The next Minnesota Voyageurs Challenge is
Saturday, September 10, 2016. There is a mandatory
equipment inspection and captains meeting the day before on Friday, September 09, 2016. The Challenge finishes on Saturday, September 17, 2016.
Refer to the schedule for time/date specifics.
MNVC cost is $195.00
for the captain and $195.00 for
a crew member if any. It does not include your BWCA permit or any optional outfitter fees for transport,
rental, purchase and such.
Due to permitting requirements, we must be divided up into groups. Each group must have a group leader who is
the permit holder. These permits must be acquired very early in the year before they are taken so it is
recommended to get in early. Registration for ends
Friday, July 08, 2016 at noon.
Billing starts Wednesday, June 01, 2016.
The payment deadline for group members is Friday, July 08, 2016 at noon.
Group members can receive a full refund up to the payment deadline.
Due to the exteme commitment for this challenge late registration and/or late payments will not be allowed. We recommend
that you commit to this race early so you have plenty of time for planning, training, and preparation. Pay early in the
payment cycle. You can receive a full refund up to the payment deadline.
All WaterTribe events are dangerous events as defined by law and common sense. You
are responsible for your own safety. You must read and understand
Rules and Warnings
before you register for this event. Although the warnings read
specific to Florida, they all apply to the northern Minnesota environment (except maybe alligators :) and must be
read and understood for this event.
This event is a challenge. It is not a race. Your group will enter at Crane Lake, Minnesota and follow the boarder to Grand Portage State Park. We are planning to enter at entry point 12. We will exit after the 9-mile Grand Portage. Here is a link to a planning tool that shows entry points, portages, campsites:
Boundary Waters Map
The MNVC distance is roughly 210 miles. We follow the Minnesota/Canadian border for the majority of this challenge.
There are several portages and the 9-mile Grand Portage at the end is frosting on the cake. Be prepared and pack lite.
The official time limit is 7 days but if necessary you can still rack up a finish with an additional 1 or 2 days.
Note that the award ceremony is based on the 7-day finish.
Although we mostly follow the Canadian/Minnesota border, you are not required to follow it. For example, the route selected
when I used the PaddlePlanner
from the start to CP1 took me well south of the border through a whole bunch of islands in Lac la Croix. At the bottom of
Lac la Croix it merged back with the border. This is OK as long as you can hit an OK at the virtual checkpoints.
The route follows the Minnesota/Canada border. We need to stay on the Minnesota side as much as possible. But sometimes
that isn't possible. Sometimes you will be paddling in Canadian water and sometimes there will be a portage on the
Recently I was contacted by a non-WaterTriber named Mike who brought up some interesting points about travel in
this area. I passed it on to BeaV to get his input. Here it is.
As BeaV says, "This is a very important transportation route and both countries wanted to maintain
unhindered access along this route. We are allowed to paddle on Canadian waters and portage on Canadian portages
without passports, customs, or Quetico permits. The Key here is "travel". If you or I paddled north into a bay of a
Canadian lake or went to shore for a snack or pee on Canadian ground, or decided to fish on the Canadian side,
we would be subject to all the rules for crossing into a foreign country and their laws as it pertains to their
fishing regulations, licenses, customs, Quetico or other parks permit, etc."
BeaV continues, "Another thing to be aware of is Gunflint Lake area. We will be leaving the BWCA at Magnetic Lake just before
the Gunflint and then reenter the BWCA at South Lake. Technically, per the Wilderness rules, once we leave the
BWCA we would need to have a new Entry Permit to reenter the BWCA. However, the USFS has an unwritten rule that
if we just travel across this area without stopping to camp or stop at the outfitters located on Gunflint Lake,
an Entry Permit is not needed."
I also saw something on a web site but I can't remember exactly which one it was. They mentioned that if you are
forced ashore on the Canadian side due to extreme weather, that you would be OK. Just make sure you get back on
the water as soon as it is safe and don't overdo it. I'm not a lawyer so don't blame me if you end up in jail.
Groups are limited to 8 or 9 people and four kayaks or canoes. For example, three people in each of three canoes.
Or two people in each of four kayaks. Or four people in each of four kayaks. How you setup your group is up to you
as long as you follow the overall guidelines of max 9 people and and max 4 boats.
Also, note that most campsites work best with two or maybe three tents. This is another factor to consider when
setting up your group.
Each group must have a group leader who will be the permit holder for the group. When registering for this event,
the group leader should register his or her entry first and give the group a Team Name. All other members of the group
can register after that making sure to use the same Team Name.
A group will be comprised of members as follows:
Group Leader: Must be a WaterTriber and must secure his or her own permit. The Group Leader
shall select a Team Name that all members of his or her group will use when they register for this
Group Member: This member of the group must register for this event just like any other WaterTribe event. He or she should make sure to enter the Team Name assigned by the Group Leader when registering for this event. This group member will be invoiced and will receive an award and listing in the results.
None WaterTriber Group Member: This was allowed in 2015 but is not allowed in 2016. All members of the group must be registered WaterTribers.
Why you ask? Because at the end of the 2015 challenge, the non WaterTribers were converts and really would have liked the awards. Also, they wanted to be included in the award dinner. Next year everyone will be WaterTribers at the start.
Since the BWCA is much different than the coastal salt water that all other WaterTribe
events use and since the BWCA rules force us to travel in groups, the Required Equipment list is modified
The Group Leader must have a working SPOT and must have a PLB attached to his or her lifejacket. A
VHF radio is optional. Cell phone coverage is mostly non existant, but it is recommended to carry one
Other members of the group are not required to have a PLB or SPOT. However, WaterTribe strongly suggests a PLB or SPOT be attached to the lifejacket of each group member.
All camping equipment may be shared by the group or portion of the group. For example, a group of
8 people might have two tents and one or two camping stoves and so on. Note that most campsites can fit two or sometimes three tents.
Stuff like dry suits, canoe decks, snake-bite kits, and other stuff more suitable for coastal saltwater and the Everglades are not required. Instead bear repellent and suitable canoeing equipment and clothing is suggested and up to the Group Leader.
Remember that you will have a nine-mile portage at the end of this challenge. You want to pack as lite as possible but still have everything you need. The BWCA has rules about what can be carried and what can't. Keep all the above points in mind, and regard the WaterTribe Required equipment list as suggested. There are numerous equipment lists available for canoeing in this region.
We will enter at Crane Lake and then use entry point 12. We will finish at the north shore of Lake Superior.
Take a look at the tracking map to see the course - "As the crow flies." This map is not intended for
MNVC Tracking Map
This is a difficult course of roughly 210 miles with several short but difficult portages. There is a 9-mile
portage at the very end. We have allocated 7 days to finish before the award ceremony. If it takes a day to
two longer, you will not be DQed. It might be possible to finish in 4 days if your group is really fast
but don't count on it. And if the wind is out of the east, you will be cursing the whole way.
The course follows the Voyageur route along the Canadian and Minnesota border.
You must enter as a single or double
or triple in Class 2.
The sails we are used to using in class 1 are not allowed. You are allowed to use a "makeshift" sail that does not have any mechancal advantage like pulleys and such. For example, using a paddle or two and a poncho would be OK. Using a PAS, BSD or Flat Earth sail would not be allowed. And forget boat carts - they will not work and will be extra weight.
Here is a list of the Voyageur charts that can be used for an overview of the course:
1, 2, 5, 6, 9, and 10. These maps are 1.5 inches per mile which is pretty good. But the sheets
are larger than the McKenzie maps so they are not as convenient for actual navigation in the canoe.
Here is a list of the McKenzie charts that can be used for navigation on the course:
C1, 14, 31, 13, 29, 10, 9, 8, 26, 6, 4, 2, 1, 98. They are listed in order from West to East.
These charts are very high resolution at 2 inches per mile. They have 20 foot contours in the US
and 50 foot contours in Canada. C1 may or may not be necessary. It covers Crane Lake which is an
easy route and can be copied off of a Google Earth page if you want.
You may or may not want to buy both sets of maps. It's up to you.
Many thanks to BeaV for providing this information.
If you haven't done a lot of portaging before, you might want to get a copy of the
Boundary Waters Journal Summer 2015 and read the article on portaging about 20 time
or so. It will help a lot. I wish I had done that before the MNVC2015.
Gear Inspection -
Friday, September 09, 2016
Is Mandatory .
Saturday, September 10, 2016 to
Saturday, September 17, 2016.
There is a 9-mile portage at the end of this challenge that finishes at the Grand Portage
National Monument. The following image is an overview. The trail is pretty rugged.
Here is a picture that shows what it will look like when you finish.
BeaV entering the fort.
The award breakfast will be on Sunday at 07:00 AM at the casino. This is followed immediately by the shuttle back to Ely at 10:00.
Note that there are two official finishing points for this challenge due to the absolute pickup time for the shuttle back to Ely. The finish point shown above is what you should be aiming for. If you can get to the fort any time on Saturday, you should do that. But if you can't make it to the fort on Saturday, then you should at least make it to the first intersection of an access road and the Grand Portage trail. This is roughly 3.5 miles into the portage. The race manager will pick you up at that intersection if necessary. You will still get credit for finishing the challenge and you will still get an award paddle, but you won't get the coveted sash.
Important: If you can't get to the first intersection pickup point and you can't get to the fort in time for the shuttle, you will have to find you own way back to Ely. The shuttle is on a very tight schedule and must leave at 10:00 AM on Sunday.
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You must be a WaterTribe Member to register for an event or setup your SPOT Link.