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. Only around 100 wolves continue to roam within the boundaries of the Superior National Forest today.
Our service project is limited to six participants and two leaders. In this project, we will paddle and portage our four canoes to a remote area of the western portion of the wilderness. We will be improving the condition of the portage trails so people can enjoy the unique natural beauty of the area. We will take place in the northeast section of the Sioux Hustler hiking trail and will include removing small trees from trails with hand saws and loppers and removing larger trees with a crosscut saw. Each workday, 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.
Please note: Due to COVID-19, Wilderness Volunteers is operating our 2021 project schedule under our Modified Project Procedures for Volunteers. These project guidelines will be revised as needed. Please check back often for the latest version.
Due to additional COVID-19 precautions, we are prohibiting mixed household volunteer carpooling (with volunteers outside of the same household traveling in the same vehicle) to projects until further notice. Exceptions to this policy (eg close friends traveling together) will need to be discussed with/pre-approved by the office and will require additional precautionary steps for the individuals involved. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
This project is rated as a challenging project.
Check out more photos from previous Boundary Waters projects in our gallery.
Sep 12th - Sep 18th 2021
Trail maintenance on portage trails
Canoeing, swimming, hiking, photography, fishing
Remote lakeside tent camping
Challenging : Paddling, portaging canoes, trail work, sawing (crosscut and silkie)