Outfitters Happy With Season Turnout

By KBJR News 1

September 7, 2010 Updated Sep 7, 2010 at 8:30 AM CDT

Summer is peak time for these trips to happen and outfitters in the northland are happy yet again with this year's outcome.

After the past two years, outfitting manager with Piragis Northwoods, Bert Heep says trekking the wilderness is still a passion for many visiting the northlands.

In fact, he says they've had some record–setting outfitting seasons the last few years.

"Last year was a boom year for us and this year is almost just as well," said Heep.

Heep says the search for solitude and quietness is what drives many people into the wilderness, and the easiness on travelers' wallets is always a perk.

"A canoe trip is a relatively inexpensive vacation as compared to Disney world or something like that," said Heep.

For Jane Ott, co–owner of PackSack Canoe trips, this year's water level at the beginning of the season was a concern.

"We had a dry spring and an early spring and the water level was definitely down," said Ott.

But PackSack, one of the smaller outfitters in the Ely area, still did swift business in other areas.

"We do have cabins here also; small resort cabins and those have managed to stay full all summer so that has been great," said Ott.

Summer may be a great time for many families to get in their outdoor trips, but outfitters say not to dismiss the early fall months.

"It used to be when Labor Day came everything pretty much shut down. I think more and more people have discovered that September is a prime month for paddling,"said Heep.

Fewer bugs and people, mixed with warm days and cool nights promise to keep generations of outfitters coming up to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

"Canoe tripping is something that is taught and is learned from parents and grand parents on down to kids. We have seen growth in this industry every year," said Heep.

Outfitters say water levels are now at a normal level for this time of year for canoeing, however they're still lower than previous years.