Skip to main content

Voyageur North Outfitters

Boundary Waters BLOG
Jan
25

Top 20 FAQs for BWCAW trip planning - by the Forest Service

usda-fs signature lockup_color with text.png

 
 

 

 
 
 

 

Superior National Forest

 
 

 

Forest Service News Release

 
 

 

Joy VanDrie, Public Affairs Staff Officer

231-878-0998 Cell Phone

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Superior National Forest - Home (usda.gov)

 
 

 

 

 

 
 

 

Photo Credit: USDA Forest Service

 
 

 

Top 20 FAQs for BWCAW Trip Planning

 

BWCAW Quota Permit availability begins January 31 for May 1 - September 30, 2024 visitation.

 
 

 

 

 

Duluth, Minn., January 25, 2024—The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) quota permit reservations for the 2024 quota season, May 1 – September 30, will be available in seven days, beginning at 9:00 a.m. CST on Wednesday, January 31, 2024. New and returning visitors are encouraged to book their reservations online at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777.  

 

If you’re a new or returning visitor there are 20 Frequently Asked Questions, with answers, the Superior National Forest would like you to know and remember. Following the law, rules and regulations help preserve the wilderness values visitors come to experience. Let us explain why some regulations and policy have been established. Please also note the Forest Service regulations are enforceable with a maximum penalty of $5,000 and/or 6 months in jail.  

 

 

The Top 20 Frequently Asked BWCAW Trip Planning Questions:

 

1. Why is it necessary to enter the BWCAW at the entry point and date shown on your permit? 

 

• Permit is valid to enter only on the entry date and at the entry point specified, because entry points and dates regulate visitor distribution and campsite availability, and support wilderness solitude. Always carry your permit with you, Wilderness Rangers and Law Enforcement are on patrol. 

 

2. Why is it so important to be quiet to preserve the wilderness experience? 

 

• Human noise has a significant effect on solitude and scares off wildlife. Sound carries long distances over water. Avoid playing music, yelling, banging pots, dragging canoes over rocks, and singing loudly! 

 

3. Explain the 9 person and 4 watercraft rule: 

 

• Group size is limited to 9 people and 4 watercrafts at any time or anywhere in the Wilderness—on the water, on portages, or in camp. Smaller groups have less resource impact. 

 

4. Where must you camp in the BWCAW? 

 

• At a USFS designated campsite. How do you know it's a designated campsite? A campsite has a USFS fire grate and latrine. All group members listed on the permit must camp together. 

 

5. What does it mean to camp and travel on durable surfaces? 

 

• Place your tent in areas with no vegetation—keep campsites small. Walk in single file in the middle of the trail, even when it’s muddy, and bring proper footwear to do so. 

 

6. Tell me about portage etiquette. 

 

• Wait on the water until the group in front of you has proceeded down the trail.  

 

7. Why is it NOT okay to cut, peel or deface a tree or shrub or pick flowers? 

 

• Damaging any living plant in the BWCAW is illegal. Peeling birch bark, carving, or chopping roots kills the trees and promotes erosion. Never cut live vegetation! 

 

8. Firewood: What should you gather and from where? 

 

• Paddle well away from camp to collect firewood. Use only dead and downed wood easily broken by hand and smaller than your wrist. Never cut a live tree! 

 

9. Where can you have a fire? 

 

• Fires are allowed only within a USFS fire grate. Don’t build a fire on a windy day and keep fires small. Consider using a camp stove, they have less impact and work well during rainy weather. 

 

10. How do you put out a fire? 

 

• DROWN your fire with water and STIR the ashes until they are COLD to the touch. Never leave a campfire unattended! 9 out of 10 wildfires are caused by humans. 

 

11. How far away from water should you be to wash yourself and your dishes? 

 

• Preserve water quality, wash at least 200 feet from shore. Filtering dirty water through soil allows the breakdown of bacteria. Use soap and other products sparingly AWAY from water, they are not biodegradable. 

 

12. What rules apply to cans and bottles in the BWCAW? 

 

• Possessing any cans or glass bottles is illegal, except for containers of fuel, insect repellent, or medicines. 

 

13. What do you do with live bait and fish remains? 

 

• Dump bait bucket water before every portage and refill on the other side. Dispose of fish remains at least 200 feet from shorelines, campsites, trails, and portages. MN state law prohibits dumping unused bait into water, pack it out. 

 

14. What do you do with leftovers and trash? 

 

• Latrines are not garbage cans! Trash in the latrine harms wildlife. Burning trash is illegal and it pollutes the air and soil. Pack it in, pack it out! When breaking camp, make sure your campsite and fire grate are free of trash. 

 

15. Is motorized equipment allowed in the BWCAW? 

 

• Motorized watercraft are allowed only on designated lakes with horsepower restrictions. No other motorized or mechanized equipment is allowed, except for portage wheels on specific routes. Drones are strictly prohibited. 

 

16. What responsibilities do you have if you bring your dog? 

 

• Dogs must be on a 6-foot leash or shorter at all times. Dogs can endanger wildlife and barking intrudes on the experience. Dispose of dog waste 200 feet from water, campsites, portages, or put it in a latrine. Annually, visitors lose dogs within the BWCAW due to a run-away or wildlife encounter, please follow the law to protect your dog and wildlife.

 

17. What rules apply to fireworks and firearms? 

 

• Fireworks are illegal. Discharging a firearm is prohibited within 150 yards of a campsite or occupied area, or in any manner or location that places people or property at risk of injury. Firearm and game laws apply in the BWCAW. Hunting is allowed within the BWCAW, make sure you to keep your hunting license on you at all times.

 

18. What rules apply to food storage? And why?

 

• Never leave food unattended on portage trails or in camp, or other scented items in your tent at any time. Doing so attracts bears and encourages unnatural populations of some species. Use a bear-resistant container or ropes to hang food packs. Containers listed on the IGBC listare product-tested and found to be resistant to bears. Tip – watch your food packs at all times at portages.

 

19. What do we do if we have an emergency while on our visit to the BWCAW? 

 

• Every emergency situation is different, but prevention is key. Always bring current maps that cover an area larger than you intend to travel in the event you need to exit the wilderness at a different location than planned. It may be faster to get out of the BWCAW under your own power than waiting for a rescue. If external help is critical, stay in place and send someone from your or another group to seek help.       

 

20. Can a visitor dig, remove, or clear a location by their tent?

 

  • • No, only use existing tent pads to place tents or hammocks. Clearing vegetation or digging is illegal and causes unnecessary campsite expansion, erosion, and disturbs cultural resources.
 

 

Always follow the principles of Leave No Trace on your visit to protect the natural integrity of this special place for wildlife and future generations. https://www.recreation.gov/permits/233396

 
 

 

 
 
 

 

For a PDF of this Press Release click here

 
 

For all Superior NF Press Releases click here

 
 
 

 

 
 
 

 

Find out more about the Superior National Forest at www.fs.usda.gov/superior and follow us on Twitter@SuperiorNF, on Facebook  and Flickr(photo credit: Superior National Forest) #superiornf

The Superior National Forest is managed in Five (5) districts, with a Supervisor’s Office:

  • Supervisor’s Office, Duluth: 218-626-4300
  • Gunflint District Office, Grand Marais: 218-387-1750
  • Kawishiwi District Office, Ely: 218-365-7600
  •  LaCroix District Office, Cook: 218-666-0020
  • Laurentian District Office, Aurora: 218-453-8650
  • Tofte District Office, Tofte: 218-663-8060
 
 

 

 
 
 

 

For SNF Hiring and Career information click here

 
 
 

 

###

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

 
 
 
Continue reading
  470 Hits
Tags:
Jan
25

Reservation tips for Planning a trip - from the Forest Service

Continue reading
  125 Hits
Tags:
Jan
18

BW Permits "Go Live" Date is January 31, 2024 9am CST

Important Reservation Tips for Planning a Trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

 

BWCAW Quota Permit availability begins January 31 for May 1 - September 30, 2024 visitation.

 
 

 

 

 

Duluth, Minn., January 17, 2024—The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) quota permit reservations for the 2024 quota season, May 1 – September 30, will be available beginning at 9:00 a.m. CST on Wednesday, January 31, 2024. Visitors are encouraged to book their reservations online at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777.  

 

Visitors planning to take an overnight paddle, overnight motor, overnight hiking trip, or a motorized day trip into the BWCAW between May 1 and September 30 are required to obtain a quota permit. Group size is strictly limited to nine, or less, people and no more than four watercrafts.  Smaller groups enhance the wilderness experience and chances of seeing wildlife and decrease both physical and social resource impacts.  

 

Tips for making a successful permit reservation:

  • Plan Ahead: have at least three travel options (dates and entry points) in mind before making a reservation in case your preferred option is unavailable. Reserve only permit(s) you can use.  Reserving only what you can use allows others to experience the unique beauty of the BWCAW..  
  • Need to Know:the BWCAW is over one million acres in size, carefully review Issue Station hours and locationsbefore reserving your permit. You must pick up your permit from the issue station specified on your permit and you can only pick up your permit on your entry date or one day prior. 
  • On-line Reservations: create/ register for a Recreation.gov account now or make sure you’ve logged into your existing account prior to making your reservation.  The latest version of Chrome is recommended for best results. Refresh your screen at 9:00 a.m. to ensure you are seeing the latest updates on the website. 
  • Fees & Cancellations:review this sections of the BWCAW permit to ensure you are aware of all related fees and how to cancel your permit at www.recreation.gov/permits/233396
 

 

Successful trips don’t just happen! They are the result of careful planning.  Please be aware of these BWCAW rules and best practices:



  • One permit per day, per permit holder: When a visitor makes multiple reservations on the same entry date or has overlapping reservations, all but one permit will automatically be cancelled by the Forest Service. Permit holders are limited to one permit per day because they can physically only be in one place at a time, and the group leader must stay with their group for the duration of the trip 
  • Alternate Permit Holders: Alternates cannot be added once a reservation has been made. Check the box under a group member’s name to select them as an alternate who can pick up the permit if the permit holder cannot go.  Only the group leader or alternates are allowed to pick up the permit and alternates cannot be added after the reservation has been made. 
  • Issue Stations: Reserved permits must be picked up at the issue station specified on the permit. BWCAW Cooperators can only print permits that are listed with their issue station. Find an issue station near your entry point prior to making a reservation. Check the “Issue Stations” tab for hours and locations, if you find you need to change your issue station please call a Superior NF District Rangers Office per the link above. 
  • Non-profits: Click for information about reserving BWCAW permits for a non-profit organization
  • Cancellations:  If you know you are not going to use a permit you’ve purchased, please cancel it as soon as you know you won’t use it, let others enjoy the BWCAW too. The BWCAW has seen an increase in no-shows without cancellation, help us ensure others have the opportunity to enjoy it.  
  • Leave No Trace Education:  All permit holders are required to watch three Leave No Trace (LNT) education videos and review the BWCAW Regulations and Rulesprior to receiving their permit. Thoroughly review the BWCAW Trip Planning Guideand watch Parts 1 & 2 of the BWCAW Leave No Trace video seriesprior to picking up a permit.  Part 3 will be viewed when your permit is issued. 
  • Safety Tip:  The BWCA Wilderness is over 1,098,000 acres in size. Always remember to leave a trip itinerary with family or friends prior to departure. See page 23 of the trip plannerfor an example and safety tips. 
  • Bear Awareness:  Be vigilant when it comes to food storage in the Wilderness! There are campsites with no viable trees to hang a food pack. Containers listed on the IGBC listare product-tested and found to be resistant to bears. Many BWCAW Cooperators also rent food storage containers.   
  • 3 million acres of the Superior National Forest:  Carefully consider whether a wilderness trip is the best option for your group. There are 254 backcountry campsites, as well as dispersed camping areas, outside designated wilderness that require no fees or reservations. For more information, visit the Superior National Forest website.  
 

 

MEDIA USE ONLY:Please use these to propagate links within other media software systems:

 

 
 
Continue reading
  141 Hits
Tags:
Dec
08

BWCAW quota permits for the 2024 season open on Wednesday, January 31, 2024, at 9:00 a.m. CST.

usda-fs signature lockup_color with text.png

 
 

 

 
 
 

 

Superior National Forest

 
 

 

Forest Service News Release

 
 

 

Joy VanDrie, Public Affairs Staff Officer

231-878-0998 Cell Phone

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Ann Schwaller- Wilderness Program Manager/ Public Services Staff Officer (Acting)

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Superior National Forest - Home (usda.gov)

 
 


 

 

 
 

 

 
 

 

Superior National Forest’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness 2024 Permit On-sale Announced

 

BWCAW quota permits for the 2024 season open on Wednesday, January 31, 2024, at 9:00 a.m. CST.

Duluth, Minn, December 8, 2023—The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) permit reservations for the 2024 quota season, May 1 – September 30, will be available beginning at 9:00 a.m. CST on Wednesday, January 31, 2024. Visitors are encouraged to book their reservations online at www.recreation.gov/. Reservations may also be made by calling 1-877-444-6777. To ensure a successful reservation, Forest managers encourage visitors to:

 

  • Visit the Superior National Forest websitefor information on the Superior and the BWCAW page for an overview to traveling in wilderness and helpful trip planning information.

 

  • Thoroughly review the BWCAW Trip Planning Guide and carefully consider whether a primitive wilderness trip is the best option for your group. You might discover a gem of a campsite outside the Wilderness that provides a unique backcountry experience with no permit reservations or visitor use fees required! The Superior has 254 backcountry campsites.

 

  • Plan ahead by having at least three travel options (dates and entry points) in mind before making a reservation. Exploring new destinations is part of a wilderness experience!

 

  • Reserve only the permit(s) you can use. Choose an entry point that fits your skill level and a trip date that works for your schedule.

 

  • When a permit holder makes multiple reservations in their name on the same entry date or has overlapping reservations, all but one permit will be cancelled by the Forest Service without notification, because a group leader can only lead one trip at a time. Do your research now! Look online for route planning guidebooks, trip ideas and information. You can also contact local outfitters, guides, resorts or cooperator permit issuing stations. Refer to the back page of the BWCAW Trip Planning Guidefor more information.

 

The BWCAW is a federally regulated area with regulations and rulesthat must be followed. Permit holders are responsible for sharing the Leave No Trace Video serieswith their entire group prior to arrival. Everyone shares responsibility in preserving wilderness.

 

Website URLS:

Leave No Trace Video Series: 

 
 

 

 
 
 

 

Find out more about the Superior National Forest at www.fs.usda.gov/superiorand follow us on Twitter @SuperiorNF, onFacebook and Flickr(photo credit: Superior National Forest) #superiornf

 

Sign up for our monthly newsletter at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/superior/home/?cid=FSEPRD1115779

 

The Superior National Forest is managed in five (5) districts, with a Supervisor’s Office:

  • Supervisor’s Office, Duluth: 218-626-4300
  • Gunflint District Office, Grand Marais: 218-387-1750
  • Kawishiwi District Office, Ely: 218-365-7600
  •  LaCroix District Office, Cook: 218-666-0020
  • Laurentian District Office, Aurora: 218-453-8650
  • Tofte District Office, Tofte: 218-663-8060
 


 

###

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

 
 
 
 
Continue reading
  220 Hits
Tags:
Dec
01

DNR Caution as Ice Season Starts December 1st

DNR News Release

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Dec. 1, 2023

For more information:
Contact the DNR Information Center
by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or call 888-646-6367.

 

 

Caution paramount as ice season gets underway

The ice season got off to a quick start in parts of Minnesota in recent days, with ice forming on some water bodies and numerous reports of ice anglers already testing their luck. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reminds everyone to stay on shore until there’s at least 4 inches of new, clear ice.

Ice conditions this time of year are highly variable and can change quickly. Falling into the cold water can turn tragic fast. Safety officials stress the importance of anyone heading onto the ice to check its thickness for themselves and not rely on other people’s footprints, tracks or social media posts.

While 4 inches of new, clear ice is the minimum recommended thickness for walking, it takes at least 5 to 7 inches to hold a snowmobile or small all-terrain vehicle, 7 to 8 inches for a larger, side-by-side ATV, and 9 to 10 inches for a small car or SUV.

“The beginning of the ice season is always an exciting time for us hardy Minnesotans, but it also can be deadly if you don’t take the proper safety precautions,” said Col. Rodmen Smith, director of the DNR Enforcement Division. “Checking the ice thickness regularly – and for yourself – is absolutely vital and one of the easiest ways to ensure tragedy doesn’t strike when you’re out there.”

Each year, unexpected falls through thin ice lead to serious injury or death. Checking the ice thickness with a spud bar, auger or other device is the best way to prevent falling through. Wearing a life jacket is the best way to avert tragedy, since the initial shock of falling into cold water can incapacitate even strong swimmers. A good set of ice picks can help someone get out of the water, and a cell phone, whistle or other communications device makes it more likely a person can call for help.

General ice safety guidelines

No ice can ever be considered “safe ice,” but following these guidelines (mndnr.gov/safety/ice/thickness.html) can help minimize the risk:

  • Always wear a life jacket or float coat on the ice (except when in a vehicle).
  • Carry ice picks, rope, an ice chisel and tape measure.
  • Check ice thickness at regular intervals; conditions can change quickly.
  • Bring a cell phone or personal locator beacon.
  • Don’t go out alone; let someone know about trip plans and expected return time.
  • Before heading out, inquire about conditions and known hazards with local experts.
  • Parents and guardians should talk with their children and neighborhood children about staying away from the ice unless there’s adult supervision. This includes lakes and rivers, as well as neighborhood ponds, retention ponds and anywhere ice forms.

For more information, visit the DNR’s ice safety webpage (mndnr.gov/icesafety) and the boating safety webpage (mndnr.gov/boatingsafety).

###

 
 
Continue reading
  191 Hits
Tags:
Nov
15

BWCAW Towboat Usage Comment Period Open

Reminder: Comment Period Now Open on BWCAW Towboat Usage
Please take a few minutes to share your opinion on towboats in the BWCAW.  They are allowed in limited areas and aid in the dispersal of canoeists.  Survey at  https://cara.fs2c.usda.gov/Public//CommentInput?Project=64312
 

The Forest Service values public participation. Communications from the public regarding this project, including commenters' names and contact information, will become part of the public record. Comments, including anonymous comments, will be accepted at any time. However, comments posted after the close of a designated comment period may not be able to be given full consideration. Anonymous comments and comments submitted after the close of the final designated comment period will not provide the commenter standing for administrative review. Comments, or in some cases other expressions of interest, along with respondent's contact information, submitted during the comment period may be necessary to establish a respondent's eligibility to participate in an administrative review for this proposed action. Interested members of the public should review the proposal's information to determine the applicable administrative review process and the eligibility requirements for that process.

Your comments are requested through 1/1/2024 11:59:59 PM (Central Standard Time).

Continue reading
  214 Hits
Jun
13

Superior National Forest Restricts Campfire Use 6-14-23

Superior National Forest Restricts Campfire Use 
Drying conditions continue across Northern Minnesota prompting campfire restrictions
 
Duluth, Minn., June 13, 2023—Due to continued dry conditions and worsening wildfire danger conditions, the Superior National Forest has issued an Emergency Forest Order - effective June 14 - restricting the igniting, building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire, including charcoal grills and barbeques, coal, and wood burning stoves to reduce the likelihood of a wildfire on the Superior National Forest, including the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (Forest Order 09-09-23-02#). The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; St. Louis, Cook, Carlton, and Lake Counties; and the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa are also enacting campfire restrictions. 
 
The restrictions will go into effect beginning Wednesday morning (00:01) a.m., June 14, 2023.
 
Campfires are allowed ONLY within Forest Service provided campfire structures (fire rings) at designated recreation sites, which include fee campgrounds with campfire structures designed/ installed by the Forest Service as well as designated campfire structures at U.S. Forest Service permitted Resorts, Recreation Residences, or Organizational Camps. A list of designated recreation sites, Resorts, Recreation Residences, or Organizational Camps where campfires are allowed, as shown on Exhibit A of the Forest Order, and a map of the area, as shown on Exhibit B of the Forest Order, available on the Superior National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/superior
 
The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) designated campsites, no-fee rustic campgrounds, or dispersed/ backcountry campsites are under full restriction and are NOT exempt from this order.
 
Gas or propane cook stoves are allowed throughout the Superior National Forest and are a safer option than campfires. These restrictions will continue until further notice.
 
The potential for wildfire is high across all ownerships in Northern Minnesota at this time. It is extremely important that people area careful with campfires in areas where they are allowed. If you are in a location where you can have a campfire, consider if the conditions are right and if you need a fire. Be sure to keep your campfire small and put it out cold to the touch whenever you leave it. All campfires must be attended all times. 
 
For additional information regarding fire-related and/or forest closures and updates:
see the Superior National Forest website www.fs.usda.gov/superior, 
the MN Department of Natural Resources https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/forestry/fire/firerating_restrictions.html, 
the Minnesota Incident Command System website at www.mnics.org 
SNF Forest Orders are available here: https://bit.ly/SNFforestorders 
An advisory has been issued for Eastern Minnesota along with Wisconsin and Michigan for elevated fire risk effective Monday the 12th of June - https://www.predictiveservices.nifc.gov/fuels_fire-danger/fuels_fire-danger.htm 
 
 
 
Copy of Press Release 
 
 
 
Copy of SNF Forest Order - Fire Restrictions Eff 6/14/23 
 
 
 
Copy of SNF Fire Restriction FAQ 
 
 
 
The USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.
 
 
       
 
 
Continue reading
  589 Hits
Tags:
Nov
30

Forest Service News Release - BWCAW Go Live 2023

 
 

 

Superior National Forest

 
 

 

Christine Kolinski-Public Affairs Specialist

(218) 365-2098/ (218) 432-0953

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 
 

 

Forest Service News Release

 
 

 

 

 

Superior National Forest Announces Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Permits On-sale for the 2023 Quota Season

 

Duluth, Minn., November 30, 2022—The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) permit reservations for the 2023 quota season, May 1 – September 30, will be available beginning at 9:00 a.m. CST on Wednesday, January 25, 2023. Visitors are encouraged to book their reservations online at www.recreation.gov/or by calling 1-877-444-6777. To ensure a successful reservation process in 2023, Forest managers encourage visitors to:

 

  • Plan ahead by having at least three travel options (dates and entry points) in mind before making a reservation. Exploring new destinations is part of a wilderness experience!

 

  • Select an issue station near your entry point before reserving a permit to eliminate the necessity for extra driving. The BWCAW is over one million acres in size, and entry points and issue stations are widely dispersed across the area. Click the “Issue Stations” tab to view hours and locations at: www.recreation.gov/permits/233396.

 

  •  Abide by the “One permit per day, per permit holder” rule, as stockpiling permits is illegal. This ensures everyone has the opportunity to make a reservation. When a permit holder makes multiple reservations on the same entry date or has overlapping reservations, all but one permit will automatically be cancelled by the Forest Service.

 

 

  • Remember to include the names of alternate group leaders who can pick up a permit if the permit holder cannot go. Select alternates by “checking the box” under a group member’s name. This must be done when the reservation is being created, as alternates cannot be added once a reservation is complete.

 

  • Thoroughly review the BWCAW Trip Planning Guideand carefully consider whether a primitive wilderness trip is the best option for your group.

 

  • Visit our Forest websitewhen planning any trip to the Superior National Forest. You might discover a gem of a campsite outside the Wilderness that provides a unique backcountry experience with no fees or reservations required!

 

The BWCAW is a federally regulated area with rules and regulationsthat you must know prior to your arrival. Permit holders are responsible for sharing the Leave No Trace Video series with their group prior to arrival. 

 

Non-profit organization URL:www.fs.usda.gov/main/superior/passes-permits/recreation

BWCAW Trip Guide URL:www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd611535.pdf

SNF Forest website URL:www.fs.usda.gov/superior

 

 

 

###

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

 

 
 
Continue reading
  635 Hits
Tags:
Nov
09

2023 Gazette

Hi all!

I wanted everyone to know that we are working on the new Gazette and hoping to get those

mailed out to you around Thanksgiving.

 

Please drop me an email or give us a call if you need to update your address!

Thank you,

Amber

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Continue reading
  710 Hits
Tags:
Sep
13

Five Star Review for Steve

Continue reading
  664 Hits
Tags:
Jul
29

Berst Family trip

The Berst Family thanks you all so much for outfitting us for our unforgettable trip to BWCA! We had such a fantastic time back in June.  We had a variety of experience levels, some have gone many times and others it was their first, and we all thoroughly enjoyed it! VNO played a huge role in the success of our trip, thank you all again!!

Continue reading
  744 Hits
Tags:
Feb
19

How A Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) Can Save Your Life Rick Wallace February 1, 2021

What if there was one simple thing you could do to make a remote camping, hiking, fishing or skiing trip far more safer?

Well the truth is that there is … taking a Personal Locator Beacon, or PLB, with you.

The fact is these beacons have saved tens of thousands of lives in remote country.

But tragically, not enough people who enjoy the great outdoors know about them, or how to use them.

Every year, people die unnecessarily doing what they love when a small investment in obtaining a PLB would have saved them.

So to help those who love the outdoors, and our tireless search and rescue authorities, we wrote this guide to Personal Locator Beacons.

At Tackle Village, we use PLBs whenever we are fishing in a remote environment for safety and for peace of mind. That could be while in the kayaks, hiking in the mountains or just on foot a long way from the car up a remote valley trout fishing when phone reception is limited.

 

 

Why should I carry a PLB?

First of all, because it can save your life. If you are injured and immobile – whether that’s from a fall, capsize (if on water), snakebite or onset of illness – your PLB is your lifeline to safety. As discussed below, activating it will trigger a search and allow rescuers to hone in precisely on your location. PLBs can be bought from camping/hiking/adventure retailers or also rented from specialist outlets. Remember, these beacons are small and light, no bigger that a sunglasses case and fit easily in your backpack.

 

Can’t I just use a mobile phone?

In many parts of the world where people enjoy adventure sport there is little to no cell phone coverage. Mobile phones, especially in areas where coverage is poor, chew through a lot of battery life maintaining a signal and are apt to go dead right when you need them. We’ve had hikes where the phone’s battery has drained in half a day without making a call. Phones are inoperable if wet and lose battery life quickly in the cold. Plus if you are lost, even if you get through on the phone to authorities you will be unable to pinpoint exactly where you are. They’ll know the general area of course, but not with as much accuracy as they would if you had carried and activated a PLB.

How do PLBs work?

A PLB – when it is activated – connects to specialised search and rescue satellites, which in turn pass that message on to emergency authorities in the country where the PLB is activated.
The best PLBs (the ones we recommend) have the ability for authorities to easily trace where the signal is coming from and provide rescuers with a precise location using the GPS (Global Position System) in combination with the satellite signal.

 

Which satellites do these beacons use?

PLBs rely on the Cospas-Sarsat satellite network – an international group of satellites that is dedicated to search and rescue purposes. These satellites also conduct monitoring of distress signals from planes, paragliders and other aircraft. PLBs send their signals to these satellites on the 406 Mhz frequency reserved purely for this purpose.

How do you use a PLB?

The first thing to do when you buy, rent or borrow a PLB is to register it with the search and rescue authorities in your country so that if it is activated, they know who they are looking for. The registration info allows search and rescue authorities to be able to see where you intended going (if updated) and which relatives or friends they can contact. (In many countries, you have the ability to update your details with the key search and rescue agency prior to a trip to record where you are going and when.) The beacon’s signal and the GPS will also reveal/confirm the location of course, but maintaining an up-to-date registration helps with liaising with family and confirming it is not an accidental activation.

What beacon do you use?

The beacon we use – a KTI – operates like the majority of models on the market. It comes in a small case and is about the size of a small compact camera.
Before every trip, we test the beacon according to the instructions by unclipping the antenna, raising it and then pressing the test button. You can see from the combination of flashing lights that the beacon is working.
The KTI has a battery life of 10 years and can transmit for 24 hours once activated. It is both waterproof and self buoyant.
We bring it with us on all remote trips into the mountains and remote regions and keep it close to our body so we have it close to hand if – for example – we fall and break a limb or we are tipped out of our Hobie kayak or injure ourselves in any other way.
Just like the fish finder we use on the kayak, the PLB is a vital electronic aid to a good day on the water and gives a great deal of peace of mind while we are doing what can be a dangerous activity.
In our region, the weather is notoriously variable and the wind can swing 180 degrees and gather strength in moments. One minute you are fishing in calm conditions, and the next minute you are dealing with significant swell!

How do you activate a PLB?

If you are injured or lost and need to activate your PLB, you unclip and raise the antenna, slide off the protective cover and push the red button until the green lights on the unit start flashing.
This immediately sends a signal to the satellite network with our position (via GPS). The satellite network can also triangulate the position of the beacon.
The beacon will continue to send this information in short bursts to conserve the battery life. Our model will transmit for at least 24 hours.

What happens next?

Search and rescue authorities will assess the location of the beacon at the time of activation before deciding on the appropriate action. For example, if they can see the signal is coming from your home address, or in an urban environment they will likely assume initially it was activated by mistake and confirm that with you or your nominated contacts by phone.
However if it is coming from somewhere more remote, they will contact the relevant emergency services and get them to commence a rescue operation.

Is there any risk my PLB won’t work?

As we are dealing with satellites, the beacon must have line of sight to the sky. So if it is activated, for example, in a cave or in a car, the signal may have trouble getting through, or not get through at all.

What are the limitations of PLBs?

PLB’s are designed for one sole purpose – providing that signal and location to rescue authorities. So it’s worth noting that they can’t send text messages, you can’t use to place calls. They are purely an emergency beacon.

Have PLBs saved many people?

Yes, PLBs are extremely effective and have saved numerous people’s lives including people stuck in the desert with only a drink bottle. A quick search on the internet shows up a range of recent rescues including a hiker in Norway, a yachtsman who’d fallen overboard during an ocean race and a paddleboarders on Scotland’s Loch Ness! He fell off in a gale – there was no involvement from the fabled Loch Ness monster.
The website of beacon manufacturer ACR includes a host of survival stories from all over the world incorporating the use and deployment of a personal locator beacon by hikers, fishermen and women, hunters and other lovers of the outdoors: https://www.acrartex.com/stories. These are often told in the person rescued’s own words and offer a really compelling look at how things can go wrong and how having the beacon can be truly a life saver.
According to the Cospas-Sarsat website since its inception in 1982, the system has been used for thousands of search and rescue events and has been instrumental in the rescue of over 35,000 lives worldwide.

Are more people using PLBs?

Yes, as awareness grows of the role PLBs have played in rescues and helping people enjoy the outdoors safely, their usage is growing. It is still surprising that some people aren’t aware of the service they can give – our sister in law recently attempted a four-day hike in Tasmania and it was only via me telling her that she took a PLB. As it happened, she didn’t need it but appreciated the comfort it gave her that she could get a rescue message out if injured. She rented a PLB, which is another option for people who hike infrequently and want to avoid the cost of buying a unit. There are many companies that will rent you a PLB and give you a return envelope to post it back in when you have finished using it.

How much are PLBs?

Around $300 will get you a PLB with GPS positioning. This is the kind you want to buy.

Where do you buy a PLB?

PLBs can be bought from both electronics stores and camping and hiking outlets, as well as specialists online retailers. Because they are so small, buying them online is a popular way to purchase a PLB. You can also borrow a PLB from a friend.

Can you carry a PLB on an aircraft?

While there are restrictions on lithium batteries, airlines at this point in time do not actively ban the carriage of PLBs.

How do I register my PLB?

Registration is via search and rescue authorities in your country. Here is a list of links for registering a PLB in a wide range of countries:
United States – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Canada – Canadian Beacon Registry
Australia – Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)
United Kingdom – United Kingdom Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA)
Greece – Ministry of Merchant Marine 
France – CNES
Italy – Stazione Satellitare Italiana – Cospas Sarsat
Netherlands – Agentschap Telecom (NL)
New Zealand – New Zealand Rescue Coordination Centre 
International – Cospas-Sarsat International 406 MHz Beacon Registration Database (IBRD)

PLB vs EPIRB?

In general terms, an EPIRB is a beacon that is fitted to a ship or boat (the beacons used for aircraft are known as ELTs). These function in the same way, but must conform to higher standards and have more features than the smaller PLB.

What does EPIRB stand for?

Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon.

What does PLB stand for?

Personal locator beacon.

 

 

Rick Wallace

Continue reading
  1331 Hits
Tags:
Nov
22

2020 Voyageur North Gazette

Hi Everyone!

 

Just wanted to let you know that the 2020 Gazette will be going out in the mail in a couple weeks.

If you have a new address or would rather get an email copy please let us know.

 

Have a safe & Happy Holiday Season,

Amber & the Vno Crew

Continue reading
  2194 Hits
Tags:
Sep
13

Instagram post 2019

Aaron was featured in Travel & Leisure's Instagram story today about the Boundary Waters, thanks to his friend Ashlea who went with him. She's a big freelancer and captured some great stories of the trip.

 

https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/18079856749097017/

Continue reading
  1864 Hits
Tags:
Aug
13

Stephanie's 2019 Lake One to Snowbank Trip

Hi Amber,

We completed our trip last week and I wanted to thank you and everyone else at VNO we interacted with (Lynn, John, Lucas and Big John) for being so hospitable!  We had a great time doing our Lake One to Snowbank Lake trip, and John had great tips about the desirable campsites.  Big John was at our pickup point earlier than 1 pm, which was fantastic considering we made great time and wound up there around 11:30 am!  I can't tell you what a pleasure it was to sip those cold drinks after the furious paddling we had to do in the big, windy portions of Snowbank and Disappointment Lakes.  

We look forward to coming back next year as we already miss the beauty and tranquility of being in the Boundary Waters, and the fantastic service we enjoyed from everyone at VNO.  Have a great rest of the summer, and please give our thanks to everyone!

 

Best,

 

Stephanie 

Continue reading
  2174 Hits
Tags:
Jan
15

January Ice Fishing for the Schnitzlers

JP_Schnitzler.2_1_15_19.jpgJP_Schnitzler_1_15_19.jpg

What good luck ice fishing for JP & his Dad!

Continue reading
  2121 Hits
Tags:
Oct
16

Killingsworth group 2018 Fall trip

Chris, Tom & Chuck at the start of their 2018 BWCAW canoe trip!

They saw Lynn, Amber & April at the portage from Eugene Lake to Steep Lake.

Chris was really happy that we sat and talked at the portage- said it was nice to chat & take a quick break.

Continue reading
  2127 Hits
Tags:
Jul
17

2018 Vno cleaning crew overnight trip to #14 Little Indian Sioux

Part of our 2018 cleaning crew heading out for an overnight trip!

Continue reading
  2336 Hits
Tags:
Jun
22

Riffe group 2018

Continue reading
  2394 Hits
Tags:
Jun
12

Aedan's Giant Smallmouth

Giant smallmouth explodes on the surface, chasing a top water bait in the rain. 

After 3 attempts to net the big bass he was in the boat. 

After Aedan kissed the bass for good luck he was successfully released back to the lake.

Jeff_Roach_s_son.jpg

Continue reading
  2421 Hits
Tags: