Welcome to the BWCAW blog of Ely Outfitting Company and Boundary Waters Guide Service!

See our websites at ElyOutfittingCompany.com and BoundaryWatersGuideService.com.

We are a Boundary Waters canoe trip outfitter, Quetico outfitter, and guide service in Ely, Minnesota. This Boundary Waters blog shares photos, stories, humor, skills, and naturalist insights from guiding in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).

Most entries are from our founder and head guide, Jason Zabokrtsky. He is the Boundary Waters Blogger.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Summer 2015 Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) Entry Permit Information



A quota entry permit is required for overnight trips in the BWCAW from May 1 through September 30. The quota system regulates how many groups can begin a trip at each entry point each day. There are over 70 entry points to the BWCAW.

Advance entry permit reservations are strongly recommended because there are a limited number of quota entry permits for each entry point. All quota entry permits for summer 2015 become available on a first-come, first-served basis on January 28, 2015.  There is also a very limited permit lottery system that only applies to certain entry points, and primarily relates to motorboat travel in limited areas. The lottery opens for applications on Dec. 16, 2014, and goes through January 13, 2015.  The lottery results are released on January 21. The lottery only includes the following entry points:  D (Fall Lake and Beyond - day use motor), 24 (Fall Lake - both overnight motor and paddle), 25 (Moose Lake - both overnight motor and paddle), F (Moose, Newfound, and Sucker - day use motor), and G (Basswood over Prairie Portage - day use motor).

Call us at 218-343-7951 for information on permit availability, and to reserve your entry permit. You can also check permit availability and reserve entry permits at www.recreation.gov.

Groups may only enter the BWCAW on the entry date and through the entry point specified on their entry permit. Permits may only be picked up the day before, or the day of, entry, by the trip leader or alternate trip leader designated on the reservation. Permits are not transferable.

Non-quota self-issued permits are free and required year-round for day use BWCAW visitors, and for all overnight visitors entering the BWCAW between October 1 and April 30.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Save the Boundary Waters


The Boundary Waters is a special place. If you've been here, you appreciate that. It seems a land frozen in time - both primordial and immortal. Its grandeur seems so strong, its granite ridges so permanent, its waters so immense and pure - it seems the hands of man could hardly impair such a powerful place. 

But, our Boundary Waters is more fragile than it may seem. And it is threatened. A Chilean mining giant wants to put America's most polluting industry on the very edge of the BWCA.  They want to extract copper and nickel in trace amounts from ultra-hazardous sulfide ores. 

The sulfide ores are bad news for clean water. Once exposed to air, they create sulfuric acid that leaches out dangerous heavy metals and kills watersheds. And this mine would produce mountainous volumes of this ultra-hazardous waste rock - right on the very edge of the BWCA.

To put it lightly, this is risky business. The track record of these mining companies is horrible, and the legacy of these unique mines is one of broken promises and watershed pollution - every time.  

We must not risk the heart of the BWCA - its clean water.  We owe it to those who established this Wilderness to carry forward a legacy of preservation. And we owe it to the good of our society to protect the BWCA as an irreplaceable national treasure.  

Know that we will do our best to protect the Boundary Waters from this threat. And, fortunately, a good team of smart and passionate people with strong connections to the Wilderness are spearheading a national effort to save the Boundary Waters from this threat.  Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness is spearheading the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters.  The campaign includes a growing coalition of national and state organizations, and it needs your help.

Today is "Give to the Max" day in Minnesota - an annual fundraising day for MN nonprofits. Your donation today as part of this special event will be doubled with matching funds.  Click here and donate at https://www.givemn.org/organization/Northeastern-Minnesotans-For-Wilderness

After today, you can still donate at www.SaveTheBoundaryWaters.org.

Thanks for supporting this important cause.  

Cheers,
Jason

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Winter Camping Symposium is Oct. 23-26 in Sturgeon Lake, MN.

The Winter Camping Symposium is Oct. 23-26 in Sturgeon Lake, MN.  There are a bunch of interesting presentations and workshops.  If you camp in the winter - or have an interest in learning more about the unique experience - this is the place to connect with great info and people who share your interest.  Also, Jason Zabokrtsky of Ely Outfitting Co. is the keynote speaker on Friday evening.  His presentation is titled, "32 Above: Tips for Winter Camping in Warmer Weather."  Expect some fun photos and videos mixed in with the informative talk.


Saturday, July 5, 2014

"River of Doubt" Centennial Canoe Expedition Completed

You may recognize Dave Freeman or Paul Schurke from around the shop. They just completed a major canoe expedition down the Rio Roosevelt (formerly known as the River of Doubt). Read on for the scoop on their grand adventure.

Pimenta Bueno, Brazil – July 3 – Minnesota adventurers Dave Freeman and Paul Schurke, who have been in Brazil since late May canoeing the Amazon's mythical "River of Doubt," successfully completed their 400-mile expedition today. During this centennial year, they have retraced President Theodore Roosevelt's epic 1914 first descent of the river that nearly cost him his life and now bears his name, the Rio Roosevelt.

Despite the challenges that plagued the 1914 trek, Roosevelt commented repeatedly in his diary about the stunning beauty of the jungle. Dave and Paul were pleased to find that although some areas near the river have been cleared for pasture, most of the Rio Roosevelt remains as pristine as it was in 1914. "We saw the same wildlife Roosevelt did – monkeys, caiman alligators, electric eels, cobras, peccaries, tapirs, capybaras, giant otters and even a jaguar. And the jungle supplemented our trail rations as it did his with piranha, catfish, heart of palm and Brazil nuts." said Dave.

"Roosevelt was our greatest conservation president," said Paul. "During his terms in office, nearly 250 national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests and national monuments were established. It's a tribute to his incredible public lands legacy that the Rio Roosevelt remains a realm of natural beauty.

Dave and Paul arrived in the south central Amazon one month ago with 6 Brazilian teammates and plans to begin their journey near the river's headwaters just as Roosevelt did. But their arrival coincided with a violent outbreak of tensions between the Cinta Larga (the native people who control access to the upper Rio Roosevelt) and the Brazilian government. Therefore the team opted to paddle the lower section first. They launched from a downstream access point on May 30.

On the initial 18-day, 300-mile segment they ran many long stretches of rapids and endured a 2-mile portage through the jungle around dangerous water. But they avoided the numerous illnesses and mishaps in the rapids that befell Roosevelt's team and nearly cost our 26th president his life.

The expedition team camped at four of the same sites that the president did and they found that life along the river among native homesteaders, who tap the wild rubber trees and gather Brazil nuts from the forests, remains almost exactly as described in Roosevelt's journal. This lower stretch of the river took Dave' and Paul's team through the domain of the Zorro native people and they saw signs of their thatched-hut settlements along the shore. They actually paddled through a new reserve now being established on the lower Roosevelt to protect a primitive tribe that has only recently been sighted by aircraft but has had no contact with the outside world.

On Monday, June 16, the team reached the mouth of the Rio Roosevelt and the place where Roosevelt with his Brazilian colleague Colonel Rondon and their team completed their canoe journey 100 years before. Dave and Paul then renewed their contact with Cinta Larga and were granted access approval by a tribal chief. Dave and Paul paddled an additional 100 miles, beginning at the river's headwaters near the approximate place where Roosevelt began his journey 100 years ago. After negotiating several challenging portages, including one in which this sizable river is funneled through a 5'-wide rock chasm, they recently arrived at the main Cinta Larga village, completing their journey.

Dave and his wife Amy are 2014 National Geographic Adventurers of the Year. School children from around the world followed this expedition via Dave and Amy’s website, http://www.WildernessClassroom.org. Paul, who is known for Arctic exploration including the 1986 North Pole expedition with Will Steger, operates Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge in Ely, MN with his wife Susan.

Dave and Paul are available for phone interviews and can provide images from the expedition.

Contact: Amy Freeman, 312-505-9973, amy@wildernessclassroom.org

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Great Northern Radio Show is Coming to Ely for a Live Performance on Sat., June 14


ELY, Minnesota — The Great Northern Radio Show on Northern Community Radio (KAXE.org) brings its unique blend of music, storytelling and comedy for the first time to Ely Saturday, June 14th at the Vermillion Community College Theater.

The Great Northern Radio Show is written, produced and hosted by Iron Range author Aaron Brown, of Balsam Township in Itasca County. Brown grew up near Zim and Forbes and teaches at Hibbing Community College. He founded the show in 2011 to showcase the talent, creativity and unique stories of northern Minnesota for a broader radio audience.

“You’ll recognize the format from popular variety shows like the Grand Ol’ Opry, Lawrence Welk, Wits and Prairie Home Companion” said Brown. “But we bring something different. We are a big show that brings high quality, contemporary entertainment to the mid-sized cities and small towns of northern Minnesota. These places become part of the show; every episode is a love letter, an album for the place where we broadcast.”

The “first couple” of the Iron Range music scene, Germaine Gemberling and Rich Mattson, will be among the featured performers in the June 14 Great Northern Radio Show live in Ely, Minnesota. Also in the show: The Surf Monkeys and Whirled Music, who are holding a CD Release Party in Ely after the show.

The show airs live from 5-7 p.m. on June 14th. Free tickets are available for those attending the live broadcast. You must be seated by 4:30 p.m. and reservations are recommended by calling KAXE at 800-662-5799.

Northern Community Radio is excited to bring Great Northern Radio show to the vibrant town of Ely. It will feature musicians Germaine Gemberling and Rich Mattson plus The Surf Monkeys, Whirled Muse and Nickolai Koivunen is back on keyboards. The Great Northern Radio Show players include Jason Scorich of Duluth, Sara Breeze of Bemidji, Erika Kooda of Grand Rapids, Britt Aamodt of Elk River, Lynn O’Hara of Ely, and Matt Nelson of Washington D.C. originally from Hibbing.

Guests for the Ely Great Northern Radio Show include Mike Hillman, Amy Freeman, Jason Zabokrtsky, Brian and Andrea Strom of Ely and Cory and Doris Kolodji from Hibbing.

The 5 p.m. June 14th show will air live on 91.7 FM KAXE on the Iron Range, 103.9 FM in Ely, and on 90.5 FM KBXE in Bemidji and Bagley and 89.9 FM Brainerd. The show is also rebroadcast on independent public radio stations throughout Minnesota and distributed as a podcast at www.kaxe.org.

The Great Northern Radio Show After Show Dance Party will be at the Ely Community Center immediately following the show featuring a CD release party for Whirled Muse featuring Eli Bissonett, Joey Kenig and Robin Anders. For tickets call Music Outfitters in Ely or online at www.musicoutfitters.com.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Minnesota DNR Statewide Fishing Regulation Proposed Changes

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources intends to adopt rule amendments and to repeal rules governing various fishing regulations.

Notice of the DNR's of intent to adopt rules without a public hearing is scheduled for publication in the
May 12, 2014, issue of the State Register. Please review the entire Dual Notice for more details.

Rulemaking documents:

Dual notice of intent to Adopt Rules published on May 12, 2014, in the State Register (www.comm.media.state.mn.us).
SONAR (Statement of Need and Reasonableness)
Proposed rule language
Agency Contact person:

Linda Erickson-Eastwood
Department of Natural Resources
500 Lafayette Road, Box 20
St. Paul, Minnesota 55155-4020
Email: linda.erickson-eastwood@state.mn.us
Telephone: (651) 259-5206 or 1-888-MINNDNR

Among the changes to be considered are the following.


Trout regulations
Open trout lakes in Becker, Beltrami, Cass, Crow Wing, and Hubbard counties to winter trout fishing. Little Andrus (Snowshoe Lake) Cass Co; Allen and Pleasant Lakes, Crow Wing Co.; and Bad Medicine Lake, Becker Co. will remain closed to winter fishing.

Other Game Fish Regulations
- New statewide catch and release seasons for bass and sturgeon,
- 50" minimum size limit statewide for pure strain muskie
- Open Spring Lake, Itasca Co to whitefish netting
- Restrictions on where nets can be placed for smelting on Grindstone
- Close the taking of flathead catfish during the winter
 
Border Waters
Changes to simplify, provide additional opportunities, make changes that are consistent with the Minnesota inland regulations, or make consistent with the bordering state's regulations for Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Canada
Clarify the no-culling rule
Others
- Require a barb on arrows used for bowfishing
- Remove obsolete and redundant rules for bowfishing, aquatic plant control of lotus, Take a Kid Fishing, Mink and Somers Lakes (Wright County), and licensing requirements.
- Technical changes for Lake Superior rules to clarify that the lake proper is included as part of the existing rules.
- Technical changes that move rule language from one part to another for consolidation or clarification: Annie Battle (Ottertail County), La Salle (Hubbard County), Moody Creek (Itasca County), and Pike River (St. Louis and Carlton County)

Special note about Muskie size limit:

The portion of this package that is proposing a 50 inches size limit for muskie on inland waters (Minn. Rules, part 6262.0200) was superseded by legislative actions. According to Laws of 2014, Chapter 290, Section 66, all inland waters will have a minimum size of 54 inches, except for the Muskie-northern pike hybrid lakes in the seven-county metro area and those that the commissioner establishes a minimum size limit of 48 inches. Consequently, the DNR will only be taking comment for hearings on the proposed Muskie rule changes relating to border waters (Chapter 6266).
Legislative language as passed:

Sec. 66. MUSKELLUNGE MINIMUM SIZE LIMIT; RULEMAKING.

By March 1, 2015, the commissioner of natural resources shall amend Minnesota Rules, part 6262.0200, to provide that the minimum size limit for muskellunge in all inland waters is 54 inches, except for: (1) muskellunge-northern pike hybrid lakes in the seven-county metropolitan area; and (2) individual lakes where the commissioner establishes a minimum size limit of 48 inches. Minnesota Statutes, section 97C.005, does not apply to establishment of size limits for individual lakes under this section. The commissioner may use the good cause exemption under Minnesota Statutes, section 14.388, subdivision 1, clause (3), to adopt rules under this section, and Minnesota Statutes, section 14.386, does not apply, except as provided under Minnesota Statutes, section 14.388.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Superior National Forest Ely Area High Water Warning

Wednesday, May 21, 2014
CONTACT: Becca Manlove, Information Officer, West Zone, Superior National Forest, 218-365-7569 or 218-365-7600.

Prairie Portage:

The buoys that usually mark the entrance to the falls at Prairie Portage are missing. Crews are working to replace them but may not be able to get new buoys in place until water levels recede. If you are unfamiliar with the Moose Chain (Moose, Newfound, and Sucker Lakes) pay close attention to your map. Use extreme caution when approaching the portages.

High Water in other areas:

Across the Forest, water levels are high making river travel, approaches, and exits from portages more dangerous. In addition, the water is very cold and hypothermia is a real concern.

· ALWAYS wear your life jacket. Your body’s “gasp reflex” to extreme cold water may compromise your ability to swim.

· Hug the shoreline as you approach portages.

· Discuss your route with your permit issuer for current conditions and cautions.

· Share information about flooded portages with other visitors.

Watch the Superior National Forest website for additional alerts and information about current conditions. www.fs.usda.gov/superior

Thursday, May 15, 2014

USFS BWCA Ice Out Report - May 15

Current Ice Conditions:

West Side: Except for Snowbank, most lakes in the west zone are open.
- Moose Chain to Prairie all open. All of Basswood, Knife and Ensign are open.
- Burntside is open.
- White Iron, Bear Island, and Shagawa are open.
- Snowbank has only a little bit of ice.
- Rivers are open.
- Lakes One through Four, Insula, and Alice are open.
- Up the Echo Trail: Jeanette L. and Big L. are open.
- Kekakabic and Knife Lakes are open.

East Side: Lakes on the east side of the forest on the southern half are mostly open.
- Outside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Crescent, Fourmile, Toohey, and Lichen are open.
- Mid- Trail and West Bearskin not open--slim chance of it opening by the weekend.
- Gunflint Lake open up to Magnetic Lake but there is still ice on the shores.
- Round Lake Open
- Missing Link Lake open
- Saganaga and Greenwood are NOT open.
- Seagull open
- Ham Lake open- Cross River and Cross Lake- open
- Probably nothing open yet in the Vento area (Daniels, Duncan)
- Bog, Quadga, Kawishiwi, Isabella, Koma, Malberg, Polly, and Perent Lakes are OPEN.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

USFS BWCA Ice Out Report - Second Report received on May 7

Current Ice Conditions: Conditions are changing quickly. Rains, warmth, and wind could give fisherman much more open water by the weekend.

From FS pilots today:

· Newton (between Fall L and Pipestone) is open.
· Pipestone is 60% open.
· Jackfish is still frozen.
· Mud is 50%, Rice is 80%, and Ella Hall is 20% open.
· Garden is 75% open.
· Kempton is open.
· Pickerel is 50%.
· Wood is starting to open.
· Fall—there is ice on the west end and by the 4 Mile Portage.
· Most of Basswood is tightly frozen but Back Bay is 50%. Hoist Bay is frozen.
· Lakes 1 thru 4—shorelines are open but still 75% ice. May see some changes in the next few days.
· Kawishiwi R. and west bound there is some open water and may open by the weekend. Gabbro and Bald Eagle (southern end) are 25%. Three Mile is 60%.
· Snowbank and going east most of the lakes are frozen tight to the shore.

Reports from others:

· The road into Mudro Lake is in very bad condition. Low clearance vehicles and two wheel drive vehicles will probably not make it.

Road Reports from Gunflint (Grand Marais) Engineer:

· The Grade: (170) is snow free, but really rough – even “rutty”.
· You can’t get into Wilson Lake Campground and probably won’t be able to for at least a few more days, probably not by this weekend.
· From Lake County 7, going on FR 166 (600 Road) to the 342 Road, (Two Island River Road) there is about 1-2” of snow at the intersection of 166/342, so no travel down on the 342 road for several days.
· From Lake County Road 7 to Richey Lake Road it is still snow covered, but passable by pickup or four wheel drive, car travel would not be advised. Temperance River Road (343) you could drive up the first four miles but lots of trees were down. There is still snow on the road, probably only advisable with a pick-up truck.

USFS BWCA Ice Out Report - May 7, 2014

We just received this ice out report from the Forest Service.

Superior National Forest Ice Update
May 6, 2014 PM report

Current Ice Conditions: Remember, ice is never completely safe and now is a particularly dangerous time. Also, ice packs shift with winds so the exact location of an ice pack may change quickly.

From FS pilots--a seeding mission was flown today and this is the pilot’s report:
  • There is very little open water right now. 
  • If we get a break in the weather, conditions may change very quickly—even as soon as this weekend.
  • Where there is current, ice is breaking up.
  • Much of Fall Lake is open and some portions of Pipestone Bay are open.
  • Smaller lakes and ponds are dark and are starting to break up. 
  • Portions of Birch Lake are beginning to open up. 
  • Most lakes east of Insula are pretty solidly ice-covered still. 
  • The Little Indian Sioux and Nina Moose (aka Moose/Portage Rivers) Rivers are open but the lakes are mostly still frozen. 
  • Reports from others: 
    • Much of the eastern end of Fall Lake is open.
    • The southern tip of Pipestone Bay was open to just north of Wegens Point two days ago.
    • The road into Mudro Lake is in very bad condition. Low clearance vehicles and two wheel drive vehicles will probably not make it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

CITY OF ELY, MINN. TO LAUNCH NATIONAL CABLE CHANNEL






On heels of local reality show production, Ely develops an entire network

Ely, Minn. — April 1, 2014 — Many have heard that Ely, Minn. — gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area — has been selected as the location for a living off-the-grid-themed reality show. Buoyed by the attention, the city today is announcing it will go big on the small screen — and launch a 24/7 all-Ely, all-the-time network — The Ely Channel.

“The Ely story has legs — as well as fins, antlers and just about everything else,” says newly named Ely Channel network executive Jeremy Williams. Williams, along with several other former locals, is convinced that a televised trip to the town at the end of the road — Ely — might be just what this country needs.

Cable carriers in Kansas City, Kan. and Claremont, Calif. have already signed up. In a several rural markets, The Ely Channel has replaced bigger players such as al Jazeera, and in one case, CNN.
 

The Ely Channel will unveil a full schedule of programming at the New York City TV upfronts later in April. But the network has already begun production on several shows, including Iron Range Chef, Sauna Wars (heavily pixilated to comply with FCC standards) and a singalong, call-in show, Campfire!

“There is a webcam up on Sheridan (Street) for a few years, and that’s become pretty popular. A lot of folks tune in from all over just to see what’s going on in town. I guess this (station) will be sort of like that, only with sound,” says Linda Fryer, Ely Tourism. “And of course, there’s our Ely cable station that’s already airing local news and happenings, including the popular Snorkeling with Mikey. We’ll be able to bring programs like that to a much wider audience.”

“In Ely, we’ve got the corner on nature — with summer and winter activities galore,” says Williams. “In fact, research shows there’s strong interest in rural and nature-based programming in general, and in Ely and the Boundary Waters specifically.” Special materials are also being developed to help bring The Ely Channel into the classroom for schools throughout the country.

The Ely Chamber has diverted dollars to seed fund the channel, and is asking for the public’s help in making this effort a success. “We need folks who love this area to contact their cable companies to request The Ely Channel,” says Fryer. “Whether they’ve been to Ely before or not, we know that people will travel to experience the magic of Ely in person once they get a dose of our million acres of unspoiled wilderness on their flat screens. If not, we’ve got a whole lot of fancy TV equipment that’ll end up on Craigslist!” The city is considering launching an angel investment round of financing to grow programming on the channel as well.
For more on The Ely Channel, or to book a trip to town to see first-hand America’s Coolest Small Town, visit http://www.ely.org.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Do I need an even number of people for a Boundary Waters canoe trip?

No. 

If you have an odd number of people in your group, then you may choose a three-seat canoe.  Our favorite three-seat canoe is the Seneca made by Wenonah.  Made out of Kevlar, it is 19'4" and weighs only 55 pounds.  It includes three "real" seats.  That makes for a comfortable spot for the middle person who is able to paddle as part of the team, or sit back and relax. 
 

 We also use the Seneca canoe for families with small kids.  It works well to sit two children next to each other in the middle seat.  The boys above are trolling for lunkers.

The Seneca is big enough for three grown men and a week's supply of gear.  When two of my high school buddies visited, the three of us paddled a Seneca.  Also, last summer we had three men with an ivy league crewing background take one of these for a week, and they loved it.

I once paddled this canoe carrying myself, two other large guys, three kids, and two large dogs on a day trip in the BWCA.  We were quite a sight, but it worked really well.

Our guides love this boat.  The guide can carefully position the canoe while two guests fish.

The Seneca is a fun, sociable, efficient, and stable canoe that makes for a great fishing platform and load-hauler.

We rent the Wenonah Seneca Kevlar ultra-light three-person canoe.

Another option for an odd number of people is to use a solo canoe.  A solo canoe is best for an experienced paddler.  It can be tricky and sometimes frustrating to maneuver a solo canoe in windy conditions, and the pace of the solo canoe may be different from the tandem canoes in the party.  We rent the Wenonah Kevlar ultra-light Encounter solo canoe.  It is 17' long and weighs 38 pounds.  You can use either a single or double bladed paddle.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Bushwhacking the Boundary Waters Without a Boat

Jason Zabokrtsky, of Ely, MN, is attempting to cross the BWCAW and Quetico on foot, alone, and off-trail from Atikokan, Ontario, to Ely, Minnesota, from October 11 - 25.

Jason Zabokrtsky, of Ely, is trading paddles and Duluth packs for trekking poles and a backpack during a bushwhack across the Boundary Waters without a boat.  Photo by Paul Skorazczewski.

During two weeks on trail, Jason will experience the area he has lived, worked and played in from a totally different perspective.  As a Boundary Waters wilderness canoe trip and dogsled guide and outfitter, he has seen this region extensively, but in the same way virtually everyone who experiences the Boundary Waters sees it:  either from a canoe, on a portage trail, or around a campsite.

This journey flips convention on its head. The Boundary Waters region is an extremely water-rich environment experienced primarily by canoe.  However, this is an unprecedented journey without a boat.  Travel will be primarily on foot and off-trail.  But, it's impossible to cross this region without getting wet.  So how will he manage without a boat?  Jason will don a dry suit and swim the necessary water crossings - his backpack stowed in a dry bag and floating beside him.  He's minimizing this risky part of the trip by only swimming in the narrowest stretches and using extra caution around the frigid water.  The anticipated route has about a dozen significant swims.  The payoff is that he will experience remote wilderness that is virtually never seen.

Jason says this journey will also help him relate to the guests of his Ely Outfitting Company, a Boundary Waters canoe trip outfitter in Ely, MN, and improve his understanding of the region.  Guests of his business challenge themselves mentally and physically as they prepare to experience a new adventure.  While outfitting the information and gear for a canoe trip isn't particularly challenging for Jason these days - he could probably pack out a canoe trip in his sleep - an unconventional trip like this bushwhack means learning new skills, evaluating new travel systems, and preparing for the unknown.  Jason says, "this journey will definitely provide me with a deeper understanding and better appreciation for this exceptional wilderness area that I love dearly."


The approximate route is shown in green and red.  The red designates the bushwhack route within the BWCAW and Quetico.  The green designates the route outside of these wilderness areas.  The yellow line is the international border.
The total trip distance is difficult to predict because the bushwhack route doesn't follow established trails, and the route will need to change based upon the best option found in the woods. With that said, Jason estimates the total trip distance will be around 80 miles.  The total horizontal distance of the anticipated route shown in the satellite map from the northern edge of Quetico to the southern edge of the BWCA is about 50 miles.  The route shown outside of the Wilderness is about 25 miles.

But how does a person stay on course and not get lost during this sort of bushwhack?  After all, Jason tells canoe trip guests that the way people get lost on trips up here is when they walk off-trail into the woods.  Canoeists may get turned around on the lakes, but they don't get lost when in a canoe.  People do get lost on foot in these dense woods.  Jason will stay on course with the help of the old reliable paper map and a navigation compass.  He's also using an iphone gps app (MotionX), satellite imagery (particularly helpful for determining stream widths), and electronic topo maps (good for avoiding particularly rugged topography).

A satellite phone will allow Jason to make occasional updates from the trail.  You'll find those updates at www.facebook.com/ElyOutfittingCompany


Jason thanks those providing planning and logistical support for this attempt, including Max Pittman, Kate Sinner, Paul Schurke, Dave Gossage, Dave Freeman, Amy Freeman, Jerritt Johnston, Chris Hartmann, and Joe Mattson.  Also, he particularly thanks Jerritt Johnston for staffing the outfitting business and communications during the trip, and providing social media updates.

Jason owns Ely Outfitting Company and Boundary Waters Guide Service (www.ElyOutfittingCompany.com) in Ely, MN. 


Contact:

218-343-7951
info@ElyOutfittingCompany.com
www.facebook.com/ElyOutfittingCompany

Thursday, August 29, 2013

August 29 BWCAW Fires Update and New Campfire Restrictions for Some Areas

CONTACT:  Becca Manlove, Information Officer, West Zone, Superior National Forest, 218-365-2093; 218-343-3026.

Campfire restrictions for the Gunflint and portions of the Tofte Districts will go into effect after midnight tonight. Fires will be allowed only between 7 p.m. and midnight in the restricted area. The restrictions apply only to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) and only to the eastern portions listed in the forest order.  Click the link below to access the order and a map.

Current Fire Activity:

Knife Lake Fire: 188 acres.  Fire is north of the South Arm of Knife and south of  Amoeber Lake: Township 65, Range 6 West, Section 18. Fire managers have successfully suppressed a fire that was in an unsafe and inaccessible location by bringing it out to natural barriers. Suppression was implemented in an efficient and effective manner using limited aerial and hand ignition along with other holding resources on the ground. A weather front passed through last night but did not produce any rain. Gusty winds tested control lines and they held well. At 1:00 p.m. today rain was beginning to fall on the fire. Containment is at 60% and rising steadily. The South Arm of Knife closures of campsites, waterways, and portages are still in place.

Fires now out:

• Disappointment Lake Fire: quarter acre, discovered Saturday evening, August 24, 2013. Declared out on  8/27/13.

• Sedative Lake Fire, north of Ima: Township 64, Range 7 West, Section 17. Reported at three tenths of an acre in size. Called out this morning.

Resources: Sixteen fire fighters and four public safety staff on the Knife Lake Fire; two deHavilland Beaver floatplanes at the Ely Seaplane Base; ___staff on initial attack.

For a location map of the three fires, the South Arm of Knife Lake closure order, a closure map, fire restrictions order and map, and daily fire updates please see our website: www.fs.usda.gov/superior.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

BWCAW Fires Update for Aug. 28, 2013

CONTACT:  Becca Manlove, Information Officer, West Zone, Superior National Forest, 218-365-2093; 218-343-3026.

A closure was put in place for the South Arm of Knife Lake yesterday which includes the waterway of the South Arm, twenty four campsites, and nine portages.  All entry points into the BWCAW remain open.

The fire danger remains high. BWCAW visitors are asked to use extreme caution with campfires. Campfires are safest in the evening after 7:00 p.m. when temperatures cool, winds are usually lighter, and relative humidity increases.  Drown fires and embers completely.

Current Fire Activity:

Knife Lake Fire: now at approximately 100 acres, fire is north of the South Arm of Knife and south of  Amoeber Lake: Township 65, Range 6 West, Section 18. Fire fighters are taking full suppression actions and are pleased with the progress. Control lines are being created and are holding well. The smoke column may increase today due to the ignition of unburned fuel between the fire and the control lines. Containment is estimated at 40%.

Sedative Lake Fire, north of Ima: Township 64, Range 7 West, Section 17. Reported at three tenths of an acre in size and 60 % contained yesterday afternoon.  A two person crew camped nearby and will be working it again today.

Contained and Controlled Fires:

Disappointment Lake Fire: quarter acre, discovered Saturday evening, August 24, 2013.
Declared out on  8/27/13.

Resources: Sixteen fire fighters and four public safety staff on the Knife Lake Fire; two staff on Sedative Fire; CL215 air tanker, small helicopter, and an air attack fixed wing stationed at Ely Tanker Base; two deHavilland Beaver floatplanes at the Ely Seaplane Base.

For a location map of the three fires, the South Arm of Knife Lake closure order, a closure map, and updates please see our website: www.fs.usda.gov/superior.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Temporary Closure of South Arm of Knife Lake in the BWCAW Due to Fire

Effective immediately, on August 27, 2013, the USFS has closed the parts of Knife Lake in the BWCAW reflected in the above map due to a fire. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Northwoods Fire Ecology Program August 24


The International Wolf Center still has seats available for its Northwoods Fire Ecology program on Saturday, August 24!

The history of wildfire in the Superior National Forest is long and varied. Learn about this natural disturbance and how it affects the flora and fauna of the northwoods. Meet with wildfire experts in the field and explore the Pagami Creek Fire area by foot and canoe. Discuss how wolves, moose and other species adapt and benefit from fires in their habitat. That evening, enjoy a hearty meal at Listening Point, famed retreat of conservationist Sigurd Olson, and historic fire ecology with Listening Point staff.

Activity Level:

One hike over uneven terrain for one to three miles depending on group abilities. Canoe paddling on a lake with little to no current. Activities will be dependent on weather conditions.

Package Includes:

    Expert instruction by Center staff and guest speakers (LP and USFS)
    Guided canoe excursion in the BWCAW
    Hike in the BWCAW
    Private visit to Listening Point, famed retreat of Sigurd Olson
    Snacks, field lunch and dinner
    Transport during program activities

Wolf Center Member Rate: $112.50
Non-member Rate:    $125

More details and registration: http://www.wolf.org/wolves/experience/programs/fireecology.asp

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Boundary Waters Trip Video

A group of Boundary Waters canoe trip guests canoed, portaged and fished July 22 - 26 and they've already put together this great time lapse video of their trip.  Awesome!