Tuesday, December 15, 2015

2016 BWCA Permit Lottery Dates

Are you ready to book your 2016 Canoe trip?  We are ready to take your reservations!

It's that time of year again.  We can start applying for your Moose Lake and Fall Lake Overnight Motor permits, Day Use Motor Permits and Overnight Paddling Permits.  Start planning your summer trip now.  This permit lottery deadline is for you if you want a Dy-Use Motor or Overnight Motor permit starting at Fall Lake or Moose lake.  All other paddle only entry points need not worry about this deadline.  Paddle only permits can start being reserved January 27th, 2016.

The deadline to get your Motor permit application in is 
 Tuesday, January 12, 2016.  

If you want a motor permit for this summer you need to enter the lottery now!

Do you just want to paddle in the BWCA this coming summer?  Then keep in mind that on January 27th, 2016 we can start booking your first come first reserved BWCA permit.  This date is when we want to book the entry points that are popular, but don't have many permits allowed each day.  This would be entry points such as Mudro Lake, Little Gabbro Lake, Moose River North, Little Indian Sioux.  

Do you have multiple groups going in on the same day?  Try to book early so you have more options available to pick from. 

Keep in mind you don't have to have your total group number when we reserve your permits.  We just need your exact travel dates and what entry point you would like to use.  We can adjust your group size once you arrive at Spirit of the Wilderness to have your permit issued.

Boundary Waters Permit information:
  • 1 permit is good for up to 9 people and 4 watercraft
  • You must pick a specific entry point and entry date
  • Your exit date can change.
  • Your group size can change up until the permit is issued.
  • You can have your permit issued to you at Spirit of the Wilderness the day of or day before your travel dates.
  • Only the names listed on the permit can pick up the permit.  You can have a group leader and up to 3 alternate leaders.

Start planning your 2016 BWCA & Quetico wilderness canoe adventure.  Start picking your travel dates and Spirit of the Wilderness can help you with your permit and outfitting reservations.

Spirit of the Wilderness can reserve your overnight paddling, day-use motor and overnight motor permits for. Call us at 800-950-2709 or 218-365-3149. Winter Hours: 8am - 8 pm daily.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Used Canoes, Kayaks & SUP Board Sale - October 2015

End of the season used kevlar canoe, kayak 

and Stand Up Paddle Board sale

Spirit of the Wilderness has a number of Wenonah and Bell Northstar kevlar reconditioned canoes as well as Current Design kayaks for sale. 

Each canoe has been properly prepared and coated with the correct resin...the type the canoes are made of!  Not a spar varnish that will peel and flake off within 1-2 years. 

Using the correct resin ensures longevity of the canoe and provides a protective coat over scratches that occurred when the canoes were used for rental. Our reconditioning will last the average paddler 5 - 8 years. Whereas a spar varnish will last 1-2 years, at best.

Wenonah canoes:

  • Minnesota IIs, 
  • Spirit IIs, 
  • Boundary Waters
  • Champlains
  • Solo canoes; Prism and Encounter
  • 3-seated Senecas and Minnesota 3
Bell Northstar canoes:

  • Northwind 17
  • Magic

Current Design kayaks:
  • Kestral 120
  • Kestral 140 w/rudder

Call Spirit of the Wilderness today at 800-950-2709 for pricing and 
reserve your kevlar canoe or kayak today

Flexible payment plans available

Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Boards are also available for sale. Used 1 or 2 seasons, lengths include:
10 ft 6 inch, 11 ft 6 inch, 12 ft 6 inch. Styles include RAVE Sport Lake Cruiser and RAVE Sport Touring  models. Priced well under suggested retail.

Call Spirit of the Wilderness today at 
800-950-2709 or email us at info@elycanoetrips.com

October hours: 8 am - 5 pm daily

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Superior National Forest Prescribed Burn - October 5, 2015

The Superior National Forest West Zone Fire Organization anticipates a window for prescribed burns next week. 

Project Names: River Point and River Point Unit 5

Location and project size:

This project consists of two burn units south of Ely, MN just off Highway 1.

  • An 18 acre unit north of the highway will be referred to as River Point Unit 5 (Unit 5): Township (T) 62 North, Range (R) 11 West, Section (S) 30.
  • The 111 acre unit south of Highway 1 runs along the road into River Point Resort: T62NR11WS31.

Purpose: The Superior National Forest is planning to conduct two prescribed burns south of Ely along the Kawishiwi River to reduce hazardous fuels and wildfire threat to private lands and residences. These burns are the next step in an ongoing effort to reduce hazardous fuels. Balsam fir are highly flammable with low hanging branches—creating ladders which fire climbs up into the crowns of trees.
Historically, periodic fires kept the rate of balsam growth in the forest at a much lower percentage, but fire suppression during the last 100 years has allowed balsam fir to become much more prevalent in the understory. In these units, balsam and other fuels were harvested or crushed with machinery but burning is necessary to kill balsam seedlings and sprouts, giving pine and other native plants sunlight and room to grow. Slash was pulled back from the trunks of large pines to protect them from the understory fire. Mature white and red pine trees have thicker bark which resists fire damage.

Today’s message: Exactly when the burns will be accomplished will be dependent on weather. Shorter days and increased moisture in fine fuels make finding weather windows for fall burns challenging. The smaller burn may be ignited as early as Monday, October 5, 2015. The larger unit may be done later in the week. Aerial resources including a helicopter may be used for ignition (on the larger unit) and for monitoring fire behavior. Another notice will be sent out the day ignition is most likely.

Caution for Travel on Highway 1: During ignition of the southern unit, be especially cautious exiting the Kawishiwi River Bridge. Please slow down and be prepared for heavy smoke, fire fighters, and fire engines on Highway 1 between the Ely Airport and the South Kawishiwi Campground.

This information is supplied by the USFS Kawishiwi Ranger District, October 3, 2015

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Bears are active right now - Sept 17, 2015

Report from the USFS, Kawishiwi Ranger Station, Ely MN

Bears are really active right now—reports from the old Service Center on Central Avenue in Ely, to the Passi Road on Burntside, to the large island in the South Arm of Knife Lake and even Lakes One and Two.

Now is the time to put bird feeders away, stash any trash in secure buildings, and be extra mindful when camping in the BWCAW. Please remember, coolers are NOT bear resistant containers. Once a bear gets hold of food it will return many times to the same site looking for more food. Save a bear and be stingy with your left overs.

·        The report received from the large island in the South Arm of Knife included tents torn. This is likely a mother bear and cubs who have been pretty active in this area.
·        No specific details on the bear in Lake Two area. It may have damaged a tent.

·        A bear on Lake One got a group’s entire food bag. No information on which site.
Hang your food bag or use a bear resistant food barrel

·        The bear in the Service Center was easily scared away.   The bear on the Passi Road destroyed some bird feeders. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Echo Trail Detour Starting August 27, 2015

The latest information from St. Louis County on their project to replace the bridge over the Moose River on the Echo Trail is that the contractor will start work Thursday August 27th and complete the project in late October or early November. 

They will be using FR 464 (Moose Loop) as a detour route which will add approximately 5 miles to a trip across on the Echo Trail.  Moose Loop is about 30 miles northwest from Ely with entry point # 8, Moose River South. Be sure to give yourself extra time when traveling to entry point #14, Little Indian Sioux North. The bridge reconstruction is just past  #16, Moose River/Portage Rive North (Nina Moose).

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Travel the Boundary Waters - Fall Special 3 days / 2 nights

The Boundary Waters is calling you!  

Fall is one of the best kept secrets for canoeing or hiking the BWCA of northern Minnesota;
  • Warm days, cool nights
  • Fewer people than mid-summer
  • Good fishing
  • Hear the call of loons, see wildlife
  • And more…
The BWCA is one of the top 50 places in the world National Geographic recommends you visit in your lifetime.

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 Outfitter/Outdoor Store is ready to outfit your needs and help you make lifetime memories.

Experience the wilderness for 3 days/2 nights with a complete outfitting package at a reduced rate. Spirit of the Wilderness is ready to serve you and help you make lifetime memories of a Boundary Waters adventure.

3 Days/ 2 Nights Complete Outfitted Canoe Trip

  • $199.00 per person, minimum 2 people (regularly $285.00/person)

  • Kevlar canoe, life jackets, paddles, food (2 breakfast,3 lunch, 2 dinners), packs, tent, sleeping bags w/pads, cook kit w/utensils, stove w/fuel, matches, TP, water filter, detailed map and more.
  • BWCA permit and usage fees not included
  • Trip must start after August 16 and end by October 31, 2015
  • No other discounts apply
  • A $100.00 deposit per person required to confirm reservation
  • Additional days available at discount rate

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

Ph: 218-365-3149 or 800-950-2709
email: info@elycanoetrips.com

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Bear Encounter Report - August 17, 2015

This report is furnished by the USFS, Kawishiwi Ranger Station, Ely MN

  •       On 8/11 on Spoon Lake south side, first site to the right of the south portage. At 5:30 a.m. bear wandered into camp and was chased away. 10 minutes later bear was in food pack tree. Was chased out but stayed near campsite for some time.
  • .       8/15 and 16: south shore of Vera, second site to the south: Large bear pulled group’s food pack down while they were out on a day trip. Group returned before bear got into their food and they retrieved the pack. Bear continued to circle camp, woofing, most of the day.
  • .       8/14 Knife Lake site 16 south of Thunder Pt: Bear tore into hanging food pack while group was on a day trip, managed to reach into cooler inside pack and pull all the food out. Group was experienced but pulled pack high and the pack came close enough to the tree for the bear to reach it. Group did not see the bear
Bear Awareness
  1. Keep your campsite clean. Never eat or store food in your tent.
  2. Take all precautions to discourage bears from visiting your site, including hanging your food pack or using a bear-resistant container, as well as garbage and anything that has a strong or sweet odor (soap, toothpaste, lib balm, etc.)
  3. Some bears overcome their fear of humans and approach campsites looking for food. This includes island campsites since bears are good swimmers.
  4. If you do encounter a bear, most will be scared off if you make noise (shout, bang pots, or throw fist sized rocks at the bear, etc)
  5. A very persistent bear may be discouraged by spraying pepper spray into its eyes.
  6. When scouting out a campsite and you spot bear scat (poop) in the campsite, assume bear frequent the site and move to another campsite. If you do not know the difference between bear scat and wolf poop, assume it is bear scat and move to another campsite.
Spirit of the Wilderness Outfitters & Outdoor Store, Ely MN rents and sells bear resistant barrels and pack hanging systems. Give us a call at 218-365-3149 or 800-950-2709 today and start planning your September BWCA adventure.

30 liter, 60 liter barrels w/harness
Kondos pack hanging system

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Fishing Report - Saturday, July 18th

Walleye are being caught between 10-25 ft. You will want to drift along structures working from shallow to deep. The best result has been with leeches on Lindy rigs.

You will want to look for deep weed lines to bring in pike. Most are being caught when trolling shad raps or casting spinners and spoons.

Small mouth bass can be netted when using top water lures in the weeds, or if you are reef fishing use jigs and crawlers.

Crappies are the hardest to catch right now. They are traveling in smaller schools dispersed throughout the lakes. Most anglers are using crappie minnows at depths from 15-25 ft.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

NEMO Bugout Screen Room Tarps for RENT

NEMO Bugout Screen Room Tarps

This unique tarp allows you to be sheltered from the rain with the added bonus of keeping the bugs out as well.

The canopy is made from 75D PU Polyester Ripstop (1500mm). The walls are made up of 15D no-see-um mesh. 

The Bugout comes in two different sizes; the 9x9 model which can fit 4 people comfortably, while the 12x12 will fit up to 6.
BUGOUT 9x9 Specs:

Trail Weight - 4 lbs, 12 oz 
Floor Dimensions - 108 x 108 in
Floor Area - 81 sq ft
Interior Height - 72 in
Number of Doors - 2
Packed Size 16 x 8 in dia
Shell Fabric 75D PU Polyester Ripstop (1500mm)
Canopy Fabric 15D No-see-um mesh

BUGOUT 12x12 Specs:

Trail Weight  7 lbs / 3.2 kg
Floor Dimensions 144 x 144 in
Floor Area 144 sq ft
Interior Height 84 in
Number of Doors 2
Packed Size 23 x 8.5 in dia
Shell Fabric 75D PU Polyester Ripstop (1500mm)
Canopy Fabric 15D No-see-um mesh

Spirit of the Wilderness customer review:

"The bugout room was awesome. I will definitely rent this again in the future. A tip to future renters remember to set up opposite corners first, and have a campsite with trees."  - Michael R. from Minneapolis, MN.

Rent one of these great screen rooms for only $12.00 a day.

 Click here to see our full list of outfitting gear, from only one item, or a full outfitting package.

Call us at 1-800-950-2709 or email us at info@elycanoetrips.com to reserve one or both of these fine products for your next Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness adventure.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

NEW to rent: Helinox cots and chairs


The latest and greatest cots and chairs in the industry are now available to rent here at Spirit of the Wilderness. Helinox uses DAC's advanced alloy technology to make the lightest, strongest and most durable cots and chairs.


Stay comfortably off the ground with this light weight and super strong cot. Using the unique Helinox lever system this cot stays solid and is easy to assemble.

74.8" L x 26.8" W
6.3" Ground clearance
Weights 5 lbs
Weight capacity 320 lbs

Rent a great cot for only $6.00 a day.


This super strong and light camp chair is made similar to modern tents with the "hub" design versus that of a traditional folding chair.

25.6" H x 20.5" W x 19.7" D
13.5" Ground clearance
Weights 2 lbs
Weight capacity 320 lbs

Rent a great chair for only $4.00 a day.

 Click here to see our full list of outfitting gear, from only one item, or a full outfitting package.

Call us at 1-800-950-2709 or email us at info@elycanoetrips.com to reserve one or both of these fine products for your next Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness adventure.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Geocaching at Spirit of the Wilderness

Spirit of the Wilderness has joined the world of Geocaching. "Geo-what-ing?" you ask.

Geocaching.com defines geocaching as a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at the location.

What is Geocaching? Video:

Now you are probably asking how Spirit of the Wilderness has joined the community of over 5 million geocachers? Well it's simple, we have hidden a cache on our premises. That cache is one of the over 2 million hidden worldwide. We even have a few employees who are geocachers themselves.

The cache A Paddler's Paradise was hidden only a week ago and it's already accumulated over a dozen finds. 

A recent log posted on the cache page.
Click on the image to enlarge.

We are offering Geocaching clinics this summer. If you would like to book one for your next adventure in or near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness contact us at 1-800-950-2709 or email: info@elycanoetrips.com.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Visit us at the Northwest Sport Show this Week

This week March 25-29, 2015 Spirit of the Wilderness will be at the Northwest Sport Show at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  We look forward to seeing past customers and meeting new ones.  This is a great time to stop and talk about your BWCA canoe trip is summer.

We will have the following three seminars at the Northwest Sport Show. Hope to see you there!
  • Friday, March 27, 2015 - 4:30PM - Packing for your BWCA Trip in room 102A
  • Saturday, March 28, 2015 - 12:30PM - Traveling the BWCA this Summer in room 102A
  • Sunday, March 15, 2015 - 1:30 PM -Top 10 BWCA Sites to Visit in room 102A

Photo by Jim Siirila

There are still permits available for your summer
2015 BWCA canoe trip. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

BWCA Permit Lottery Deadline January 13, 2015

The BWCA Moose Lake & Fall Lake permit Lottery deadline is Jaunuary 13, 2015.

What does this mean for you? If you want to take a Day Trip and/or Overnight Motor Trip into the BWCA entry points of Moose Lake or Fall Lake you want to book now! 

These entry points only have so many permits that you can use a 25hrp or less motorboat with.  They run a permit lottery to try and make it a little more fair for those applying for a motor permit.  We will help you put in your permit lottery application by January 13, 2015.  The we wait.  A few days later the US Forest Service/Recreation.gov starts sending out confirmation emails 

What about paddle only permits for Moose Lake and Fall Lake entry points?  You can also enter the permit lottery for this type of permit.  It just gives you a bit of a jump start on booking your paddle only trip permits.  Remember you will only be looking at Moose Lake and Fall Lake entry points at this time.  All other entry point permit reservations will be available in a few weeks.

Other BWCA entry points - January 28th, 2015 we can start reserving all BWCA enter point permits.  This is when the first come first serve reservations start for the summer of 2015.  This is a really good time to reserve permits for those hard to get entry points such as Mudro, Gabbro, and Moose River North.  It is also a very good time to reserve for busy times of the summer.  The peak season is Mid-July to Mid-August.  If you want to travel then try and have us book your permit as close to January 28th as possible.

Will all the BWCA entry point permits be gone if I don't book by January 28th?  Yes and No.  Many of the day use motor and overnight motor permits will have been reserved in the lottery ending January 13th.  If you want a motor permit of either kind you need to get in on the lottery.  There are very few if any left to reserve after the lottery.  Other BWCA overnight paddle permits for most entry points will still have permits to reserve after January 28th.  If you are picky about your trip dates or want a specific entry point then book sooner then later.  If you are a bit flexible then you have some time to figure out your plans.

Do I need to know what outfitting I want when I get a permit?  No, the permit is the most important part.  Once we book your BWCA permit then we can help you determine what outfitting meets your needs.  For outfitting options please visit www.elycanoetrips.com.

Any questions or to book your BWCA permit call Spirit of the Wilderness at 218-365-3149 or 800-950-2709 or email us at info@elycanetrips.com.

Sport Shows and Seminar Schedule for 2015

We welcomed in 2015 and look forward to a winter and spring full of Sport Shows and Seminars.  Here is a list of places to come visit Spirit of the Wilderness this Winter and Fall.

Do you have a group interested in taking a BWCA canoe trip this summer?  We can personally meet with you and your group near the Minneapolis/St. Paul Area.  We can give a group presentation or just do a question and answer session with any group size.  Just call us at 218-365-3149 or
800-950-2709 to set up a time a place for a meeting or group presentation (all for no charge). 

2015 Sport Shows and Seminars
February 12-15, 2015 - LaCrosse, WI Sport Show. 
  • Visit our Booth to talk about planning your upcoming BWCA o Quetico canoe trip.
  • Steve's Seminars Fishing the BWCA and Unique Sights in the BWCA
March 7, 2015 - Quiet Waters Symposium in Lansing, MI
  • Visit our booth and plan your canoe trip for 2015.  We can talk about entry points and routes
  • Steve's Seminar -  Unique Sights in the BWCA You Should Visit
March 13-15, 2015 - Canoecopia Paddle Show in Madison, WI
  • Visit our booth for personalized planning help and have your BWCA/Quetico canoe trip questions answered.
  • Steve's Seminars - Planning your BWCA Adventure and Unique Sights in the BWCA You Should Visit
March 20-22, 2015 - Wisconsin Sport Show in Eau Claire, WI
  • Visit our booth for BWCA trip planning help
  • Steve's Seminars - Planning your BWCA Adventure and Unique Sights in the BWCA You Should Visit
March 25-29, 2015 - Northwest Sport Show in Minneapolis, MN at the Convention Center.
  • Visit the Spirit of the Wilderness booth to pay your trip deposits and plan your canoe trips.
  • Steve's Seminars will be confirmed as we get closer to the show.
April 24-26, 2015 - Midwest Outdoor Expo, Midwest Mountaineering in Minneapolis, MN
  • Visit our booth once again. Lets hope this is a nice warm event for our booth this year:)
May 9, 2015 - The Minnesota Fishing Opener. 
May 5-mid-October, 2015 - Come to Ely, MN to visit us and take your trip! 
We look forward to seeing you to help plan your 2015 BWCA & Quetico canoe trips.  Visit us at www.elycanoetrips.com for outfitting packages and options.
Also visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/bwcaoutfitters