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Pukaskwa National Park of Canada

Visitor Safety

It's a hazardous place ... travel safely!

Wilderness by its very nature is hazardous. Being self-reliant is your key to a safe, enjoyable experience and is your responsibility.

Rugged and Remote

Pukaskwa is a remote, rugged place where rescues take time. Remember: you are responsible for your own safety.

Bears

Black bears live in Pukaskwa, and are occasionally seen along the coast. Bear boxes and hangs are available for overnight food and supply storage along the Coastal Hiking Trail. Take precautions and be prepared for an encounter with a black bear. For more information, read You Are In Black Bear Country or consult with Parks Canada staff.

Lake Superior Conditions

Lake Superior is cold and unpredictable. Although water near the shore may be warmer, the lake’s average temperature is only 4°C / 39°F year-round. Hypothermia can start within 5-10 minutes if you are not wearing a wetsuit or dry suit. Fog is common and can last for days. Be prepared to navigate using a compass. If you’re paddling in May, June, or July, be prepared to be windbound for 1 out of every 5 days. If you’re planning to paddle in August or September, prepare to be windbound 3 out of 5 days.

Bugs

Bring your bughat, bugspray, or nerves of steel.

Blackflies peak late May - June
Mosquitoes peak mid June - July
Horse and Deer Flies peak July - August
Deer Ticks - no known reports. If you do find a deer tick, please notify park staff.

In General:

  • Register-in and register-out for every overnight backcountry excursion.
  • Receive a mandatory orientation from Park staff before entering backcountry.
  • Never hike or paddle alone.
  • Know your limits, your group's limits and the limits of your equipment.
  • Carry a detailed map.
  • Be aware that weather changes are often abrupt and dangerous.
  • Dress for the adverse conditions, especially cold and wet.
  • Recognize symptoms and treatment for hypothermia.
  • Be careful of over-exposure to the sun; wear a hat and use sun screen.
  • Be aware of over-exertion and dehydration; drink fluids regularly.
  • Treat all surface water before consumption. There are two recommended methods of water treatment:
    • boiling for at least two minutes, or
    • filtration (with a one micron size filter, or smaller) followed by disinfection.
  • Be prepared for biting insects, including both repellant and any necessary medication.
  • Store food and scented products in bear-proof receptacles (i.e., "bear lockers"). Use bear lockers for daily storage only. No long-term storage of garbage or food caches in lockers is permitted. Never leave food items unattended at your campsite or elsewhere. Hang food from trees where lockers are not available.
  • Read You are in Black Bear Country brochure.
  • Remember that feeding animals jeopardizes your safety and their health.
  • Keep fires small. Along the trail, make all fires in metal fire boxes provided. Always stay with your fire and make sure it is thoroughly out before leaving it.
  • Ask park staff about any concerns you may have.