Pimachiowin Aki translates to Land that gives life in Ojibwe and is made up of the
- Atikaki Provincial Wilderness Park in Manitoba, and the
- Woodland Caribou Provincial Park in Ontario.
Pimachiowin Aki forms part of the ancestral home of the Anishinaabeg (Ojibwe), an indigenous people living from fishing, hunting and gathering. The site encompasses the traditional lands of four Anishinaabeg communities (Bloodvein River, Little Grand Rapids, Pauingassi and Poplar River). The site is a complex network of livelihood sites, habitation sites, travel routes and ceremonial sites, often linked by waterways, providing testimony to the ancient and continuing tradition of "keeping the land".
The site covers 2,904,000 ha, which makes it larger than Albania.
It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2018.
This land was carved in the last ice age when moving glaciers scraped the surface and left behind the boreal shield. It's covered with forests of black spruce, jack pine, and poplar.
Atikaki contains some of Canada’s oldest rock, formed about three billion years ago. Once part of a mountain range, it was reduced to a relatively flat plain by wind, precipitation, and changes in temperature. Several glaciers sculpted the remaining surfaces to form the base of today’s blue lakes and green forests.
Flora and fauna
It is home to one of the largest herds of Woodland caribou south of Hudson Bay, and to thousands of other animals, birds and insects. Its rivers, streams, lakes, bogs and wetlands support fish including sturgeon, walleye and lake trout.
Atikaki composes about 50% of the Atikaki-Berens Woodland Caribou Range, which is home to an estimated 300-500 of the reclusive animals. Atikaki is home to wildlife such as moose, elk, black bears, loons, bald eagles, woodland caribou, and other creatures of the boreal forest.
Atikaki’s boreal forest features black spruce, jack pine, aspen, and balsam poplar along with stands of white birch, white spruce and balsam fir.
There is no direct road access into Atikaki Provincial Wilderness Park. The most popular water route begins at Wallace Lake, south of the park. Wallace Lake is 250 km from Winnipeg via Highway 59, north to PR 304. To fly into Atikaki, arrangements can be made with lodges, outfitters, or air charter companies. The closest town is Bloodvein.
The closest town to Woodland Caribou Provincial Park is Red Lake. There is no road access to the park, but there are several backcountry road access points:
- Johnson Lake (latitude: 50.983145, longitude: -94.196499)
- Onnie Lake (latitude: 50.917, longitude: -94.268)
- Leano Lake (latitude: 50.789, longitude: -94.429)
- Lund Lake (latitude: 51.104, longitude: -94.288)
Fees and permits
There are no fees for access to either park, but there are fees for fishing licences, and in Woodland Caribou for backcountry camping?
- Hiking, canoeing.
- Aboriginal pictographs (rock paintings) are found throughout the Woodland Caribou Provincial Park, and must be treated with respect.
- Atikaki Provincial Wilderness Park
- Fishing for northern and walleye pike and trout is a popular pursuit in Atikaki. Anglers must possess a valid Manitoba fishing license and observe provincial laws and limits.
- 1 Woodland Caribou Provincial Park, ☏ . This Ontario park offers almost 2,000 km of maintained canoe routes on a myriad of rivers and lakes. Only about 1,000 canoeists travel these routes each year. Excellent fishing for walleye, Northern Pike and Lake Trout and areas with Smallmouth Bass and muskellunge.
Buy, eat and drink
There are services available in Red Lake, Ontario.
- Atikaki Provincial Park has no designated campsites, but does have several backcountry lodges that were established before the land was designated a provincial park.
- Woodland Caribou Provincial Park has approximately 1,500 canoe-in campsites. These sites are remote and primitive: fire rings may or may not be present. They are available on a first-come-first-served basis, and don’t require any booking. Register upon arrival at the park or purchase your permit online. If campers arrive at a site that is full, they will have to continue their journey to an available site. You can obtain your Interior permits online, prior to arriving at some parks. The Interior Registration system allows you to obtain your Interior camping permits up to two weeks in advance of your arrival date for the parks online.