Life on the Invisible Line

A while back I mentioned a new book about our area called, “Life on the Invisible Line.” I didn’t do a review for you but Quetico Park Ranger Janice Matichuk did and she said I could share it with you all.  If you’d like to purchase a copy then let me know, I have them available at Voyageur for $20 plus shipping.

TITLE:  Life on the Invisible Line
AUTHOR: John Bouchard
LOCAL TIE: Saganaga Lake bordering on NE Minnesota and NW Ontario, where the Gunflint Trail leads. Combines BWCA, Quetico and Ontario crown land
SYNOPSIS: John Bouchard was a conservation officer for Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources on Saganaga Lake for 18 years. The book is a compilation of short stories and hundreds of illustrations of his antics and run-ins with fishermen and hunters. Filled with humour and delivering a respectful message of fish and wildlife at the same time. Saganaga has been populated with Americans for decades. Most of them will find themselves in a story that they’ve probably forgotten.
COST: $19.95
PUBLISHER: Trafford Publishing   published: 11/26/2013
ISBN: 978-1-4907-2044-9
INFORMATION:     1-888-232-4444
(Canada & USA)

Life on the Invisible Line

John Bouchard, 2013

You know the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words”? That’s what you’ll be treated to in ’”Life on the Invisible Line” by John Bouchard. You might even take a guess at the content of the story by the many illustrations. Crack open this book anywhere and have a read. There are 146 short stories with more than that in illustrations. It’s kind of fun to wander through without having to start at the beginning if you choose.

The title tells you about an Invisible line. That would be the US/Canada border on Saganaga Lake which is divided between Northwest Ontario and Northeast Minnesota, taking in Ontario Crown Land, Quetico and the BWCA. John Bouchard was a game warden employed by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources during his time on Sag 1967 to 1985. This true account of his adventures are comical and informative. The stories are of a light hearted nature but many have a serious message about respect for the bush and wildlife. John speaks with authority about his bush savvy and I promise you won’t be disappointed by the illustrations that accentuate his stories.

John grew up with his clever mom and they lead a nomadic life. This spurred John’s desire to walk on the wild side. Early on his drawings impressed a Minnesota man into hiring him to develop cuddly cute stuffed toys. Wasn’t long before John said ‘I’m outta here’ and left the Minnesota office life and went back to the Ontario bush of Saganaga Lake. He lied his way in to a job climbing and working a fire tower, ‘no… I’m not afraid of heights’ says he…ha!  Nothing like bs’ing your way into a job and then becoming stellar at it.

John learned from the longtime Saganaga lake homesteaders how to live in the bush to gain a pulse and understanding of both human and wildlife interaction. This served him well in his job. He tells of many mishaps that you can learn from –right now as you read the book; mishaps with motor boats, canoes, rifles, axes, maps, silly decisions…John cautions “all elements collide at a place where there is no room for error.”

You will chuckle and be amazed at the same time as the intriguing characters John met during his years on Sag come to life. These folks are for real! As are the escapades.

The following lines from his book will entice you; ‘ Nature has secrets, Bronze hands as tough as knots, Game wardens caught by poachers, People living on the edge of the law were dazed by the SWAT… Special Walleye Attack Team, Give this man a box of pens, Go away-I don’t want to be rescued, There was no need to check for a pulse-he could not respond-he could only be respected , Shooting off a pine branch to get the cat down, Lightning bolted through the cabin‘.

John Bouchard says he has lived life well with no regrets.

“And here are people of seasons old hands knowing well the feel of wood,

Lifetimes fully spent in a world set aside from outer worlds less understood.”

submitted by;

Janice Matichuk

Atikokan, Northwestern Ontario

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