Arctic Tern, new Yellowknife company, publishes canoe route maps

Frustration, and a bit of envy at the resources available to Yukon paddlers, led a Yellowknife couple to develop their own series of canoe maps for routes near their community. "We thought, 'Maybe we can do this.'"

Leanne Robinson and Dwayne Wohlgemuth develop 1-stop resource for 6 Yellowknife canoe routes

Leanne Robinson and a friend paddle on Ross Lake, which is part of the Pensive Lakes Route, one of the maps developed by Arctic Tern for the Ingram Trail. (Submitted by Dwayne Wolgemuth)

Frustrated by the lack of a detailed canoe map for their paddling adventures, a local engineer and his partner have developed a series of waterproof maps and guides for the Yellowknife area.

"We are always having to take Natural Resource [topography] maps, which are three feet-by-three feet, and cut and chop them to be able to print them for the routes we do," says Dwayne Wohlgemuth.

"Or you're having to find someone who's done it, or just spend a lot of time on the net doing research for people who have posted trip reports."

Wohlgemuth says the paddling maps produced by the territorial government aren't very detailed. He and his partner Leanne Robinson thought they could do better.

What sealed the deal was the shelves of  maps and resources they found when they walked into a bookstore in the Yukon. 

"We thought, 'Maybe we can do this.'"

10 days to an inch

While they've never gone badly off course paddling in the Yellowknife area, an experience on a hiking trip to the Arctic coast underscored the need for a good map on any trip.

The pair got caught in a blizzard, hiking between Kugluktuk and Paulatuk, with only a large scale map and a compass.

They couldn't follow their route through the hills and instead headed to the Arctic coast.

"That whole 10 days covered about an inch on our large-scale map."

Two years ago, the couple began a self-led "crash course" in geographic information systems.

The result is their own company, called Arctic Tern, and maps that are "one-stop resource" which include full topographical maps with grid lines at two-kilometre intervals.

"They also have portage information and route information. You don't need to look for other trip reports. You don't have to find someone who's done the trip. You can just get the map and go. "

So far, the couple have developed maps for six popular paddling routes around Yellowknife. 


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