Boreal Trail Qs&As

Q.  What is the best way to register a trip?
A.  After reading all of the information that is available online, the best way to register a trip is by filling out the online registration form.  If you have questions, you can contact the park at meadowlake@gov.sk.ca or at (306) 236-7680.

Q.  How far in advance should a person contact the park regarding a trip?
A.  We suggest at least a minimum of two weeks prior to your trip.  Conditions of the trail could change and it is almost impossible to keep current information updated on the website, so the most up to date information is available from the park at the contact information listed previously.

Q.  How experienced should a person be if considering a trip on the Boreal Trail?
A.  Basically the trail system can be used by all levels of experienced hikers.  The deciding factor, for the most part would come down to the length of the trip.  If a person has not had a lot of experience with multi-day hikes, then it would be a good idea to start off small and maybe do an overnight trip to start off.  This way you can determine your fitness level, the amount of gear that you will need to bring with you, etc.

Q.  At which gates can I pay for my backcountry camping?
A.  The backcountry camping for your trip can be paid at either administration office that services Meadow Lake Provincial Park.  The main office is located north of Dorintosh (306-236-7680) on the east side of the park and the Pierceland office (306-839-6250) is located in the village of Pierceland, which is on the west side.  Both of these locations are open Monday to Friday.

Q.  How popular is the Boreal Trail and can I expect to see other people in the back country?
A.  The Boreal Trail officially opened in June of 2011 and has been increasing in popularity ever since.  By contacting the park well in advance we can advise you if there are currently any other trips planned during your scheduled trip and possibly by changing dates by one or two days, it may alleviate any overlaps for camping in any of the backcountry sites.

Q.  Is camping allowed along the trail other than at the designated sites?
A.  We encourage everyone to take advantage of the backcountry sites that are established along the trail.  These sites have a BBQ, pit toilet and bear proof food-locker at each location to make your trip more enjoyable.  If for some reason, you are delayed from arriving at one of the designated sites, you could camp in a suitable spot along the trail but open fires would not be permitted.

Q.  Why do we have to register our trip with the park?
A.  Your trip should be registered with the park for a couple of reasons.  For your safety and peace of mind, by registering your trip we know when and where you plan on going, and who to contact, if for some reason your arrival at your end destination is delayed.   The registration process has been fine-tuned over the years and it is critical that you physically check in with park staff upon your arrival and upon departure, even if you have registered electronically.

Q.  We noticed that there are some sections of the trail that follow along the main roads, is this accurate?
A.  Out of the 140 plus km in the trail system, only 11 km is “new” trail.  We utilized existing roads, trails, bridges, etc.  wherever possible to link up other sections of the trail.  There are sections where you may walk along the main road for a short distance, maybe cross a bridge before the trail goes back in.  There are a lot of creeks and low lying areas that can be crossed in low water years, but at other  times you may need to divert out on to the road to cross the area, or simply go around the low lying area and locate the trail again.

Q.  Do you recommend using a GPS if we are considering a trip on the Boreal Trail?
A.  We have GPS tracks and waypoints for the entire trail system and would highly recommend using a GPS as a navigational tool.  We would also suggest that you have a map and compass, and know how to use them in case something happens to your GPS.   These tracks are compatible with all brands.

Q.  Are there any applications available that have information on the Boreal Trail?
A.  Yes, the North Face app (Trailhead) and the Backpacker app (Backpacker Trails Lite or Pro) both have information available that can be accessed through your smart phone. 

Q.  Would you suggest that we take a Spot messenger or similar device along with us?
A.  Yes, they are an invaluable tool that can relay messages back to friends and family regarding your trip.  With the right package, people can access a link that at any given point they can see where you are and monitor your progress.  For anyone that likes to explore backcountry or wilderness areas, these devices are excellent safety tools.

Q.  Is there anyone that could provide shuttle services or perhaps be our guides on the trip?
A.  Yes, Clearwater Canoeing Ltd. has a business licence to provide these services.  They can be contacted at 306 895-2001 or through their website http://www.clearwatercanoeing.ca/.

Q.  Where would I find a map of the Boreal Trail?
A.  Currently we have a trail guide that is available on-line and in print at the Administration offices.  We have inserted the GPS tracks into software called Memory Map that produces 1:50,000 scale maps of the trail and surrounding area.  These have been cropped to fit on 8.5 x 11 inch paper and provide maps of the entire trail and related information.  We are looking at having a map produced that will be available for purchase, once we have finalized all sections of the trail.

Q.  I noticed that the trail ends at Greig Lake, are there plans to extend the trail into other areas of the park?
A.  There is an opportunity to extend the trail into other areas of the park such as Waterhen and Flotten Lake areas.  We are not sure when this may happen, but it is a possibility.

Q.  Are you concerned about the trail being over used?
A.  Meadow Lake Provincial Park has adopted the Leave No Trace program as the guiding principles for all backcountry use in the park.  More information can be found on this environmental education program at http://www.leavenotrace.ca/home.  If all users of the Boreal Trail follow the seven principles of Leave No Trace, there should be no issues no matter how much the trail is utilized.

Q.  Can we mountain bike or trail-run any part of the Boreal Trail?
A.  The trail was created with foot traffic in mind, so it really was not designed for bike use.  We do however, recognize that people do bike on the trails, and we remind them that they do so at their own risk.  As bikes and runners travel at a higher rate of speed, it is imperative to check your location regularly.   Also, there are sections of the trail that the bike may have to be carried over low lying areas or creek mouths etc. where you will get wet!

Q.  Are you interested in comments about our experience with the Boreal Trail?
A.  Most definitely!  We appreciate any comments or suggestions that we receive good and bad.  We are always looking at improving the trail system and the best information will always come from someone that has actually been on the trail.  Please email comments to meadowlake@gov.sk.ca.