Contact Us:
Email: info@sawbill.com
Phone: (218)663-7150
Fax: (218)663-7980
Mail: 4620 Sawbill Trail
Box 2129
Tofte, MN 55615


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Sawbill Newsletter

9/22/17 - Today is the autumnal equinox, the day with equal parts sun and night, and the official beginning of fall.

Autumn is an important time to be on the lookout for moose, as it is their mating season. While you might see more moose because of this, please take care, as bull moose can be aggressive during this time of year. Viewing from a safe distance is always awe inspiring and quite the treat. Happy fall! -Britta

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This bull moose was spotted a few days ago not far from Sawbill by crewmember Jessica Hemmer.

9/15/17 - Recently, the Quetico Superior Foundation ran a lovely feature story about Sawbill. The article starts:

"There is an outfitter at the end of the Sawbill Trail, to the northwest of Lutsen, Minnesota, where customers and staff return year after year and whose names are remembered. They become part of a kind of family tree, a network of people connected to the place and the family at its center. The Hansens, and now the Shirleys, have been running Sawbill Canoe Outfitters since 1957, creating more than a business. It's a place where annual traditions, lifelong friendships and marriages have been born. Their story suggests that it's still possible to combine business with the magic of introducing campers to canoe country and raising a family."

You can read the full article on their website, here.

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Frank and Mary Alice Hansen, Sawbill's founders and grandparents of current co-owner Clare Shirley.

-Clare

9/7/17 - The first signs of fall are appearing here on the Wilderness edge. The small maples in particular are already quite brilliant.

We are now operating on fall hours, 8am - 7pm.

-Clare

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9/2/17 - Every Labor Day we kick off the fall season with a group of friends who are more like family now. These musicians arrive this weekend each year to fish all day and play music in the canoe yard all night. It's a treat for us and the best way to welcome to fall!

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-Clare

8/23/17 - Last week Sawbill was featured in not one, but two articles in the Duluth News Tribune. Since not all of our newsletter readers are from the Duluth area, we are re-posting an excerpt from one of the articles titled "Stories from Sawbill: Bears and other visitors make an outfitter's life interesting" by Sam Cook. The full article can be read here.

Bear comes shopping

One day, Bill Hansen was working in the outfitting office when an employee, John Schrag, popped in.

He said, 'I have a question,' " Hansen recalled. " 'Should there be a bear in the store?' "

"No. Is there one?" Hansen asked Schrag.

"Yes," Schrag replied.

So, the two of them walked down to the outfitting store. Sure enough, there was the bear.

"He was fully in the store, but he was kind of holding the door open with his back end," Hansen said. "I said, 'Nope. Out you go.' And he ran off."

We love hearing about your own Sawbill stories, so please send them and any pictures you have from your trip to info@sawbill.com! - Elena

8/21/17 - The Forest Service has received a handful of reports of bear activity in the Boundary Waters this summer and has asked us to pass that information along to our customers.

Bears have been spotted in campsites on Ogishkemunchi, Gneiss, Knife, Duncan, and Seagull. There was no aggressive behavior in any of these cases, although some of the bears did make a mess.

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Water bottles that the bears had chewed on. If you put drink mixes into your water bottles, it is a good idea to store them in your food pack at night. Bears love sweet scents!

Keeping a clean camp is key to preventing bear activity. Hang your food packs well above the ground, and not in the most obvious tree if possible

If you do see a bear, shoo it away by making yourself bigger than the bear (e.g. standing on your toes, arms above your head) and make a lot of noise.

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Zoomed-in photo of one of this summer's visitors. - Elena

8/20/17 - Sawbill has been in the news quite a bit lately. A few weeks ago, a team of reporters from NBC came up to interview Clare Shirley about her experience with the loss of OB/GYN services in rural communities.

After the birth center in Grand Marais was closed, Clare had planned to deliver her daughter Kit, who was born last May, in Duluth, a 2.5 hour drive from Sawbill. But life doesn't always go according to plan.

When it became clear that Clare wasn't going to make it to Duluth before Kit was born, the ambulance that met the Shirleys on Highway 61 took them to Sawtooth Clinic in Grand Marais where Kit was born 25 minutes later.

You can listen to Clare tell her story in the video below, and read the full story here. - Elena

8/14/17 - Blueberry picking is a traditional summer activity, but the North Woods offers another delectable treat that requires a little more hunting: Mushrooms.

Yesterday, several of the Sawbill crew went searching for lobster mushrooms, and to great success.

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Clare and Jesse hard at work

Lobster mushrooms (hypomyces lactifluorum) are named after their distinctive color, which is similar to cooked lobster meat. When cooking lobster mushrooms, it is important not to over-do it, as the flavor can be easily lost. They are delicious when paired with a white wine.

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A beautiful bounty

Mushroom hunting should always be done with caution and with an experienced hunter. Happy gathering ~ Elena

8/13/17 - After a day of rain followed by a stretch of warm sunny weather, the blueberries are at their peak right now. The patch is full of perfectly plump, ripe berries. Cindy and I took Kit on her first berry picking excursion yesterday. She is a big fan of tromping around in the woods. She quickly learned how to pick berries off the bush, but not many of them made it all the way to her bucket.

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Kit shows Cindy the way.

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Cindy teaches Kit how to pick berries without picking leaves.

-Clare

8/12/17 - After much anticipation, our new Sawyer paddles have arrived, and just in time for the busy season!

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Kit helps unpack the new paddles

Not only are these paddles sturdy and trustworthy tools, they are beautiful, too!

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Jessica doing her best Vanna White impression

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This paddle features Sawbill's logo

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Dan modeling how to hold a bent-shaft paddle: The curve should face away from you, giving you maximum contact with the water and a longer reach.

These paddles are already heading out into the Boundary Waters with eager and excited visitors. The stories they could tell, if only they could talk... - Elena

8/7/17 - Clear night skies this past week have provided great opportunities for star-gazing. Crew member and official crew photographer Brian Henry snagged this photo of the Big Dipper a few nights ago.

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Jesse and Tess taking in the view

Sadly, no Northern Lights have been spotted recently, but it's still early, so keep your eyes peeled! - Elena

8/5/17 - One of the main questions we get asked when helping visitors plan their trips is "How's the fishing on ___ Lake?"

The good news is you don't have to travel far - Alton, Beth, Smoke, and Burnt are all within a 1-2 hour paddle from Sawbill and are some of our most reliable fishing lakes, as well as Sawbill itself.

Just a few nights ago, crew members Brian, Jessica, and Tyler (TC) headed down to Sawbill to do a little night fishing - and to wild success!

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Jessica and TC pose with their bounty

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This fillet of walleye (one of many) will make for a nice meal for the Sawbill crew later this summer.

If you're heading up and want advice on fishing spots, bait, or time of day, don't hesitate to ask for one of these three experts! - Elena

8/3/17 - The Sawbill crew is a close-knit bunch. Living in such close quarters certainly helps with getting to know each other on a deep level. In a celebration of that level of personal knowledge about each other, we celebrated with a Dress-Like-Another-Crew-Member dinner!


Coming in first place in the costume contest were Brian, Mark, and Tyler, who replicated the Shirley family perfectly.

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From left to right: Brian as Clare, Mark as Kit, and Tyler as Dan

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The real deal

Delicious food was served, including FOUR blueberry pies. That's right, folks, four. Blueberry season is upon us, so be sure to be on the lookout. - Elena

8/2/17 - Can you believe it's August already, folks? It seems like only yesterday that the canoes were being taken out of the Dome for the first time, and now we're sending them out as fast as we can. During our busy season, it's a good idea to call ahead and make a reservation!

With the long days of summer, we recommend fishing and sunset watching for your evening BWCA activities. These sunset photos are courtesy of Sawbill's own Adam Hansen - thanks, Adam!

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The sun starts setting at around 8:30 these days

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The unique and every-changing nature of sunsets makes it easy to take a million pictures in one night!

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Goodnight, BWCA! - Elena

7/29/17 - Sawbill's annual hootenany, known as the Dome Dance, took place last night in the famed circular building behind the outfitters.

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Terrence Smith called the dances to live music. One of the musicians, Jeff Greensmith, is a former Sawbill crew member!

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Crew members and campers alike had a blast, dancing the night away. Thanks to everyone who made it! - Elena

 


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