park, and the most direct access to the Bloodvein River. The Nungesser Rd is a well travelled hard-top surface road that begins at Hwy 125 between Balmertown and Cochenour. At approx. 13km (8miles), turn left onto the Pine Ridge Rd. For the next 25 km (12miles), the maintained gravel road is wide and generally in good shape but proned to washboard conditions. Drive accordingly. The last 25 km of the road is not maintained and much narrower with the occasional dips in the road surface.
The Pine Ridge Rd ends with a turn to the left onto McIntosh Rd. At this point you are 5 km (3miles) from the Lund entry. There always seem to be wildlife tracks in the sand along the road here. You will be required to cross a low level crossing with water running over the road however it is currently dry. The bottom is solid but the water over the road can sometimes be high. Again, a vehicle with generous bottom clearance is required. Expect to drive 1 ½ hrs from Hwy 125 to the Lund entry.
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