Author: Steve Fernlund

  • Spring and Trees in the BWCAW

    Spring and Trees in the BWCAW


    — Exploring the BWCAW is not just a journey through hauntingly beautiful landscapes; it’s an opportunity to appreciate the iconic White Pine and the different tree species that make up our forest. Each, with its unique characteristics and role in the ecosystem, contributes to the environment that makes this wilderness area unique. It’s springtime in…

  • Artwork at Rockwood

    Artwork at Rockwood


    — Our website and social media are essential ways we communicate with our regular guests and those we hope to see at our BWCAW area resort and outfitting business. Visual communication through photographs and artwork at Rockwood seems the best use of social media. Carl, one of the resort’s owners, is a lifelong techie. “My first…

  • Respecting Tradition to Make Your Gunflint Trail Adventure Meaningful

    Respecting Tradition to Make Your Gunflint Trail Adventure Meaningful


    — Rockwood Lodge and Outfitters has hosted wilderness adventurers for almost 100 years on beautiful Poplar Lake at the edge of the BWCAW. Its history is inextricably bound to the history of development and recreation along the Gunflint Trail. Founded by Jennie and Paul Stoltz along with Wally Anderson in 1926, Rockwood still operates out…

  • Prevent Forest Fires: Ninety percent of wildfires in Minnesota are human-caused

    Prevent Forest Fires: Ninety percent of wildfires in Minnesota are human-caused


    “Ninety percent of wildfires in Minnesota are human-caused,” said Leanne Langenberg, MNICS’s Public Information Officer in Grand Rapids, MN. In addition to burning brush and garbage piles, careless discarding of cigarettes, sparks from lawnmowers, chainsaws, and other outdoor activities can lead to fires that burn quickly out of control.

  • Low Snow And Warm Temperatures Tempt The Intrepid Into The BWCAW

    Low Snow And Warm Temperatures Tempt The Intrepid Into The BWCAW


    — Low snow Spring 2024 As the winter of low snow and unseasonably warm temperatures have brought March in like a lamb, many intrepid BWCAW adventurers are thinking about an early trip. And why not? Cool temperatures, no bugs, and few fellow travelers make an early trip almost irresistible. On social media sites dedicated to…

  • A life worth living

    A life worth living


    A great way to redirect that pattern is a trip into the canoe country wilderness of the BWCAW or the Quetico Provincial Park with your phone turned off and packed safely away. Periodic breaks from cellphone use, sometimes called a technology fast, are highly recommended by professionals who see handheld devices becoming addictive and harmful…

  • The Gunflint Trail–A National Scenic Byway

    The Gunflint Trail–A National Scenic Byway


    — Preserving, protecting, and honoring the historic Gunflint Trail is the focus of The Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway Committee, which consists of residents, seasonal property owners, and business owners here at our gateway to the BWCAW. The Scenic Byway Committee operates under the auspices of the Gunflint Trail Association. The Chair of the Byway Committee…

  • Resilience: Rockwood Lodge and Resort During the Austin Era

    Resilience: Rockwood Lodge and Resort During the Austin Era


    Dana and Tim Austin purchased Rockwood Lodge and Resort in 1979 from Don Lobdell and Rick Whitney. After taking the reins, Dana and Tim brought their son, Rick Austin, into the ownership ranks.

  • Remembering Fine Dining at Rockwood Lodge

    Remembering Fine Dining at Rockwood Lodge


    Good food, plenty of it, and treating people well was the secret of our success Rick said.  In the 20 years the Austins operated the restaurant, dinner guests came from near and far. The excellent service and better food attracted them. After a day of fishing, a steaming plate of spaghetti or a heaping serving…

  • Unpredictable Weather–Everybody Talks About It, El Nino Does Something About It

    Unpredictable Weather–Everybody Talks About It, El Nino Does Something About It


    The effects of weather with little snow and warm temperatures have profoundly affected our region. 

  • Ice Fishing in Gunflint Trail and BWCAW Lakes

    Ice Fishing in Gunflint Trail and BWCAW Lakes


    — We will start this post about ice fishing on our beautiful lakes with an important reminder for those planning to visit the BWCAW in the upcoming softwater season.  Quota permits for the BWCAW go on sale on January 31st at 9 a.m. CST. The quota season for the BWCAW is May 1 through September…

  • BWCAW Quota Permits For 2024 Season Go On Sale January 31st–Here’s what you need to know

    BWCAW Quota Permits For 2024 Season Go On Sale January 31st–Here’s what you need to know


    Quota permits for the BWCAW go on sale January 31st at 9 a.m. CST. The quota season for the BWCAW is May 1 through September 30. All parties entering the BWCAW for overnight adventures during that time must have a quota permit.  The permits are sold online at recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777. Your outfitter…

  • Wilderness food – The Way to a Canoeist’s Heart is Through Their Stomach–So Many Ways

    Wilderness food – The Way to a Canoeist’s Heart is Through Their Stomach–So Many Ways


    Paddling and portaging for a day will burn more calories than your average day at home. You don’t need to be a dietitian, but plan well to make sure you get the nutrition your body and those of your wilderness partners will need. High quality wilderness food is essential.

  • Stone Fireplaces–Iconic Symbols of the Northwoods

    Stone Fireplaces–Iconic Symbols of the Northwoods


    A stone fireplace is hand-built with locally sourced stones by experienced masonry professionals. Many of the fireplaces in our neck of the woods were built decades ago, and the artisans who created them are gone and largely forgotten. The legacy of their exceptional craftsmanship lives on

  • BWCAW for Beginners: Conquering Your First Canoe Trip With Confidence

    BWCAW for Beginners: Conquering Your First Canoe Trip With Confidence


    BWCAW for beginners – All those folks have vivid memories of their first wilderness visit, years ago or in 2022. They have memories of who they were with, where they entered, and all the experiences that make a multiple-day trip in the wilderness rewarding.

  • Connecting With Nature: Mindfulness, Meditation, and Finding Peace in the BWCAW

    Connecting With Nature: Mindfulness, Meditation, and Finding Peace in the BWCAW


    — Finding peace in the BWCAW According to a 2020 survey by Unify Cosmos, the BWCAW came in the top five places in the world for the most relaxing sounds. Since almost all the sounds you’ll hear on your BWCAW adventure are natural, almost all of those sounds are relaxing.  The howl of wolves nearby…

  • Solo Trips in the BWCAW–for Introverts and Adventurers

    Solo Trips in the BWCAW–for Introverts and Adventurers


    — Solo travel is a growing trend within the tourism industry. And it’s not just for introverts.  Introverts are people who are more interested in their own thoughts and ideas. They may also be shy, reserved, and enjoy spending time alone. But extroverts can enjoy spending time alone, too.  According to surveys, one out of…

  • A Brief History of the Boundary Waters Wilderness Area

    A Brief History of the Boundary Waters Wilderness Area


    — The history of conservation of wild areas in the USA can be said to have started during the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt, sometimes called the Conservation President. During almost two consecutive terms as President, Teddy set aside approximately 230 million acres of public lands between 1901 and 1909– 150 national forests, the first 55…

  • Cross-Country Skiing on The Gunflint Trail

    Cross-Country Skiing on The Gunflint Trail


    As you can see on Rockwood’s webcam today, winter is finally here. It won’t be long, and our massive trail system will be groomed and open for you to explore the unparalleled wilderness while gliding on skinny skis.  Nordic, or cross-country skiing, is a great activity to share with family and friends. Rockwood’s Cabin 12…

  • Eight Years Here and Ready for Next Year

    Eight Years Here and Ready for Next Year


    Last week, we (Carl, Stephanie, Mike, and Carol)  celebrated eight years of owning and operating the wonderful Rockwood Lodge and Outfitters.   As we light a fire in the stone fireplace in the main lodge and reflect on those eight years, we have much to be thankful for on this week’s day of Thanksgiving. Most significantly,…

  • Dogs and Sleds Helped Settle the Gunflint Trail

    Dogs and Sleds Helped Settle the Gunflint Trail


    The commotion is striking. Eight dogs are yipping, bouncing, and barking excitedly as they are harnessed to the sled. The musher releases the claw brake and calls to the dogs, and all becomes orderly and quiet as they move down the trail. All you hear is the soft padding of 32 paws and the hiss…

  • Superior National Forest and BWCA Hit by Derecho on July 4th, 1999

    Superior National Forest and BWCA Hit by Derecho on July 4th, 1999


    Many of us in Cook and Lake County had never heard the word “Derecho” until a massive summer storm knocked down an estimated 25 million trees in the Superior National Forest and a large part of the BWCAW the afternoon of the Fourth of July in 1999.  In the early hours of that day, a…

  • Friends of Rockwood, the Holman Family

    Friends of Rockwood, the Holman Family


    “I feel like I’m visiting friends, not going to a resort, when we head to Rockwood,” said Derek Holman of Big Lake, MN. “They take good care of stuff, have great advice if you ask, and offer top-quality equipment,” he added. Derek has been married to April Holman for 26 years. Only after meeting each…

  • A Small Business Success Story At The Edge Of The Wilderness

    A Small Business Success Story At The Edge Of The Wilderness


    The owners of Rockwood Lodge, a family-owned outfitter and resort, made the strategic decision when they bought the resort to keep it a small business. That decision has proved a good one as Rockwood wraps up its 8th season under the current ownership. The resort industry along US Highway 61 on Lake Superior’s shore is…

  • Dog and Cat Rescuer Suzanne Grindle Visits Rockwood

    Dog and Cat Rescuer Suzanne Grindle Visits Rockwood


    We’re amazed at how our social media presence connects us with some of the best people. In 2018, Suzanne Grindle heard about a last-minute cabin cancellation at Rockwood from her friend, who saw it posted on Facebook. She jumped at the opportunity and came to Rockwood for the first time with her husband, Brian Goecke,…

  • Pack it in, Pack more out

    Pack it in, Pack more out


    Pack it in, Pack more out–and Where Does it Go? Trash on the Trail. Trash happens when more than 150,000 people visited the BWCAW last year. Thousands more who recreate along the 57 miles of the Gunflint trail produce even more waste and recycling.  So, where does it all go? Wilderness visitors generally have a…

  • Justine Kerfoot–Woman of the Boundary Waters

    Justine Kerfoot–Woman of the Boundary Waters


    The US Forest Service reports that just a quarter of visitors in the BWCA Wilderness are women, and that percentage has been relatively consistent for the last few decades. One of the most well-known women of the Boundary Waters, Justine Kerfoot, still inspires women to venture out into the wilderness. Justine, born Justine Spunner in…

  • September Boundary Waters paddle

    September Boundary Waters paddle


    A nice paddle across Poplar Lake and into the Boundary Waters on September 13th. The lake is warmer than the air and the temperature inversion creates a nice fog.

  • Dogs Are Welcome

    Dogs Are Welcome


    We understand the difference between family dogs and dogs that are family. More and more people are traveling with their dog family and want to share the wilderness adventure with them.  Dogs are welcome in the BWCAW if you follow a simple set of rules by the USFS. Specifically, you need to assume the following…

  • A Step Closer to a Stable and Growing Moose Population

    A Step Closer to a Stable and Growing Moose Population


    — Alces alces is the scientific name for moose, often called the Monarch of our Boreal forest. Seeing one of these majestic animals is on the bucket list of many visitors to the Gunflint Trail and BWCAW. Moose populations have declined significantly in northeast Minnesota, from a peak estimate of more than 8,000 animals in…

  • Time For Fall Colors on The Gunflint Trail and the BWCAW

    Time For Fall Colors on The Gunflint Trail and the BWCAW


    If you appreciate Fall Colors like we do here at Rockwood Lodge, you know we are entering that most beautiful time of the year.  As you drive to Grand Marais in the next few weeks, you’ll see the start of color along the shore as poplars and birch turn golden. When you start up the…

  • Annual Old Fashioned Pie and Ice Cream Social

    Annual Old Fashioned Pie and Ice Cream Social


    Annual Old Fashioned Pie and Ice Cream Social at Chik-Wauk Museum September 3rd The annual Old Fashioned Pie and Ice Cream Social will be held on Saturday, September 3, at the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center. This fun community event is an important fundraiser for the Gunflint Trail Historical Society, of which Rockwood is a…

  • Rockwood Lodge Offers Pressure Washing to Help Halt Aquatic Invasive Species

    Rockwood Lodge Offers Pressure Washing to Help Halt Aquatic Invasive Species


    Fortunately, less than five percent of the lakes in Cook County are infested with Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS). Unfortunately, some of those lakes are in or near the BWCAW.Rockwood Lodge has joined with the Cook County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) to help stop the spread of AIS, adding a high-temperature pressure washer that…

  • EVs in The Arrowhead

    EVs in The Arrowhead


    Rockwood’s Carl Madsen Stars in PBS Report on EVs in The Arrowhead Rockwood’s Carl Madsen appeared in a segment of Almanac, a weekly news and public affairs program produced by Twin Cities Public Television and seen statewide. The segment addressed the issue of “range anxiety” that might be experienced by drivers of electric vehicles (EV).…

  • Mosquitoes, Ticks, and Black Flies–Oh my!

    Mosquitoes, Ticks, and Black Flies–Oh my!


    Mosquitoes, Ticks, and Black Flies–Oh my! It’s a tired old joke. The State Bird of Minnesota is the mosquito. But on the Gunflint Trail, we like to say that the mosquitoes keep the cowards away. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different kinds of insects to bug you on your adventure in the Boundary…

  • Eastern Spruce Budworm

    Eastern Spruce Budworm


    Visitors along the North Shore and Gunflint Trail will notice that many of our stately evergreen trees appear to be ever brown. All of us are concerned about the loss of this important resource.So what or who is to blame?The main culprit is the Eastern Spruce Budworm assisted by the drought conditions that prevailed up…

  • Dark Sky

    Dark Sky


    — A highlight of a BWCAW adventure is the spectacular night skies that cannot be seen in more settled areas–like home. From the brilliant spread of the Milky Way to the Aurora Borealis cavorting across the horizon you will always remember the night skies you’ve seen on your canoe or hiking trip. In 2020, the…

  • Hiking is nothing but walking with purpose

    Hiking is nothing but walking with purpose


    Making a wilderness hike safer and more fun for you and the family Hiking is a great way to experience the woods and the wilderness of Cook County and the BWCA.Mark Twain once referred to the game of golf as “A good walk ruined.”Hiking the trails is making a good walk even better. And you…

  • Fishing One Generation to The Next

    Fishing One Generation to The Next


    My dad was my first fishing guide. By Steve Fernlund Not that it was his career of course, he was a salesman, but he is the guy who taught me how to fish.Life was simpler in the early 1960s. Fishing tackle was simpler too. Tackle boxes were smaller because there wasn’t much need to carry…

  • Why Go Paddling

    Why Go Paddling


    In case you’re asking, there are many reasons for you to go canoeing. Of course the best way to experience the BWCAW, when the waters aren’t frozen, is in a canoe. A canoe is a long and narrow boat, light of weight, and easy to propel over the water with a single bladed paddle. The…

  • Few days in the Boundary Waters

    Few days in the Boundary Waters


    — A few days in the BWCAW with your brother-in-law can expand an already solid relationship. Erik Jensen and his BIL Ben Thompson started coming to Rockwood Outfitters three years ago. That first trip was fully outfitted, for everything but the food.The second year, the two invited a couple of friends to share the experience,…