The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) is over one million acres of crystal clear lakes, sparkling streams and boreal forest located in the Superior National Forest in northern Minnesota. It extends nearly 150 miles along the Canadian border adjacent to Quetico Provincial Park, and contains several thousand portage-linked lakes and streams, interspersed with islands, woods and crags. These unique natural features were carved by glaciers scraping and gouging the rocks, and allow today's visitors to canoe, portage and camp in the spirit of the French Voyageurs of 200 years ago.
Over 445,000 acres or 695 square miles of the forest is surface water. In addition, more than 1,300 miles of cold water streams and 950 miles of warm water streams flow within the forest boundaries. Fish species such as walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass, lake trout, brook trout, rainbow trout, and brown trout can be found in abundance in these waters. The northern forest community thrives with its pine, fir and spruce trees and is home to numerous wildlife species including deer, moose, the gray wolf, and black bear. Northern Minnesota is the last original stronghold of the gray wolf in the lower 48 states. Approximately 300-400 wolves continue to roam within the boundaries of the Superior National Forest today.
Our service project is limited to six participants and two leaders. We'll paddle and portage our four canoes to a remote area of the BWCAW, final destination to be determined based on where winter damage is most pressing. Our task will be to improve the condition of the portage trails so people can enjoy the unique natural beauty of the area. The work will include small tree cutting with hand saws and loppers. Each work day, we'll canoe and hike from our wilderness base camp to our work site. Some canoeing experience is required for acceptance for this project. The Forest Service will provide canoes, paddles and life jackets as well as the tools. If you prefer to bring your own canoe, you must obtain approval in advance.
Check out more photos from last year's Boundary Waters project in our gallery.