The Bloodvein flows through the Precambrian Shield, a massive formation of ancient rock which forms the foundation of much of North America. The river can vary from fast-water gorges less than 20 metres wide to open, calm-water marshes and small lakes. Much of the Bloodvein’s vegetation and wildlife has evolved undisturbed, providing a scientific view of evolution within the Canadian Shield, virtually free of non-native species. It is the home of many species that are uncommon or rare elsewhere in Canada, such as the wolverine, white pelican, double-crested cormorant, bald eagle, osprey, great gray owl and woodland caribou. It has many uncommon and surprisingly diverse plant species which exhibit a strong prairie-boreal influence. It is also part of one of the most significant and undisturbed representations of the Central Boreal Upland Forest in Canada.
The Bloodvein River is steeped in Aboriginal history. The name “Bloodvein” appears to have been first used in an 1818-19 Hudson’s Bay Company journal from the Berens River Post, but may have referred to the red granite veins of the river bed.
During the 18th century, the Bloodvein was used by Ojibwa peoples as a trapping area to supply the fur trade. From 1790 to1821, it served as a secondary fur transportation route. The river’s most notable historic features include undisturbed archaeological sites which provide strong evidence of high density occupation by prehistoric, hunter-gatherer peoples 6,000 years ago, and pictographs dating from between 900 and 1,200 A.D. This river remains important to the Aboriginal peoples who lived along its shores for thousands of years, and continue to do so today.
The significant natural values and remote, unspoiled nature of the Bloodvein River corridor combine to offer an outstanding wilderness experience. Its hundreds of small rapids and waterfalls, quiet lakes, wild rice marshes and abundant fish and wildlife provide an appealing range of experiences for river travelers and sportsmen alike.
The Bloodvein is very well known for white-water canoeing, with wilderness camping and hiking opportunities available within two provincial parks. The river offers exceptional chances to visit, by canoe, archaeological sites which bustled with activity thousands of years ago. The steep-canyon walls of pink-grained granite with pictographs of early Aboriginal images in red ochre are a sight not to be missed.
Who Manages the River?
The river corridor provides representation of one of Canada’s best known national symbols, the Canadian Shield. Formations such as Kenoran Rock, at 2,600 million years old, are thought to be the oldest in Canada.
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