Category Archives: Inspiration

Sawbill Canoe Outfitters: The family behind the legacy

Sawbill Canoe Outfitters: The family behind the legacy

There is an outfitter at the end of the Sawbill Trail where customers and staff return year after year, a network of people connected to the place and the family at its center. The Hansens, and now the Shirleys, have been running Sawbill Canoe Outfitters since 1957, where annual traditions, lifelong friendships and marriages have been born.
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Photo Round-Up: Fall Beauty In The Quetico-Superior Region

Photo Round-Up: Fall Beauty In The Quetico-Superior Region

Get inspired by canoe country autumn splendor in these photos recently shared on social media sites. The leaves are blazing in canoe country, sunsets are spectacular, solitude is abundant. Here is a collection of photos from social media we’ve curated to celebrate this beautiful bonanza, and perhaps inspire one more canoe trip this fall:Continue Reading

Longtime Sawbill Resident and Wilderness Advocate Bill Hansen YouTubes Two Lynx

Bill Hansen, whose parents began Sawbill Canoe Outfitters in 1957 and who has built his outfitting business into one of the most respected in the BWCAW, had the pleasure of spotting two conversing lynx last week while driving down the Sawbill Trail. Lynx are seclusive but iconic predators of the boreal forest and rarely seen…

Local Musher Wins Beargrease

Nathan Schroeder from Chisholm, MN won the nearly 400 mile sled dog marathon which started Sunday, March 10, and ended Wednesday, March 13. This is the second John Beargrease victory for Schroeder who also won in 2010. It was the 29th running of the event on Minnesota’s north shore. Complete results and videos of the…

20,000 Plan to Attend Canoecopia in Madison, Wisconsin

March 8-10 are the dates for one of the world’s biggest paddlesport shows, Rutabaga’s Canoecopia. Hundreds of vendors and dozens of presenters converge on the Alliant Energy Center and for three days to entertain, teach and sell, the virtues, skills, history and gear of canoeists and kayakers. From bear-proofing a campsite to the life and…

Minnesota Moose Population Drops by a Third in One Year

According to Saint Cloud Times reporter Glenn Schmitt, MN DNR aerial survey results last month indicate a 35 percent drop in the northeast Minnesota moose population from the previous year and a 52 percent decline from 2010. The current estimate of the moose population is 2,760 animals down from 4,320 animals in 2012. Although DNR…

Submit Your Favorite Boundary Waters Story to the BWCA Reader

Barry Johnson has canoed the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness for 24 years. That’s 24 years of portaging, windy lakes, buggy nights and lots of memories–essentially, 24 years of stories. Johnson was recently featured in the StarTribune because he’s commemorating those stories in a new publication, the BWCA Reader. And he wants your stories, too.…

Obama Writes Letter for Ely Time Capsule

How’s this for a little Friday fun: A time capsule being buried in Ely, MN will include a note from President Obama expressing his hope that balance can be struck between energy use and wilderness protection. According to the Pioneer Press, the handwritten note came in response to a request made in March of 2012…

Reminder: Summer BWCAW Permits Available Starting Today

Reservations for all entry points can be made on a first-come, first-served basis starting today. Reservations can be made online www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777. With over 1,500 miles of canoe routes, nearly 2,200 designated campsites, and more than 1,000 lakes and streams waiting, the BWCAW draws over 250,000 visitors each year. Any group or individual making an…

John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon Postponed

Lack of snow has forced organizers of the John Beargrease Sled Dog marathon to postpone the event. The event has been rescheduled for March 10. The combination of scant snowfalls this season and recent rains has made the trail unsafe for dogs and mushers. The Duluth News Tribune reports that if conditions have not improved…

It’s Time to Start Planning Summer BWCAW Trips

Varnish those paddle blades, oil the Duluth Pack straps, grease those tent zippers and scrutinize the maps. Paddlers who want to realize their summertime paddling dreams need to start planning now. In addition to tuning up the gear and planning a route, campers need to reserve their desired entry point for their desired departure date. Access…

New Sled Dog Race Comes with $25,000 Purse

A new three-day sled dog race aims to highlight northern Minnesota’s sled dog heritage next month. Racers will depart from Grand Portage on Sunday, January 6, and return on Monday January 8 after visiting Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail. According to an article in the Duluth News Tribune, organizers wanted to unite different communities…

New Film: Sled Dogs to St. Paul

When former Minnesota State Representative Frank Moe mushed his team of sled dogs into St. Paul last winter, the runners on his sled sparked as they crossed snowless patches on the road. Moe and his team of 10 sled dogs carried 13,000 signatures on a petition against sulfide mining–they’d ridden all the way from Grand…

Replinger Honored for Bringing Girls into Outward Bound Programming

We were happy to see Jean Replinger in a slew of newspaper articles this month–during the 1960s she helped open Outward Bound to girls. More recently, as an officer of the Oberholtzer Foundation, she’s been a great help and resource for Wilderness News thanks to her dedication to the north country. An article by Karin…

The Wilderness Canvas: YMCA Camp Menogyn

The Wilderness Canvas: YMCA Camp Menogyn

By Fred Sproat Wilderness is many different things to many different people; it can be a grocery store or a sanctuary, a playground or a classroom. It can be all of the above or something completely different. I have made the canoe country wilderness my office by turning passion into profession and working as a…

Oberholtzer Foundation Wins Grant

The Ernest Oberholtzer Foundation recently received an Historical and Cultural Heritage Grant from the Minnesota Historical Society for restoration work at the late wilderness advocate’s Mallard Island residence.Continue Reading

Wilderness News Print Edition – Spring 2011

The Spring 2011 Issue of Wilderness News Print Edition is now online! Experience Lake Superior from a kayak, travel back in time with an early voice for the Boundary Waters, and follow urban teens-at-risk into the wilderness in canoes they built by hand.
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Book Gathers Boundary Waters Writing

A new book — The Firegrate Review: A Canoe Country Chapbook — published by the wilderness advocacy group Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, gathers the BWCA experiences of 19 writers in a collection of stories, essays, and poems.Continue Reading

Big Bill Wenstrom – Last Man Standing

Sig Olson’s readers were introduced to Big Bill Wenstrom in Open Horizons (p. 97). Sig wrote: “It was Big Bill Wenstrom who taught me how to throw on a canoe. He didn’t tell me, but I noticed the ease with which he did it, the balancing on his thighs, the short kick of the hips, the twist of the arms as the canoe went overhead…”Continue Reading

Book Review: Our Neck of the Woods

As essay collections go, Our Neck of the Woods is more of a confessional than a nature tale. Up and down the state, and via every outdoor pastime (fishing, hunting, skiing, canoeing, camping), writers confess to a love of Minnesota …Continue Reading

Painting History

In 2006, Quetico Provincial Park’s French River proved impassable by kayak—so Ken Lister crawled upriver through the slippery, overgrown underbrush. His destination? French River Rapids. Lister suspected that an oil painting by Canadian artist Paul Kane portrayed the rapids. If correct, he would disprove widely held notions about the painting’s origins, and possibly discover a new understanding of the fur trade. Continue Reading

Wilderness News Profile: Frederick Winston

In 1964, Fred Winston received an inquiry following Wilderness News’ inaugural publication: “I can see that there are many sides to Minnesota’s wilderness problem. But which side are you on? What are you trying to prove?” In his reply, Fred Winston set the tone for the Quetico Superior Foundation’s role in the ever changing wilderness debate and set an example of activism.Continue Reading

Dorothy Molter Museum Remodeled

Ely’s Dorothy Molter Museum got a $16,000 facelift recently, thanks to an $8000 grant from Minnesota Iron Range Resources, the and matching private donations. The museum that recognizes the last person to live in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area now has a remodeled interpretive center.Continue Reading

Gunflint Green Up Sprouts New Life In Forest – And Community

Hundreds of people descended upon the Gunflint Trail outside of Grand Marais last weekend to plant thousands of pine seedlings and green up the fire impacted forest. Wilderness News Online caught up with Quetico Superior Foundation board member and Gunflint Trail property owner Dyke Williams, who had the opportunity to join the annual event. Read our Q&A.Continue Reading

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