While most people think of the Boundary Waters as a haven for canoeists, fewer are aware that BWCAW has more than 200 miles of backpacking trails. One such trail is the 30 mile long Powwow Hiking Trail near Isabella. Although most of the trail burned down in the August 2011 Pagami Creek Fire, it is making a comeback thanks to volunteers working with the US Forest Service.
After the fire, the Powwow Trail was cleared by the Forest Service and the Minnesota Conservation Corps in 2012. Since then thousands of dead, charred trees fell over the path. In seven years, hundreds of young jack pines have grown five to eight feet tall, obscuring rock cairns and making the Powwow Trail impassable by even expert hikers.
“Backpackers and hunters alike have prized the Powwow Trail for its solitude and number of campsites that can’t be reached by a canoe. This year, on the 40th anniversary of the BWCA Wilderness Act of 1978, volunteers are working hard to make this legacy trail hikeable again for our and future generations,” said Martin Kubik, founder and president of the Boundary Waters Advisory Committee (BWA Committee).
Indeed, close to one hundred volunteers, including a crew sponsored by Frost River, Duluth, have cleared more than two thirds of the 30 mile trail, removing several thousand treefalls with hand saws and loppers from the path. The organization plans five more trips this fall and hopes to make a clean sweep through the entire trail. For more information contact Martin Kubik, 651-564-8279 or email to: email@example.com
BWA Committee is a 501 c3 non profit organization with a mission “to preserve the existing, historic and intrinsically beautiful hiking trails in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness of the Superior National Forest.” Its members volunteered on Kekekabic, Sioux Hustler, Brule Lake and Eagle Mtn. trails, and more recently on the Powwow Trail.
Martin Kubik, a long time BWCAW trails advocate, is a retired engineer from 3M, St. Paul. He is a founder of the Kekekabic Trail Club, the 3M Outdoor Club, BWA Committee and recipient of several outdoor leadership and volunteering awards.