Chapleau Crown Game Preserve

History of the Preserve

The area is the homeland of the Ojibwa and Cree people of Northern Ontario, where they would not only hunt and fish, but had a rich culture and relationship to the landscape. Several sites with pictographs still testify to their past presence, especially Fairy Point on Missinaibi Lake.

The first Europeans were probably the coureurs des bois, looking for new fur trade territory. In the 17th and 18th century, the French and English traders visited the area. At the end of the 18th century, The Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Company both had posts in the area – including Brunswick House at Missinaibi Lake. This marked decades of trade war in the area, until the two companies amalgamated in 1821. The HBC dominated the area’s trade until the CPR line was built in 1885. This resulted in the influx of settlers.

The Cree and Ojibwa of the area negotiated and signed the Robinson Superior Treaty and Treaty 9, which guaranteed their rights to hunt, fish, and trap on the area.

By the early 20th century, both the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National Railways crossed the area and allowed easier access for prospecting, hunting, and logging. It was not long before the exploitation resulted in a depletion of wildlife. In particular, game and fur-bearing animals were over-hunted alarmingly.

William McLeod (1872–1940), from Chapleau, Ontario, brought the issue to the attention of the Ontario Government and on May 27, 1925, the Chapleau Crown Game Preserve was established. The creation of the Game Preserve was one, and only one, of fifteen recommendations William McLeod made in a 1923 paper he wrote on the problems of the fur trade in Northeastern Ontario. Almost all of the recommendations were eventually enacted into law by the Government of Ontario. All hunting and trapping was and still is prohibited within the Game preserve’s boundaries.

The Game Preserve and it’s advantages to our guests

Wabatongushi Lake lies entirely within the game preserve. Bounded on the south side by the Canadian Pacific Railway, Camp Lochalsh sits just 1/4 mile from the edge of the preserve. This allows our guests ample opportunities to view wildlife in their natural surroundings. Moose, Black Bear, Timber Wolves, Lynx, Beaver and the rarely seen but highly elusive Cougar roam here as they once did throughout the Lake Superior watershed.

It’s a rare opportunity to actually stay at a lodge inside the Chapeau Crown Game Preserve. There are only a handful of lodges in the preserve. Fishing is allowed in the preserve.


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