A time to relax

Veterans to the BWCA

When was the last time you were able to get away and forget about all the stresses in your life? The Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) is an amazing experience, one of peace and reflection that cannot be matched by any other place in the world.

We at the Center are committed to honoring and preserving the best stories in the Northland. In order to educate the public, the center relies on veterans to provide their stories and artifacts. We appreciate the trust veterans place in us to tell their stories and want to give back to the veteran community.

We are aware of the many issues facing veterans today. In an effort to assist in healing and build healthy relationships within our community we are offering a FREE BWCA trip for veterans. Nothing but fishing, canoeing and camping the entire time. By bringing veterans into the wilderness away from noises and stress we hope it will help them heal, recover and just relax.

2021 Trip Dates

We will be taking two trips in 2021.  The first will be from July 12 to 18 and the second from July 26 to August 1.

The entire trip is six full days. Four of those days will be spent in the BWCA. The trip includes two nights at Veterans on the Lake Resort in Ely, MN. We will enter the BWCA at entry point #35, Isabella Lake, where we will make our way across the lake to find a base camp.

The trip is being fully outfitted by Canadian Waters Outfitting. This means, canoes, packs, food, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, etc. are provided. You will only have to provide clothing, fishing gear and any camping gear you want to bring. Keep in mind, you will have to carry your own pack on this trip. If you don’t already have a Minnesota fishing license, you will need to purchase one prior to the trip. If the cost of a fishing license presents a hardship for the veteran, we can reimburse them for the cost of the license.

Transportation will be provided from Superior to Ely and back.

Selection Process

We understand that many veterans may be interested in this trip, but we can only bring 7 on the trip.  More information on the selection process will be provided in the application packet.

Trip Timeline

Day 1 Travel to Veterans on the Lake

Day 2 Enter the BWCA

Day 6 Leave the BWCA

Day 7 Leave Veterans on the Lake and return to Superior

Application process is closed for 2021

The application process for 2021 is now closed.  Check back for 2022 trip dates in January!

Review Process

Each application will be reviewed by our trip leaders and staff.  Applicants will be notified by email on May 28, 2021 of their status as either a full participant or alternate for a trip.  If selected as a full participant or alternate, you will need to submit acknowledgement forms and trip commitment paperwork to the Bong Center (by email or mail) on or by June 11, 2021 to guarantee your spot on the trip.  If a spot opens up, alternates will be notified of their ability to move up to a full participant.


Anyone with questions regarding the trips may contact Dustin Heckman at (715) 392-7151 or heckman@bongcenter.org.

Jim Vincent2018 Trip Participant
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As a disabled veteran of the Vietnam War Era who received no thank you or welcome back this was a nice gesture.
Tim Bergstrom2018 Trip Participant
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The camping trip showed me I was appreciated for serving.
Ben Hess2018 Trip Participant
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This was my first visit to the Boundary Waters, but instead of just a vacation, it was a chance to bond with fellow vets from the Vietnam War to the present era. I could not have had a better, more relaxing, more rejuvenating time.
veterans to the bwca
veterans to the bwca

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