Main fundraiser photo

Crown Land Canoe Route Maintenance

Donation protected

The Mission
At Explore the Backcountry, we're firm believers in sharing canoe route information, especially in this day and age of shrinking budgets and lack of regular maintenance for many routes outside of popular parks. Regular use is often the only way a canoe route can remain open for future paddlers. Unfortunately, there is a lack of information regarding the current state of many historically well used routes. Plenty of once well-trodden MNRF routes have fallen through the cracks, ultimately achieving a 'lost' canoe route status and potentially disappearing from the paddler’s route options forever.

By travelling, mapping, clearing and signing routes, users can help preserve these historical pathways for future generations to enjoy. Unfortunately, many of these routes have fallen into a state of disrepair. Portage signs have succumbed to the elements and trails have become overgrown. Would be canoeists are stymied by ‘trail hunting’ and the routes are only viable for the most hardy of adventures.

An example of a battered portage sign with some moderate fixes via duct tape

What are we doing?
Maintenance of existing portages, hiking trails and campsites along crown land routes in Ontario. The work is 'Lite Maintenance', i.e. if a route has been completely decimated by blow downs and power tools are required, we will not have the ability to clear said route.  We are also erecting signage at portages that once were marked but the signs have disintegrated, broken, fallen down etc. This helps to ensure that future paddlers can find the historical landings and the trail, which helps to preserve the viability of paddling a route.

What we aren't doing
We are not unnecessarily widening portages or creating new trails, nor are we enlarging or creating new campsites.

We are not creating new routes, simply revisiting and restoring 'lost' routes.

We are not maintaining routes on parkland

A campsite marked on a 'lost' crown land canoe route

So what's the money going towards?
UV Resistant Portage signs - At ~$1-2 a pop the cost for these quickly adds up

Nails - To hang the signs

Flagging tape - Rolls of this are needed to appropriately flag overgrown trails that see minimal use by paddlers

Saws/blades - Just hand held human powered units ~$30, used in clearing deadfall off the portages. These need replacing every now and then after heavy use.

What routes are we targeting?
For the remainder of 2016, we’ve set our sights on routes near Elliot Lake, Sault Ste. Marie, White River and Chapleau. We typically spend 50-70 days a year on backcountry trips and we have a lot of canoeing left in the year! Updates will come, but the next trip is planned for 29th-1st (Jul-Aug).

What do you get out of it?
By contributing to this fund, you get the satisfaction of helping to preserve Ontario’s canoe route heritage for future generations. You also have the option to paddle the routes and we’ll make it worthwhile by posting maps, photos and videos of cleared routes at to assist in your route planning. 

Preserving routes, so you can enjoy moments like this


Brad Jennings
Sault Sainte Marie, ON

Your easy, powerful, and trusted home for help

  • Easy

    Donate quickly and easily

  • Powerful

    Send help right to the people and causes you care about

  • Trusted

    Your donation is protected by the GoFundMe Giving Guarantee