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

Powered by
Movable Type 3.15
Sawbill Newsletter

Each year, Sawbill hires a number of short-term, summer staff members. These individuals, usually college students, help Sawbill run smoothly during the busiest months when some extra hands are needed.

Some crew members come back year after year, but there are always new faces as well. So, without further ado, here are (some of) the Summer 2016 crew!

Nick is new to the Sawbill crew this year. He attends the University of Northern Iowa. Nick's favorite job so far is Trash and Recycling. Emma is back for her third summer. She attends Xavier University, and is an excellent cook!

Alissa is also new this year. A Minnesota native, Alissa has been coming up to the BWCA for many years. She attends the University of North Dakota. Alissa's favorite job is canoe washing. Kevin is back for his third summer and will be a senior at University of Minnesota-Duluth. His favorite job is canoe repair.

(From Left to Right) Claire is a second year returnee. She attends University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and her favorite job is Outfitting Manager. Megan is also back for her second year, and attends University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Her favorite job is PBI (Pop, Beer, & Ice). Laura is our most senior summer crew member, here for her fourth year. She recently graduated from University of Minnesota-Morris. Her favorite job is Food Manager. Elena is another second year returnee. She attends Macalester College in St. Paul. Her favorite job is Outfitting Manager.

Several crew members will be arriving later in the summer. We can't wait to introduce them to you, too!
- Elena

5/14/16 -
Opening of fishing 2016... 'nuff said. - Bill

5/5/16 - Today is our very own Bill Hansen's birthday! He is celebrating by working hard all day to get our canoe fleet ready for the season. We'll make him take a break this evening though for a picnic down by the lake to enjoy the lovely spring weather we are having this week. If you want to wish him a birthday greeting, you can send it to

5/3/16 - Just in time for the open water, Sawbill's new Wenonah canoes have arrived. For excited paddlers, this is better than Christmas! -Clare

new wenonahs 5_3_16.jpg
Another sure sign of spring in the northwoods.

4/28/16 - It's official, the ice is out on Sawbill Lake! One small holdout sheet of ice is being blown around the south end of the lake, but it's not big enough to impede travel. There's still some snow in the campground but paddling season is upon us.

Ice Out 4_28_16.jpg
Cindy and Dan jump for joy after seeing the first loon on Sawbill this afternoon.

4/27/16 - It appears the sun is finally setting on another winter season here at Sawbill. Sawbill Lake, as you can see below, is nearly free of ice. I expect we'll be able to make it official sometime tomorrow. We also stopped in at Homer Lake today, which is ice free. Brule, on the other hand, is still covered but shouldn't be more than a couple days behind. The ducks are back in full force, and we heard the first loon of the season on Homer. -Clare

almost ice out 4_27_16.jpg

4/25/16 - Paddling season is so close you can almost smell it. That's what Huckleberry tells me anyway. The ice technicians are reporting that there are 8 inches of ice on Sawbill, but that it is better described as "8 inches of mush." It is so deteriorated it won't hold a person anymore and they have resorted to measuring from a canoe. -Clare

Huck Ice 4_25_16.jpg
Huck anxiously awaits the opening of the Sawbill Beach Club.

4/24/16 - Grey skies and light rain is the name of the game at Sawbill today. While the rest of us retreated to focus on inside jobs, intrepid crew member Brian headed out to check the ice. -Clare

Grey Ice 4_24_16.jpg
Looking North from the canoe landing, ice is measuring at 9". Open water is creeping in from the South though, and quacking ducks can be heard urging it along.

4/23/16 - Welcome back to crew member Brian Henry!

Brian H Ice Measure 4_23_16.jpg

Brian is busier than ever getting Sawbill ready for summer. Not one to miss out on anything, he took a quick break for the all important ice measurement. We are happy to say there are now only 9 inches of ice on Sawbill. We are even happier to say that the ice is OUT on Kawishiwi. -Clare

4/21/16 - Your wish is our command here at Sawbill. We've heard the many requests for warmer weather and melting snow and ice. We are happy to report that Mother Nature has obliged and the lake ice is now measuring at a mere 12 inches. The countdown to summer paddling is on! -Clare

Ice Measure 4_21_16.jpg
Phil and Dan needed to use the canoe to get over the thin ice along shore to get a good measurement on Sawbill.

4/12/16 - Attention Sawbill crew! We are seeking contact information for all former employees. Whether you think we probably have it or not, please update us with the best way to get a hold of you. Just email us at, or give us a call if you want to catch up. We have important Sawbill reunion details to share and we don't want to miss anyone!
We look forward to hearing from you all :)


4/8/16 - We spoke too soon! After giving us a quick taste of spring, Mother Nature brought back winter with a vengeance. We've had 10 inches of snow in the last few days, and it's still coming down. We've at least learned enough throughout the years to keep the shovels handy until May so we were well prepared to dig out the wood pile this morning.

4_8_16 clare woodpile.JPG
Between splitting, stacking, shoveling, hauling, and stoking, heating with wood keeps you warm in more ways than one.


3/28/16 - The recent warm temperatures, and the discovery of a mostly ice free Kelso Lake, have inspired us to start the yearly spring ice measurements on Sawbill. Sawbill's newest ice technician, Huckleberry, is pleased to report that there is still 17.5" of solid ice.

Huck Spring Ice.jpg

Spring fever also inspired us to refurbish some of our Kevlar canoes, which are now listed for sale in our online store. There are more to come and we will be posting canoes as they are finished.


3/7/16 - Are these the last days of winter at Sawbill this year? It feels like it right now, but we've sure seen plenty of March and April blizzards in the past.

We had a normal amount of snow this year. I measured 40" on the ground a few days ago, but the heat wave has already reduced it by nearly 10". The warm weather is predicted to hang around for awhile, including the possibility of a thunderstorm tonight. I'm quite sure I've never heard thunder here in the first week of March.

We had a wet fall, with a lot of rain in early December, so water levels should be very good once the ice goes out. - Bill

This is our house a few days ago, just before the heat wave arrived.

This is the workshop roof after the temperature soared to 47 degrees just a couple of days later.

2/10/16 - Phil Lindgren, friendly and helpful Sawbill crew member, sent this picture of himself enjoying some time on Baker Lake, the closest BWCA Wilderness entry point east of Sawbill.

Phil's note said, "20 below didn't stop me from enjoying the woods!"


Home I Trip Planning I Rentals and Outfitting I Reservations I Campgrounds I Sawbill Store I Sawbill News I Contact

© 1997 - 2016, Sawbill Canoe Outfitters, Inc. I Privacy Policy