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Phone: (218)663-7150
Fax: (218)663-7980
Mail: 4620 Sawbill Trail
Box 2129
Tofte, MN 55615

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Sawbill Newsletter Archives: June 2011
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « May 2011 | July 2011 »

6/27/11 - We've been getting a lot of calls and emails about the possible shutdown of Minnesota state government, due to a legislative budget impasse, scheduled for July 1st. The BWCA Wilderness and the Sawbill Lake campground are federal facilities, so they will not be affected. However, if Minnesota state government shuts down on July 1st, as is widely expected, Minnesota fishing licenses will not be available from that date until the shutdown ends. If you are planning to arrive here after July 1st, you should buy your fishing license now. You can buy them directly from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources online or by phone (1-888-646-6367).

If the shutdown occurs, state park campgrounds will be closed immediately. I assume that the National Forest campgrounds, like Sawbill Lake and Crescent Lake, which will remain open, will get quite a bit busier. You can reserve sites in the above campgrounds at

As always, feel free to contact us if you have questions. - Bill

6/26/11 - Crew member Meg Simon just made it back to Sawbill for her second season. She is arriving with much enthusiasm for the summer to come. Today she wanted to make sure everyone was clear on how to hang our bear pack that we use for demonstrations outside the store. She wasted no time directing us all on how it should be correctly done.

The key points in hanging a bear pack are to make sure it is at least 12 feet off the ground and 6 feet from the nearest branch or tree. By using two ropes and a pulley this can easily be accomplished. To learn how to use this system feel free to ask one of the crew members hanging around the store. -Jessica

Meg making sure she is high enough off the ground so that a bear could not reach her. (Do not try this at home!)

Meg just hanging out.

6/24/11 - Wild flowers are starting to bloom all over in the woods. When I went for a walk the other day I was pleasantly surprised at the different colors of flowers I witnessed. Some of the many included pink lady's slippers, a woolly blue violet, columbines, bluebead lilies, and false lily of the valley. -Jessica

This pink lady's slipper may have taken up to fifteen years to develop into what it is today.

This jack in the pulpit was barely spotted beneath the greenery.

These columbines are a favorite to hummingbirds.

6/21/11 - A few days ago Sawbill Outfitters welcomed a new crew member from nearby Grand Marais, one "Alec" Baldwin. The Baldwin arrived courtesy of Sawbill's very own trash and recycling trailer, and has made itself at home in the living room of the crew's quarters. If it's not clear already, this new crew member is...a piano! Although it could use a little tuning after being transported on miles of bumpy gravel road, the crew is excited to hear piano music on the premises again. With so many musical instruments and crew members around, a Sawbill band may be in the works...

One person's trash is another person's treasure

All moved in!

6/14/11 - Sawbill would like to wish a warm welcome back to long time crew member Liz Foot. Liz spent the past 5 months traveling in South America. The majority of her time was spent in Peru where she took a spanish class and later volunteered working with children. This summer will be Liz's 5th season working at Sawbill Outfitters.

Liz standing above the town of Pisac, Peru.

6/13/11 - The Western Painted Turtle is a fairly common sight in the BWCAW. You will most often find them lounging on an exposed log on warm sunny days during the summer. In mid June, pregnant females leave the water and dig holes in the sand to lay their eggs. Due to the rugged terrain here, many turtles lay their eggs on the soft shoulder of dirt roads. If you're on a dirt road in canoe country from the mid to late June, watch out for mother turtles!

With a shell size of about 6 inches, this turtle may be 25 years old.

6/8/11 - On slower days here at Sawbill crew members try to get outside and enjoy the area. Today was the perfect opportunity for Sarah, Tyler, and Leif to do just that. They took a field trip to Carlton Peak, located just down the Sawbill trail, to do some rock climbing. - Jessica

Tyler enjoying the view.

Sarah scaling the rock face.

Leif planning his route.

6/5/11 - The weather is starting to warm and the flowers are starting to burst. Various flowers that Cindy has strategically placed around Sawbill are attracting all sorts of grateful birds and bugs. Around every corner various types of humming birds and butterflies can be seen among the bright pink, purple, and white petals.

The Hansen's Rhododendron is in full bloom right now and is humming from within as bumble bees are hard at work collecting pollen. - Jessica

6/3/11 - We had three wedding engagements happen in the BWCA Wilderness in the Sawbill area over the Memorial Day weekend. A college reunion trip returned from their trip on Monday and reported that one of the couples had become engaged during the trip. This happens occasionally and is always fun.

We were very surprised though, when Lisa Shafer and her group returned from their trip later the same day, with another engagement story. Lisa is a long-time friend of Sawbill. On this year's trip she was joined by her boyfriend, Tony Goldstein, and her good friends Christy Maxfield and Scott Gay. On Saturday, the two couples canoed from Polly to Malberg Lake where they stopped for a picnic lunch. Christy and Scott went for a short hike after lunch. Tony took advantage of the moment to propose to Lisa. She happily accepted. When their friends returned, the happy couple immediately shared their big news. To their amazement, Scott had proposed to Christy at almost the exact same moment. Both men had planned to pop the question during the trip, but hadn't shared their plans with each other.

The week before the trip, Tony had met with Lisa's parents to let them know his intentions and ask their permission. He was amazed to find out that Lisa's parents had actually met each other on Polly Lake - the same lake where Lisa and Tony were camped last weekend.

It must be something in the water! - Bill

Tony Goldstein, Lisa Shafer, Scott Gay, Christy Maxfield.

6/1/11 - Good fishing reports are always a welcome sight to Boundary Waters travelers. Over the past week or so I have been hearing fine fish tales of people catching lake trout in area lakes. Just this weekend I talked to a group that had caught a meal off of their campsite and fried them up for a very hardy and delicious brunch.

Lake trout are only found in North America. The furthest south they usually inhabit is northern Minnesota. They are easiest to catch in the spring when the water is still cold and they are in the warmer water of the shallows. As a result of a late ice out date this year fishing has been exceptionally successful recently. - Jessica

This weekend some of the Sawbill boys took some time out of the real world to go fishing. In this picture the boys land a lake trout.

Josh admiring his catch.

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