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Discussion in 'Canada' started by ZZR_Ron, Nov 20, 2006.

  1. John F

    John F Been here awhile

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    If I didn't live 1300 miles from Armstrong I'd definitely do that. This started out as a possible side trip on the way to or from Weagamow Lake north of Windigo Lake next summer. A little surfing the maps got my hopes up, only to be dashed by reality. We'll probably still ride into the area, but don't expect the be able to ride through. (Hearing of an impassible water crossing isn't good enough. I've got to see it for myself.)
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  2. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    i came across an abandoned logging bridge out in the bush northwest of Armstrong, still in pretty good shape, but it didn't look like any vehicles had crossed in decades. the bridge seemed so strange and out of place, there was no other development around it, and i didn't see a clear cut nearby. i guess it wasn't policy back then to pull all the bridges, just enough so that vehicles couldn't access the ones that were left.
  3. John F

    John F Been here awhile

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    Do you have GPS coordinates? It's fun having an objective when going into an area like this. (Well, it's not as if having no objective other than riding isn't fun...) I doubt the US/Canada border is going to be open by Memorial Day weekend, and I plan to spend that weekend getting lost. I just read of a plaque mounted to a boulder way up a forest service road in far northern New Hampshire https://goo.gl/maps/pepHD5fKREqxffAT7 commemorating a conservation officer who died there in the '60s. So my objective for that weekend (in addition to riding & camping) is to find that plaque.
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  4. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    Witchwood River above Whiteclay Lake. sat view shows two roads crossing up there now, but there was just one bridge when i was there. i went back and looked at a photo of the bridge, it was very substantial and in perfect condition even though no useage.
  5. John F

    John F Been here awhile

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    Wow. That's way up the Ogoki Road -- almost to the end. There are a couple clearcuts beyond it. The Ogoki Road looks to be the main road up that way. It could be that they have plans for future logging north of there and are leaving the bridges in place.

    When were you there? What were the road conditions up to the bridge? Did you go far beyond the bridge? The satellite views would indicate a big gravel superhighway from Aroland to that bridge, petering out to local roads into clearcuts beyond. If we were able to get through from Armstrong, our plans were to go down the Ogoki Road and out through Aroland (with a detour up to the north end if our gas situation permitted). However, getting through is looking unlikely. It's more likely we'll pound pavement around the south end of Lake Nipigon and do the Ogoki Road as a separate Into The Wild -- if we have time. Or maybe we'll do it on a separate trip. (Kinda hard when it's 1300 miles from home, though.) That whole area is just screaming to be ridden and camped.
  6. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    i was there 12 years ago, no usage then, but it sure looks like things have changed since. the road surface was a very light sandy gray color, just like the sat view. i don't recall the road named Ogoki, but i'm thinking it's open again. talking about it now, i think i remember some kind of dispute with one of the local First Nation bands over the road. as mentioned previously, i met a rider in Armstrong who wanted to set up a guided offroad tour operation on that maze of roads. according to him, you could ride for a week and never touch the same road twice. as far as i know, he never got it going. i'm not sure what permission is necessary to use those roads, but at the least, non-Canadians pay a per day permit fee to camp on Crown land. don't count on the authorities having a sense of humor about the permit.

    i was first in Armstrong over 40 years ago, access then was just a gravel road, sometimes well maintained, sometimes not. everything about that entire area has changed, it's known as progress. you can see in the photo the size of the black spruce that is being clear cut. i think the wood was going to the mills in Thunder Bay, it sure isn't saw timber. very slow growth at that latitude, those are probably 100 y/o trees, about the same size as a 15 y/o hybrid in my area. there would be no logging up there at all if the timber wasn't essentially free on the stump, the mills are too far away, both time and distance. one of the stock answers to logging up there is that the entire forest in any general area is just one lightning strike away from burning down to bedrock, might as well cut it, re-seed.
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  7. gumbellion

    gumbellion Been here awhile

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    I think you guys are talking about different places
    The Ogoki road is north of Geraldton, it starts at Aroland and accesses the Ogoki forest. There is a bridge up there, they call it the million dollar bridge to nowhere but i bet it cost a lot more than that. Its beside a fire base. Its the proposed beginning of the road to the ring of fire
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  8. John F

    John F Been here awhile

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    The guy from the Ontario MNR that I talked to mentioned the camping permit for non-citizens numerous times. $9 per person per day. I've wild camped on crown land all across Canada for decades and never had such a permit. Never even heard of it until a couple months ago. But given how much the topic has come up recently, it might be prudent to invest this time. As far as access goes, he said no special permission is necessary. He gave me a map showing the locations of signs prohibiting travel for non First Nations people. Some are "no access beyond this point" and others are "this road is not to be used to access X Lake, Y Lake, Z Lake, etc.". As long as you don't bust signs or gates you're good to go. Good news is there are no signs on the route from Armstrong to the Spino clearcut. Bad news is some removed bridges may make it difficult to get to the Spino clearcut.

    Your pictures make me want to get to this area even more. Man, I hope the border opens this summer. At least opens early enough so we can do this trip before the snow flies.
  9. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    i've camped on Crown land without a permit too, but not in that area. it can be kinda a strange vibe up there, some still don't like the fact that provincial parks have expanded in the area, First Nation bands have their own so called police force, and there's a for real OPP station right in Armstrong. one of the bands has a maintenance contract with the MNR for the Wabakimi, a contract that has a contentious history itself. there has also been an effort to restrict traffic to Cliff Lake, you can look that one up, a sacred site for First Nations bands, they don't want tourists in there and a road network anywhere close doesn't help.
  10. gumbellion

    gumbellion Been here awhile

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    Hi John,
    Would you be able to post your rough idea for a ride please? i have a rough idea what you have in mind.

    A lot of us have been up to windigo, i have not been up there since 2015. If youre heading that way there is a residential school at stirland lake that is worth a stop and reading up on the history of residential schools. There are a lot of nice spots to camp north of pickle lake as well, its a bustling metropolis these days.
    You mentioned in one post going from pickle to Armstrong on gravel roads. I was curious about your proposed route. The old spur line off 599 heading east will get you to the graham road potentially, but beyond that graham north to allanwater and then i think youre stuck. if something happened up there you might as well swim to the bottom of a lake and hold onto a big rock to end it quickly. Also riding on the old rail beds is a really good way to get a flat as spikes get worked up randomly and same with sharp edges on the old ballast when it pokes through.

    If you post your route there are a lot of folks on this thread who know the areas in question like the back of their hand. There are about 5 MNR folks in here as well with intimate knowledge of the areas

    Also that bridge in the picture i refer to as a bailey bridge, i dont know what they actually are called. They are a dime a dozen up here

    Best of luck!
    If it happens i am in the tent space thread
  11. John F

    John F Been here awhile

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    I think the million dollar bridge near the fire base is where the Ogoki Road crosses the Ogoki River, 60 miles NW of Aroland. The bridge over the Witchwood River is another 45 miles up the Ogoki Road.

    I read something on an Ontario MNR forestry plan that seems to indicate the Ogoki Road is restricted past the Ogoki River. Same source said they’re building 28 km of new road beyond the current end of the road past the Witchwood River bridge. Looks like significant activity is planned up that way.

    I just got a contact for somebody involved with the management of the Ogoki Forest and I’ll fire off an email tonight asking about restrictions.
  12. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    i can tell you with 100% certainty, the bridge is on the Witchwood River.
  13. John F

    John F Been here awhile

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    Basically, out past Pickle Lake to Windigo Lake, then continue on the new road to Weagamow Lake. And we know about Stirland. We'll be bringing along chalk to sign the chalkboard. That was the original plan.

    Then I heard about this idea of riding over the north end of Lake Nipigon and the idea festered. I had my hopes up, hearing about people who had actually done it. But a bunch of surfing and emails lead me to believe we're about 10 years too late. Most promising is a link between clearcuts about 60 miles NE of Armstrong, but missing bridges seem to say that's not going to happen. So I've sort of resigned myself to an out-n-back from Armstrong, aiming to get as far NE as possible before camping for the night and heading back the next day. And since a through-ride seems to be off the table, and the Ogoki Road on the east side goes a lot further north, I'm starting to look into that. It looks like jdrocks got way way up that road about 12 years ago. I'd like to go as far. But I fear logging operations may have the road restricted. I'm still doing research.

    Attached is a route I found that we would take going from Pickle Lake to Armstrong. It would allow us to avoid Thunder Bay. North American Palladium has plopped a big open pit mine in the way, but emails I got from them indicate it's still possible to skirt their property and get past.

    I've also attached a map of some of the info on the general area north of Lake Nipigon.
    17_to_527.png



    ogoki.png
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  14. ribmtrider

    ribmtrider Been here awhile

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    Tim here signing in from Ironwood, Michigan. Looks like I’m about 15 years late based on the original post!
  15. sturgeon

    sturgeon Long timer

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    Did he mention "green zones"?
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  16. John F

    John F Been here awhile

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    Nope. What are those?

    Oops. I see. He never referred to them as green zones. But he did refer to numerous areas that are off limits to non First Nations people around various lakes, mainly to preserve the wilderness experience of people who fly into those lakes. NE of Armstrong, supposedly the off-limits areas are clearly marked.
  17. BackRoader

    BackRoader Life Is A Hiway, Ride It.

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  18. John F

    John F Been here awhile

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    Interesting. Thanks. It looks like other than a small area immediately northeast of Wawa, all the green zones are west of Lake Superior, and only a couple small areas come into play along our planned route up to Windigo and Weagamow. Thanks for the heads up. Are there signs so it's obvious when we enter one? Or will we need to rely on maps?
  19. John F

    John F Been here awhile

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    Still waiting for word from a real live person, but this map indicates the Ogoki Road is restricted past the Ogoki River.

    AWS_Ogoki_Forest_2020-2021.png
  20. DrydenRider

    DrydenRider Sun Seeker

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