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PostPosted: February 3rd, 2011, 8:01 am 

Joined: January 22nd, 2005, 12:16 pm
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Churchill River. General information.

Information specific to the Upper and Lower Churchill (upstream and downstream from Hwy 102, roughly) is posted respectively in the corresponding regions:

Ed note: The source for much of the following is my Churchill report at ... 12&t=33690
Karpan, Robin and Arlene. Northern Saskatchewan Canoe Country. Parkland Publishing, Saskatoon (2008). ... /index.htm
Cyr-Steenkamp, Talina. The Churchill River – Reindeer Lake Basins. ... _River.pdf
CPAWS Churchill. ... river.html
CPAWS entry. ... paign.html
Canadian Heritage Rivers System.
The reach between Île-à-la-Crosse and the Frog Portage (to the Sturgeon-weir River), part of the fur-trade route, was nominated by the Saskatchewan government in 1993 [Source: Archer]; it is still listed as only nominated.
Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan entry for the Churchill.
Wikipedia. ... Hudson_Bay)
Toponymy of the Churchill River: a Legacy of the French-speaking Voyageurs. ... geurs.html
Canoeing the Churchill River.
Authors: Robin and Arlene Karpan.
Churchill River basin, water levels. ... atershed-/
Access/egress points in Saskatchewan; road.
La Loche, Peter Pond Lake, Buffalo Narrows, Île-à-la-Crosse, Patuanak, Beauval (via Beaver River; also other points on the Beaver, plus other points on its tributaries), perhaps Sandy Lake (Rte 914 comes close), Pinehouse Lake, KamKota Lodge (good place to leave vehicle), Snake Rapids crossing on Rte 914, Besnard Lake (Rte 910), Nemeiben Lake (several routes to the Churchill; check my Route entries), La Ronge (several routes to the Churchill; check my Route entries), Devil Lake campground (Hwy 102), Missinipe, Stanley Mission, Southend (via Reindeer River), Mukamon River Lodge (near Sandy Bay), Slim’s Cabins (near Sandy Bay, good place to leave vehicle), Sandy Bay.
Access/egress points in Saskatchewan; float plane.
Float planes will get you to many lakes on the Churchill and its tributaries. Archer, for example, describes the Haultain, Foster and Paull River routes to the Churchill, all reached by floats.
Tip: Many lodges take their guests in on floats and might have space for your party.
1. Some earlier literature refers to Pinehouse Lake as Snake Lake, Nipew Lake as Dead Lake, and the Rapid River (where it enters the Churchill) as the Montreal River; and one sees reference to Frog Lake (not at Toporama), which must be the broadening of the Churchill between Trade Lake and the Frog Portage.
2. The rapids between Sandy Lake and Pinehouse Lake is known as Snake Rapids; the name is accepted at Toporama but does not appear on the 1:50k topo.
3. Methy (rather than Methye) Portage is the preferred spelling these days.
4. Sandy Lake is not sandy and Sandfly Lake probably has fewer black files than many other lakes. But Pinehouse Lake was once called Snake Lake for a good reason, as explained by Marchildon-Robinson; and the Saskatoon group that we met above Kettle Falls saw a snake at Snake Rapids.
5. For what can only be historical reasons, Toporama gives the Churchill as starting at the outlet of Churchill Lake; but even this makes little sense, for the fur-trade route continued upstream to Lac la Loche. By any reasonable standard, the source is actually the Beaver River, which flows into Lac Île-à-la-Crosse.
Go Trekkers maps.
Maps for sale; titles are
Barker Lake
Otter Lake
MacLennan Lake Canoe Area (must be McLennan Lake)
Paull River
Churchill River, Trout to Otter Lake
Churchill River, Sandfly to Trout Lake
Churchill River, Otter Lake to Nistowiak ... y_Code=220
Archer, Laurel. Northern Saskatchewan Canoe Trips: A Guide to Fifteen Wilderness Rivers. Boston Mills Press, Erin (2003). Exceptionally detailed guide to paddling the Churchill.
Finkelstein, Max W. Canoeing a Continent: On the Trail of Alexander Mackenzie. Natural Heritage / Natural History, Toronto (2002). The description of the Churchill (Clearwater River to the Frog Portage) is necessarily short but insightful. BTW, his group too camped at KamKota.
Grant, Cuthbert; edited by Harry W Duckworth. The English River Book: A North West Company Journal and Account Book of 1786. McGill-Queen's University Press (Rupert's Land Record Society Series), Montreal/Kingston (1989). The original and microfiche version are available at the HBC Archives, Winnipeg.
Jones, Tim E H. The Aboriginal Rock Paintings of the Churchill River. Saskatchewan Archeological Society (1981). Out of print.
Related Virtual Saskatchewan article: ... _rock.html
Mackenzie, Alexander Sir. Edited by W Kaye Lamb. The journals and letters of Sir Alexander Mackenzie. Hakluyt Society, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1970).
Marchildon, Greg and Sid Robinson. Canoeing the Churchill: A Practical Guide to the Historic Voyageur Highway. Edited by Ralph Nilson. Canadian Plains Research Centre, Regina (2002).
Contains extensive notes on the trade, history of place names, history of the communities, etc. My highest possible recommendation.
Morse, Eric W. Fur Trade Canoe Routes of Canada / Then and Now. University of Toronto Press, Toronto (1979; reprinted in 1984). Note: Who could omit such a book from this list, though it contains but two paragraphs on the Churchill?
Noel, Lynn, editor. Voyages: Canada’s Heritage Rivers. Maps and illustrations by Hap Wilson. Breakwater Books, St John’s (1995).
Google books: ... q=&f=false
Olson, Sigurd F. The Lonely Land. University of Minnesota Press; reprint edition (1997). Coverage: Churchill River from Île-à-la-Crosse to the Frog Portage, with continuation on the Sturgeon-weir River to Cumberland House (continuation to The Pas). Information on Olson is available at ... ntents.htm
Pecher, Kamil. Lonely voyage; by kayak to adventure and discovery. Western Producer Prairie Books, Saskatoon (1978). Ed note: Not read, coverage uncertain.
Simpson, George. Journal and Occurrences in the Athabasca Department by George Simpson, 1820 and 1821, and Report.
The Hudson’s Bay Record Society, London, Volume 1 (of 33).
The Champlain Society, Toronto (1938), edited by E E Rich.
Digital reproduction of the Rich edition: ... no=9_96893
Simpson, George. Edited by Frederick Merk. Fur Trade and Empire: George Simpson's Journal. Remarks Connected with the Fur Trade in the Course of a Voyage from York Factory to Fort George and Back to York Factory 1824-1825; Together with Accompanying Documents. Harvard University Press, Cambridge (1931). Note: I was unable to find an accessible version, in print or online, but felt I should provide the reference nevertheless, in the hope that it will become readily available to Churchill paddlers.
This entry was written by Allan Jacobs.


A literal mind is a little mind. If it's not worth doing to excess, it's not worth doing at all. Good enough isn't.  None are so blind as those who choose not to see. (AJ)

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