Flying South – Where Do the BW’s Birds Go?

Sign up for our newsletter to receive updates about new articles, great deals, and information about the activities you love and the gear that makes them possible:


Have You Read Our Other Content?

2022 Border Challenges

By Riley Smith | September 2, 2022

  Everywhere one walks and paddles in the BWCA there is a unique connection with the past. Every lake, every portage is filled with stories of legendary figures and lives lived. And through those stories come the marvelous tales of adventure and achievement born of adversity and hardship amidst the beauty. This coming week, a…

How to Pack for a Canoe Trip – The Three-Pack System

By Riley Smith | May 15, 2024

One of the technical ways flatwater canoe trips are packed differently than backpacking trips is in how to organize gear. In a backpacking trip, the gear in the pack often belongs to the person carrying it, with a few communal items like food or shelter divided between party members. The presence of a bulky watercraft to portage…

Leave it to Beaver – How Beavers Change the BWCA

By Riley Smith | August 16, 2022

When I study nature, I love to learn about the superlatives. I appreciate how the tallest mountains, the biggest trees, or the oldest animals have a way to serve as ambassadors, helping people to appreciate the natural world even if they don’t understand the “nitty-gritty” science of everything. It’s with this mindset that I set…

The Lost BWCA Entry Points

By Riley Smith | November 4, 2022

The Boundary Waters have always been steeped in discussions of how to manage the number of people who visit it. Unlike western wildernesses, there is no natural filter which prevents large numbers of visitors from enjoying it. Many wilderness areas are remote, buffered by dozens of miles of existing land that one must travel through…

How to Name Over 1000 Different Lakes – The BWCA

By Riley Smith | October 14, 2022

The Boundary Waters have seemingly endless lakes bearing names from Ojibwe, French, English, or English mistranslations, misspellings, or honest translations of the Ojibwe. Many have fascinating backstories of how they came by their names. Some lakes have seemingly had the same name as long as time can remember while others have switched multiple times. This…

How to Make the Most of High Water in the BWCA: A Trip Report

By Riley Smith | June 1, 2022

Open water season is well upon us and this year has been extraordinary so far. A decent snowpack and a late melt combined for a high water spring. As a result, there have been numerous stories of capsized watercraft and perilous experiences. High water can be a challenge and a hazard that should not be…

Upward, upward: Which portage is the tip top?

By Riley Smith | September 20, 2022

What is the most difficult portage in the BWCA? This is an impossible question to answer. Is it the steepest? How about the longest? How about the one that has the most mud, the most bugs, the slipperiest rocks, or the worst landing? In truth, the most difficult portage is an entirely subjective question bent…

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…

The Comprehensive Guide to Portaging Like a Pro

By Riley Smith | June 14, 2023

We all took our first portage somewhere. From those first tender rods on wobbly legs, we each struggled to carry all our gear from lake to lake. For many of us, this was also a time of questions: “Why did I bring so much gear?”, “Why is my canoe so heavy?”, “Am I in good…

How to Hike the BWCA this Fall

By Riley Smith | October 19, 2022

For those of us whose Boundary Waters trips don’t end with canoe season, Fall can be a challenging time to decide what activities to pursue. As the ice begins to line the outer edges of the lakes and canoeing becomes tougher, it’s just the perfect time of the year to hit the trails and backpack…

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.
Posted in

Leave a Comment