Assabaska Ojibwe Heritage Park

It was so quiet driving into this park that I saw a lynx pause, look at our vehicle then dart into the woods. We drove through a mostly deciduous forest of paper birch, black ash, and trembling aspen which thinned out until we could see a large grassy picnic area and the waters of Lake of the Woods.

E and I were visiting during the off season but had been granted permission to stay overnight. We were the only humans present for miles, which would normally cause me great unease but in this case the solitude was a comfort. I could silently experience dry leaves underfoot, the crisp fall breezes, and the sound of waves at the shoreline. The geese had already left and there wasn’t any birdsong but there was no snow and the lake hadn’t frozen over yet. Yellows, greens, reds and purples featured heavily in the landscape.

If this park were a person, it would be a calm, mature, and grossly understated woman who looks absolutely stunning. Naturally we’d all hate her at first but because she’s a kind, grounded individual our ill-will would subside into a respectful yet seething envy.

Assabaska Ojibwe Heritage Park is located in a remote portion of northwest Ontario off of Highway 621 and aside from local use, it’s not a particularly busy or well known park. Overnight camping is permitted and there are electrical hookups. There are pit toilets, nothing fancy, and some picnic tables but the woods and the long sandy beach are exquisite.

Freezing cold at that time of year, but exquisite.

The park is located on the traditional territory of the Ojibwe community of Mishkosiminiziibiing First Nation (aka. Big Grassy River First Nation). The community of fewer than 300 residents are responsible for managing the park which means it does not fall under the purview of Ontario Parks. You can contact park staff via their website. It was a great privilege to have visited this beautiful, serene place.