Boundary Waters Expo to offer exhibitors and expert advice on wilderness canoeing

Handmade canoes on display at the 2017 Boundary Waters Expo. (Courtesy Boundary Waters Expo)
Handmade canoes on display at the 2017 Boundary Waters Expo. (Courtesy Boundary Waters Expo)

expo-logo-v02A two-day event celebrating the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, and canoeing and camping in general, is being held June 9 and 10. The location is Bearskin Lodge on East Bearskin Lake, off the Gunflint Trail.

The free event features exhibitors from canoe and outdoor gear companies, as well as speakers talking about a variety of topics. Expo visitors will also have the chance to test canoes, paddles, and other paddling gear on the lake.

In 2016, local tourism officials said they hoped the Expo would help make it easier for people to enjoy canoe country.

“For those with a little and even those with a lot of camping experience, planning a trip into the BWCAW can seem somewhat overwhelming,” says Linda Kratt, executive director of Visit Cook County. “We want prospective BWCAW visitors to save the expo dates, because we know they’ll be able to get all the information they need to plan a fun, cost-conscious, and safe trip to one of the most beautiful places in the world.”

The event’s presenters will speak about topics ranging from wilderness first aid to bushcraft. Quetico naturalist Sue Plankis will lead a morning bird field trip, Bear Paulsen will present about an 18-day solo trip down an obscure Canadian river, and Michael Crotteau, U.S. Forest Service District Ranger for the Gunflint, will talk about his work.

A game of “Dead Fish Polo,” in which competitors in canoes try to toss a wet sponge (not a dead fish) into their opponents’ canoes using only their paddles, will provide some entertainment on Saturday at lunchtime. Canoe camping author and expert Cliff Jacobson will lead an informal conversation around a bonfire on Saturday evening.

Exhibitors include gear-maker Cooke Custom Sewing, advocacy organization Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, Northstar Canoes, camp-stove manufacturer Primus, and many more.

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