Wednesday, March 1, 2017

2017 Sport Show Shedule

Spirit of the Wilderness Canoe Outfitters will be at Sport Shows in March & April. This is a great time to get some face to face BWCA trip planning with us. We are happy to help plan and book your 2017 summer BWCA canoe trip at any of the shows. 

We will have seminars at all the shows. Watch for reminder posts on Facebook about the seminar dates and times. 

Sport Show & Seminar Schedule:

  • Canoecopia - Alliant Energy Center in Madison, WI - March 10-12, 2017, Booth #N11
    • Friday, March 10 - 5:30pm - Fishing the BWCA
    • Friday, March 10 - 7:30pm - Packing and PLanning for a BWCA Canoe Trip
    • Sunday, March 12 - 11:30am - Fishing the BWCA
    • Sunday, March 12 - 1:30pm - BWCA Sites to Visit
  • The Ultimate Sport Show - Devos Place in Grand Rapids, MI - March 16-19, 2017, Booth #1300
    • Seminars to be announced
  • The Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo - Hamline University in St. Paul, MN - March 17-19, 2017, Booth #19
    • Saturday, March 18 - 3:45pm & 4:45pm - Fly Fishing the BWCA
  • The Northwest Sport Show - Minneapolis COnvention Center in Minneapolis, MN - March 23-26, 2017, Booth #637
    • Friday, March 24 - 1pm - Unique BWCA Sites to Visit
    • Sunday, March 26, Noon - What to Pack for your BWCA Canoe Trip
  • Midwest Moutaineering Outdoor Adventure Expo - Midwest Mountaineering in Minneapolis, MN April 28-30, 2017
    • Seminars to be announced

Can't make it to a show? Call us at 218-365-3189 or 800-950-2709 or email us at

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

BWCA permit lottery Deadline for 2017

Tomorrow, January 11, 2017 is the last day to submit your application for the BWCA Permit Lottery.

This is the time to submit a lottery permit application for Moose Lake and Fall Lake Overnight Motor permits, Day Use Motor Permits and Overnight Paddling Permits.  The deadline to get your permit applicaiton in is Wednesday, January 11, 2017.  

If you want a motor permit for this summer you will need to enter the permit lottery by tomorrow.

Spirit of the Wilderness can correctly submit your lottery applications.  Just give us a call today or tomorrow.

All other BWCA overnight paddling permits can be reserved starting 9 AM central time on Wednesday, January 25th, 2017.

Contact Spirit of the Wilderness at 218-365-3149 or 800-950-2709  OR email us at

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017 Sportshows Spirit of the Wilderness will attend

March 16-19, 2017 - Ultimate Sport Show Grand Rapids in Grand Rapids, MI 
- Come visit our booth and talk about your trip. 
- Watch for updates on seminars we will be doing

March 10-12, 2017 - Canoecopia Paddle Sport Show in Madison, WI 
-We will have a booth & ready to book your BWCA & Quetico adventures for the summer.
- Steve & Ginny will be giving a couple seminars - Fishing the BWCA, Top 10+ Unique BWCA Sites to Visit & Packing and Planning for a BWCA canoe trip.

March 23-26, 2017 - Northwest Sport Show in Minneapolis, MN
-Stop by the booth for great early BWCA trip booking deals.
- Steve will again be presenting a seminar about BWCA trips - to be confirmed.

April 28-30, 2017 - Midwest Outdoor Expo - Midwest Mountaineering in Minneapolis, MN
- Seminars to be confirmed

Thursday, December 15, 2016

AT&T cell phone customers

For some reason people that have the AT&T cell phone provider are having issues using our 800#.  If you need to reach Spirit of the Wilderness and have AT&T please use 218-365-3149.

Seems that all other cell phone providers can us the 800-950-2709 phone number.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

7/27/16 Update on the BWCA after the July 20th, 2016 Storm

Date Issued: July 27, 2016

USFS Information: 218-365-7600

We (the USFS) will not be posting sites as closed to avoid implying that the other sites are safe. Hazard trees have not been removed yet. When choosing a campsite and tent pads, visitors are reminded to look up and all around. There are many leaning trees, broken tops, and hanging branches that may fall easily. Saturated soils make otherwise stable trees prone to falling over. Consider these hazards and prevailing winds when choosing a parking, picnic, camping site, or tent pad.

Some access roads have not been widened. Even where they have been widened debris in ditches and on shoulders increases danger. Power companies continue to repair lines and there are still some down. We’ve had reports of people driving the access roads too fast and this is endangering our crews and each other. Getting visitors INTO the wilderness is NOT an emergency.

We have not been able to assess everything within the impacted area yet due to the need to open portages. Traveling roughly clockwise, beginning at Snowbank, here are the conditions as we know them right now:

·         Snowbank Area: Portages from Snowbank into Disappointment, Disappointment to Parent, and Parent to Snowbank are now passable. The portage into Grub was not cleared yesterday (mistakenly reported as cleared). Portages have been cleared from Snowbank east to Thomas Lake. The condition of portages from Boot to Caddyman Lake and Gibson to Ensign Lake are unknown.

·         The Snowbank/Kekekabic Hiking Trail has not been worked. Much of the trail is believed to be impassible, especially around Disappointment Mountain and on into Thomas. Hiking may be hazardous and is not advised.

·         Lake One Area: Portages into Lake Two are passable. Conditions beyond are believed to be mostly passable.

·         N. Kawishiwi/Gabbro area: Portages through Ojibway, Triangle and down into the North Kawishiwi River are passable. Conditions are unknown on the North Kawishiwi River, into Clear and into Eskwagama. Portages have been made passable from Little Gabbro, Gabbro, Bald Eagle, and Turtle to Clearwater Lake. Portages south from Clearwater to Gull have not been worked. The portage from Little Gabbro to Bruin is now passable.

·         The access into Glacier Pond is passable.  

·         Farm Lake, Birch, and White Iron roads and campsites are south of the largest impacts but had scattered damage. Roads are mostly passable. The South Kawishiwi and Birch Lake Campgrounds had little damage and are open.

·         Mudro entry point: The North Grassy Road is mostly open shoulder to shoulder now but the road is narrow and shoulders are now lined with cut trees. Power is not yet restored on much of the Echo Trail so power company trucks and workers may be on the roads. Please drive slowly! Mudro to Lower Basswood Falls through Horse is passable. Horse to Fourtown is passable. Conditions on portages to the west and north of Fourtown are unknown.

·         The Fenske Lake Campground was impacted and remains open. Crews cleared the Fenske Campground Trail, Swimming Beach, Group Site, and the trail to the public landing. They also made the Fenske to Everett Lake Portage passable.

·         Portages on the Circle Route are clear into Grassy Lake. Camping is not recommended on Bass, High, Dry, and Low Lakes at this time. Hiking the Bass Lake Trail may be hazardous. The trail is passable from the parking lot into Dry Falls. The portage from Dry into High is passable. The Dry Lake Loop of the trail is very hard hit and has not been cleared. A crew will be working the trail again today—please give them room to work. The portage into Bass Lake is passable.

·         Burntside/Crab Lake: The Van Vac access was hard hit but is now passable. Downed power lines were repaired. The Passi Road was impacted but is now passable. The Crab Lake portage was made passable yesterday. Campers report portages to the west and to the north of Crab Lake as rough but passable. Slim and Little Rice Lakes were impacted. The North Arm and Slim Lake Access roads were impacted and are now passable. The portages into Slim, Rice, Hook, and Kenue Lakes are passable.   

·         Fall and west Basswood: Newton and Pipestone portages are passable. Campsites on the southeastern shore of Pipestone were especially hard hit. A few campsites on Jackfish and, Back Bays and Newton Lake were also hard hit. Campers must choose sites and tent pads carefully, looking for hazard trees. Back Bay to Frog Bay portage is passable. The Fourmile Portage is passable to Mud, Ella Hall, and the north end of Muskeg. Beyond Muskeg the Fourmile is impassible.  

·         Moose Lake Road, eastern Basswood: The Moose Lake Road is passable. Power company trucks may be working on the road. Prairie Portage is passable. Portages into Sucker, Birch, and Ensign may be difficult but are passable. Portages farther east seem to have been less affected. Wind Lake portages are passable from Hoist Bay through to Moose Lake. 

·         Wood area: The Wood Lake area including Hula, Indiana, Good, and portages into Hoist Bay are passable.

If returning BWCAW visitors have updated information, please let us know.

 A note of caution:

·         Some branches and even whole trees are bent under pressure and may spring up suddenly if pressure is released so watch for spring poles if you are clearing blowdown.



Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Summer BWCA Outfit Special

With plenty of fish to catch and other wildlife to see, the BWCA is the perfect place to enjoy the great outdoors. Start your wilderness adventure in Ely, MN, canoe capital of the upper Midwest. Easy access to a place where you can listen to the silence and slow down the pace of life.

Spirit of the Wilderness is offering a 3 day 2 night complete outfitted canoe trip in the beautiful Boundary Waters.
  • Only $225 plus tax per person

This special offer includes but is not limited to:
  • Straps, pads and the loading of your canoe
  • Kevlar canoe, yoke with pads, life jackets and paddles
  • Food, cook kit and utinsils, stove with fuel and dining tarp
  • Tent, sleeping bags and pads
  • Additional days available at a discounted rate

  • There must be a minimum of 2 people
  • BWCA permit and usage fees are not included
  • Reservation with deposit are required
  • Must start trip by September 30, 2016
  • Black-out dates July 24 - August 13, 2016

The Boundary Waters is Calling You!

Call today and let Spirit of the Wilderness, Ely MN outfit you for a exciting summer canoe or hiking trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

Ph: 218-365-3149 or 800-950-2709

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Foss Fire update May 20, 2016

Date Issued: May 20, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. Incident Commander Type III: Timo Rova
Fire Information:

Fire Start Date: May 19, 2016 Size: Approximately 440 acres Containment: 10 percent

Location: This fire is located 10 miles west of Ely, MN, in St. Louis County, one mile west of the southwestern edge of Burntside Lake, north of Foss Lake, and south of Crab Lake.
The fire is burning north within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).

Crews made good progress today, directly attacking the fire on its north, east, and west sides. Aircraft dropped fire retardant along the east side of the fire and water on the west side.

Background: The Foss Lake Fire began on May 19 as a prescribed fire to reduce surface and ladder fuels, to enhance wildlife habitat, and to encourage jack pine regeneration. Shortly after ignition, an unpredicted change in weather conditions brought higher winds, warmer temperatures, and lower relative humidity.

A spot fire north of the control line escaped containment and the wind-driven fire spread to the north.

Aircraft that were on standby responded quickly and, with the work of ground crews, were able to slow the fire’s eastward spread with water and retardant drops, protecting the west and north sides of Burntside Lake.

The fire spread north to Crab Lake in the BWCAW. There was no fire growth to the south.

There is no threat to the towns of Ely, Winton, Tower, or Soudan. No structures are threatened. Good fuel-reduction work completed over the last two years on Burntside Lake increases firefighters’ ability to manage the eastern edge.

80 personnel and 8 aircraft. MNICS Type II Team under Incident Commander Brian Pisarek arrived today and will take command of the fire Saturday morning. The Lake Vermilion Fire Brigade and the Morse/Fall Lake Fire Department both have fire boats on Burntside Lake are conducting structure-protection assessments.

Weather: Saturday’s weather will be very similar to Friday’s. The temperature will be around 75 degrees. Relative humidity will be 20–27 percent. South winds will be variable up to 7 mph. The earliest chance of rain over the fire area is Monday.

Closures: Currently, just one BWCAW entry point is closed: entry point #4 Crab Lake. All other entry points remain open. The closure area includes the following BWCAW portages and lakes, including campsites:

  • Crab Lake BWCAW entry point and portage from Burntside Lake to Crab Lake
  • Crab, Boulder, Phantom, Battle, Sprite, Meat, Clark, Glimmer, Hassle, Saca, Little Crab, Korb, Maxine, Barefoot, Little Jig, Silaca, Coxey Pond, Lunetta, Schlamn, Soroll, Glenmore, Western, Blick, Chad, Dugout, and Pine Lakes and associated portage trails
  • Cummings Lake portage from Cummings Lake to Korb Lake and Cummings Lake to Korb River Update Foss Lake Fire
  • Pine Creek East of Trout Lake
  • Pine Lake portage from Trout Lake to Pine Lake

Closure signs will be used at normal points of access to delineate the closure area. The closure area map is located at