Taking the ACR into Algoma

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McCollJeff
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Joined: 04/23/2010

The Algoma Central Railway (ACR) passenger service.
Some of you may be aware how close we came to losing one of the best ways off accessing our remote waterways this past winter.
But, the ACR passenger service was given a 1 year reprieve to show that it can make it in today’s online world.
The passenger service on the ACR is a poor cousin to the world famous “Agawa Canyon Tour Train.” and runs from Sault Ste. Marie to Hearst Ontario.
The big difference is the passenger service will take you, your boat and gear and drop you off just about anywhere along the line in some of the finest wilderness areas Ontario’s Algoma area has to offer. It will also pick you up again and bring you back if that is your kind of paddling trip.
There are numerous white water river trips you can take, The Batchawana, Agawa and the Sand, which depending on the season and rainfall may be to low to paddle in the summer.
The area is not just for whitewater enthusiasts; there are also numerous crown land lakes you can access along the line and you can take the train in to some of the backcountry campsites on Sand Lake in Lake Superior Provincial Park, and you might know a few of the names who have paddled in Algoma, The Group of Seven and Bill Mason are just a few who have used the ACR to visit the area.
The cost to take such an exotic adventure, much less than you would think, a lot would depend on how far you will travel along the line but you can find that information on the ACR web site under passenger service. When planning a trip you will need to know that you have to load your boat at The Sault, Hawk Junction (Wawa), or Hearst.
For me I go annually for a fall trip down the Agawa, there is a disclaimer on the ACR site that fares can change and if you buy a ticket from the conductor it will cost 20% more.
$44.70 for the Canoe. (plus taxes)
$33.65 for my fare from Frater Station inside Lake Superior Park to my starting point (within 1 zone and one way) (plus taxes) and this include up to 100 lbs. of gear. (per person)
$ 10.17 interior park camping fees per night.
Now if you are going for crown land it is free for residents and $10.00 per night for non-residents.
So about $150.00 for a 5day wilderness trip so I can see this.
https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/OeZMZkANLBCgXdJAOZIDKdMTjNZETYmyPJ...
Or this image.
https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/tc8NOBiJgh7ZwICIdRyXjtMTjNZETYmyPJ...
So much too see, so much too do, and we are on the verge of losing this gem of paddling access to the Historic Algoma region.
There are outfitters in the area that can take care of you with either equipment or shuttle service if you choose a paddle to Lake Superior route.
If you have any questions those of canoe forums such as http://www.myccr.com/
The members would be very happy to assist you with information on the area routes and water levels (For Free!) or point you in a direction on one that would suit your skill level.
For train information go to
http://www.agawacanyontourtrain.com/content/tours/passenger/index.html
For Crown Land information go to
http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/LUEPS/2ColumnSubPage/STDU_137972.html
I look forward to sharing stories for an area that love and have been paddling in since 1985.
Jeff McColl
Conservation Chair Wilderness Canoe Assoc.
Past multi National Champion and Canadian Team Member.