The Boundary Waters Canoe Wildernes Area (BWCA)

Aerial view of BWCA
Where is Ely?

Northern Minnesota is uniquely canoe country! If you enjoy a good physical outing and the feeling of dipping your paddle into the water, then wilderness canoeing just might be for you.

Minnesota's BWCA and Ontario, Canada's Quetico Park form one of the world's special wilderness areas; the largest international area dedicated for wilderness recreational purposes in the world. The area has served as a travel corridor for native peoples and as one of the main routes to the west for European explorers and fur traders. The Voyageurs' Highway ran through the BWCA and Quetico Park. Today its quiet waters and non-mechanized mode of travel serve as a haven from the outside world.

Boundary Waters (BWCA)

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, has changed little since the glacier melt. Canoeing, and fishing opportunities are endless on the more than 2,000 lakes and streams found within the forest. With 1,500 miles of canoe routes, nearly 2,200 designated campsites, and more than 1,000 lakes and streams, the BWCA boasts some of the country's finest fishing.

The BWCA is part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. It is managed by the United States Forest Service. NCCO, is a "Cooperator", working with the Kawishiwi Ranger District, on the Superior National Forest. We  hold Guide/Packer Agreements, as well as Towboat / Van Agreements, with the U.S. Forest Service.

Quetico Provincial Park

Quetico Provincial Park, in Ontario, makes up the northern half of this international canoe country. Quetico Park is Ontario's second largest wilderness park. Routes in Quetico differ slightly from the U.S. side (not better and not worse). Portages and campsites are a little more rugged as the park does not have portage crews managing the area as does the BWCA. With few exceptions, whatever can be found on one side of the border, can usually be found on the other: wildlife, fishing, and both isolated solitude as well as busy areas. The biggest difference between parks is the nightly, per person, camping fee charges to visitors of Quetico Park.  North Country is one of only two Ely outfitters to have been granted the ridged Outfitter / Guiding License by Manitoba.

More BWCA information