Anyone heard if the Bear Lake Canoe Trail has been cleared out to East Cape Canal? Swamp Ape said they were making progress last year. I wonder if it will be open this fall.
That was a trip I was considering last weekend - went out to Pavilion instead. I contacted Terry who did not know but recommended a call to Park HQ. Based on what we saw on the invitational up at Mahogany Hammock and Lane Bay, I would be surprised if there were any issues...but worth the advanced call.
Glad to see that EEN is back with all the information collected over the years!!
After Hurricane Irma the dirt road to BLCT has been closed from what I've been told. You can launch at Coot Bay Pond and hop over the short portage from Buttonwood Canal with a dolly cart. However the walking trail looks mostly clear, but the Homestead Canal itself if jammed with lots of deadfall and thousands of spiderwebs. I was able to float over/under all of it in a kayak, but maybe half-way in there's a double stack deadfall that would require portaging to continue. I ran out of time, so couldn't continue, but mat try again from the other side (Mud Lake).
The creek from Coot to Mud is open. It was actually easier than the creek from CB Pond to CB. But that was over a month ago so both are probably easy now.
So the Park did a good job of cutting out a path to go CB Pond -> CB -> Mud Lake -> Bear Lake. It's actually more fun to paddle now with the lil bit of extra challenge. Like Gary mentioned, the creek in/out of CB Pond has the most obstacles, but not too bad really.
Going around the back route I could see recent fishing activity as evidenced by the trash (which I picked up) on the Bear Lake shoreline. Yup, the land fishermen fully living up to their bad sphincter-person reputation! :(
The other side of BLCT again has a lot of debris from Irma but I was able to make it within throwing distance of the bend where the mound is, but was stopped again by multiple deadfalls at that point. So the Bacon Lettuce and Tomato Canoe trail is currently impassable until a crew can go through to cut out the big deadfalls in the way. The parallel walking trail is OK however, and I saw a couple of casual hikers there as I was making my floating attempt!
All in all, it's an interesting time to paddle these areas because they look so different from before!