Photo of Donald Lake's upper basin

 

By Brian Back

The best Chiniguchi access for canoeists is through one public landing, two private ones and one Crown land access, all reached by dusty, gravel roads from Hwy 17.

Matagamasi

The busiest access is the public landing on Matagamasi Lake, as it provides the most direct access to the popular Wolf-to-Chiniguchi corridor. However, it is wedged between properties in a cottage subdivision. For much of July and August, it is filled with motorboat trailers and cars. Often, desperate users park in front of driveways causing acrimony with landowners. There have also been reports of vandalism, an unpleasant reality to parking in isolated locations.

Two nearby lodges are more secure alternatives.

Kukagami Lake and Sportsman's Lodge

Sportsman's Lodge Wilderness Resort on nearby Kukagami Lake. offers ample parking, a shuttle service to the landing and amenities through its accommodations and restaurant. Canoeists can alternately put in, take out, or both here. Proprietor is George Robbins.

  WEBSITE: Sportsman's Lodge

Lake Wanapitei and Lakeland Lodge

Lakeland Lodge offers bed and breakfast and parking for guests at its 75-year-old, island lodge, the oldest in the area, on Lake Wanapitei. Matagamasi is over an easy 80-metre portage. Proprietors Buck and Gail Olivier have lived in the area all their lives and are wildlife experts. Call ahead: 705-853-0482. 

  WEBSITE: Lakeland Lodge

The Pit

If the Matagamasi lot is full and you are adverse to paying for a shuttle, yet willing to risk flat tires, or worse, there is the Ministry of Transportation pit on McLaren Creek. It is marked with a No Trespassing sign to stop removal of gravel and protect the ministry from liability. On the south side of the pit is a route into the trees behind the pit. You can drive down to the water, but leave the way clear of your vehicle, and park in the pit.

 Donald Lake                   BRIAN BACK

Chiniguchi
                Location map of Chiniguchi access points
 

Bushy Bay

An article in Explore magazine last year erroneously stated that the public landing was up the Bushy Bay Road at the portage between lakes Wanapitei and Matagamasi. There was an illegal landing on what is private land. It has  been closed to the public.

Maskinonge

Maskinonge Lake also has a secure, private landing at Rolly Jonas' (aka Ford's) place. In 2006, the charge was $6 per day per vehicle.

Closeup map of Chiniguchi access points

 

Matagamasi Directions

Take Kukagami Lake Road north from Hwy 17 for 21 kilometres (13.1 mi) and turn left onto Matagamasi Road (approx. 25 min). Here the road narrows with lots of blind crests and curves. Watch for ATVs flying down the road, often at reckless speeds, and the occasional logging truck that by sheer momentum may not be able to slow down for you. Follow the road for 4.5 kilometres (2.8 mi) and hang a right where it forks to the Bushy Bay Road. Continue for about 1.2 kilometres (3/4 mi) and when you come to T in the road, turn right and you will see the landing.  

Maskinonge Directions

From Hagar follow Hwy 535 for 10 kilometres (6.2 mi). Here the highway ends and the road becomes gravel. It is well maintained

Sportsman's Lodge and Pit Directions

Take Kukagami Lake Road north from Hwy 17 for 21 kilometres (13.1 mi) and continue right when you reach the intersection with the Matagamasi Road (approx. 25 min.). You will pass Klondike Bay on Kukagami Lake and reach the well marked Sportsman's entrance 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) from the intersection. If you are heading to the pit, it will be on the left, 1.6 kilometres (1 mi) from the intersection.

Lakeland Lodge

Follow the Matagamasi directions to Bushy Bay Road. Follow it for at least two kilometres to Lakeland Lodge Road on the left. The property is gated so call ahead.

for another 21.5 kilometres (13.4 mi) or so. After that the road receives no maintenance and caution is advised. In 2006, the road was in moderate shape but still required slow driving. There are three major sideroads right after the Bailey bridge, 23 kilometres (14.3 mi) from Hagar. When in doubt, take the left road.  You will reach the turn off to Rolly Jonas' landing (aka Ford's) 37.9 kilometres (23.5 mi) from Hagar after driving about 50 minutes. Take a right at the dirt sideroad. Jonas' place is up the hill above the dam.

POSTED: 9.29.06,  UPDATED 10.24.06

Tips for the Back Roads

 

Fill up in advance as there are no stores or gas stations.
 

Cell phones generally don't work.
 

Do not rush on gravel. Conditions are unpredictable, oncoming drivers are often in the centre of the road, there are ATVs moving too fast, no one can slow down quickly, and you can find yourself in an uncontrollable gravel drift.

Chiniguchi

 

 

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Maps and information herein are not intended for navigational use, and are not represented to be correct in every respect. 
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