Where there’s a will there’s a way

The Boundary Waters may be closed until May 4th but that didn’t stop my daughter and niece from going for a paddle in front of Voyageur Canoe Outfitters the other day. Neither did the snowbank they had to portage over to get the canoe into and out of the water. Never mind all of the ice or the fact it’s still cold outside. Determined young women inspire me.

April canoeing at Voyageur

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Posted in Gunflint Trail

Beauty of the Gunflint Trail

This is my happy place. I’m lucky it’s so close to Voyageur Canoe Outfitters so I can visit it often.

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Posted in Gunflint Trail

First loon sighting on the Gunflint Trail

beaver and loon swimmingSpring is a time for “firsts.” The first pussy willows, robins or open water all add to the excitement that spring is really here. It takes a lot of convincing since we woke up to a white deck once again. As a side note, mud season is the longest season at the end of the Gunflint Trail and it couldn’t be over soon enough for me.

Last night I took a walk and found a patch of open water. This time of the year there isn’t much open water so it’s a great opportunity to see wildlife. I was treated to the sighting of my first loon, several ducks and a beaver who put on a little show of hopping up onto the ice and then jumping back into the water. I have a bad photo of the loon and the beaver in the same frame and a video of the beaver swimming around. The loon is in the top right corner of the photo and I thought you might enjoy it.

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Posted in Gunflint Trail

Swimming in the Seagull River humans and Hooded Mergansers

Hooded mergansers on seagull riverI posted a couple photos the other day of my niece and son taking a quick dip into the icy water of the Seagull River. I decided to share the video with you and a photo of the most recent swimmers I saw.

There were four ducks swimming in front of Voyageur Canoe Outfitters in the narrow channel of open water.  I scared them off when I attempted to get a picture of them so the only photo I have is blurry.  I had to look online to find the difference between Hooded Mergansers and Buffleheads because I usually mis-identify them! These are hooded mergansers as explained on this birding website I found.

 When I first started birding I too had trouble sorting out Buffleheads and Hooded Mergansers. They are both small ducks with disproportionately large heads and white patches on the sides of those jumbo heads. From a distance they look similar, but if you look more carefully you’ll notice the two birds are quite different. The sides of a Bufflehead drake’s body are bright white. The sides of a male Hooded Merganser’s body are coffee-brown, looking like it just returned from a week at Club Med. The females of both ducks have dusky bodies, but the female bufflehead has a rounded head, while the elongated head of the hen hoodie has a swept-back look, as if she had blow-dried her hair with a jet engine.

 

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BWCA update by Mike Prom

Mike was on the Duluth News last night talking about the Boundary Waters opening on May 5th this year. Check out this link for the video, https://kbjr6.com/2020/04/16/businesses-brace-for-ripple-effect-from-bwca-closure/.

Here’s the article in case you don’t want to see him:)

GRAND MARAIS, MN. — Businesses up the North Shore rely on campers headed to the Boundary Waters.

However, after news that the BWCA will be closed to campers until May 4, some are expecting to feel the ripple effect it will have on their businesses.

“The timing actually couldn’t be better being April. The boundary waters being closed right now is pretty much a non issue because there is ice”, said Mike Prom, owner of Voyageur Canoe Outfitters.

Prom said it’s still too early to tell just how big of an impact this closure could have. Along with the ice, most of the visitors come a bit later in the spring and into the summer.

But he added, if the closure goes beyond May 4, it could mean an extreme blow.

“If it was the end of the summer, or we lose a whole season, that’s scary. We are kind of like a farm, we have to put a crop in, we make our living in 3-5 months so if we lose a couple of those months it’s going to be really difficult”, Prom added.

Prom added they’re already starting to see fewer non-profit groups such as the Boy Scouts and church groups they normally see booking trips around this time.

“Those are the kind of reservations that one, take more time to get planned far in advance and those are the cancellations we’ve taken”, said Prom.

He said emails and phone calls have also gone silent during this stay at home order.

Now he’s looking for other ways to keep people interested, like social media campaigns.

Prom said, “We want people thinking about it because Minnesotans, outdoors is therapy, that’s our drug and we are going to need that therapy when we are done, it’s just a matter of when that is.”

Prom said 65% of his guests are from Minneapolis/St. Paul area, and 80% are from Minnesota, so he’s hoping he’ll see a surge in visitors once the state’s restrictions are lifted.

Prom added that they are hopefully to have people returning to the area by Memorial Day weekend, but any time after that, the percentage of losses increase daily.

Ryan Compeau

KBJR

Seagull Lake Palisades

Paddle to the Palisades

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Boundary Waters Permits for May 2020

BWCA from the Gunflint Trail

Beautiful Pines

It’s in the news the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is closed to visitors until May 5th. This isn’t too big of a deal since ice will be clinging to many of the lakes in the BWCA until then.   We plan to be open at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters as soon as it’s allowable and will be here to issue permits and provide everything you need for a wilderness canoe camping trip or a resort stay.

Here’s the information from the USFS regarding Boundary Waters permits for May 2020.

In alignment with current federal, state and local guidance for social distancing and to ensure health safety of its employees, partners and members of the public, the Superior National Forest will temporarily change permit pick-up requirements beginning May 5, for all BWCAW quota permits.

As part of this, visitors will have two options: 1) print their BWCAW Reservation Confirmation Email at home and use this as their permit; or 2) pick up the permit in person at a cooperating business that remains physically open and that is under an Agreement with the Forest Service. Using the printed BWCAW Reservation Confirmation Email as the permit will enable visitors to travel to their entry point without stopping at a Permit Issue Station. This will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by allowing for social distancing in the permitting process.

The Reservation Confirmation Email is emailed from communications@recreation.gov at the time of reservation and again seven days prior to the entry date. Permit Holders will be instructed to print one copy of the Reservation Confirmation Email for each watercraft in their group, and each watercraft should always carry a copy of the Reservation Confirmation Email with them while in the BWCAW. When the Permit Holder is not going on the trip, the Permit Holder is responsible for forwarding the Reservation Confirmation Email to the designated Alternate who is responsible for leading the group. Permit Holders will be sent emailed links to three wilderness education videos regarding trip planning, packing and Leave No Trace.  All three videos should be viewed at home prior to embarking on their BWCAW trip.

Day Use Motor visitors must contact their Permit Issue Station no later than one week prior to their trip, to designate the day of the week they will enter the BWCAW.

Cooperating businesses that are open and conducting business operations normally can issue walk-in permits that are available the day of entry in person and show LNT video series.

Please call the Forest Service for information on which cooperators are physically open to issue permits and which are assisting visitors virtually. Reminder, that Forest Service offices are currently closed to the public and will provide virtual services until further notice. If you’ve made your travel arrangements/are renting gear/hiring a guide with a local cooperator or outfitter guide, please look for information from them or contact them directly with questions.

In response to the COVID-19 situation, Recreation.gov implemented temporary measures on April 3, including suspension of the Recreation.gov Customer Service phone service and chat. Support for Recreation.gov will be provided via email until further notice. They will not be taking reservation requests via email. This change in service is necessary to provide for the health and safety of the customer service representatives and to comply with state-level stay-at-home orders. The quickest way to get help is to visit the Recreation.gov online Help Center. Please remember that you can also call your local cooperator or the Forest Service if you cannot make changes online via Recreation.gov.

For current updates and other recreation closures, please visit “Alerts” on the Superior National Forest’s website. Members of the public should visit this section for important pre-trip information to protect public health and safety. In addition, the Forest has set up a specific “hot-line” number and email in-box (218-626-4395 or email SM.FS.R9_SNF_BWCAW@usda.gov) for questions related to the BWCAW and/or permit reservation system.

The National Forests understand and acknowledge that Tribal members may fulfill their federal treaty rights within boundaries of their treaty ceded territory and are exempt from the restrictions, but they may be subject to restrictions by applicable tribal authorities.

 

Visitors to our National Forests are urged to take the precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For tips from the CDC on preventing illnesses like the coronavirus, go to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html.

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Paddling the Boundary Waters(almost)

It won’t be long before we’re able to make it into the Boundary Waters by canoe. The Seagull River is starting to open up and soon we’ll have open water and adventures awaiting. Are you ready to paddle and camp in the BWCAW? We are! Call us at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters to set up your next voyage into the wilderness.

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First Swim of the Season at Voyageur

The earliest recorded swim at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters was on April 1st a number of years ago. It wasn’t a balmy day by any means but for some reason on Easter Sunday my son and niece made the decision to jump in the river.  With just a small hole of open water surrounded by ice they purposefully entered the frigid water. Both survived.

jumping in the river

jumping in the river

jumping in the river

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Posted in Gunflint Trail

Voyageur Canoe Outfitters Giveaway Winners

We had such an amazing time interacting with you all during this giveaway. We hope you all had as much fun as we did and we thank for participating! If you are a winner please email us and we will send you details on claiming your prize.•

1st Place – 4 Day Completely Outfitted Trip into the Boundary Waters for Two People – Tom Bergman•

2nd Place – The Scout Pack by Duluth Pack – Clint Miller•

3rd Place – A Stainless Steel Growler and Fill from Voyageur Brewing Company! – Jenna Fernandez •

If you are not a winner we still have awesome deals for you! Click the link below and sign up to get coupon codes from Voyageur Canoe Outfitters, Duluth Pack and Voyageur Brewing Company!

 

Click this link to sign up!

BWCA sunset

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Luxury Items for a BWCA Canoe Trip

“What is one luxury item you always bring canoe camping in the BWCA?” That’s today’s question for Voyageur’s Epic Giveaway.

I remember when Mike and I were at our pre-wedding marriage encounter weekend and we took a unique questionnaire. It listed a bunch of things and you had to say whether that item was a necessity or a luxury. Some of the things I listed as a necessity turned out to really not be a necessity when we moved up to Voyageur in 1993.  A washing machine, dishwasher and indoor plumbing I would have considered a necessity but I guess we’re all flexible! After living five years without indoor plumbing it truly was a luxury to have a flush toilet inside of my own dwelling.

What’s a necessity and what’s a luxury when you’re camping in the Boundary Waters? For me, a hammock is a necessity and my camp chair is a luxury. I wouldn’t have to have to bring it along, but it sure makes life in the BWCA more enjoyable and I can’t remember the last time I didn’t bring it along.

Be sure to comment on Facebook or Instagram for another chance to win!

Boundary Waters campsite

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