Beaver Dam Bursts Floods Moose River in Bwca

It is customary to think of the changes wrought on the landscape by wildlife as gradual impacts. For example, the browse line deer make on trees rimming a lake or game trails beaten into the soil and vegetation over decades of travel by hooved and pawed creatures. But sometimes wildlife induced changes can be immediate and dramatic. Such was the case August 11th on the Moose River in the BWCA when a beaver dam on a small tributary burst, releasing thousands of cubic feet of water into the Moose River and creating a flash flood of destructive proportions. The Google satellite photo taken before the dam burst shows the enormity of the beaver pond that drained into the Moose River. I came down the river the following day with a group of nine. Large trees were toppled a big cedar was split. A pile of sandy silt burying debris to … Continue reading

Back from the BWCA

Just completed an outstanding “Return to the Place of Fire” Boundary Waters canoe trip with six participants and two co-guides, Sue Plankis and Zoe Kesselring. I believe Pam, Beth, Brian, Valerie, Nell, and Lara had a great trip. We went down the Moose River camping the first night on Nina Moose Lake. The second day we went further down the Moose River including running the rapids instead of the 96 rod portage. This is usually possible only in the spring but because a huge beaver dam had burst, the flow on the Moose River was dramatically enhanced. From Agnes we portaged to the Boulder River and then over to the Dahlgren River and up that, past an exquisite grove of red pine and 2 falls, eventually to Stuart Lake which had only one available campsite. The next morning a 320-rod portage to a string of lakes and up to Iron … Continue reading

Back from the Arctic

Completed a fantastic 400-mile journey down the Noatak River all of it north of the Arctic Circle in Alaska. My companions Sue Plankis, Karen Kelley and Zoe Kesselring were stellar explorers and the trip passed smoothly without a single mishap. Before I had left Alaska I had seen 22 grizzly bears including 10 on the Noatak. But also caribou, moose, dall sheep, musk-ox, lynx, wolves, foxes, porcupines and even one wolverine (which was my first) plus many interesting birds. Rapids were mild and frequent, weather was cloudy but dry, mosquitoes were abundant, scenery spectacular including a flight in that was perhaps the most incredible bush flight ever (and I have likely over a thousand hours or more on floats). Anyway, more later, because I leave at 5:30 am tomorrow for a week in the BWCA with a crew of nine. Looking forward to the warm water, bugless skies and fun … Continue reading