The Innu Portage is the route taken by the Innu for untold centuries in bypassing the rapids on the lower Naskaupi River.† The trails comprising the Portage are deeply sunk into the ground from the countless moccasins which traversed it.
By following the links below, you will be taken to detailed topographical maps, photos and GPS coordinates for use by those who would like to traverse this portage.
The Innu Portage is part of the route taken by Dillon Wallace and his team in 1905 as Wallace travelled from the Hudsonís Bay post at North West River to the George River Hudsonís Bay post on Ungava Bay.† The portage is shown in green on the map to the right showing the overall trip.
Mina Hubbard and her team in 1905 continued up the Naskaupi River rather than taking the Innu Portage.† Higher up the Naskaupi they took the Waupustan River, a tributary of the Naskaupi, then portaged to Dorothy Lake and then back to the Naskaupi just below Seal Lake.
George Kitchen traversed the Innu Portage in 1963 from the Seal Lake end, with guidance from local Innu.† He was the Chief Forester for Labrador at that time and gave his sketches on the different portages to Bryan Greene, who was head of the Geological Survey of Canada in Newfoundland and Labrador.† Bryan in 2002 gave these notes to Wayne Halley who traversed the portage several times, most notably with Carl McLean in 2004 as they became the first team to redo the 1905 trip from North West River to Ungava Bay in one go since 1905.† In 2003 Wayne and some friends had spent a couple of days brushing out first few kilometres of the Red Wine end of the portage which had been impenetrable up to that point for someone with a canoe.† Wayne provided me with a copy of these notes as well as GPS coordinates and the information in this website is based on this information as well as my on own exploration of the portage.
The map to the right dates from before the Churchill Falls hydroelectric project and shows the route to Ungava Bay travelling via Lake Michikamau.† The reservoirs created by this project have been superimposed in blue on the map.
Inhabitants of North West River, for example ex-trapper and former Chief Forester for Labrador, Louie Montague, would refer to the portage as the Red Wine Portage, as the southeastern end of the portage is just across from the mouth of the Red Wine River. His rational is a good one also in that all of the portages throughout this region were pioneered by the Innu and then later used also by trappers such as Louie.
To continue visiting the Innu Portage, please click here.