How to See the BWCA in One Trip

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Finding Solitude in the BWCAW

By mlarson | June 18, 2019

Though the Boundary Waters is the most visited wilderness area in the United States, it’s refreshingly empty compared to most national or state parks and seldom feels crowded. For many, the occasional encounter with another group is no big deal. But all of us dream about wilderness solitude at some point in our outdoor career:…

A Bird’s Eye of the BW – Telling the Story from Above

By Riley Smith | April 13, 2023

It started as a funny game of sorts. As I was scrolling past google satellite imagery dreaming of future canoe country routes and trip plans, I would begin noticing the occasional canoe group on the photos. I soon began looking for them. It was a game of “I spy,” picking out small floating canoes and…

Overnight to Dorothy’s – A Trip Report

By Riley Smith | August 23, 2022

  I will admit that sadly I never met Dorothy Molter. When I took my first Boundary Waters trip, she had already been gone for 17 years. And yet, like many of us who have only enjoyed the stories, she remains a revered figure in our local history. And it’s the same for so many…

A Week in January – A Winter Trip Report

By Riley Smith | February 7, 2023

  The week we had looked forward to had come around again: the Week of Winter annual BWCA trip. This tradition is relatively new, last year was our first, but it seems poised to be a trip that continues annually. January is a fascinating time to take a week long BWCA trip both because winter…

Map Mondays – Week 12 – Little Indian North to Moose River North

By Riley Smith | September 26, 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 route works through parts of the BWCAW’s far western end from the furthest west EP of the BWCA through big lakes…

The Magic of a Winter Wilderness

By Riley Smith | January 25, 2023

The Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota are special. There’s no denying that. Every year, hundreds of thousands flock to this northern wilderness area to experience a landscape where canoes outnumber the cars and a wild landscape is, in some ways, locked in time. But every winter as the canoes are tucked away, the summer tents…

Map Mondays – Week 10 – Angleworm to Wood

By Riley Smith | September 11, 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. Let’s check it out! Total Mileage: 45.5 milesNights: 5Paddle Distance: 36.7 milesPortage Distance: 8.7 miles Day 1: Miles: 7.6Target Campsite: Thunder LakeDescription:…

How to Chase the Northern Lights – A Short Story

By Riley Smith | March 28, 2023

Article writing can be a process for me. I usually have five or six partial articles in the queue and sometimes take long breaks from one before coming back to it again. Sometimes there are complicated graphics or illustrations to put together or lots of research to be done. Very rarely is an article reactionary…

A Wilderness of the People – The 2023 Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Situational Assessment

By Riley Smith | June 28, 2023

The June 28th USFS newsletter contained the results of a six-month-long survey with confidential feedback from 100 individuals representing a wide scope of BWCAW users, affiliated businesses, nonprofits, and managing agencies. Their survey delved deep into the complexities of managing America’s busiest, and often one of the most complicated and controversial, wilderness areas. The results…

Map Mondays – Week 7 – Larch Creek to Brule Lake

By Riley Smith | August 21, 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. Let’s check it out! Total Mileage: 52.5 milesNights: 6Paddle Distance: 42.8 milesPortage Distance: 9.7 miles Day 1: Miles: 13.6Target Campsite: Saganaga Lake,…

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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