Armstrong ON

Discussion in 'Canada' started by John F, Mar 5, 2020.

  1. John F

    John F Been here awhile

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    How much of Route 527 north of the TransCanada (Route 17) is paved on the way to Armstrong?

    I think I may have found a route from Route 17 45 miles north of Shabaqua Corners over to Route 527 88 miles south of Armstrong. Word from North American Palladium is that it’s possible to get past their big open pit mine, and the road is fine for 4x4s, and should be OK for motorcycles. This cuts at least 60 miles of pavement off the ride from Pickle Lake to Armstrong, possibly more depending on how much of 527 is paved.
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  2. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    has been paved all the way now for quite awhile. i was first there in 1980, all nicely graded gravel, and the ROW cleared way back off the shoulders. some liked it better, no frost heaves, and now after paving the ROW wasn't kept cleared. lots of wildlife along that road, beware. there can also be First Nation radar traps, they will be happy to take your money. an OPP post in Armstrong, the trainees assigned there will be happy to test the calibration of their breathalyzer on you, they don't subscribe to all that probable cause nonsense, doesn't matter if you hadn't imbibed in the past week.
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  3. John F

    John F Been here awhile

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    I've heard back from North American Palladium, and it looks like we'll be able to ride from Route 17 north of Shabaqua Corners over to Route 527. You don't paint a very rosy picture of Armstrong. Maybe we'll turn south on 527. If you had a choice, would you ride up past Armstrong and explore the logging roads north of Lake Nipigon, or would you explore the east side of Lake Nipigon, maybe through Ombabika or Route 584 or 643 a little further east. It looks like those go pretty far north. (And no, I'm not looking for a route over the top of Nipigon anymore. Just looking for good remote roads. Google Maps routes 154 miles north of Macleod. Anybody been up that way?
    nipigon.jpg
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  4. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    not all that much to Armstrong, or Armstrong Station more correctly. other than the First Nation presence, rail stop, and some logging, most of the traffic that gets up that road is sportsman related, lots of fishermen, bear hunters, etc. in season. there are several float plane bases there, Mattice Lake being the best known. as you know the area is a maze of logging roads, but it has never been clear to me whether a non-Canadian can legally access them, or even if Canadian, whether a citizen could access land claimed by the local First Nation bands. logging permits on Crown land give access for logging activity only. camping on Crown land by a non citizen requires a permit, you pay a fee for the privilege, although the regulation is widely ignored...don't get caught. i did talk to a Canadian guy up there who wanted to start a dual sport tour operation, saying you could ride for a week and never cross the same road twice. he ultimately gave it up, too many hurdles.

    i've been to Armstrong a number of times, and have seen a local being man handled by the OPP guys more than once, drunk, but still rough treatment. maybe the guys stationed there simply run out of patience when faced with that stuff every day..

    the farthest north of Armstrong i've been is the bear camp on the Pikitigushi River at the bridge, i went up there to see what it was all about. bunch of bear hunters from Texas there at the time, long drive, a few of them said they come up every year.

    given the choice, i'd go to the end of the road on 599, there's a better opportunity and more to see. the Ring of Fire development will go in off 599, so there will eventually be even more all season roads in that area, hundreds of miles, but it's unclear whether there will ever be an opportunity to make a connecting loop.

    plenty of new bike roads in the planning all across Canuckistan as they move forward developing energy and mineral resources.
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  5. John F

    John F Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the info. I knew about camping on First Nations land. I did not know about Yanks camping on crown land. I’ve done it for decades without a problem. I guess I’ve been lucky.

    Our primary goal on this trip is Lake Weagamow north of Windigo Lake. They completed an all-weather gravel road out there a couple years ago. So we’re already going up 599. We also want to explore around Lake Nipigon, hence my questions. Thanks.
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  6. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    i've camped on Crown land with and without a permit. encountering an OPP dude is probably dependent on how far out in the bush you are, but i do know some guys from the States that happened to be unlucky.

    i do know about the new road/bridge at Weagamow, and plan to get up there myself. the closest i got so far is the 599 turnoff in 2017, but the road was reported to be in rough shape then. now reported to be in much better condition. i did get dropped off by a float plane right next to 599 on Pashkokogan a few years back.
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  7. John F

    John F Been here awhile

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    Interesting. I never heard of the Ring of Fire, so I did some surfing. From what I’ve seen, it sounds like they’re leaning toward a railroad to service it rather than a gravel road. Have you seen otherwise? Obviously we’d all like them to put in a gravel road. Fingers crossed.

    [Edit] Oops. https://www.mining.com/ring-of-fire-ontario-to-move-ahead-with-north-south-road/

    Yay!!!!
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  8. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    the many First Nations bands have a big say in the access issue because everything crosses their ancestral lands. my understanding is that they want all season roads, including the branch roads to serve all communities currently only accessed by air or water when the increasingly unreliable winter roads are closed. actually, water access isn't reliable either, and never suited to bulk materials, like fuel and building supplies.

    you'd never know that the area was once somewhat remote bush, now surveyors, geologists, engineers everywhere, planes, float planes, rotary flying around. big changes coming.
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  9. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    Webequie has always been the traditional jump off point for adventurers headed north from the Hudson Bay lowlands, via the Winisk River for instance. coincidentally, the jump off for a water route to Webquie is the Pipestone River at the 599 bridge.
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  10. canuckAME

    canuckAME Been here awhile

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    Your map shows the road up to the bridge over the Ogoki River. The MNR has a fire fighting forward attack base on the river there. The concrete bridge over the river gives you access to more logging roads to the north. You'll have to return via the same route. The road is usually in good shape. If they're logging/hauling it will be dusty.
    Years ago 3 of us managed to travel from west to east across the top of Lake Nipigon. The trails are all grown in and unpassable now. One of our pilots who does a fair bit of flying up there keeps an eye out for new routes but nothing yet.
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  11. John F

    John F Been here awhile

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    Thanks. Do you have a .gpx track of your route over the top? That truly is the Holy Grail in the area, but the more I read the more I conclude it just isn't attainable -- especially by three guys with limited time and no ambition to carry chain saws, build rafts, etc. (Maybe that will be a retirement project...) I think we'll probably be going up one of these roads as far as possible. It might be nice to see where your route heads off into the bush.

    Zoom Earth indicates the ride would be pretty easy out to that MNR base, with several logging clearcuts beyond it but not much else. Looks like more or less an ideal place to camp.
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  12. DyrWolf

    DyrWolf Long timer Supporter

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    I thought it was ok for non residents to camp on crown land south of the French river . Is this wrong?

    From 1985 to 2006, the program was applied to Crown land in northern Ontario, north of the French and Mattawa Rivers. In 2007, the program was revised, such that it now does not apply to lands within
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  13. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    the area under discussion is north of the French and Mattawa, but regardless, i think the 2007 regulation change involved permit fees paid directly to the Ontario Park system for non-resident use of parks land and did not affect the non-resident permit/fee requirement for Crown land. i've been on northern Crown land post 2007 and paid the fee. there are some subtle ways to legally avoid the fees, and some do, but i've always paid. could be wrong, maybe there's something new i'm not aware of.
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  14. canuckAME

    canuckAME Been here awhile

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    I know I dont have a gpx track but will see if I can find the maps we used.
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  15. cmattina

    cmattina Been here awhile

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    This is all you need to know, from a reliable and factual source, regarding non-resident camping on Crown (public) land: https://www.ontario.ca/page/non-resident-crown-land-camping-and-green-zones

    This website will show you where private and crown land is: http://www.gisapplication.lrc.gov.on.ca/CLUPA/Index.html?site=CLUPA&viewer=CLUPA&locale=en-US

    As for "First Nations land". It doesn't really exist. The land in Ontario is technically ceded by way of Treaty. The reserve lands, technically owned by the federal government are quite limited in actual area, unlike the Reserves in the US that can be huge, by Canadian standards - And it is VERY unlikely you will find yourself wanting to camp on a Reserve.

    Some forestry roads will not allow for motorized access (besides forestry vehicles), but they are not particularly common.
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  16. DyrWolf

    DyrWolf Long timer Supporter

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    I took my Jeep in a snow mobile trail on crown land last year. Still not sure if that was legal. But i think i got the rest
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  17. cmattina

    cmattina Been here awhile

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    If it fits, it sits. Was probably legal.

    Was the snowmobile trail up here?

    Most snowmobile trails around here, are like winter roads - pretty quickly you'll hit a lake, bog or beaver pond. So you cannot drive on them in the summer (well you can, but you won't get very far).
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  18. DyrWolf

    DyrWolf Long timer Supporter

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    It was just west of Algonquin. Never got to the lake I was trying to get to, Martincamp . Hoping to go to the Algoma area mid/late May. I have been looking at a canoe web sight. Looks like a good chance of flooding on fire roads that time of year. Just hope you guys dont close the border lol
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  19. cmattina

    cmattina Been here awhile

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    I'm thinking the same thing as my bike is down in Vegas!

    but yeah, the area around Algonquin is a bit tamer and more developed. Wish I lived there as it is kind of the best of both worlds when it comes trails and wilderness.
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  20. McRotchburns

    McRotchburns What smell?

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    Hwy 17 to 527 - Dog River Road is a nice ride, that's my preferred route to work in the summer, I work at the mine at LDI. North to Armstrong is a nice drive too but don't expect much more than trees, flies and a couple of nice rivers. Armstrong isn't a bad place unless you're looking for trouble. Everyone I've met there either ignores you or is friendly. The powwow in the summer brings in a lot of out of towners and apparently the food is pretty good. Gas is a bit expensive. I'd ride east along the Jackfish Road to the river. There are some decent camping sites down that way too and some nice pegmatite, if rocks are your thing. The nicest of them is off the main road down a trail at km 60, trail is decent enough but there are some spots that get a bit mushy in the early season. Nobody will give you any trouble for camping way off the beaten path unless you give them reason to. The cops don't travel any farther than the airport unless they have to. You will be on your own though, no logging activity in that area any more, no cell service and little if any traffic. You could consider a loop from the mine access road through the Black Sturgeon area down to Dorion too, but I haven't been that way in quite a while.
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