Paddle - BWCA, Quetico, Sylvania, and other paddling places

Who We Are


I have been canoeing since my dad took me on my first Quetico trip when I was 12. I can still remember almost every detail of that trip decades later. Since then I have been on over 70 canoe trips. When I am not on the water, I am dreaming of the next time I can be!
I married into the canoeing passion. Before my wedding, I was required to go on a canoe trip with my future husband and his family. Paddling on pristine lakes, catching fish, seeing wildlife, and challenging myself physically is my ideal vacation!
I got hooked on canoeing during a Boy Scout excursion in the BWCA, then returned for more trips there and in Quetico with my brother and friends. My wife passed the "newly married canoeing test" and is still a great wilderness partner 30 years later. Along the way there were adventures on the water with our sons. I hope Paddle Planner helps others create great memories of their own.

Top Volunteers

I have been an passionate outdoorsman since my involvement in Scouting Canada as a young boy. My first large backcountry canoe trip was in 2006 when the available maps had no context of distance or time and we did far more time in the canoe than was entirely appropriate. I have a personal goal to spend at least 21 nights in a tent every year.

Our Story

In 2011, Ben and Auralee were struggling to plan the summer's canoe trips. As Ben was fighting with maps, string, rulers, and calculations, he thought that there must be an easier way to figure out times and distances. Someone must have created a tool to do this automatically... After a few months of searching, Ben concluded that it did not exist yet, so he had to make it himself.

After working on it for a while, Ben decided to share his work with his fellow paddlers. Jay discovered the website and used it to plan a solo canoe trip. He was so impressed that he contacted Ben with a "thank you" and suggestions for making the website more visible and effective. Ben, Auralee, and Jay hit it off as "brainstorming buddies" and began kicking more ideas around. Auralee designed a new logo, and they celebrated the new partnership by rechristening the website Paddle Planner.

Originally, Paddle Planner only covered the Boundary Waters and Quetico. Josh stumbled on the website and saw the possibilities of bringing the tools to Algonquin Provincial Park and the other areas he paddles in southern Ontario. Josh volunteered his web design experience. Ben and Josh embarked on a journey to redesign the website. (It took a few more years than originally planned...) Josh's suggestions and feedback have been invaluable, and he continues to be an important member of the team.

Paddle Planner's mission is to help others make the most of their paddling experiences, and we could not do it without volunteers like Josh and like you. Thousands of paddlers have contributed campsite reviews, photos, portage comments, and suggestions to make the site better. Thank you for being an integral member of the Paddle Planner community!

The Areas

Boundary Waters Canoe Area
NE Minnesota
1,090,000 acres
250,000 visitors per year
Quetico Provincial Park
NW Ontario
1,180,000 acres
20,000 visitors per year
Voyageurs National Park
NE Minnesota
218,000 acres
180,000 visitors per year
Algonquin Provincial Park
Southern Ontario
1,890,000 acres
800,000 visitors per year
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
Northern Wisconsin
70,000 acres
150,000 visitors per year
Everglades National Park
Southern Florida
1,500,000 acres
1,000,000 visitors per year
Sylvania Wilderness Area
NW Michigan
18,300 acres
25,000 visitors per year
Woodland Caribou Provincial Park
NW Ontario
1,100,000 acres
1,000 visitors per year
Whiteshell Provincial Park
Eastern Manitoba
675,000 acres
Nopiming Provincial Park
Eastern Manitoba
355,000 acres
Manigotagan River Provincial Park
Eastern Manitoba
28-mile corridor
Atikaki Provincial Park
Eastern Manitoba
985,000 acres
Yellowstone National Park
NW Wyoming
2,200,000 acres
3,400,000 visitors per year
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