Fighting For Family Traditions

It’s hard to forget your first experience in the BWCA. For us, our first memories heading out on the water coincide at Sawbill Outfitters out of Tofte, MN. It’s the place we planned our first portages, marked up our first maps, and the place we continue to bring our loved ones to share this place that is so special to us.

We spent the day at Sawbill Canoe Outfitters with Clare and Dan Shirley, their kiddos, and staff as they begin to kick off a busy summer outfitting canoe trips into the BWCA. Before taking over the family business, which, was founded back in 1957 by Clare’s grandparents, Clare and Dan lived in Montana and saw first hand the devastating effects of hard rock mining which really left an impression on them. Now that they're back in Minnesota full-time they again face this polluting and dangerous industry but now it is right in their back yard. During our short stay Clare shared with us concerns about the proposed sulfide ore-copper mines and how they threaten so much that her family and their guests know and love about the surrounding area.

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Thomas Deschenes