All Things BWCA Newsletter – March 2016

All Things BWCA Newsletter – March 2016

What’s Going on in the North Woods

  • bwca ely MinnesotaAround The Base
  • Going to Quetico
  • The Fishing Corner
  • The Scouter’s Scene
  • 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 wilderness around us. We hope you enjoy these articles and share them with your friends.

Around The Base


Williams and Hall Outfiters Ely Minnesota

Brand New Savage River Carbon Fiber Canoes

At Williams and Hall, we are always working to keep our lodge and equipment in tip-top shape.  Every year, we spend over $50,000 on new equipment, maintenance, and repairs. By doing this, we are working to ensure that you will have a great trip to the Boundary Waters and Quetico.

Springtime is when we start a lot of our projects.  This year, we plan on doing the following major projects:

  • Purchase two new Savage River carbon fiber canoes
  • New roofs on two buildings
  • Dock repair and upgrades
  • Purchase new kevlar and aluminum canoes
  • Purchase two new towboats
  • Bathroom upgrades

And, of course, we will replace our canoeing and camping equipment as needed so that you can count on our equipment to work right when you are in the Canoe Country wilderness.

Going To Quetico

Quetico Provincial Park, for those not aware, is our “sister” canoeing wilderness that lies just north of the border…in Ontario, Canada. Identical geologically to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the Quetico Park shares the same region of the Canadian Shield…or part of North America where the bedrock reaches the earth’s surface, in spectacular fashion.  Impressive cliffs of granite are seemingly held in place by the pine-studded forest, accompanied by hardwoods like birch, aspen, and alder. Oaks and maples exist in much smaller numbers, adding brilliant splashes of red and orange come autumn. Hundreds of watery gems sprinkled across the landscape offer a paddler’s waterway dream and a fisherman’s destination.

Williams and Hall Outfitters Ely MinnesotaGoing to Quetico in bygone years was as easy as a half day’s paddle or a swift boat shuttle to the Ranger Station at Prairie Portage. A quick stop at Canadian Customs for clearance…and a little “food duty” charge on your sustenance, a stop at the Ranger Station to pay camping fees and buy a fishing license and you were on your way to a Quetico adventure….for “a few bucks a day”.

Today, the process seems to be a lot more involved to accomplish the same adventure as the “old days”. Yes, that may be the case but we’re telling you…It’s not as big a deal to go to Quetico as you might think! Ok…the camping fees are more expensive…but what isn’t? Williams and Hall outfitters ely minnesotaYou have to get a Remote Area Border Crossing Pass (RABC) to go into Canada at a remote location. That’s because there is no longer a Canadian Customs Station (since the mid-‘90s …and no duty or fee on food has existed for years). The RABC is an easy thing to get, covers a family with one (husband/wife and dependent children) and doesn’t cost any more than food duty used to for a week’s worth of food. Yes, a Passport is required to re-enter the U.S. but a Passport card is acceptable, is half the cost and is good for ten years like a Passport book. The cost amounts to about $10 a year or $5.50 a year for the “card”. Ontario fishing licenses are available on-line and aren’t much different cost-wise than a Minnesota license. We can walk you through all the logistics.

What it takes to go into the Quetico though, is timing. That is, you need to allow enough time prior to going in, to take care of the issues we’ve mentioned. They aren’t hard to do but they take time to process. Permits are available 5 months to the day, in advance of your preferred start date. Permits?  Perhaps because of the perception of difficulty/cost of going into Quetico, permits are more available now than when the quota was first started. In fact, at the time of this newsletter, Quetico permits at Prairie Portage (currently available through today’s date in August) are upwards of 75% still available!

Though there are many established campsites in Quetico Park, they are not designated. There are no fire grates or “box” latrines in the park-like in the Boundary Waters. For some, that might make a difference. For anyone, however, you can’t deny the solitude that awaits in the Quetico. For many of you, the Quetico explanation is unnecessary and the extra cost is trivial and worth it.   For those who haven’t experience Quetico but are interested, let us know, because we’re happy to give you the information necessary to experience our “Sister Wilderness” just north of the border!

The Fishing Corner

Lodge-based Fishing 


Williams and Hall Outfitters Ely MN

Fury Fishing Boat (photo from Lund website)

Most folks think that fishing in the Boundary Waters requires camping.  However, this is not necessarily the case.  Because our lodge sits on the shores of Moose Lake, we can offer lodge-based fishing.  You can enjoy the comforts of our lodge, and the food from our dining room, while still being able to access the incredible fishing that the Boundary Waters can offer.

And, did you know that we have two Lund boats that you can rent?  Choose from:

  • Lund SSV with 2 regular seats with backs
  • Lund Fury with carpeted floor, pedestal seats, storage compartment, and a live well.

Both boats are equipped with an E-Tec 25 hp motor with electric start and power trim/tilt.

Remember that you will need to get a Boundary Waters access permit to enjoy the fishing. Of course, advice from our resident fishing expert, Dave, is free.

The Scouter’s Scene 

Williams and Hall Ely MN

Another Boy Scout Troop Survives a BWCA Canoe Trip!

One of our favorites buildings at our lodge is the lakeside bunkhouse.  This bunkhouse is perfect for a Scout Troop.  The bunkhouse brings back memories of the old days of canoeing with its rustic finish.  The bunkhouse sits right on the water of Moose Lake and can sleep up to 18 people.

And, the bunkhouse has been decorated with memorabilia from Scout Troops that have visited in the past.

It’s Time to Secure Your 2016 Permits

Quetico Park permits are available no sooner than 5 months, to the day, ahead of the actual start date and Boundary Waters permits are available for application now. All BWCA permits became available first-come, first serve in late January.

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

Looking forward to Spring!

Thank you sign

We look forward to helping you plan your 2016 Boundary Waters Paddling Adventure!

From your friends at Williams and Hall,
Charlene, Blayne, Dave, and Kevin
Williams and Hall Outfitters and Canoe Adventures
(218) 365-5837