Quetico Provincial Park is directly north of the BWCAW in the province of Ontario, Canada. Quetico is larger (about 1.4 million acres) and sees fewer visitors than the BWCAW. It is a particularly remote area and is more appropriate for canoe trippers with greater backcountry camping and canoeing skills and experience levels.

The Quetico lakeland boreal wilderness is similar to the BWCAW. However, the rules and legal requirements are significantly different, required permits are much more expensive, and the logistics are more complicated.

Quetico Provincial Park Canoe Trip Info

Quetico Provincial Park Trip Permits
and Legal Requirements When Entering Canada by Canoe

For Quetico canoe trips entering Canada by canoe via the remote southern Ranger Stations, such as the Prairie Portage Ranger Station, it is important to know the following information.

(1) A CANPASS Remote Area Border Crossing (RABC) Permit. All persons entering Quetico from the remote southern Ranger Stations must get customs clearance in advance. Clearing customs is typically done by applying online for a CANPASS RABC Permit. Details, requirements, and the application form are at http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/prog/canpass/rabc-pfre/menu-eng.html. The fee is $30 Canadian and includes the principal applicant plus qualifying family members. The Canadian Border Services Agency indicates processing time is three to four weeks. Applicants with a criminal conviction may be denied an RABC. We suggest submitting this application as soon as possible. Processing time may take 6 weeks. The RABC program is only available to US citizens and permanent residents.

The RABC permit must be carried by all participants while on trail in Quetico. If minors are on the trip and not accompanied by both parents, then a signed letter from the non-accompanying parent that he or she is aware the child is traveling out of the country and granting permission for the trip should be carried.

(2) A Quetico Provincial Park Entry Permit. Permits may be reserved starting exactly 5 months before your entry date. Your entry date and entry point are required for the permit, and may not be changed.

Camping fees vary by entry point, but run about $20 per adult per night and $10 per youth under 18 years per night. Note that BWCAW permit fees are per person per trip, but Quetico fees are per person per night. When the Quetico permit is reserved, your credit card is charged a permit reservation fee of $11 per permit, plus the full permit fees based on the number of campers indicated when making the reservation and the number of days on trail. You pay the remainder of the camping fees by Visa or MasterCard at the Ranger Station upon arrival. Note that American Express is not accepted.

Click here for Quetico Park reservations. Click the Backcountry tab. Click the Quetico button/circle. Click the drop down list and select Quetico. Provide the requested information.

(3) Minor children in Canada. If traveling to Canada with a minor who is not your own child or for whom you do not have full legal custody, Canadian Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) may require you to present a notarized affidavit of consent from the minor’s parents. There is no specific form for this document, but it should include dates of travel, parents’ names and photocopies of their state-issued IDs.

(4) An Ontario Outdoors Card and Ontario fishing license if you intend to fish in Canada. An Ontario Outdoors Card is required for each person fishing and costs about $10 Canadian. Also, an Ontario fishing license is required. An 8-day Ontario fishing license costs about $30-$50 Canadian (the less expensive conservation license has reduced possession limits). An annual Ontario fishing license costs about $50-$80 Canadian (the less expensive conservation license has reduced possession limits). Obtain your license online in advance at http://www.ontario.ca/outdoorscard. Also, be aware that live bait, organic bait, and the use of barbed hooks is prohibited in Quetico Provincial Park. Hooks with barbs may be possessed in Quetico, but the barbs must be crimped with a pliers before use.

(5) Ontario boating law requires the following in boats: 49’3” of buoyant heaving line, a bailer, a sound signaling device, and a magnetic compass.

(6) Pets. Pets must be leashed while visiting Quetico. Non-Canadian residents must be able to provide a current vaccination certificate.

(7) Hunting and firearms are prohibited. Possession of a firearm, including a rifle, shotgun, handgun, air gun, pellet gun, paintball gun, slingshot, bow, or crossbow is prohibited. Hunting, molesting, and harassing wildlife is prohibited.

(8) There are no designated camping sites. Unlike the BWCAW, travelers may camp anywhere in the Quetico and are not limited to designated campsites.

(9) Additional Quetico rules and trip planning info. Carefully review the Quetico Park official website for important rules and trip planning info. Note that cans and glass bottles are prohibited in Quetico.

(10) ROAM App and US Customs. Upon returning from a Quetico trip, all participants must check back in with US Customs. Most people use the ROAM App on their mobile device to do this. You must do this immediately after your trip and before you leave Ely. Those age 16 or older must present a U.S. passport, passport card, Nexus card, Enhanced Driver’s License, or other Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)-compliant document at that time. Those under age 16 must present either (1) a U.S. passport, or (2) a birth certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or naturalization certificate.