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Boundary Waters listed as 1 of America's most endangered rivers for 2013 American Rivers has listed the Boundary Waters as one of 10 most endangered rivers in the United States for 2013. The 1.1 million-acre Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is the most popular wilderness area in the country. The South Kawishiwi River, which flows into the Boundary Waters, is threatened by copper-nickel mining proposals by Twin Metals Minnesota and others on adjacent unprotected public lands. There is a lot of controversy over this issue and there are views from each side.  You can read the full report about the current issue at hand over at American Rivers website.  Here is a summary from American Rivers as to why this is a threat to The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The Threat The Boundary Waters is endangered by a proposal to create a massive copper-nickel mine adjacent to the South Kawishiwi River and within two miles of the Boundary Waters.  The Boundary Waters watershed is also negatively impacted by extensive exploration for additional mine sites.  If copper-nickel mines are developed, polluted waters from the South Kawishiwi will flow through some of the most popular Boundary Waters lakes, including the iconic Basswood. According to the EPA (Toxic Release Inventory: 2010 National Analysis), hardrock mining...
Blog posted from Kawishiwi Lake, Superior National Forest, Lake No. 1, MN 55731, USA View larger map
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Posted by on in BWCA Stories
An intro to the BWCA Growing up in Ely, MN canoeing and camping was a way of life, a hobby, and an ‘easy’ means of vacation.  My love for this slow way of travel began at a very early stage. My parents took us into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) at a young age; starting with a few days at an easily accessible campsite where we would make forts and explore the woods to multiple days of travels stopping only to set up camp. The BWCA consists of a million acres of woods and lakes with restrictions on the use of motorized equipment. Travel is accessible by means of watercraft, the lakes are linked by land portages which you carry your equipment over. When reminiscing about trips it tends to be the ones in inclement weather, the really buggy year, or basically the more challenging ones that stand out in your memory.  In high school I partnered up with my good friend and our dads to travel a section of the Border Route. The Border Route was means of travel for the voyageurs almost the entire width of Minnesota along the Canadian Border. We took a week with the goal in mind to follow the route from...
Blog posted from Crocodile Lake, Superior National Forest, East Cook, MN 55604, USA View larger map
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A Few Tips for Planning a Wilderness Canoe Camping Trip with Children Here are a few tips for things to consider when planning a BWCA trip with children.   Find a life vest that is comfortable and fits properly. Pack a good set of raingear, hat, and sunglasses. (head net if necessary) Bring plenty of sunscreen, bug spray, and itch balm Involve the children in menu planning and food preparation. Bring along special snacks and treats for good behavior rewards. Learn about the area, plants and animals before the trip. Bring identification books for birds, plants, trees and wildlife. A deck of cards, a flashlight, and a couple of good books are perfect for tent time. Spend time in the canoe creating stories of your own where everyone takes turns adding to it. Let the children have their own disposable camera for capturing their own memories. Have the children write in a journal each evening. Don't forget the S'mores.   In a world where children know characters on television better than their own family members and can name locations in their favorite video game but can't tell you the name of everyone in their class, something is wrong. It is time to teach your child a lesson, time to get the paddle out, get outside...
Blog posted from Mudro Lake, Superior National Forest, Slim Lake, MN 55731, USA View larger map
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Posted by on in Ely
Top 100 Things to do in Ely Minnesota Here is a list of the Top 100 things to do while visiting Ely MN. See how many you can accomplish and check off the list. Attend Ely’s Blueberry Arts Festival Watch the sailboats on Burntside Lake Take a Finnish sauna (steambath) Sing old time songs while sitting around a campfire Visit the International Wolf Center east of Ely on 169 Go swimming at Semers Park Beach Play badminton or croquet Pick wild raspberries in July and August Have a picnic at Meander Lake (north of Ely) and see the changes from the little Indian Souix fire of 1971 Make a bouquet of dried flower and plants from the area Visit the North American Bear center, west of Ely on 169 Visit Stuntz Bay at the Tower-Soudan State Park Climb the rocks and see the waterfall at the Pike River Dam on County 77, west and north of Tower Read the marker plaque for short-lived gold rush Winston City on the vermilion Tail, located on 169 west of Tower Find a showy Ladyslipper (Minnesota’s State Flower) and photograph it, don’t pick it. It’s protected by state law See the historical train and settlers cabin at Tower City Park Camp overnight at...
Blog posted from Ely, MN 55731, USA View larger map
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Motorists will be diverted to a short bypass DULUTH, Minn. — Motorists traveling on Highway 61 near Little Marais will be diverted to a single-lane bypass beginning Tuesday, Sept. 3 as work begins on a new Hwy 61 bridge over the Little Marais River. Traffic will be controlled using a temporary signal system. Motorists will be required to use the bypass until Nov. 1 when the new bridge is scheduled to be completed. The new bridge is part of a Hwy 61 reconstruction project that will improve safety and ride quality. More information on the project can be found at
Tagged in: Boundary Waters BWCA
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Summer visitors reminded to review AIS laws before traveling As the summer travel season approaches its peak, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds visitors to review aquatic invasive species (AIS) laws before traveling to ensure compliance and avoid a citation.Stepped up education and enforcement of Minnesota’s AIS laws is intended to protect the state’s more than 10,000 lakes, which play a critical role in attracting anglers and families from across the country for a lakeside vacation. Nonresident visitors are held to the same standards as Minnesota residents when transporting boats and other water-related equipment, and are also subject to the same citations for violations.“Minnesota’s lakes, rivers and forests are a big draw for visitors,” said John Edman, director of Explore Minnesota Tourism. “It’s important that everyone who enjoys our woods and waters helps protect these natural treasures.”Minnesota’s boat plug law is now three years old, but is still one of the most common AIS-related violations.“It’s important for everyone to take the time to read and understand the laws – they may be different than your home state’s AIS laws,” said Ann Pierce, DNR invasive species unit supervisor. “Not only do the laws help protect Minnesota waters from new infestations, they are a sound practice to reduce the...
Blog posted from Shagawa Lake, Superior National Forest, Morse, MN 55731, USA View larger map
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Posted by on in Spring

Bill Hansen, who owns Sawbill Canoe Outfitters with his wife Cindy at the end of the road north of Tofte, experienced the sighting of a lifetime last Saturday evening. Two Lynx, rarely seen alone, yet in a pair, decided to have a face off on the side of the road next to this BWCA Outfitters property. ...
Blog posted from Tofte, MN 55615, USA View larger map
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Posted by on in Fishing
Superior National Forest Ice Update Tuesday PM, May 14, 2013   CONTACT: Becca Manlove, Information Officer, West Zone, Superior National Forest, 218-365-7561 or 218-365-7600,; see “Alerts.”   A strong crosswind grounded the fire patrol this afternoon. New information from observers:   • Disappointment is open. • Parent Lake (near Snowbank) is iced. Snowbank is still iced in. • Rice and August Lake are open. • Vermilion Lake was iced in yesterday. • Big Lake was reported open yesterday, but southerly winds pushed the ice pack to the northern half today. • The North Arm of Burntside is still frozen. The East Arm is full of dark ice.   This information is from Monday’s flight: • Moose Lake: southwestern third is open; northeastern two thirds frozen but dark ice. • S. Kawishiwi R. and Gabbro Lake are mostly open. • Turtle is open. • There is ice in the middle of Bald Eagle. • Clearwater and Pietro are frozen (thin ice) but Gull is open. • Quadga and Bog are open. • Isabella and Perent still have a lot of ice in the middle. • Polly and Phoebe are open. • Alton and Sawbill are still frozen. • Generally the smaller lakes in the south east are...
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Posted by on in BWCA Stories
    Three Day trip to Clear Lake with our Grandson Each late August we like to do a three day trip with whatever grandkids can join us.  This year we couldn’t get the granddaughters but we did get our grandson Jack & his mom, our daughter, Karyn to join us.  One of the permits that were open was for Farm Lake, entry #31.  This is a nice area, close to Ely and once you get across Farm Lake and over to the Kawishiwi River, it is more sheltered from the wind. Since there was four of us, we chose a Wenonah MN4, 23 foot, 61 pound canoe which has four seats. We started out mid-morning on Farm Lake and had some fairly strong winds that were coming from the south but with a few bursts that hit us on the side of the canoe.  The MN4 can be a little harder to steer so John did a lot of ruddering.  It is only two miles across Farm to get into the North Kawishiwi.  The river is big and wide here and has several small islands.  After the river narrows down for the second time, about 2 miles from the mouth...
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Posted by on in Winter
This time of year is always interesting in the great north woods.  One year you might get nice sunny days, playing in the park and a gentle warm breeze and then the next year you might wake up to eight plus inches of snow on the ground and spend hours shoveling snow so you can get your car out.  But here is the thing, earlier in the week I was sitting at Brittons enjoying some coffee before coming to work and one of the locals told me this "Last year we had an unusually early thaw and this year its a bit late.  We can't complain about the weather because it changes every year."  I though that was an interesting statement until I woke up today and found out we had the biggest snow storm of the year. So how do we deal with this type of snow so late in the year:   Well first off I would say go outside and enjoy it.  Don't keep sitting in doors and get cabin fever.  That is not healthy for you and the easiest way to deal with it is get out of the house.  It's not that cold so go for a...
Blog posted from Winton, MN, USA View larger map
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