High water in the BWCA

After last summer’s drought the water level of the lakes and rivers in the BWCA was at an almost all time low at the end of the paddling season. While I was sure we would get plenty of snow and rain to bring back water levels to a normal range no one could have convinced me our water this spring would be this high! We’ve only seen it this high one other year and typically the water will continue to rise until Memorial Weekend. With ice just going off of the lakes and some snow still lingering in the woods my guess is it’s going to be the highest we’ve ever seen.

Typically high water in the Boundary Waters isn’t a big deal. There aren’t structures that get flooded or bridges that get closed down in the BWCA. However, portages will be muddy, water will be really moving near rapids and waterfalls and landing areas may not be as visible as they would be during times of average water level.

If you’re taking a trip that involves rapids and waterfalls be particularly cautious this time of the year due to the cold water temperature. Always wear your life vest and make sure both paddlers in the canoe are aware of the situation. When you’re coming up to the base or top of a waterfall that is not the time to be grabbing for a granola bar. Make sure both paddlers are on the lookout for rocks or logs lurking directly beneath the water’s surface and have paddles in the water. Paddle close to the shore whether you are coming up to a portage or crossing a lake just in case the winds or weather changes your closer to safety.

Meanwhile at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters the docks are getting farther away from the shore! If you’re coming up for a canoe trip and are using our awesome tow boat service then bring your rubber boots, you might just need them to get onto the docks.