The Quetico Foundation is asking paddlers and non-paddlers alike to participate in a unique contest to celebrate the northern Ontario wilderness park — without going far from home.
The Quetico Portage Challenge asks people to pick one of Quetico Provincial Park’s 587 portages, and then complete a similar distance near home. Participants can then share a photo on social media with the hashtag #QueticoPortageChallenge to enter the competition.
“This ongoing pandemic reminds us of the human need to connect with wilderness,” said Chris Dobson, Quetico Foundation’s executive chair. “This challenge is an opportunity to take action and protect the solitude of Quetico’s undisturbed natural setting.”
The competition seeks to connect people with the park even if they can’t visit in person, because many of Quetico’s usual visitors come from America. The U.S.-Canada border closed on March 15, 2020 to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and the closure was recently extended by the U.S. and Canadian governments until at least April 21.
Prizes will be offered for Longest Portage, Silliest Portage, Most Honest Portage, People’s Choice Portage. Everyone who participates with a donation will be entered in a prize drawing with winners chosen on May 24.
The foundation has provided a list, map and other statistics at queticofoundation.org/protect-the-park/find-a-portage, to help participants pick a portage.
Half of Quetico’s portages are longer than 254 metres (50 rods) and half are shorter. There are only two portages over 2.1 kilometers (417 rods).
The shortest portage on the list is the 89 meter (18 rod) Singing Brook Portage. The longest portage is the 3,119 meter (620 rods) Memory Lane Portages. The average length of all Quetico’s portages is 337 meters (67 rods).
The foundation says the competition’s goal is to raise awareness of Quetico and wilderness protection, as well as to raise funds to support the park’s continued protection.