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Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Superior National Forest

May 16 - May 24

Trip Navigation

Volunteers will help maintain sections of the “Kek” that are in dire need of basic maintenance work because of prior windstorms that severely damaged the trail. This entails using hand tools to remove blowdowns and clear brush from the trail corridor. We will be working on the easternmost 15 miles of the “Kek” within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the worksite will be very remote. The most difficult tasks will be 1) portaging 9 times on the way in/out and 2) doing the clearing work. Portaging is the act of carrying all your personal gear, some of the group gear, plus the canoes and tools over rough trails in between the lakes. This is often very difficult for folks unused to carrying heavy loads over uneven terrain.


North Country Trail Association


Primitive Tent Sites


Paddling 10 miles to basecamp (Day hiking up to 6 miles each day)

Project Rating

Very Strenuous

Minimum Volunteer Age


Maximum Group Size


Area and Attractions

The million-acre Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) is a stunningly beautiful designated wilderness area located in the northeastern tip of Minnesota. It is a unique landscape that is made up of equal parts water (lakes) and land (covered by boreal forest). While canoeing is the dominant use of the Wilderness, there are 200 miles of hiking trails within the BWCAW including the Kekekabic and Border Route Trails - two components of the North Country National Scenic Trail. The eastern half of the Kekekabic Trail (Kek) was damaged by the historic 1999 windstorm and subsequent wildfires. The forest has regenerated along with thick brush. The job of the crew will be to open a corridor through the forest and brush for hikers to follow. The crew will be working between Chub and Glee Lakes and camping on French Lake. This Kek section features narrow, rocky/grassy valleys; beaver ponds; rocky knobs, and young hardwood forests. Canoeing on a BWCAW lake, fishing, or hiking may be enjoyed right from the group campsite.

Accommodations Description

Volunteers will be staying in primitive tent camping sites in The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Campsites typically feature an opening in the forest with a rock shelf by the lake, a fire ring, and a wilderness toilet. The group camp will feature a tarp over the cooking area. Showers will be available at the end of the trip but people may clean off in the lake daily. Volunteers should bring their own tent, sleeping bag and pad, and personal items. Volunteers will need to carry their personal gear and a portion of the food/tools/cooking gear to base camp.


Airport pickup provided from Duluth International Airport. Airport pickup and dropoff times will be sent to registrants when the trip is confirmed.


Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
2020 W. Highway 61, Grand Marais, Minnesota 55604 United States