Let’s Break the Ice on a BWCA November Canoe Trip!

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Let’s Break the Ice on a BWCA November Canoe Trip!

By Riley Smith | November 18, 2022

  It’s been snowing all week here in Ely which points to a winter season fast approaching. In the meantime, this is one of the more challenging seasons for wilderness travel with many big lakes still open, smaller lakes starting to freeze, and trails and forests covered in fresh, wet snow. To the majority of…

The Tail of the Thunderbox

By Riley Smith | November 7, 2023

A few weeks back, we delved into the story of the BWCAW fire grates. No story of the BWCAW campsites would be complete, however, without the other ever-present campsite feature. The feature goes by many names: the latrine, the throne, the BIFF, the privvy, the facilities, and so many others depending on your group. Just…

5 Guide Tricks for Finding Great BWCAW (or Quetico) Campsites

By mlarson | June 2, 2019

Finding a great campsite can be one of the great joys of a canoe trip. Waking up in a stand of majestic pines, enjoying a cool breeze rolling off the lake on a midsummer afternoon, and cooking over a campfire without worrying about bugs can make a campsite that much more memorable. Occasionally, these sites…

Map Mondays – Week 8 – South Kawishiwi to Moose Lake

By Riley Smith | August 28, 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: 51 milesNights: 4Paddle Distance: 46.7 milesPortage Distance: 4.4 miles Day 1: Miles: 9.4Target Campsite: Kawishiwi River…

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…

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…

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,…

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…

In the Context of Wilderness

By Riley Smith | September 7, 2023

Earlier this week, September 3rd, was the 59th anniversary of the 1964 Wilderness Act which established the BWCAW and 53 other areas as newly defined wilderness. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness has since gone on to become one of the most well-known and widely-beloved wilderness areas in the country. In examining the BWCAW today,…

Map Mondays – Week 9 – Trout to Moose River South

By Riley Smith | August 30, 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 highlights a route across the rugged western section of the BWCA. Check it out: Total Mileage: 35.2 milesNights: 5Paddle Distance:…

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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