Wilderness Volunteers

Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness has partnered with REI and the Superior National Forest to bring groups of volunteers on trail clearing trips into the BWCA. In the process, they earn $30 a day for their work – and eat some really tasty meals out there as well.

A Unique way to Experience the Wilderness

A novel and satisfying way to get your Northwoods fix is to join a volunteer crew and spend a few days — or a few weeks — clearing trails, shoring up campsites and fighting erosion at some of the most popular campsites.

These trips involve you and a crew of friends or strangers who become friends, wielding axes, working saws and handling some impressively-sized clippers to help maintain the greatest wilderness area in the country.

You find out real quick, that there’s something about the smell pine sap and sawdust that makes for a perfect morning.

How To Get Involved

Whether it’s just you or a group of friends or coworkers who want to go, the chief thing to remember is that the program is very flexible. Anyone in relatively good physical shape, who’s willing to work and learn a few things can do this.

Simply call one of the Superior National Forest’s three volunteer coordinators for the area where you’re interested in volunteering.

  • If interested in the western side of the BWCA, please contact Tom Yankowiak at tom.yankowiak@usda.gov or call (218)-666-0051. 
  • If interested in the central part of the BWCA, please contact Jamie Lowe at jamie.w.Lowe@usda.gov or call (218)365-2080.

Depending on your skill level, the size and age of your group, and available time, these volunteer coordinators will match you with a suitable project that’s both fun for you and helpful for Wilderness preservation.