I've spent quite some time with my maps. I've made inset copies, marked camps/portages, notes, etc. I've been using a Fisher map, but one an outfitter sent me. I just noticed last night there's no bearing line, actually they don't mean for you to use this map to navigate, even though it's a pretty good map. So the question right now would be, is the lower border between Ontario and Manitoba close enough to due north to use as a bearing line? I have 6 weeks, I can get more maps, but gee willikers I have a lot of time invested in this.
"Old Nashville still has a song and dance, and the Florida girls still wear no underpants.
And we all get drunk at the football game, yeh the new south, thank God is still the same" Hank Williams, jr
I think all of the maps have the caveat "Not to be used for navigational purposes" printed somewhere on them. I think it's on there in case somebody gets lost and thinks they could sue the map company for their incompetence.
Kanoes and Amok are right - no problems. I think they're all printed with north at the top, but you'll want to orient it to the direction you're traveling, i.e., if you're traveling south, south will be at the top. That way when you look at the map and look up, the land contours will match the map features. Then you just keep track of where you are: there's the second point with the campsite, there's the bay to the east, there's the first island, etc. I've never used a compass in the BW and that's not unusual. But it might be done crossing a very large body of water...
maxxbhp, I think what your wondering is what is the magnetic declination (the difference between true North and magnetic North, which is where your compass will point.) in the bwca? It ranges from about 0 degrees at the Loon river to about 2.5 degrees East on the far Eastern side of the bwca. So basically you don't have to worry about it here as you would in other parts of the world or country. For navigational purposes the declination will not be noticeable in the bwca.
Like others said you will not get lost. On Fisher maps North is up, the declination is very small in the BWCA so no need to worry about getting off on your navigation. Just lay the compass on the side of the map and turn to north. You now have the map orientated. Now place your compass on the map and take a bearing. canoe that bearing and you will end up at the spot on the map.
As others have said, given the minimal declination in the BWCA, you don't have to do anything to orient your compass, just treat the map's up side as north. That said, the best way to correct for declination I think is to use the north star and adjust the compass so the north arrow is pointing directly at Polaris while the magnetic needle on the compasss is in its "slot." Not really necessary in the BWCA, but in places like Alaska, where declination can be in the range of 50 degrees and vary a lot as you move around the state, and from year to year, it's a good method.