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

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Sawbill Newsletter

11/21/14 - Dave and Amy Freeman, our wonderful and over-qualified guides here at Sawbill, are nearing the end of their latest epic human powered journey. They have paddled and sailed from Ely, Minnesota to Washington D.C. to deliver a canoe that is a floating petition signed by people who are concerned with the environmental and economic impact of proposed mining projects near the BWCA Wilderness.

Last night, they gave a talk at the University of Delaware, where they were greeted by long-time Sawbill canoeists Jean and Richard Krohn.

A Sawbill reunion in Delaware. (l-r) Amy Freeman, Dave Freeman, Jean Krohn, Richard Krohn. Jean is proudly wearing her Sawbill t-shirt.

Steve West, from the Duluth area, is one of the leading fishing experts in the Sawbill area. He sent along this picture from his latest vist, just a little more than a month ago.

Steve is holding the catch for his entire party, so no need to call the game warden.

Here is this week's edition of the Cook County West End News from WTIP-FM, North Shore Community Radio.

11/20/14 - I failed to mention that Sawbill Lake froze over for the season on Monday, November 10th. It would have frozen a few days before that except high winds kept it open.

We've been receiving some great pictures from talented photographers. Dave Brislance is a Lutsen, Minnesota based wildlife photographer. He was kind enough to share some close ups of a bull moose he saw just off the Sawbill Trail back in October. - Bill

Photo by David Brislance.

Photo by David Brislance.

Photo by David Brislance.

11/15/14 - I am delighted to share the video of the original song, "My Sawbill Journey" by longtime Sawbill friend and well-known Nashville songwriter Jerry Vandiver. The images are from local master photographer, Paul Sundberg. - Bill

It's obvious that Jerry and Paul share a love of Sawbill, the BWCA Wilderness and the great outdoors. I can't thank them enough for their generous celebration of Sawbill.

11/13/14 - Here are some great pictures taken by talented local photographer Tom Spence.

Bull moose near the Sawbill Trail in early November. Photo by Tom Spence.

Morning fog in early November. Photo by Tom Spence.

Late season canoeists at the end of October. Photo by Tom Spence.

Speaking of late October canoeing, here is a link to a well written article by Greg Seitz from Wilderness News Online about his trip out of Sawbill a few weeks ago. - Bill

11/12/14 - Greg Grit, Technology and Engineering instructor at Plymouth, Minnesota High School, sent along this picture of his student, Kyle Schwibinger, with a pizza paddle that he made including a laser imprint of Kyle's favorite outfitter's logo. - Bill

Kyle is a frequent Sawbill camper and now can think of Sawbill whenever he removes a pizza from the oven.

11/5/14 - Tom and Carol Heinrich have an annual tradition of canoeing on Brule Lake very late in the season. They were kind enough to send along a couple of pictures from their trip last weekend. They may try again this weekend if the ice holds off. - Bill

Beautiful and unusual ice formations along the shore of Brule Lake, resulting from a combination of high wind and cold temperatures.

Brule Lake on November 1st.

11/4/14 - Two brave parties rented canoes over the last weekend, but I think the canoeing season at Sawbill is now officially over. One group camped on Smoke Lake and had to break ice to get to the portage on the way out.

The larger lakes are still mostly liquid, but all the small ponds and streams have skimmed over. The cold snap predicted for the near future should bring the winter-long ice cover.

Here is last week's Cook County West End News from WTIP-FM, North Shore Community Radio.

10/25/14 - Longtime friend of Sawbill, Paul Sundberg, is a professional photographer who specializes in images from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the Superior National Forest. Paul sent us this link to photos on his website from a moose encounter that he had near the Sawbill Trail a few days ago. - Bill

10/22/14 - Last night was the Sawbill crew's annual pilgrimage to the Silver Bowl in Silver Bay, Minnesota for a night of pizza, beer and bowling. - Bill

Bowling nicknames: (l-r front) Bilbo, TC, NilsJohn, (l-r back) Puckerman, Hammypops, Cindy Lou Who, Mongo, Carlita.

Hammypops demonstrates proper form.

Mongo's patient mate, Mary Henry, who lives nearby, was kind enough to join us and share her score-keeping skills.

One of the many amenities at the Silver Bowl are the black lights that make an already challenging sport even more challenging.

TC is carefully watched by the owner's baby.

We didn't catch the baby's name, but she's obviously very comfortable in a bowling alley.

10/21/14 - Gene Dale Kalligher sent along this wonderful picture of Sawbill Canoe Outfitters and our refurbished canoes for sale after a recent visit. He has an excellent photography blog at:

When I saw this picture I thought, "I want to live at this place... oh, wait..."

I snapped this shot of a couple embarking from the Sawbill Lake canoe landing a few days ago.

The weather in October can be lovely, but it can also be nasty. I always advise to plan for the worst and hope for the best. - Bill

Here is last week's edition of the Cook County West End News from WTIP, North Shore Community Radio.

10/17/14 - Current Sawbill crew member Brian Henry captured this calm day optical illusion a couple of days ago when we were enjoying a gorgeous stretch of Indian summer. - Bill

Which way is up?

10/12/14 - Our very own Cindy Lou Hansen got back today from a four day shoemaking class taught by Jason Hovatter at the North House Folk School in Grand Marais. "I can't even begin to tell you how many steps went into making these," she said as she showed off her beautiful new pair of shoes, "No pun intended!" - Peter


We're trying to convince Cindy to switch careers from canoe outfitting to shoemaking. She could call her business Lou's Shoes!

10/10/14 - Here are the two latest segments of the Cook County West End News aired on October 9th and October 2nd on WTIP, North Shore Community Radio. - Bill

10/8/14 - Curt Iverson, from Decorah, Iowa, was the lone camper in the Sawbill Lake Campground last night. He is enjoying the solitude and the wild beauty of October, in spite of some challenging weather.

Curt was kind enough to share some of his photos with us. - Bill

Campsite #34 is looking pretty cozy. Photo by Curt Iverson.

The view from the Sawbill Lake canoe landing early this morning. Photo by Curt Iverson.

The view from Curt's Wenonah Prism on Sawbill Lake yesterday. Photo by Curt Iverson.

10/7/14 - We had a pleasant visit today from longtime Sawbill campers Gaelynn and Paul Tressler and their Cocker Spaniel, Clara. Gaelynn is a well known violinist from Duluth, so she and Sawbill dobro player Bill spent many quiet afternoon hours in the store talking about local musicians, opportunities, and events. - Peter

Paul, Gaelynn, and Bill in front of the Sawbill store.


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