Feeling separated from canoe country? Ways to connect with wilderness from a safe distance.

Film: Voyageurs National Park 8K, image courtesy of More Than Just Parks and VNPA.

Stay-at-home orders and social distancing recommendations mean that most of us can’t head ‘up north’ right now, and uncertainty hovers over the next few months. Will we be able to take our summer canoe trips? Will kids be able to attend summer camp? All we can do right now is wait, and try to stay connected to the places we cherish. Here’s what’s fueling our campfires this week while we stay home, and look forward to brighter days.

Take a virtual trip

Visit the BWCA – Experience a Journey Through MN’s 1.1 Million Acre Wildlands
With 360 degree images and video, this site is accessible and engaging, and puts you ‘in the canoe’. Its also a fun way to show potential paddlers how a trip in the Boundary Waters. works, what portaging means. The sound of the water lapping up against the side of the canoe is a treat, and on some mobile phones and tablets you can get a VR/360 degree experience.

Voyageurs #Optinside

Voyageurs National Park Association has videos that fly you over island-studded lakes, and give insider tips. The video Discover the Hidden Gems of Voyageurs shows off some less traveled spots and how to enjoy the park trails (yes, you can visit Voyageurs without paddling).

And this video by More Than Just Parks is just gorgeous and uplifting.

Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park
Lake Vermilion – 360 degree views of the park, the big lake, and even the underground mine. This was surprisingly beautiful, and the pull-down map correlates to the images and some interesting facts.  See our feature story “Protecting 4,000 acres, 15 islands, and ten miles of shoreline with Lake Vermilion – Soudan Underground Mine State Park”

Activities for young adventurers

Junior Ranger Night Explorer Explore the Night Sky – in your backyard, or download the popular Voyageurs Junior Range Activity book and fill in as much as you can until we’re all free to travel again.

Research and reach out to Canoe Camps. Whether you grew up going to summer camp or not, the camps of the border lakes country teach everything from wilderness survival to leadership skills.

Get engaged.

Check in with other canoe country enthusiasts. This one might be obvious, but if you’re not already on Instagram, and craving more inspirational photos and to live vicariously through people who actually live near the wilderness, this is binge-worthy.

Save the Boundary Waters is hosting Facebook live events – recent speakers include Dave and Amy Freeman sharing insights about being isolated in the wilderness, and Trip Planning tips from outfitters and gear experts straight from Ely MN.

Brush up on your Leave No Trace skills. Do you know the 7 Principles? The LNT has this activity idea – practice Leave No Trace camping at home – they even make s’mores.

What’s your canoe country connection during COVID-19 confinement? Send us a note on Facebook or email the editor@queticosuperior.org

Coronavirus in canoe country: pandemic precautions affect public lands

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