Algonquin Park Highway 60 Corridor Map
Jeff Clark of Clark Geomatics has recently released a 1:75,000 scale Algonquin Park map entitled,
"Algonquin Park - Highway 60 corridor, ON - Recreation & Backcountry Map".
With the official canoe routes map lacking any significant update for decades now, it is refreshing to see a new, highly detailed recreation map available as an alternative to the park's official source map. The Clark Geomatics map pays extra attention to the many attractions and services located along the highway#60 corridor that meanders its way through the southern section of The Park.
- "Tear resistant" - I tried, rather meekly at first to tear the map, then tried much harder to a point where it is now frayed along one edge. Keep in mind the map is not tear-proof, just resistant to tearing. I tried tearing it with all my might and all the map did was stretch, warping the text and graphics. Finally, I bit into the map with my teeth and pulled - the map teared cleanly along a straight line. It did not tear like paper, but had the texture and consistency of something akin to vinyl. Jeff has since informed me that the map is printed on a synthetic medium called "Hopsyn", not paper.
- "Waterproof" - I poured water on the map and watched it pool up. Wiping the water away, it beaded up and refused to soak into the paper of the map. Nor did the colour run or smear. Jeff tells me you can sit on the map if the ground is wet. So it makes a great ground sheet too!
- "Mapping Advisory - Explicit Graphics" - I got a chuckle at that one. Indeed, the graphics did pop out as I unfolded the 36x24 inch map. The maps's shaded topographic relief (With a glossy finish from the synthetic paper) is naturally coloured with shades of green, browns, yellows and blues, (overall slightly heavy on saturation) with 10 metre interval contour lines that stand out very well and are labelled at 50 metre increments.
A list of features of the map are:
- Detailed Canoe Routes and Distance Dots
- Portage Routes & Terrain Slope Colour-coding
- Portage Distances
- Logging Roads
- Hiking / XC Ski Trails / Bike Trails
- Corridor Attractions, Campgrounds and Services
- Shaded Relief Topography
- Popular SW Area of Park
- 10m Contour Interval
- Unique Activity Planner / Calendar
- Information Guide
- Waterproof & Tear-resistant
- UTM Coordinates & Lat-Long Grids
- Based on Satellite Imagery
- Park Contact/Reservation Information
There are two main legends; The distinction between these two legends is that one is focused on services and activities within the corridor while the other focuses on the map feature symbology in the context of the map (Most map legends just show the symbol independent of its context within the map).
There are a few discrepancies associated with the legends; for example, there is an icon for 'showers' in the top legend, but no shower icons on the actual map itself (that I could find). Leading one to wonder if there are no showers in Algonquin Park? Same thing goes for Laundry facilities. Contacting Jeff on this, I was informed that the map has a table listing all the camp-ground services (including showers) along the corridor. The problem was trying to fit a long list of icons beside a specific campground. Jeff has indicated a fix would be made in the next edition.
In case you're wondering, there are showers at Lake Opeongo, Rock Lake and Canoe Lake accesses as well as Mew Lake campground, where there is also laundry facilities. There may be more showers though-out Highway 60, but that's all I could think of, off the top of my head.
Much of the map data was drawn on government sources but for the campsite, portage and canoe route data, Jeff licensed that particular data layer from Jeffrey McMurtrie's algonquinmap.com. So not only is the map great looking, it is accurate too.
Jeff has also modified the canoe routes data layer (From Jeffrey McMurtrie's map) to show the various routes on lakes - i.e. routes on Lake Opeongo branch out to give a better approximation of actual distance as opposed to a right-angled T-intersection. The canoe routes also have little blue dots along them spaced at 500 m intervals - this serves to give the user an idea of the distance and time required to complete a route or leg of a route till the next portage.
Besides covering the Highway 60 corridor, the map also includes many of the lakes that can be reached with a day or two of travel via canoe to the interior of Algonquin Park. Loops can be made from along Highway 60 and in the case of the West side of The Park, access point numbers 3 and 4 are covered as well. All in all, 11 of the 29 official access points are covered in the map, covering many of the most popular canoe routes in the southern section of Algonquin Park.
The various interpretive trails along Highway 60 are also displayed on the map, although these forty plus year old eyes of mine had a hard time distinguishing the trail routes themselves under artificial light. Under natural lighting the viewing quality improves (I suspect this was the intent of the author). Many of the trails have 'scenic view points' and they are placed accordingly on the map, removing much of the guesswork of where on a trail a great view might be had.
I am a big fan of one really cool feature - that is the colour-coding of portages with respects to degrees of slope along a trail. Having contour lines to indicate elevation changes is one thing, but the inclusion of colour coded steepness of a portage really stands out. Very nice touch, Bravo Jeff! There is a simple legend on the map explaining the colours and a more in-depth explanation included on the map's overleaf of this feature.
Map Overleaf Comments:
The overleaf of the map is just as fabulous as the front of the map. Tastefully arranged, the back of the map covers a staggering amount of information at a glance; Developed campground information, Biking trails, Hiking trails, Winter activities, Weather/Climate data, and Fishing Regulations just to name a few. There is much more to read, learn and enjoy.
One particular feature that attracted my eye was "The Calendar of Natural Events and Park Activities". The circular nature of the calendar displays the events according to months & seasons and is broken down by park activities, followed by the natural environment, then flora and fauna events.
An example given for using the calendar corroborates the usefulness of its unique nature; "Say you wish to travel sometime in August. You'll notice the beginning of the month is the busiest time in the park. Shift your dates by a couple of weeks and you'll still get to attend a wolf howl, eat blueberries, and miss the mosquitos." You have to see the calendar to know what Jeff means, but once you do, you'll find it is a brilliant tool for planning one's trip according to one's criteria; whether it be to photograph wildlife, avoid the bugs, or seek out fishing opportunities, the possibilities are many.
The rest of the overleaf of the map (Information Guide), has many facts to digest about the park. There is also a historical timeline of Algonquin Park that one can browse through. One of my favourite topics covered is the "Quick Tour" of fishing in Algonquin Park. I particularly like the fish species chart with the fish habitat indicated by their respective range according to water temperatures.
I think you'll find this new Algonquin Park map by Clark Geomatics to be a great addition to one's collection of Algonquin Park maps. Whether you're new to Algonquin Park or have been around it forever, this map will enhance/rekindle your knowledge of the park. Jeff's map is available for preview online via a zoom-able Flash map; both the map and the overleaf are easily studied in this manner. A paper copy of the map can be purchased online from the website for $9.95.
Clark Geomatic's Website: www.clarkgeomatics.ca