Fifty Years Of
BWCA Legacy and Lodge - Legendary Experience And Service
Our BWCA legacy and lodge – for over 50 years, adventurers have left our dock on Moose Lake for their wilderness trip of a lifetime. Lot’s of things have changed during those fifty years. We have new lodge buildings, lighter and better canoes, and different owners. But one thing remains – a tradition of quality service, safety and credibility – Experience.
Don Beland Starts It All
Our BWCA legacy and lodge begins with Don Beland. Don Beland was well-known in Ely Minnesota as a guide, trapper and ultimately an outfitter. Don left his home in Illinois at the age of 16 and headed for Canoe Country where he started trapping and guiding. Ultimately, Don came to the shores of Moose Lake around 1964 with the dream of creating the best canoe outfitting operation in North America. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness did not even officially exist at time.
Some of the stories about Don include:
- He would go into the wilderness for 3 months at a time, not seeing another human the whole time.
- Injuring his knee while in the wilderness, he dragged himself 15 miles on frozen ground to the nearest cabin
- Don served as the sole guide for a trip of 28 female canoeists on an eight-day trip.
An old Don Beland’s Wilderness Canoe Trips brochure says “For a 1st class canoe trip, you can depend on the credibility of Don Beland’s Wilderness Canoe Trip. North America’s most experienced canoe outfitter.”
Time of Growth and Change with
Tom and Woods
Our BWCA legacy and lodge story continued when Tom Ware and Woods Davis bought the operation from Don Beland. They renamed the business Tom and Woods’ Moose Lake Wilderness Canoe Trips. The location was the same. However, Tom and Woods had big plans. They built the new facilities that still exist today. The business grew significantly during their ownership. Finally, Tom and Woods were always a favorite at sporting shows. They were consummate cheerleaders (and salesmen) for canoeing in the Boundary Waters.
The Era of
Williams and Hall Begins
Tom and Woods decided to sell the business in 1994. Blayne and Charlene Hall, along with Lyle and Shirley Williams purchased the business and renamed it Williams and Hall Wilderness Outfitters and Canoe Trips. The Halls and Williams moved their families to the shores of Moose Lake that year. Eventually, Lyle Williams retired and sold his interest to Kevin Lynch, but the company’s name stayed the same.
Today, the facilities are well maintained and the equipment is continually updated. Blayne and Charlene continue to live on site, over 20 years now. A key member of our team, Dave Sebesta, our General Manager, who knows the Boundary Waters inside and out, lives just down the road.
That’s our story. For fifty years, our company remains true to its original founder’s goal. We deliver a first class canoe trip and you can depend on our credibility as one of North America’s most experienced canoe outfitters. We look forward to another fifty years of serving you.
Our hosts – Dave, Blayne, Charlene and Kevin – have extensive experience in canoeing, kayaking, camping, fishing, and backpacking. They all live full-time on Moose Lake (except for Kevin) and have traveled extensively in the Boundary Waters and Quetico Canoe Country. Their pleasure lies in introducing others to this vast and incredibly fascinating wilderness area.
We recruit college-age summer team members from universities and communities across the country. Our leadership team is very careful about who we hire because these team members directly impact your adventure experience. We are very proud of our young adult team and believe they are best group in Canoe Country. We are confident you will agree.
The best lodge in the land
Located in Ely, MN
Over 50 Year of Experience
For over 50 years, adventurers have left our dock on Moose Lake for their wilderness trip of a lifetime. Lot’s of things have changed during those fifty years.
We have new lodge buildings, lighter and better canoes, and different owners. But one thing remains – a tradition of quality service, safety and credibility – Experience.
Look at what we have to offer! As a full service outfitter located at the gateway to the Boundary Waters and Quetico, we provide a number of services that will make your trip to the Ely Minnesota Canoe Country safer, more convenient, and more enjoyable.
Lodging at Moose Lake
Our beautiful stone and wood lodge sits on the shore on the Moose Lake, looking upon the gateway to the Boundary Waters wilderness. We can accommodate groups of 1 to 100 with comfortable bunks or double beds.
Bathrooms are shared. These accommodations are ideal for first and last night stays. Staying in the lodge means you can roll out of bed and be paddling without long transportation delays in the morning.
We are More Than Just A
Boundary Waters Outfitter
Enjoy relaxed lakeside dining in our dining room. Dinner is served at 6:30pm and Breakfast at 7:00am. Reservations required for all dining room meals. Meals are Cook’s Choice. Special dietary requirements can be accommodated with advance notice. Prepaid meals are non-refundable.
Need a Shower after your day on the water?
For those of you not staying the night, a large shower facility is available for our returning guests that wish to wash off some of that trail dust before they depart for home.
Need a relaxing steam, our Sauna is open!
Our large sauna is a welcome treat after a long car ride or a canoe trip.
Our guests can safely park their vehicles in our lot while in the woods.