Heart of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Did you know that this year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act? President Lyndon B. Johnson (the 36th President of the United States) signed this act into law on September 3, 1964. The Wilderness Act created federal wilderness areas like the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. We will tell you more about the Wilderness Act and the Boundary Waters in future posts.

There is no better way to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act than to paddle right through the heart of one of our nation’s greatest wilderness areas! The BWCAW is over 1 million acres. It is in northern Minnesota, right near the Canadian border. There are no roads or buildings in the BWCAW. You can’t drive a car or motor boat here. People travel through this wilderness by canoe in the summer and dogsled or skis in the winter. We just spent 8 days traveling 160 miles through the BWCAW.

We began paddling on the South Kawishiwi River near Ely, Minnesota. Over the course of the past week, we paddled along the famed Border Route from Basswood Lake, through Knife Lake and on to Saganaga, up the Granite River, through Gunflint, and the chain of lakes and portages into the Pigeon River and finally the 8.5-mile Grand Portage to Lake Superior.

Weather was mostly good with only two rainy days and progress was swift thanks to hearty meals of rice and lentils. We met many other people out paddling in the BWCAW along the way. We reached Superior muddy and tired but happy on September 1st to begin the next leg of the journey – sailing down the Minnesota shore of Lake Superior, from Grand Marais to Duluth.

I am sorry that this update is so short. The transition from paddling in the BWCAW to sailing has been a whirlwind. Our first full update, complete with Notes from the Trail, Student Response Worksheets, Dave’s Dilemma, Mystery Photo and Cast YOUR Vote will be posted on Monday, September 8. Stay tuned for a great adventure! We look forward to sharing our journey from the Boundary Waters to Washington D.C. with you.

The photos below were taken by Nate Ptacek (Paddle to DC videographer and photographer). Nate is joining us for the first two weeks of Paddle to DC and is capturing some amazing photos and videos. We look forward to sharing more of his work with you soon.

Amy and Dave show their true colors - giving a big hug to one of the oldest trees in the BWCAW, an ancient cedar on Basswood Lake

Amy and Dave show their true colors – giving a big hug to one of the oldest trees in the BWCAW, an ancient cedar on Basswood Lake

Along the way our Wenonah Minnesota 3 canoe picked up a new name: "Sig" - in honor of wilderness luminary Sigurd F. Olson, and all of the signatures we are picking up along the way.

Along the way our Wenonah Minnesota 3 canoe picked up a new name: “Sig” – in honor of wilderness luminary Sigurd F. Olson, and all of the signatures we are picking up along the way.

Like true Voyageurs, Dave and Amy avoid portaging at any cost.  Walking a rapid near the southern entry into Knife Lake.

Like true Voyageurs, Dave and Amy avoid portaging at any cost. Walking a rapid near the southern entry into Knife Lake.

Sig picked up a few scratches on the Pigeon River, but arrived at the Grand Portage no worse for the wear!

 

3 Comments

  1. sheldon
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    My name is Sheldon i comme from Goldenview i loved your videos see you .

  2. shawn hofer
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Hey I’m updating your expedition.I love your vedio clips.thanks

  3. megan waldner
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Hi i’m an 8th grader at golden view colony. We decided to check out your wilderness program,it looks
    great i’m alo impressed of all those awesome pictures. I’ll look forward to hearing from you. Megan

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