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Annual Dinner - a major fundraising activity
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Corporate Sponsors - thank you to some of our major supporters
Photo Gallery - photos of Quetico Park, including historic photos from the John B. Ridley Research Library
About Quetico Park - facts about Quetico Park's location, history, geology, animal and plant life
Canoe Route Maps - information about the recently published satellite map of Quetico Park and details on how to order
Management Plan Review - The Quetico Park Management Plan Review Process
Related Links - other related web-sites
Contact Us - information on how to reach the Foundation

642 King Street West, Suite 216,
Toronto, Ontario M5V 1M7
Tel: 416-941-9388
Fax: 416-941-9236
Charitable Registration No. 11925 2427 RR0001


The Quetico Foundation - Established 1954
Timber wolf, a shy resident of Quetico Park

About Quetico Park - Quetico Wildlife

Introduction | Quetico Facts | Quetico Geology | Quetico Wildlife | Observation List | Quetico Timeline | Native Pictographs


About 250 species of birds have been recorded in the Quetico and Atikokan area. Of these, 139 have been known to breed. The canoe tripper generally encounters only a few of these bird species with the majority preferring the thick forests of the region. Some of the birds which live on or near the lakes can, however, be large and spectacular. According to David H. Elder's "The Birds of Quetico", the primary species found on or near the lakes include:

  • Common Loon (April 17-Nov. 27) - Every reasonably sized lake usually has at least one breeding pair of these birds whose call is one of the distinct features of the north country. Concentrations of non-breeding birds can be found on some of the larger lakes in the Park, such as Bailey Bay of Basswood Lake where the crowd can include up to 125 individuals.
  • Great Blue Heron (Mar 19 - Oct 12) - These graceful birds tend to be seen along small streams and nest in stands of conifers on islands and peninsulas. One colony on Basswood Lake is in a stand of mature Red Pine and the nests are over 80 feet from the ground.
  • Mallard (Mar 8 - Dec 24) - Some of these ducks arrived already paired up while others seek out their mates early in the spring each year.
  • American Black Duck (Apr 1 - Dec 24) - Favours small ponds and areas flooded by beaver damming.
  • Common Goldeneye (Permanent resident) - A common diving duck which likes to nest in cavities made by woodpeckers in tree trunks.
  • Common Merganser (Mar 28 - Jan1) - This bird is a member of the duck family. The black-and-white male is larger than the brown-crested female and has a brilliant red bill.
  • Turkey Vulture (Apr 2 - Nov 3) - These are the birds that circle endlessly high up on the windstreams. They tend to nest in cliffs and can sometimes be seen on a shoreline eating the remains of fish caught by anglers. Infant vultures have been seen on Nym Lake and Namakan Lake.
  • Osprey (Apr 17 - Oct 6) (Rare) - Nests are usually high to afford a good view, but one on Marmion Lake on a large broken tree is not far above the water.
  • Bald Eagle (Feb 28 - Jan 11) - Frequent in the summer, Quetico is one of the main places where the bald eagle still appears to be holding its own. A total of 50 nest sites have been located in the area, usually in large White Pines.
  • Broad-winged Hawk (Apr 14 - Sep 22) - These hawks are common and feed in the spring primarily on frogs. They can often be seen waiting over small pools of water for their prey.
  • Spotted Sandpiper (Apr 20 - Oct 6) - This bird has a piping call and bobs up and down as it perches or walks about on shoreline rock.
  • Belted Kingfisher (Apr 13 - Oct 29) - Kingfishers are usually found only where an exposed vertical bank of soil provides a nesting site. Kingfishers are sometimes seen hovering over the water rapidly beating their wings before plunging suddenly after fish.

On the smaller woodland ponds many of the same species can be found. However, one can also see the olive-sided flycatcher, the tree swallow, the northern waterthrush, some sparrows and red-winged blackbirds, among others. In June of 1977, an American white pelican was spotted flying over Lac La Croix. In June, 1991, a flock of 35 was noted near Finlayson Lake, just north of Atikokan.

David H. Elder, The Birds of Quetico Provincial Park and the Atikokan Area (Leech Printing).


"The most delightful expression [of moon-inspired madness] I know is the dance of the snowshoe hare in midwinter. If when the moon is bright you station yourself near a good rabbit swamp and stay quiet, you may see it, but you will need patience and endurance, for the night must be cold and still. Soon they begin to emerge, ghostly shadows with no spot of colour except the black of their eyes. Down the converging trails they come, running and chasing one another up and down the runways, cavorting crazily in the light."
From Sigurd Olson, The Singing Wilderness (University of Minnesota Press, 1956)
Near the lakes and rivers, one often sees squirrel, chipmunk, otter, beaver and mink. Moose are also often seen on a canoe trip or along the highway near the Dawson Trail Campground. Somewhat rarer sightings include the lynx, white-tailed deer, marten and timber wolf. Only particularly attentive and quiet people are able to catch a glimpse of these animals.

The only snake that is common in Quetico is the harmless garter snake. There are seven species of frog within the park. Black bears are also resident in Quetico country and campers should take measures to protect their food from them overnight. Entry station attendants can advise you of the locations of the most recent bear activity.

The Quetico Park Satellite Map (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and The Quetico Foundation, 1999).


Quetico's many lakes are filled with fish and other forms of aquatic life. The most common varieties in Quetico are lake trout, bass, walleye and northern pike. Lake trout prefer the cold water of deeper lakes and rivers. Warmer shallow waters offer opportunities to angle for northern pike, walleye and smallmouth bass. Largemouth bass are fairly common in some southern lakes. Lake sturgeon, which were regarded by aboriginal people as a staple food, are still found in the Maligne River and in Sturgeon and Russell lakes. Anglers should consult the "Guide to Eating Ontario Sport Fish" if they have any concerns regarding the edibility of fish. Copies of this publication can be found at the Park Ranger Stations.

Use of live bait fish including crayfish, and the possession of smelt is prohibited in Quetico Park. Anglers must have a valid Ontario Fishing Licence, which can be purchased at the Park Ranger Station at the time of entry.

Quetico Park Satellite Map (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and The Quetico Foundation, 1999).

Plant Life

Quetico's woodlands are mainly boreal (northern), with large stands of fire dependent, lichen-rich jack pine, as well as black spruce, trembling aspen and white birch. The Park is close enough to the southern part of the Canadian Shield to have sheltered pockets of oak, elm, silver maple, yellow birch and even the occasional basswood. The memorable stands of red and white pine observed along many shorelines comprise only a small portion of the Quetico forest environment. The proximity of the prairies has also contributed to Quetico's forest mosaic. Manitoba maple, northern pin oak and prairie goldenrod may be found in the Park.

To find out more about the region's rich plant life, see Shan Walshe's "Plants of Quetico", available from the Friends of Quetico Park, P.O. Box 1959, Atikokan, Ontario P0T 1C0.

Quetico Park Satellite Map (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and The Quetico Foundation, 1999).

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