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.

Friday, July 27, 2012

BWCAW Fires Update from USFS Received on July 26

Update: 7-26-12

CAUSE : Most fires are believed to have been caused by lightning. One fire was from an   escaped campfire. 
AGENCY:  Superior National Forest
RESOURCES:  Fire patrols and fire suppression are being done with Forest Service DeHavilland Beavers. Helicopters are assisting suppression efforts with water drops.
FIRE INFORMATION:      (218) 365-7600

TODAY’S MESSAGE:  This will be the last update on these fires. 1” of precipitation fell across the forest early July 25th with an additional small amount early today. With the significant precipitation, crews made good progress and many of the fires have been either declared controlled or out.  Only the Yodeler fire is still smoldering. A fire is consideredcontained when there is a fire line (which may include natural barriers such as lakes) encircling the fire, but the fire is not under control. A fire is considered controlled when there is a complete fire line around the fire and all hot spots that are an immediate threat to the fire line have been cooled down.

Additional Information:
·         When the Yodeler Fire was spotted late in the day on 7-23-12 it was estimated at one tenth of an acre. Its location is T66, R14, Section 36 (the school section north of Shell Lake in the northwestern portion of the BWCAW). The size is now estimated at 1.1 acres. A crew is mopping up hot spots and anticipates calling the fire controlled within a few days.
·         The Coleman Island Fire is on a peninsula of a large island in Lac LaCroix. This fire was discovered on 7-22-12. Declared out on 7-25-12.
·         Merrit Lake 2 was detected on 7-21-12. It was designated as controlled on 7-25.
·         The Hustler Lake Fire was detected on 7-23 and was called out on 7-25.
·         The Perent Lake Fire on the southeastern edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is approximately three acres. First detected on 7-3-12, this fire was designated controlled on 7-24-12.
·         The Portage River Fire was discovered on July 21 and deemed controlled on 7-24. Its location is: T65, R14, S14: ¾ of a mile north of the Echo Trail and ¼ mile west of the Portage River.
·         The Ed Shave Fire is south of Ed Shave Lake, east of Big Lake: T65, R13, SW corner of Section 36. This fire is one fourth of an acre in size and was controlled on 7-23.
·         Forest Service crews are also clearing forest roads in the Lake Leander area due to damaging winds earlier this week.

Monday, July 23, 2012

BWCAW Fires Updates - Info from the USFS Received on July 23

DATE OF DETECTION:  see each fire’s notes
CAUSE : Most are believed to have been caused by lightning.

AGENCY:  Superior National Forest, West Zone
RESOURCES:  Fire patrols and fire suppression are being done with Forest Service DeHaviland Beavers. Two Type 3 helicopters are on loan from the state and one type 3 helicopter should arrive today. Personnel are listed with each fire. 

FIRE INFORMATION:      (218) 365-7600

SPECIAL MESSAGES:  The amount of moisture in the duff layer is very low. Visitors and residents are encouraged to be extra cautious with fire. In the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), visitors must not leave fires unattended and must drown fires out cold.

Additional Information:
·         The Perent Lake Fire on the southeastern edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is approximately three acres. It was first detected on July 3rd and re-kindled on July 21st. Safe access to this fire for ground crews has been difficult. 8 crew members are working it today. The fire is under East Zone management.
·         The Portage River Fire was discovered on July 21. The initial estimate of two or three acres has been revised to three fourths of an acre. Its location is: T65, R14, S14: ¾ of a mile north of the Echo Trail and ¼ mile west of the Portage River Fire. A six-person ground crew is working this fire.
·         The Ed Shave Fire is south of Ed Shave Lake, east of Big Lake: T65, R13, SW corner of Section 36. This fire is one fourth of an acre in size and is now controlled.
·         The Coleman Island Fire is on a peninsula of a large island in Lac LaCroix. This fire was discovered yesterday. A full size-up was prevented by a thunder storm. The cause of this one was an escaped campfire. Four people are staffing.
·         A new report was just called in on Hustler Lake. The pilot reported smoke on the ground in heavy timber. The size is estimated at one tenth of an acre. The location is T66 R14, the NE corner of section 6.
·         Forest Service crews are also clearing forest roads in the Lake Leander area due to damaging winds yesterday.

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Black Bear Swimming Across Knife Lake in the BWCAW

Seeing wildlife in its natural setting is one of the great treats of a Boundary Waters canoe trip.  Our guide, LynnAnne Vesper, snapped this photo of a young black bear swimming across Knife Lake this week.  Seeing a black bear on trail is particularly nice when it's not sniffing around for your food pack.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cow and Calf Moose on the Moose River

It's an aptly named river.  Our guide, Max Pittman, took this photo recently while paddling down the Moose River.  Our guests, John and his boys, got mighty lucky to see this cow and calf moose (in the background in the river) up-close!  We've had more moose sitings on the Moose River north from BWCAW entry point 16 this summer than any place else.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Why we do what we do

Photos of Boundary Waters Guide Service, Ely
This photo of Boundary Waters Guide Service is courtesy of TripAdvisor


Sharing the Wilderness with people is a real privilege.  When guests share a Boundary Waters experience with us, and then provide feedback, it really matters.  Thanks to our recent guest, Rick, for sharing the following feedback:

I contacted Jason, the owner of the service and booked a two night, three day guided trip for myself, a friend and my two kids ages 8 and 11. My kids have never been camping before, so I was a little worried that they would not have a good time in the wilderness. Jason was a pleasure to deal with and after asking me several questions about what we wanted to get out of the trip, he suggested a route for us, and arranged for us to get our entry permit.

We met Jason and our guide Max the day before the trip started at Jason's shop. Both Jason and Max immediatley put us at ease and did a great job making the kids excited about the adventure the next day. It was obvious they truly wanted us to have a great time. From the moment we hit the water until we left, it was a blast. Max was awesome: great cook, great guide, funny and smart. The kids loved him. We found a terrific campsite on an island that even had a great rock cliff to jump off of. The food was top-notch, as was all the equipment. It is clear that Jason takes pride in providing the best of everthing for his clients. This was no cattle call operation as is the case with other outfitters. We will be back. My kids are already asking when we can go again. Thank you Jason and Max for a wonderful experience that we will not forget.