10 Lost Routes in the BWCA

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Have You Read Our Other Content?

Is it possible to visit EVERY lake in the BWCA?

By Riley Smith | July 26, 2023

This is one of those funny questions. I don’t know if other major BWCA trip enthusiasts have had to encounter it, but I certainly have. It usually comes from someone that isn’t that familiar with the Boundary Waters who, upon hearing of your adventures and how much time you’ve spent, wonders if you’ve been to…

A Fire Perspective: 200 Years of Wildfires

By Riley Smith | November 11, 2022

Few natural processes inspire the fear and awe that wildfires do. In nature, fire is a seeming paradox of death and new life. Gigantic, swirling infernos that engulf the landscape in an unheeding wall of flame become landscape-level scars healed by green shoots and wildflowers. And here on the southern edge of the boreal forest,…

Echoes of ’93 – Managing a Complicated Wilderness

By Riley Smith | February 3, 2023

“There is currently too much visitor use in some areas of the BWCAW on some days. Excessive use results in the following impacts: Off-site camping on non-designated sites which impacts vegetation, soils, and heritage resources. Some designated campsites and portages are too heavily impacted based upon our LAC inventory data. Approximately 85% of all existing…

Map Mondays – Week 3 – Crab Lake/Cummings Lake to Big Lake

By Riley Smith | July 10, 2023

As part of our continuing series on the “route planning game,” we are creating routes using randomly selected entry points, exit points, and number of days to create unique and fun BWCA routes. This week is an arduous 6 night trip through the far western reaches of the BWCA. This area of the BWCA can…

10 Lost Routes in the BWCA

By Riley Smith | February 22, 2023

Warm weather in February is a dangerous thing. If it’s too warm, the mind starts wandering ahead to summer canoe adventures. Warm weather only intensifies the time spent pouring over maps both in remembering treasured trips past and scheming the ones to come. And for me, one of the things I’m looking for on the…

BWCA Superlatives – Setting the Facts Straight

By Riley Smith | February 16, 2023

It all goes back to a BWCA trivia contest. That’s when it sank it anyways. I consider myself a BWCA nerd, down to the root, so maybe these things are more obvious to me. In any case, an organization that should have been experts in the topic were incorrect in the answers they provided for…

How Trees Tell the Story of the BWCA

By Riley Smith | March 21, 2023

Today is the International Day of Forests which means it’s the perfect day to celebrate the trees of the BWCA. The Boundary Waters are a unique mosaic of forests born out of wildfire, windstorms, logging, and the passage of time. Despite the history of disturbance, the Boundary Waters contain the largest tracts of old growth…

Gear Features: We’ve got your back(straps)!

By Riley Smith | August 2, 2022

  At Portage North and Sundog Sport, we sell gear that we would want to use and that we can trust. In that pursuit, we are constantly improving our gear so that it can be more enjoyable to use, more trustworthy, and easier to make to a high standard. Much has changed since Portage North…

Wildlife in Wildlands – A History of BWCA Wildlife

By Riley Smith | February 28, 2023

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Superior National Forest, and Voyageurs National Park make up the largest wild landscape in Minnesota as well as being one of the largest wild spaces east of the Mississippi in the US. Combine that with wildlands directly across the border in Quetico Provincial Park and the surrounding crownlands, and…

Smoke On the Horizon – How Fire Towers Changed BWCA History

By Riley Smith | July 19, 2022

A drive out from Ely today, and you won’t see many fire towers. They’ve vanished as antiquated methods of dutiful rangers past. But less people remember how those fire towers have shaped our wilderness experiences.

Author Bio:

Riley Smith

Riley is the Director of Community Engagement and Public Relations for Portage North and Sundog Sport. He comes from a background in wilderness programing and environmental education with four years of BWCA outfitting and guiding before taking this role. In his free time, he can be found out canoeing, hiking, snowshoeing, capturing photography, and writing.

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