US Forest Service

BWCA outfitters adjust to August closures in the wilderness

Active fires on Superior National Forest and the threat of fires burning across the border in Quetico Provincial Park will keep a large section of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness closed through mid-August.

A closure to a large section of the BWCA was extended until at least Friday, Aug. 13. Click here to view a map of the closure area.

The BWCA closure includes all lakes, entry points, portages, and campsites located within the closed area, according to the U.S. Forest Service. There are more than a dozen entry points impacted by the closure.

News of the closure spread quickly among the paddling community and outfitters, particularly those in the Ely area. Likewise, most media outlets across Minnesota have reported on the closure itself. However, WTIP wanted to learn more. How are BWCA outfitters impacted by the closure adjusting? What are people who expected to take a canoe trip to the Boundary Waters for their summer vacation doing to adjust? How are those impacted feeling about the closure?

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs posed these questions and more to Jason Zabokrtsky, the owner of Ely Outfitting Company, to find out what the situation is like in early August on the western side of the BWCA. The audio below is their conversation from Aug. 5.