BWAC Requests Formal Priority Area Designation for Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Trail

Minneapolis, Minnesota – In response to new federal law H.R. 845, the National Forest Systems Trails Stewardship Act, The Boundary Waters Advisory Committee submitted a formal request to the Secretary of Agriculture asking that Boundary Waters Canoe

Area Wilderness trails and the Pow Wow Trail in particular, be designated as a priority area for maintenance. H.R. 845 directs the USDA to publish a strategy to significantly increase the role of volunteers and partners in trail maintenance and allows selection of specific areas to be designated as priority areas.

BWCAW trails and the Pow Wow Trail in particular meet all criteria for selection as a “priority area”. These criteria include areas where the lack of trail maintenance has reduced access to public land; led to an increase, or risk of increase, in harm to natural resources; jeopardized public safety; resulted in trails being impassible by the intended managed users; or increased future deferred trail maintenance costs.

The Pow Wow Trail was heavily damaged in the 2011 Pagami Creek Fire which burned 92,000 acres of land including the majority of the Pow Wow Trail. The fire left large quantities of burned and dead trees standing along the trail corridor that continue to fall and block the trail. Rapid regrowth of vegetation is now threatening to make the trail impassible to hikers. Clearing the young overgrowth now is needed to avoid a much larger task when the overgrowth matures.

“The Pow Wow Trail is an incredible hiking trail that combines historic origins that span a century – from the logging days to the BWAC Wilderness act that gave birth to this legacy trail. Few people know that BWCAW has more than 200 miles of hiking trails, and the Pow Wow Trail is prized by hikers for its solitude and campsites that are away from canoe routes. We are thankful for the many man hours of work on this trail by the Kekekabic Trail Chapter of the North Country Trail and the Fournier Outdoor Services. Their hard work is keeping this trail open to hikers.”

Designation as a priority area will allow local, federal and volunteer organizations to work together and provide resources to restore the Pow Wow Trail to a safe and passable condition so that it may once again attract trail users to visit this once beautiful and historic trail. “To date only one campsite has been restored five years after the fire.

There is much more work to be done to conserve this trail popular with hikers before the Pagami Creek Fire.” The Boundary Waters Advisory Committee stands ready to work with local and federal agencies to help restore this historic trail.

About Boundary Waters Advisory Committee

Founded in 2002, The Boundary Water Advisory Committee (BWA Committee) promotes the protection, enjoyment, and understanding of the backpacking and hiking trails of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness of the Superior National Forest.

BWA Committee helps hikers to explore and develop a deep appreciation of the natural world. More information is available online at or by contacting Martin Kubik at

With more than 700 members in Minnesota and Wisconsin, the BWA Committee offers low cost wilderness backpacking trips with emphasis on safety, Leave No Trace philosophy and deep appreciation of nature.