Contact Us:
Phone: (218)663-7150
Fax: (218)663-7980
Mail: 4620 Sawbill Trail
Box 2129
Tofte, MN 55615

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Sawbill Newsletter

10/13/15 - Martin Berst sent along this beautiful sunset picture on Kawishiwi Lake from his canoe trip last summer. - Bill

Photo by Martin Berst.

10/11/15 - This is the time of year when the crew has a little more spare time for fun. - Bill

Phoebe is campaigning to go on a canoe trip.

10/5/15 - The hard working Sawbill Fall crew went out for their traditional October bowling night at the Silver Bowl bowling alley in Silver Bay.

The good folks at the Silver Bowl are nice enough to stay open late to allow us to bowl ourselves silly after the Sawbill store closes for the night. - Bill

The bowling Sawbill Fall crew of 2015.

Our friendly hosts at the Silver Bowl.

Brian shows the proper technique for the perfect gutter ball.

Buck shows that he, unlike the rest of us, actually knows how to bowl.

Bill and Cindy attempt to simultaneously pick up nearly identical spares.

9/29/15 - Dan Walch, longtime Sawbill canoeist, sent along this picture and note. - Bill



Last Tuesday I was camping on the SW campsite on Beth waiting for the sunrise. This formation appeared and was lit up by the sun that was still below the horizon. Later while looking at the map I realized that the formation was right in-line with Sawbill Outfitters.
What has Bill been up to now?


9/28/15 - Steve and Deb Smith sent along this nice note and great photos a few weeks ago. - Bill


Last weekend we were camping at your site 15, doing day trips in kayaks around Sawbill. On Saturday morning, we were fortunate to come across a cow moose and her calf on our way to Handle Lake. She was back deep in the stream chewing on lily pads and keeping cool. She actually was blocking the path to our destination. We waited 20 minutes for her to move out of the water and disappear into the woods. Needless to say we were pretty honored and excited.

However, on the way back, in about the same location, a large bull moose was cooling himself in the stream, blocking our entrance to Sawbill Lake. This was mid afternoon. You can see his velvet dangling from his antlers and the pink coloration of his antlers left over from the shed skin. I read that moose with large antlers can hear better than moose with smaller or no antlers. The antlers actually act as a sound reflector. I bet this big boy could hear us very well. We waited for probably 10 minutes for him to leave the water and then go beat up on a pine tree probably to aid in getting rid of more velvet. It was truly amazing to witness all that. None of the moose seemed to be bothered by our presence, but we gave them a pretty wide berth to keep it that way. We got a nice bunch of photos and thought you might enjoy a few.

The Sawbill area is such a wonderful area. Your campground is first class. We’ve been there multiple times and looking forward to the next one. Steve and Deb

9/22/15 - Former Sawbill crew members and guides, Dave and Amy Freeman, are starting their "A Year In The Wilderness" tomorrow. Watch this beautiful short film to find out what they are up to! We are so proud of them. - Bill

A Year in the Wilderness - Bear Witness from Save The BWCA on Vimeo.

9/12/15 - One of country's best photographers and good friend of Sawbill, Layne Kennedy, found the contact print below stuck to a folder when he was cleaning out his files recently. He was kind enough to scan it and send it along for our history files. - Bill

(l - r) Frank Hansen, Bill Hansen, Mary Alice Hansen, Cindy Hansen. Circa 1995?

9/9/15 - A canoeist from came in from a trip to Brule Lake and dropped off theses apples that he picked from a tree on a campsite in Cone Bay. He brought in four apples, but we ate one and it was delicious.

Brule Lake was pretty developed at one time, with several resorts and a number of cabins. There was also a lot of early logging activity on Brule Lake, especially in the 1950s and early '60s.

Apparently someone planted an apple tree back then and it still survives. Over the years I've come across several apple trees that are seemingly planted in the middle of nowhere out in the woods. When I see one, I always look around and invariably find the remains of a cabin nearby.

These feral apple trees usually look terrible because the bears break them down to get at the apples. They end up looking like a low lying, gnarled bush. - Bill

Brule Lake apples.

9/6/15 - Otters have been seen all over the Sawbill area this season. Wildlife photographer extraordinaire, Tim Petricek, captured these playful otters on a recent visit. - Bill

Photo by Tim Petricek

Photo by Tim Petricek

9/03/15 - Everyone is coming up to visit Sawbill this Labor Day weekend- even the wildlife! In the past few days, we've had sighting reports of a bull moose, wolf, and bobcat near Sawbill, although completely outside of our store and campground areas. Unfortunately, the animals didn't feel the need to stop for a photo shoot as they were busy minding their own business so no pictures were taken. The best time to try and see wildlife is around dusk and dawn- the bull moose and wolf were both sighted on the trail before 8 am. And of course, if you happen to get pictures of some of our furrier locals, we'd love to see them. - Britta

This Spotted Tussock Moth caterpillar was a little easier to capture on camera, especially since it decided to hitch a ride on Ana's arm.

9/02- Last Saturday night, lucky Sawbill campers were able to peer out of their tents and view the smoky orange supermoon lighting up the sky above their heads. A supermoon is when the moon is in its closest orbital position to Earth and also is full, resulting in a moon that is brighter and larger seeming than normal. Coming up this month is the very rare occurence of a lunar eclipse during a supermoon, which is set to happen on the night of September 27th. The last time these two events coincided was in 1982. - Britta

The supermoon peaking out from behind some pine trees.

8/28/15 - This Friday, Sawbill is having a flashback with former crew members. A number of former crew are back at Sawbill working, either for another season, or just for a few days while they visit. It's great to see what's going on in their lives now, and their help is always appreciated. Of course, if seeing pictures of the wonderful time the crew is having in the roll and put pile inspires nostalgia in any other former crew, come up and visit! You're always more than welcome here. - Britta

From left to right- Top: Brian, Nils John with Roy, Cindy, Ana, Jessica and Britta. Bottom: Buck and Andy with Phoebe. Photo credit to Claire.

The former crew members have some fun and laughs in the roll and put pile.

8/25/15 - Although our Kevlar canoes are much lighter than the more traditional wooden and aluminum canoes, the idea of wearing a fifty pound watercraft as a hat still daunts some people. However, we had one undaunted customer this week by the name of Hattie, an enterprising youth who wanted to carry the canoe by herself. She needed a little help getting the canoe up, but after that, she was ready to hit the trails with her new piece of headgear! As Hattie shows, one of the most important parts of exploring the BWCA isn't your age or experience, but your attitude. -Britta

With her canoe cap and warm clothing, Hattie is properly attired for adventure. Photo by Brian Henry.

8/21/15 - Tom Doremus, long time Sawbill canoeist, sent along this note and picture today:

Hi Sawbill,

I was going through my dad's things (He passed way last year), and found this. I thought it was cool. Don't know if you guys still have such a thing.

He did love Sawbill and the boundary waters, and so do I. I hope to see you later in Sept.

Tom Doremus

My dad, Frank Hansen, created these certificates back in the '70s. He gave them to people who experienced a lot of bad weather on their trip. We still use the embossed canoe on our stationary, although without the gold leaf. - Bill

8/20/15 - We recently received an email from Steve Gendron, who has been volunteering to count loons for the Minnesota Loon Watch, a program through the DNR, for over 20 years. He became well-known by the crew when his dog Bode went missing on his annual loon-counting trip. Below is his email, along with a picture he attached.

Hello Bill and the Sawbillians. Sorry for the slow response on the results of the loon counting, but here goes: Sawbill lake 4 adults, 1 juvenile, Smoke Lake 2 adults, Flame Lake 0, and Burnt Lake 2 adults.

Included is a photo of our dog Bode, who of course ran off from us on the Burnt lake portage June 29. Bode spent 10 nights in the BWCA/Superior National Forest before going into a campsite at Nine Mile Lake, 25 to 30 miles away from where we lost him. Since his return to us, he's become friends with many dogs at "doggie day care" in Minneapolis and is learning basic commands and social skills- mooching cereal, lounging on furniture, and wearing sunglasses and "chilling".

Thanks again for all the assistance we received,
Steve Gendron


Thanks for the email, Steve! We're glad to hear Bode is doing so well. - Elena


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