Boundary Waters Advisory Committee
Advocacy     Education    Stewardship
Legal disclaimer:
This Website is maintained by the Boundary Waters Advisory Committee and Outdoor Club. 3M does not participate in the operation of the Websites.  Any concerns about this Website should be referred to the site's Webmaster.
For updated calendar of trips, see trip schedule and details on Meetup site "Friends of BWCA Trails." .  If you have general questions about participating please see our Trips FAQ.
Please visit our sponsors
Quick Links

October 2019
BWAC volunteers turned the tide this year on the Powwow Trail.  Here are the major accomplishments:
99% of the trail is free from the post fire jack pines.   There grew since the 2011 fire to be 5-12 feet tall and ground diameter of 3-5 inches which made cutting them very time consuming.  No more.  More than 170 BWAC bees cut more than 5,000 dead falls from the 31 mile long loop trail.  Despite of that summer and fall storms brought more than 2,000 new treefalls.  Those and winter strom wind falls will have to be cut in 2020.

The turning point came on Memorial Day weekend, when two separate groups circumnavigated the Powwow.  It was not easy, but this was the first time since 2016 (to the writer's knowledge) when someone was able to backpack the trail.  The reason why this was so difficult was because the jack pines grew so thick and dense, that the path was obscured, and rock cairns, past tree cuts and other marking was virtually invisible.

Current Trail Status.  Despite of thousands of hours of trail clearing, this remains and will be for several years the most challenging wilderness trail in the Boundary Waters.  The number of treefalls per mile is about 60, where as on other trails n BWCAW, one can expect annual tree fall count to be 5-10 per mile.  such high number of treefalls per mile results in decreased hiking speeds of one to one and half mile per hour (vs. 2 MPH in cleared areas) and increased fatigue due to accumulative strain of climbing over downed trees and twisting torso while carrying a 30 - 40 lbs. pack.  There are several beaver dams and wet sections where water will spill over top a hiking shoe.  Conclusion:  This continues to be a very challenging trail for all, but small segment of very experienced backpackers.

Vision.   Volunteers are contributing to the trail maintenance by clearing deadfalls etc.  BWAC donates from its own funds $10,000 dollars annually in recruitment costs, tools and maps.  Kawishiwi Lodge began providing free use of canoes to BWAC crews in 2019, McKenzie Maps provides maps at reduced cost, and Buck's Ace Hardware tools at a substantial discount.  Frost River is supports the effort through use of the Frost River van for BWAC crews from Duluth and back.  Community is coming together to preserved this legacy trail.  There is much more work to be done.  Backpackers need rehabilitated campsites, with hazard trees removed and the latrines destroyed in the Pagami Creek replaced with new ones.  Rustic bridge over Diana Creek is showing signs of decomposition and safe crossing is needed.

Forest Service has voiced their support for improving the trail and it is hoped that a plan for campsite rehabilitation will be developed.  Presently, it appears that the trail head kiosk will be replaced in 2020 and hikers welcome that first step.

You can help.  Join the BWAC volunteers and participate in a trail maintenance trip next spring.  We appreciate any donation no matter how large or small.

More at

Coming up:
November 6 - BWAC Volunteer acknowledgement dinner
February 6, 2020 - BWAC Annual Meeting, REI Bloomington
March (TBD) 2020 - Boundary Waters Trails Kick Off event at Lebanon Hills

  Keep up to date and join us for a hike through our ​Meetup group.

Who are We?

The mission of the BWA Committee is simple:  "To preserve the existing, intrinsically beautiful trails in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness of the Superior National Forest."  

We accomplish this mission in three ways: 
  • Advocacy
  • Education
  • Stewardship

H.R.845 - National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act 
Following the passage of the National Forest Trails Systems Stewardship Act the BWA Committee wrote a comment letter to the Secretary of Agriculture, requesting that BWCA wilderness hiking trails, and specifically the Pow Wow Trail be selected as demonstration projects of US Forest Service cooperation with volunteer groups. BWA Committee acknowledges hard work of Minnesota representatives Rick Nolan and Tim Walz who co-sponsored the FFSTSA. Thank you.

Plans for Pow Wow Trail Clean Up
BWA Committee volunteers presented this winter to a combined audience of more than 120 hikers at REI, 3M Outdoor Club meeting and at "Backpacking Kick-off" event at Lebanon Hills Regional Park.  Midwest Mountaineering provided door prize for the two latter presentations.  Result?  BWAC has recruited three full crews to help the USDA Forest Service to clean up the six mile section of the BWCAW Pow Wow hiking trail that Forest Service allows to be maintained.  BWAC hopes that following 2016 successful clearing of this section by the Kekekabic Trail Assoc. of the NCT and the BWAC  volunteers, working under sponsorship of Fournier Outdoor Services in cooperation with USFS will lead to permission to clear remainder of the trail.

​Past news

September 6, 2016   Minneapolis Star Tribune:

September 6, 2016 Boundary Waters Blog:

See our Meetup for dates and particulars.

To take a virtual trip of the entire Pow Wow Trail in 20 minute video montage from photos along the trail click here.  

                                                - Martin Kubik, editor

 Photo gallery:

Check out the BWAC Meetup site for list of upcoming events and trips.
BWAC website has moved on February 5, 2019:  
Try us at
Coming up in 2020:
January 21, at Midwest Mountaineering:  "Backpacking and Volunteering on the BWCA Powwow Trail."
February 6, at REI Bloomington:  BWAC Annual Meeting

In 2020 we will be celebrating 30 year anniversary of the Kekekabic Trail Club.  What is the significance? A: Without the Kekekabic Trail Club and its volunteers 30 years ago, there would be no North Country Trail reroute.  Whether you volunteer for the Kekekabic Trail Club, the Border Route Trail Association or the BWA Committee, volunteering is paramount to keeping the BWCA backpacking trails open.
Trail Info
ORG Chart