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Thread: Border crossing

  1. #1

    Default Border crossing

    Anyone done the remote access border crossing into Canada? Looking into a possible trip with an entry near Sault Ste Marie. Any info? what is necessary for documentation? I called Canadian Border Agency and they told me no papers necessary for the sleds if you ride them over just passports for riders. Not sure if that sounds right. Anyone have experience?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhbouch285 View Post
    Anyone done the remote access border crossing into Canada? Looking into a possible trip with an entry near Sault Ste Marie. Any info? what is necessary for documentation? I called Canadian Border Agency and they told me no papers necessary for the sleds if you ride them over just passports for riders. Not sure if that sounds right. Anyone have experience?
    Ive taken my RZR over at the soo and they couldnt care less.

    The soo crossing is MUCH more relaxed than the other crossings Ive been to. For everything. Guns, dog food, etc.

  3. #3
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    By remote access are you talking about entering via snowmobile by ice or trail? In the past we have entered from Drummond Island (MI) across the ice into St. Joseph Island (Canada) and registered with customs via a phone that was set up at the trail head. We then could travel over to Bruce Mines and all of Ontario. At the time (5+ years ago) we needed our trail permit number, our registration number for each sled and typical questions about where we are staying, how long, any firearms, etc. I believe you also need to have insurance on your sled to ride in Canada, but not sure (I always have insurance anyways, that's why I am not positive). Keep in mind this was to enter via sled. If you enter via SSM via truck/trailer you just need passport or special state ID and answer the same typical questions- as long as you don't have a record it's usually not a big deal. We did get "selected" one time and they checked every one of our sleds, bags, and even in the gas tanks (probably for contraband). Spent about an hour at the crossing, but just part of the security process you have to go through. I love Canada, and its worth the extra "effort" and cost to go IMO. Just remember you are still in a foreign country and don't be stupid and it's all good!

  4. #4

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    Yeah we'd be riding in on the sleds not trailering them in. Been to Canada fishing and never had an issue just was curious as to what they wanted in terms of paperwork for the sleds. When I called they were almost too nice so its always good to hear from someone who has done it. I've heard its great up there so its on the list of places to ride. Thanks for the info.

  5. #5
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    Approx. 10/12 years ago we needed to apply for a remote border crossing pass. We crossed from Minn. into Ont. off of Gun Flint lake. Things may have changed since then.

  6. #6
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    Go to the OFSC web site and find/locate the local club. Get with them, and they will get you all the info. Not sure, but possibly the OFSC web site can give you the info you need. Enjoy your trip. We are thinking of a remote bush entry from Minn but have not done our homework on it yet either.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by moremilesray View Post
    Approx. 10/12 years ago we needed to apply for a remote border crossing pass. We crossed from Minn. into Ont. off of Gun Flint lake. Things may have changed since then.
    How far up in there did you go?

    Day ride or overnight or a few days?

    If you went for a few days any problem getting fuel, looks like a long way up in there before you find fuel?

    Just curious, I looked at this before just never took the plunge......

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdw1 View Post
    How far up in there did you go?

    Day ride or overnight or a few days?

    If you went for a few days any problem getting fuel, looks like a long way up in there before you find fuel?

    Just curious, I looked at this before just never took the plunge......
    jdw1; everything has changed in a big way up there since the great recession hit in 2007/2008. Many places closed up completely, or are still only open at certain times of day, or week. Nothing is the same as 10-12 years ago. That includes the border crossing laws, gas, food, lodging, and so on. Also trails are not as they used to be prior to the economic recession. They are still hurting from it today up there. Get good info, and be prepared and you will enjoy!!!
    Last edited by old abe; 12-27-2017 at 09:02 AM.

  9. #9
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    depends on where you are going and what type of riding (trail, multi-day trail back pack trip, boondocking?). I ride the WaWa area every year, and have done the superior snow loop challenge 4 times (Wawa>Hearst>Timmons>Cochrane>). I have also done some great backcountry riding around the WaWa and Halway Haven/Jeep Lake areas. For me it's worth the drive. The trails are still open and the towns still have places to get gas (Duberville has self serve gas pumps-credit card only-no attendent) but there is definitely not as much open as there used to be. You just need to plan ahead, and be prepared. Keep in mind, many of that area is more remote than backcountry riding out west. There are some stretches of 100+ miles with no sign of civilization, so you need to be prepared and know your $hit. Have enough survival gear to be able to spend the night in the woods (shelter material, parachord, fire making supplies, etc.) should you need to, because it is COLD!!! Point is it is remote and dangerous, you can't just walk out a few miles out of the situation, but it's also that remoteness that is attractive to go (for us anyways). It's remote, beautiful. Lots of rushing rivers, frozen lakes, powerlines, mountainous terrain, etc. I have done that loop (over 800 miles) and most times only see a handful of other groups, so the trails don't get beat up and many of them are highway-like, clipping along at 60+mph for 30+mins at a time is no big deal and can be accomplished safely because of how wide and flat the trails are. I would recommend it to anyone with an adventure spirit and the know-how to get out of situations should the unexpected and unplanned occur.

  10. #10
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    Very well said raco_guy. We made that run again last year and went up into the canyon. Just short of 1300 miles. We were one year late in 2008 going up to do the North of Superior Challenge Loop. This loop ran west out of Marathon to Terrace Bay, to Schreibler, to Nipigon. Then north thru Beardmore, Jellicoe to Geraldton. North to Nakina, and back down to Longlac. Then back south to Manitouwadge, on back down to Marathon. Very rugged terrain between Marathon west to Schreiber/Nipigon. This is a wilderness trip for the most part. Come Play in the Snow used to run this as a tour. There were several ways to shorten the loop on the east side leg. But they lost there funding due to the way the permit money is collected, and funds distributed. When you buy your permit, name where you ride!!! We have hope that these places will get their funding back. Astounding scenery from Marathon to Nipigon!!!

  11. #11
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    Default "Circle Tour"

    February of '16 a good friend and I set out to do the "Circle Tour" Did plenty of homework, got Remote Boarder crossing passes, etc, Crossed into Canada at Gunflint Lake and oh my, what a different kind of adventure! One thing that was not made very clear to us was that the North/South trail from Gunflint Lake to the main East west Corridor trail had not been maintained for several years prior due to sparsely populated areas and lack of snowmobilers to maintain trails. Trails were not marked, there was no trailhead at the canadian side of Gunflint lake, we did make it to Northern Lights lake resort and Kevin saved our day... I think the only reason we were able to make it that far was because I had gps sled maps saved on my Navi unit and my pal had polaris app with all trails downloaded on the phone. We used a combination of the 2 to get as far as we did, the 2 maps kept confilicting, at times mine was right, at times his was right. Anyhow once we got to Northern lights resort we filled with gas and headed North. Kevin the resort owner seamed pretty concerned for us, as he was expecting us much earlier in the day. (I had called ahead to make sure we could get gas there) Up to that point, the trail had been basically a network of logging roads, so aside of not knowing if you were on the right one, it was very much passable. A few miles north of the resort, the trail basically turned back to a "normal snowmobile trail" that once was about 10 feet wide, now fully overgrown and entirely unpassable! We searched and searched for a way around there and went back to the resort as the sun was going down already, and convinced (and paid) Kevin to trailer us to our next leg of the trip, in Atikokan. From there we checked back into our hotel, and ate our emergency food, because it was like 10pm and there was no place in town to get food or beer at!! Next day went perfect, rode back to Our home base at Crane Lake where we started from. A couple of things I learned-

    -be very careful who you do a trip like this with, I was lucky and we both kept completely calm, but there was plenty of opportunity for someone to loose their mind and become very difficult a time or 2 during our adventure.

    -pack some serious emergency stuff, If we would've pulled back into the resort 3 minutes later, the only people there would've been gone. We caught the owners as they were shutting the gates to the entrance of their resort, headed back to home in Thunder Bay. (Again, the only reason they were there in the first place was because I called days in advance to make sure we could get fuel, so they spent the day doing maintenance and cutting wood waiting for our arrival!) We just about spent the night in the woods, realistically we would've probably gone back to gunflint lodge, but still.

    -If you think you've ever been in a sparsely poplulated area in MN, just cross the boarder into canada and you'll find that it makes the Arrowhead seem well populated.

    -That region of canada does not follow daylight savings time!

    -Would I do it again? Heck Yes!, IF I could verify the condition of the trail from Gunflint Lake to the East/West Corridor in Canada. I do now know of a couple of contacts if I were to look into this again.

    -Canadians in this region are much heartier then us, if they say a trail might need some brushing, it means bring chainsaws, ropes, etc!

    -We did this all midweek, and had the trails all to ourselves! Rode from Crane to Grand Marais in a day, probably the number one best day of riding i've ever done in my life! Day 2 from Grand Marais to Gunflint lake was great as well, followed by some fill your shorts adventure for the rest of the day. Day 3 back to crane lake was great as well, Some freshly groomed trail, and some good ungroomed trail. i can tell you that I have not been so excited to see a welcome to Northern Mn trails sign before as well when we returned! All in all a great memory with a good friend!

  12. #12
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    Right on you are cat guy!!! Have seen those type situations, and they can get darn scary, and some very dangerous. Keep your head screwed on, and don't take unneeded risks. Plan ahead, and have a solid backup plan. That is real bush country. Food, lodging, gas and supplies are not nearly as easy to access as they used to be. Things really went from good to bad fast due to the economic recession. Many parts of a once top shelf trail system are completely gone, other parts are still struggling to recover. But we dearly love to ride up there for sure!!!

  13. #13
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    old abe--
    I'm curious about the recession and this area. Was it mostly a lumber industry or mining that turned sour and then people moved away? Government? Overtaxation? We did notice right when we crossed the Gunflint lake, there was very heavy logging done at some time, and unfortunately, didn't replant trees, so it kinda looks like a barren wasteland right when you cross. I really don't know much about Canada or its history, Atikokan appears to be very much an industrial town, weather its lumber or mining, maybe both. Pretty simple place, simple times, nothing extravagant. I was in Thunder Bay via car a few years ago and noticed the same, very simple, for example, a Mercedes Car dealer selling cars from a metal pole shed type building. People sure are kind, the owner of Northern lights resort was on winter vacation in Arizona and drove home a few days early JUST TO BE THERE FOR US TO BUY GAS! In my research on trails in the area, it seemed at least at that time, that the atikokan area club and Thunder Bay club were in disagreement about upkeep duties for the trail to Gunflint Lake. Once you realize the hardship of trying to groom that trail from either Atikokan or TB, I can better understand why they weren't maintaining it, Once you set out, you have to pack food, arrange for refuel, sleep in the groomer, etc and then hope the machine doesn't break down or get stuck. All with no one around and I'd question the range of whatever 2way radio system they might be using.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by catguy View Post
    old abe--
    I'm curious about the recession and this area. Was it mostly a lumber industry or mining that turned sour and then people moved away? Government? Overtaxation? We did notice right when we crossed the Gunflint lake, there was very heavy logging done at some time, and unfortunately, didn't replant trees, so it kinda looks like a barren wasteland right when you cross. I really don't know much about Canada or its history, Atikokan appears to be very much an industrial town, weather its lumber or mining, maybe both. Pretty simple place, simple times, nothing extravagant. I was in Thunder Bay via car a few years ago and noticed the same, very simple, for example, a Mercedes Car dealer selling cars from a metal pole shed type building. People sure are kind, the owner of Northern lights resort was on winter vacation in Arizona and drove home a few days early JUST TO BE THERE FOR US TO BUY GAS! In my research on trails in the area, it seemed at least at that time, that the atikokan area club and Thunder Bay club were in disagreement about upkeep duties for the trail to Gunflint Lake. Once you realize the hardship of trying to groom that trail from either Atikokan or TB, I can better understand why they weren't maintaining it, Once you set out, you have to pack food, arrange for refuel, sleep in the groomer, etc and then hope the machine doesn't break down or get stuck. All with no one around and I'd question the range of whatever 2way radio system they might be using.
    West half of Ontario mainly mining, timber, and outdoor tourism. Yes, there are very helpful, snowmobile friendly people up there. Lumber hurt really bad by the economic recession in USA. Very large logging, lumber, and mining mills completely closed down. Some have not reopened. We are anxious to get in the area you are relating to also. Satellite phones are the only communications in many areas. Yes many clubs arguing due to less available fund now too. Planning, and a solid back up plan always. Try to work with the clubs where you are going to ride. We have 20 MPG Ski-Doo sleds, and ALWAYS carry 3 gallon gas caddy's. It's bush country. And some is very rough. That gives us a solid 230/240 mile safe range, no matter conditions.

  15. #15
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    I will agree with old abe that the lumber industry took a hit during the recession in the US but the Canadian economy for the most part was doing real well during our recession. The tourist industry also took a big hit at that time because of the Canadian dollar. In the early 2000's the Canadian dollar was worth about .65 US and during our recession it was worth more than the US dollar. That made it a lot more expensive for Americans to travel to Canada, many Province's found the snowmobile trail funds were running low on money due to less Americans so they raised the prices on the permits so high that even the Canadians stopped buying them so the fund balances took a nose dive. They had to close many trails because of lack of funds, hurting many of the small stores or resorts and causing them to have to close. Having seen this happen in areas that we used to ride in a lot I cringe when I here people say to raise the trail permit prices here whenever there is a shortfall in the fund balance. We need more snowmobilers, not higher and higher fees all of the time.

  16. #16
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    Someone mentioned gas in Dubreville. If you go there when the station is closed or if you have trouble with the pump - check with the hotel there. They can help you. Or check in at the Quickee Mart - Luc the Groomer Guy owns it.

    Dubreville is an example of a town up there impacted by the recession. The large employer there was the lumber mill, and it didn't survive the recession.

  17. #17
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    We went all the way around the lake, if I remember correctly about 1400 miles on sleds and 450 miles on trailers. At that time some trails were not groomed, some unmarked and some closed. Depending on your route you may have to use a local guide and yes you would have to make arrangements for someone to meet you on the trail to gas you up. Must be flexible we had to change our route a couple of times. We started in Eagle River Wi. went around the west side and returned to Eagle River Wi.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearrassler View Post
    I will agree with old abe that the lumber industry took a hit during the recession in the US but the Canadian economy for the most part was doing real well during our recession. The tourist industry also took a big hit at that time because of the Canadian dollar. In the early 2000's the Canadian dollar was worth about .65 US and during our recession it was worth more than the US dollar. That made it a lot more expensive for Americans to travel to Canada, many Province's found the snowmobile trail funds were running low on money due to less Americans so they raised the prices on the permits so high that even the Canadians stopped buying them so the fund balances took a nose dive. They had to close many trails because of lack of funds, hurting many of the small stores or resorts and causing them to have to close. Having seen this happen in areas that we used to ride in a lot I cringe when I here people say to raise the trail permit prices here whenever there is a shortfall in the fund balance. We need more snowmobilers, not higher and higher fees all of the time.
    Agree grub. 2008, and again 2017, we enjoyed very friendly exchange rates!!! Really nice on over all trip costs. Not bad exchange right now. Not quite as friendly as last year. The snomo business is hurting from less overall snowfall, fewer areas having rideable snow, and what I call recreational spendable income in people's pockets.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhbouch285 View Post
    Anyone done the remote access border crossing into Canada? Looking into a possible trip with an entry near Sault Ste Marie. Any info? what is necessary for documentation? I called Canadian Border Agency and they told me no papers necessary for the sleds if you ride them over just passports for riders. Not sure if that sounds right. Anyone have experience?
    I sent you a PM

  20. #20
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    Get with the club in the Soo.

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