All Things BWCA Newsletter – August 2018

All Things BWCA Newsletter – August 2018

What’s Going on in the North Woods

  • bwca ely MinnesotaAround The Base
  • The Fishing Corner
  • Wilderness Wisdom
  • The Boy Scout Scene
  • Tips For the Boundary Waters Photographer
  • More Great Information

This newsletter is designed to help keep you current on the issues of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and Quetico Provincial Park, to give you information on Williams and Hall Outfitters, and to share some of our knowledge and love of the outdoors and the BWCA wilderness around us. We hope you enjoy these articles and share them with your friends.

Around The Base

williams and hall outfitters ely mnHalfway Through and Only Just Starting

by Blayne

We are well into August and it seems like we are just starting here on Moose Lake. The Boundary Waters canoe season is going well as we reach the height of the season.  As you see from the pictures of the parking lot, there are a lot of comings and goings as parties from all across the country find their way to the Boundary Waters.  The weather has been fair and the fishing superb.  What more can we want?




williams and hall outfitters lodgeWilliams and Hall lodge

williams and hall lodge

Our Incredible Staff Can Build!

We have a very talented crew when it comes to construction this year, and we decided to let them display their talents on a new stairway project this summer.  Starting with a pretty well-used set of steps, we turned them into a nice new set of stairs from our outfitting deck to the dining room, handrails and lights included.  Check out the new addition.



Tow Boats are in Full Use

This morning the towboats started early as we moved over ninety people from wilderness portages back to our base.  It was a very busy day.  Most of us got 4 or 5 trips up and down the lake hauling groups home. We are so thankful as outfitters that we missed a huge thunderstorm that slid by just south of us.  That would have really added to the fun.  Now starts that time of year when the youth groups head back to sports practices, band camp, and school shopping.  Is it just me or does it seem like school starts earlier every year?  We will miss our crew, they have been excellent this year.

Come For the Shoulder Season

williams and hall in the fall

Fall in the BWCA

This is what we call our shoulder season.  Mid-August through September is magical. There are far fewer youth groups, far fewer mosquitoes, and far more available entry permits. You get to see the leaves changing color, the animals are moving around preparing for winter, and outfitters are not nearly as frazzled as they get in mid-July.  If you find yourself with a few days or a week that are not already spoken for, come see us.  We have many guests that return year after year during September for those very reasons.

We all hope your summer is going as well as it is here in the Northwoods.

Adventure On!

The Fishing Corner

Back Next Month

by Dave, our Resident Fishing Expert

Dave is on a fishing break. Bet he catches something.

Fish On. Be Free.

Wilderness Wisdom

williams and hall outfitters bwca ely minnesota

Tips On What Makes a Great Campsite

by Kevin


Moving from campsite to campsite is common on a BWCA paddling journey.  All legal campsites are well marked on maps of the Boundary Waters and Quetico.  But all of these campsites are not created equally.  Some are excellent and some are downright terrible.


williams and hall outfitting

Enjoying a Great BWCA Campsite

Campsite Tips

Here are a few tips for finding that great campsite for the night.

  1. During the crowded times of the year, start looking early afternoon. Good campsites can fill up fast as evening approaches.
  2. Find a campsite that has the potential for a nice breeze. This helps keep you cool and keep the mosquitos away.  Campsites situated on points or islands can be good bets.
  3. The more level the better. Look for sites where you can pitch your tent and set up your kitchen area on level ground.  And try to avoid lots of rocks where tents will go.
  4. Scope out a campsite that has a good tree for hanging your bear bags. Also, take a look around for evidence of any recent bear visits – avoid the site if evidence exists.
  5. If you are hoping for a glimpse of the northern lights, look for campsites on the southern shore of the lake.

Of course, always ask your outfitter for advice.  They know where most of the great campsites are and will share this information with you.

Paddle On.  Be Free.

The Boy Scout Scene 

The Value of Wilderness to Millennials

by Kevin

About 30 years ago, Bill McKibben declared the “end of wilderness”.  By this meant that we could no longer conceive of a natural world free of human influence.  We would only know what humans created.  Bill McKibben may or may not have been correct.  But his thesis does impact how young people view wilderness.

What Exactly is Wilderness For Millennials?

boundary waters quetico wilderness

A recent study was performed to determine what wilderness means to millennials and whether they care about wilderness.  Of course, any study can be generalized only so far, but the study, found at ( did reach some interesting conclusions.

  1. Solitude and beauty – Millennials, while more separated from nature and more connected to technology, still find the solitude and beauty of the wilderness to be a powerful change agent for them.
  2. Wilderness as an illusion – Millennials struggle with the idea of wilderness being nothing more than illusion, far from being independent of human influence.
  3. Wilderness and technology – Millennials are aware of the competition between wilderness and technology, particularly communications technology. Some millennials define wilderness as a place without cell service.  (This concept does lend credence to McKibben.)
  4. Finding wilderness locally – Related to wilderness as an illusion, millennials are inclined to not think of wildernesses just as expansive tracks of land (like the BWCA), but also small local tracks of land in their own backyards.

As Scouters, we can learn much from these findings.  I also think the findings give Scouters hope and renewed purpose in connecting young people with the outdoors.  Try to begin looking at wilderness through millennial eyes and adjusting your programs accordingly.

Duty On. Be Your Best.

Tips For the Boundary Waters Photographer 

Camera Gear in the Paddling Wilderness

By Kevin

Serious photographers may be tempted to take serious photography equipment with them into the Boundary Waters and Quetico.  After all, the opportunities for incredible and unique photos are plentiful in these paddling wildernesses.  Wildlife, landscape panoramas, and night sky shots abound.

boundary waters photography

Bringing serious photography equipment like DSLRs, multiple lenses, tripods and extra batteries is great, but you should consider a few things before arriving for your wilderness trip.

Weight and Bulk

Photography equipment can be bulky and heavy.  You need to make the decision that you are willing to portage this equipment from lake to lake.  As your trip goes on, you may wish you had left your equipment at home. Just remember that you brought your equipment for a good reason – to get that great shot as you portage.

What Equipment to Bring

Give thought to what type of photos you hope to capture.  Will you need a lens for landscapes and for wildlife?  Definitely bring what you will need, but don’t necessarily bring the kitchen sink.

Keep it Dry and Safe

Make sure you pack your valuable equipment in a dry bag.  The dry bag should be padded to protect your equipment when portaging.  Make sure your bag is waterproof if it falls in the water.  It should also float.  Always keep the bag sealed when not using your equipment.  You never know when you could tip over.

Shoot On!

We Can Help You Secure Your 2018 Permits for Boundary Waters  and Quetico

Quetico Park permits are available no sooner than 5 months, to the day, ahead of the actual start date and Boundary Waters permits became available for application on a first-come, first serve basis beginning in mid-January.  Now is the time to apply.

Remember…We are happy to secure your Canoe Country permits at no extra charge!

williams and hall outfitters ely bwca permits

williams and hall outfitters quetico ely







Purchase Williams and Hall Merchandise Online

Need a great gift for that paddler in your life.  You can always find Williams and Hall merchandise online.  Just click the “Shop For Gear” link at the top of our home page or go directly to

Welcome to the 2018 season! We Are In Full Swing.

gateway to boundary waters canoe adventure

Please give us a chance to help you plan your 2018 Canoe Country adventure.

From your friends at Williams and Hall,                                                                             Charlene, Blayne, Dave and Kevin

Williams and Hall Outfitters and Canoe Adventures                                                                                        
(218) 365-5837

Paddle On.  Be Free.