20 Great BWCA Trips Errata (1/26/2014)
After two years, the book is still accurate with two exceptions. First, the Federal Government has abandoned the winter lottery and now you can just apply for a permit after the first of the year. You only need to do this for the most popular sites like Moose Lake Second, a forest fire in 2012 burnt over the Isabella enter point. It is still useable but is now not as pretty (unless you like burnt trees).
BWCA Information Sources
One great source of information about all things BWCA is bwca.com
The BWCA v, The Superior National Forest (1/26/2014)
The BWCA v. Superior National Forest (SNF). The BWCA is the most famous part of northeastern Minnesota and the destination most people think of when going to when looking for a beautiful and peaceful wilderness experience. The SNF, which contains the BWCA, is much less well known although much larger than the BWCA. What most people don't realize is you can also camp in the SNF and such camping has several advantages over entering the BWCA. First, you need to obtain a permit to camp overnight in the BWCA but sites in the SNF do not require a permit (although those with available water charge a fee). Second, in the BWCA you almost always are camping on a beautiful lake but the same is true in the SNF, which has many great campsites on beautiful lakes. Third, because the BWCA is more well known, more people want to enter it, the BWCA can be crowded and you will encounter other people every day. In the SNF, in contrast, there are many fewer people and you can spend days without encountering anyone else. Fourth, in the BWCA you can only enter by canoe (with a few exceptions) and must take everything you need for your trip with you when you enter. In contrast, in the SNF, you can drive your vehicle to your campsite so you can take most gear with you (e.e., coolers). This also means that you can easily get out quickly is you or your party has an accident or if you have forgotten something and want to drive to am nearby store and obtain it.
For many years we went into the BWCA but once we discovered the virtues of the SNF, we gave up the BWCA and now only camp in the SNF and, on occasion,, drive to a BWCA enter point and day trip into from the BWCA. I strongly suggest giving serious consideration to SNF camping.
Protecting the BWCA (1/28/2014)
Recently, there have been several major threats to the pristine nature of the Boundary Waters, including a sulfide mine that may polute some of the BWA lakes. The main organization fighting against such threats is the Friends of the Boundary Waters. For information about these threats and an opportunity to help, go to www.friends-bwca.org .