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.