Monday, July 10, 2017

Bear Activity in the Boundary Waters and How to Hang a Food Pack

Rebecca Manlove, Information officer for the the U.S. Forest Service sent us this recent update on Bear Reports in the BWCAW.

Bear Reports sent July 4th:
  • Shell Lake Bear—appears to be a juvenile male encountered on the southeast campsite on Shell Lake. This bear came into the campsite and was chased off three times with pot banging and finally rock throwing. The group strung noise makers (pots, etc.) onto the pack before hoisting it into the trees, but the bear didn’t return that night. Bear was estimated between 200 and 250 pounds and may be favoring his back right leg. Reported 7-3-2017.
  • On July 2 around 4 p.m. a bear tore into a food pack on Campsite #34 on the South Arm of Knife Lake: the site is southeast of Amoeber Lake (in the bay by itself). Earlier groups reported seeing a bear but had no encounter. The unlucky group hung their food pack 10 ft. up and 4 ft. from the tree before leaving the campsite. They were gone most of the day. When they returned, they found their food pack shredded. A bear broke branches until it broke the one supporting the food pack rope. A tent was torn also (almonds inside). The group said this was a persistent and smart bear—even got the pack off the carabiner. Bear returned to the site while the leader was calling in the bear report. The group moved to a nearby site and the bear followed them. They were successful in chasing it off that time. In the same area, another group carried their food pack and garbage with them while they were day tripping, but a bear knocked over three unoccupied tents. That group was all girls. Although there was no food in the tents, the contents may have smelled sweeter than average J. (Actually, still-packaged feminine hygiene products may have smelled attractive to the bear. Using unscented toiletries when in the woods is a good idea.)

Further Bear Reports:
  • On 6/24 on the South Arm of Knife, Campsite #34 (again): bear came into camp while group leaders were making coffee. They chased it away by banging pots.
  • On 7/3 on the campsite on the northeast point of Thunder Point a bear came within 15 to 20 feet of a group. Yelling wasn’t successful—only aggressive pot banging drove it away. The bear showed little fear and finally walked away slowly. The group stayed at the site another night and the bear did not return.
  • On July 6th, a bear entered a  campsite on the south side of the large island on South Arm Knife (Campsite 30) and got away with a bag of granola.  It returned later that afternoon and was chased away. 
  • I’m attaching a bear-discouraging food hanging poster. You’re welcome to reproduce it and hang it up. If you have groups going into the South Arm of Knife Lake, please share these bear reports with them. Remind them of the importance of keeping ANYTHING with a scent out of their tents.
  • Please report anymore bear incidents to me (not just sightings, but interactions—especially if the bear is successful or acts aggressively).
  • Walking behind a campsite to dump fishguts or burning food waste is sending out invitations to bears and other wildlife. And the people dumping are not the only group who will wind up hosting them. Encourage visitors to think about future campers and the shortened future for a nuisance bear. 

Forest Service Shield
Rebecca Manlove
Information Assistant
Forest Service
Superior National Forest, Kawishiwi Ranger District

1393 Highway 169
Ely, MN 55731 LogoFacebook Logo
Caring for the land and serving people

Friday, June 9, 2017

Moments in Polaroids: Lines from the Boundary Waters and Beyond

Moments in Polaroids

Remember when you’d stand there
shaking the film as it developed from a grey
ghost slipping through the shadow world,
like a walleye
rising up through
tannin stained waters,
desperate to stay
hidden but
pulled uncontrollably
towards the surface that
tensioned between
you and I.

Little by little the granular
surface would appear
underneath colors
that couldn’t quite
be explained. Then we’d
shove our eye into
that rubber socketed
viewfinder again and
shift the sun to the
left while crossing
our fingers. While missing
the larger, contagious

If only this touches
the memory of this moment
just a fraction, sets the hook,
I can reel in the rest of
it years from
now when we dig
through a dusty box
forgotten in the attic.

Remember when we spent
more time making the
memory than recording it?

Let’s do that again.
Let’s do
that now.

©Timothy James Stouffer 06082017
All Rights Reserved Ely, Minnesota

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Poem: Separation Lines from the Boundary Waters and Beyond


There’s a line that the wilderness
draws behind each of us
a little distance from Ely.
Whether by stream, river or lake
as our canoes slip
over it,
pulled by paddle stroke
and the desire to find more than
our own reflection in the
Boundary Waters.

This line when crossed can
never be returned from,
can’t be uncrossed.

Though it is invisible, almost everyone
I know can recall the moment
they entered the other side.
The side where our previous selves
began to fade and our
canoe camping self began to pulsate,
like the oldest coals of our

The afternoon sun burnt off the rest of the shadows
as we paddled on,
not stopping until we blended into
the darkness and the branches
of the pines and cedars
reached out over the water
to welcome us home.

©Timothy James Stouffer 06052017
All Rights Reserved Ely, Minnesota

If you like the poetry we publish here and on social media you might like to check out a recent Zine created by Simon and Tim Stouffer who work at Piragis Northwoods Company.  Pronounced "ZEEENE" like Maga-zine, a zine is a self published, small run of artwork and/or prose.  This particular zine was actually printed locally at Ely Design Works on high quality paper to showcase the 20 black and white photos taken by Simon.  Accompanying the photos are original poems by Tim Stouffer.  The content was inspired by their day together along the North Shore early this Spring.

Here's a link:

Father's Day Special Blade from Helle: Godbit

Each year the good folks at Helle Knives release a special edition model for Father's Day.  This year their knife is the Godbit.


This year's model is the "Godbit" which means "goodie" or "treat".  This model was originally produced in the 1990s and was designed by Gunnar Lothe. The pommel knob on the end anchors the knife in place by securing the knife via the sheath tab (similar to the Helle Harding model).

Handle : Curly birch, 4.53 inches long
Blade : Triple layer steel, 4 inches long
Includes: Genuine leather black sheath
Total weight : 6.07 ounces


Now $129.99

Click the image below to purchase at the Boundary Waters Catalog!

Poem: Grandparents Lines from the Boundary Waters and Beyond

(Poetry from the Boundary Waters and Beyond)

This day ending with its sentinels
of pine pointing towards the
setting sun could have
meant anything,

to you and
I under the tarp near
the glowing coals of the fire,
it meant sore muscles, blistered
hands and one of the best tasting
dinners I've eaten out of a
pouch in forever.
Well, what

when paired with
lake trout picked up while
trolling towards this point on
the island that gifted us a view of
our own private lake?  This
moment is why I wish
I would have
to you

fore, when you told me that we could still find ourselves in the boundary waters canoe area wilderness, even at our age, even having forgotten more about camping than most young people ever imagined they'd learn thank goodness for the air mattress and the forty four pound kevlar canoe.

It is never too late
to remember.

©Timothy James Stouffer 05252017
All Rights Reserved Ely, MN