Map: The four canoe routes between Hamlow Lake and the Sturgeon River.

Until 1953, the primary route between Hamlow Lake and the Sturgeon River was along the 1650-metre portage parallel to Stull Creek. This was an ancient nastawgan created by the First People. It began to lose traffic when the Portelance Road and sawmill arrived at the lake in 1953. Travellers could now hire a truck to take their loads. In 1971, the southern third of the portage was clear-cut by Portelance Lumber and the left-behind slash made it impassable. Getting a ride became everyone's first choice.

The ancient portage had once played a big trade role when the Sturgeon River had formed a segment of a regional aboriginal trade route between the Montreal River and Lake Nipissing prior to 1700.

When the mill closed in 1979, canoeists were compelled to portage the road (one of the longest portages in Temagami), go up through Stull Lake or tough it out down Stull Creek. With double-loads these routes take four hours or more, at least twice the time to do the old nastawgan.

In recent years, as conditions in the former clearcut improved, paddlers have drifted back to the 1650-metre portage.


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