8/21/21 – We have just received the official closure notice from the Forest Service. Below is the news release we received and a map of the closure area.
“The Superior National Forest is closing the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, effective August 21, 2021, due to active and increasing fire activity, extreme drought, limited resources. The closure will be in place for seven days, and may be modified or extended as conditions allow.
This closure includes all lands, waters, trails, portages, campsite, canoe routes and Wilderness entry points in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The Forest has notified permit holders and outfitters and is cancelling permits today through August 27. Permit holders will be fully reimbursed. At this time, all overnight paddle, day use and motorized day use is cancelled. The Forest will reopen portions of the Wilderness and/or some uses when it is safe.
We understand that this will have a significant impact on our visitors, cooperators and communities near the forest. This emergency closure is necessary for the safety of our visitors, our wilderness rangers and our fire-fighters. It allows our fire crews to focus on responding to existing fires and new starts.
Northern Minnesota is facing severe to extreme drought conditions. Active and increasing fire across the landscape. Yesterday, the John Elk Fire grew from 3 acres to 1600 acres and the Whelp Fire grew from 30 acres to at least 80 acres. The Forest has ordered a Type 3 team to respond to the John Elk Fire. Although the Greenwood Fire is being managed by a Type 2 Eastern Area Incident Management Team, forest resources are working with and assisting the team with the 9,000-acre fire. There are additional fires on the Superior and Forest staff are responding to initial fire starts and monitoring fires that are in controlled status including the Bungee Fire, Fourtown Fire, Sundial Fire, Moose Lake Fire, and the Clara Fire. Additionally, the Forest is monitoring the fires in Canada, which continue to show movement towards to the US border. The Forest is coordinating with Ontario counterparts on these fires.”
If you had a trip planned to begin in the next week, you have some options if you’d like to still salvage a camping vacation. The Sawbill Lake, Crescent Lake, and Temperance River campgrounds that we manage are still open. Crescent is not within the BWCA, so it is entirely open for paddling (it’s also a great walleye lake). The southern portion of Sawbill, outside of the Wilderness, is open for paddling.
There are a few other options for remote camping and paddling in our vicinity in the Superior National Forest, including the Timber Frear loop, Cascade Lake, and Lichen Lake. If you’d like to talk about any of these options we are happy to help you make use of those vacation days.
In the event you would like to cancel your reservation for canoes or equipment with us, please give us a call or an email and we will process it as soon as we are able.
Thank you for your flexibility, your well wishes, and for hanging in there with us!