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

Updates and Changes

1/4/2016 - Added Apostle Islands Map - Added a map for the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

1/1/2016 - Added Yellowstone Map - Added a map for Yellowstone National Park. There are really only three lakes you can paddle on (Lewis, Shoshone, and Yellowstone). We added the hiking trails, but you can't use the route finder on them.

12/20/2015 - Finished Algonquin Route Finder - We finally finished the Algonquin Provincial Park route finder and added campsites. You can use the route finder (time and distance estimator and calculator) on the Algonquin map.

10/6/2015 - Upgraded Photo Upload Tool - Uploading photos is now much easier. Multiple photos can be uploaded at the same time, dates and times are extracted from the file, and locations are automatically entered if geotagged. The new tool is found on the Upload Photos page.

9/6/2015 - Added Everglades and Biscayne National Parks - I added maps and data for Everglades and Biscayne National Parks in Florida. You can access the map through the interactive maps page.

3/17/2015 - Added Downloads Page - Added a variety of KMZ and GPX files to download. Previously KMZ files could be downloaded for all areas. The KMZ files are now separated by area. GPX files are also available for campsites and portage landings for all areas.

1/24/2015 - Added Routing Mode - Added a new way to plot a route on the interactive maps in the Route Finder. This is a "point and click" interface, and hopefully it is a big improvement over the old method. (The "Classic Route Finder" is still available.) Activate "routing mode" by clicking on the compass in the upper left corner of any of the interactive maps.

1/13/2015 - Added Algonquin Provincial Park - I added maps and data for Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. You can access the map through the interactive maps page. One severe limitation of this map, though, is that I could not find a source for the campsites yet.

12/24/2014 - Export Map to Image - Added the ability to export any map to a custom-sized PNG image file. This is a Map Enthusiast feature. You can access this feature through the interactive maps.

9/20/2014 - Route Finder Maximum Area - For all of the areas that the Route Finder covers, you can now pick a location and find out all of the locations within a specified time or distance. To do this, add a location to the Route Finder. There is a new section on the "To/From" tab that says "Find all locations within..." Change the options and press "Find." When it is finished calculating, a bunch of circles will appear on the map. These represent locations that can be reached within the time/distance limits. You can change the color of the circles using the dropdown box next to the "Show/Hide" button. This is a very computer-intensive process, much more than the regular Route Finder. Because of this, I had to place limits on distances and times that can be calculated. Different levels have different limits. You can view the limits on the membership levels page.

9/20/2014 - Added Manitoba-Ontario Wilderness Area - I added maps and data for the provincial parks along the Manitoba-Ontario border. These include Woodland Caribou, Atikaki, South Atikaki, Wallace Lake, Nopiming, Manigotagan River, and Whiteshell Provincial Parks. You can access these maps through the interactive maps page.

5/4/2014 - PCD Moved to Paddle Planner - The Quetico Paddler's Campsite Database, the best source of Quetico campsite information for the past decade, has moved to Paddle Planner! Dr. J. Archer Harris asked if I would like to take over the data and management of the project. Thank you to Dr. Harris and the QuietJourney community, which was instrumental in keeping the project going.

4/23/2014 - Went Commercial! - Up until now, the website has been not-for-profit. After a lot of emailing, calling, and coding, I was able to convert the website to commercial status. There were a lot of updates, changes, and additions that went into this process. To see a summary of it, look at this blog post.

3/24/2014 - Wiki - There used to be a BWCA Wiki that I used a lot. The last time I went to look at it, though, the website had been discontinued. I decided that I wanted to add one to this website. I deleted some old pages on the website and instead added the content to the wiki. All members are invited to contribute. You can get started by visiting the wiki home page.

10/1/2013 - Embeddable Maps - I made a BWCA/Quetico map that you can embed on a blog, web page, or anywhere else you can use an iframe. Click on the "Share Map" button on the interactive map to get the code for the map you are currently viewing. You can change the height and width of the iframe to anything you want. The embedded map should look just like the one you are viewing, including any routes on it. At the top of the embedded map there is the Paddle logo. The logo is a link back to the interactive map that you got the code from. The embedded map is not "clickable," but you can use the link to get back to the fully interactive map. An example can be found on the blog.

9/20/2013 - Forum - Last night I finally finished integrating a forum into the website. I have been working on this for months. I also finished a ranking system where members are rewarded for contributing to the website. Members are given points for every post in the forum, photo uploaded, campsite reviewed, etc. You can see all of the point categories and rankings on your My Points page. There are many other canoeing-related forums out there, such as and QuietJourney. I personally love to visit and use these websites. The purpose of the Paddle Planner forum is not to detract from or replace these great forums but to offer another place to discuss the BWCA and Quetico. I also wanted to integrate a forum so I would have a place to get feedback from those using the website.

6/20/2013 - Portage Comments - I added the ability to comment on portages on the interactive map. Since I find portage ratings even less useful that campsite "star" ratings, I only allowed the adding of comments, not difficulty ratings or anything else.

6/13/2013 - More Entry Point and Lake Information - I added entry point permit availability to entry point information available. You can look up permit availability from right from the interactive map. I also added links to the "Swanson Party BWCA Lake Commentary" to the available lake information. You can read more about it on this blog post.

4/30/2013- Finished the Quetico routes for the RouteFinder on the interactive map - You can now estimate paddling distances and times from just about any point in the BWCA and Quetico to any other. It took me about one year after I had finished all of the BWCA routes. Adding the Quetico to the RouteFinder turned out to be much more complicated than the BWCA for various reasons, which is part of the reason that it took so long. In the last couple of days, I also added icons on the interactive map for the Quetico ranger stations. Previously, I put the Quetico entry point icons where the ranger stations were. Because of the addition of the ranger station icons, I moved the entry point icons to their respective lakes.

3/15/2013- Added additional Quetico fish survey data to the lake database and interactive map - When I first added the fish survey data last year, the only data I could find for the Quetico lakes was the fish species atlas from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. I combined this data with additional (better) fish survey data from the Land Information Ontario service.

2/26/2013- Route (Almost) Anywhere on the interactive map - You can now pick just about any spot to use the RouteFinder on, not just entry points, portages, and campsites. For more details, see the blog post about the new feature.

1/27/2013- Added a lake database - I added a listing of all the lakes in the BWCA and Quetico that I have information on (along with some in the surrounding area). The list can be filtered and sorted. Each lake has a link to a page with more infomation on the site, including contour maps and fish surveys if they are available. I will be adding similar databases for portages and entry points in the near future.

1/21/2013- Made some changes to the RouteFinder on the interactive map - I added the ability to save a route if you are signed in. You can also get a link to the map showing your route. This enables you to share a link to your route in emails, blogs, and social networking sites. A lot of other updates and changes were made, which you can read about on the blog under Updates to RouteFinder and More Updates to RouteFinder and Interactive Map.

1/8/2013- Added a campsite database - I added a listing of all the campsites in the BWCA and Quetico that I have information on (which is over 4,200 sites). The list can be filtered and sorted. Each campsite has a link to a page with more infomation on the site, including ratings and photos if they are available. I will be adding similar databases for portages, lakes, and entry points in the near future.

1/3/2013- Added lake information to portages - On the portages on the map, I added the lakes that the portage connects. The lake information was added to the portage details, RouteFinder details, and lake details screens. The data isn't perfect, so some portages are missing one end or don't have any associated information.

12/26/2012- Added a blog - I decided to add a blog. I used the Blogger service so I wouldn't have to create the interface myself. You can check it out at I was able to get it to look somewhat like the rest of the site, including links to all the different parts of this website.

12/24/2012- Ability to display full name - I added the option to display your full name instead of your username when displaying authorship of trip reports, photos, and reviews. To make the change, go to your profile page, mark the box below your name, and press save.

9/18/2012 - Small fixes/changes to map and member profiles - I just made some small changes to the map. For lake, entry point, and campsite details, only the tabs that have information will show. For example, if a campsite doesn't have any photos of it yet, the photos tab will be hidden. Also, on the info windows that pop up on the map, I added small icons showing what information is available for that point. For example, on entry points, if there are photos and trip reports from that entry point, a report icon and a photo icon will show up on the info window. These changes should make it easier to quickly assess what information is available. In addition, I changed the default map to not include Panoramio photos. I just thought having those on the map cluttered it up too much. If you would still like to see the photos, check the option under "Map Legend & Options." One more small change - on the member profile page, I added tabs so you can more easily view information on the member.

9/17/2012 - Google Earth KMZ downloads - Two downloads are available to allow you to view the BWCA/Quetico information in Google Earth. The only difference between the two files is one has lake contour overlays. The lake contour overlays are fairly large, so the file with these is much larger and loads more slowly in Google Earth. Here are the files - KMZ with Lake Contour Overlays (~20 MB) and KMZ without Lake Contour Overlays (~2 MB). These files can also be accessed from the map under "Downloads." The files are updated daily with any new information.

8/3/2012 - Allow logging in with username or email address - You can now login with either your username or email address. This helps for those that can't remember their username. You can also recover your password (have it sent to your email) if you know either your username or email address that you registered with.

7/19/2012 - Added lake contour overlays to the map. Using the lake depth maps from the Minnesota DNR, I created overlays that can be viewed on the map. As you will see, I could not get some of the overlays to correspond exactly to the map, but I got them as close as I could. The contour overlays are not available for all lakes yet. Generally, I am starting with the largest lakes and working down to the smaller ones. The contour overlays will become available on the map as I add them. Currently, I have finished all of the overlays for the southwest section of the BWCA (entry points 1 to 8), Basswood Lake, and Lac La Croix. To see the lake contours, right-click on the lake and choose "Show Lake Contours." To hide the contours, right-click on the lake again and choose "Hide Lake Contours." If you are having trouble seeing the contours because the font is too small, try switching to satellite view, which allows you to zoom in further.

5/10/2012 - RouteFinder and other updates to the map. The new RouteFinder on the map is a one-of-a-kind way to find distances in canoe country. In the BWCA, right-click on any two or more entry points, campsites, or portages and choose "Add to RouteFinder." Then press "Find Route" to find the shortest path between them. You can change the settings to suit it to your needs. I am working on getting all of the routes in the Quetico. To get this to work, I had to manually draw about 25,000 routes between all of these points. It was a lot of work, so please use it!

The RouteFinder was the biggest addition, but there are a lot of other additions that went into this update. On the lake details page, lists of campsites and fish are shown. I also added almost all of the Quetico lakes, and they should have pretty much the same functionality as the BWCA lakes. Performance improvements along with other minor changes and additions were also made.

If you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to drop me a message.

1/31/2012 - Portage details on the map. Portage details, including photos and approximate elevation data, can be accessed by right-clicking on a portage and selecting portage details.

1/24/2012 - Campsite ratings and other changes on the map. You can now add campsite ratings on the map. You must be logged in to rate campsites. You don't have to be logged in to view them, however. To add a campsite rating, zoom in until you can see the campsites, right click on the campsite, and choose Campsite Details on the menu. You will see several tabs with information - campsite details, ratings, PCD data (for Quetico campsites), and "My Rating," and campsite photos. You rate the campsite under the "My Rating" tab. You can fill out any or all of the information that you have on the campsite. You can also mark it private instead of public if you want to keep it a secret. Other changes to the map include better looking detail screens for lakes and entry points and access to the menu in full screen mode by right-clicking.

1/18/2012 - List of resources. We included a list of websites we commonly use for trip planning. We recognize that this is not the only website with quality information about the BWCA and Quetico. The list is still being added to, so check back for more updates. We include this list in the hopes that you will continue to use this site in conjunction with the others. The resource list is found under the Maps & Resources tab.

1/15/2012 - No ads and right-click menu on map. We made two changes today. First, in order to encourage registration and logging in, no ads are displayed for logged in users. Registration is free, so make sure you register and enjoy all of its benefits. If you are already registered, make sure you login so you can add photos, trip reports, make comments, and enjoy ad-free browsing. The second change is a fairly significant one to the map. We have incorporated a right-click (or context) menu. The options on the menu depend on what you clicked on. Many of the options that were previously found in the "info window" when left-clicking are now found on the right-click menu. You can right-click anywhere on the map to get details, zoom in, zoom out, and center the map. When you have zoomed in far enough to see the campsites, you can add photos (if you are logged in) by right-clicking and selecting "Add Photo". If this is added to a campsite or portage, you will not see it on the map, but it was uploaded. (This is so the map doesn't become crowded with too many photos around campsites.) We are now working on being able to view and add details about campsites and portages, including photos and ratings.

1/10/2012 - On the map, you can view details when clicking on a lake. Clicking on "More Information" will show you some information about the lake, a link to the MN DNR Lake Finder webpage (if applicable), and a list of trip reports associated with that lake. Right now this only applies to BWCA lakes, not Quetico lakes.

1/10/2012 - News Feed. We added a Google News feed to the website, which shows the latest news related to the BWCA. This is reached by clicking on Latest News under the Home tab.

12/24/2011 - Added sharing tools. Just a small change, but sharing tools were added to every page. At the top of every page, you will notice a small toolbar that allows you to share the page with your friends. Please share!

11/29/2011 - We added burn areas to the map. We added three large burn areas that occurred in the last five years: Cavity Lake (2006), Ham Lake (2007), and the recent Pagami Creek Fire (2011). The burn areas load by default, but you can turn them off under "Map Legend & Options".

11/16/2011 - You can view the map full screen. Clicking on "Full Screen" will fill your browser with the map. In this view, you cannot view other information such as portage elevations. However, you can still see all of the information that is on the map itself, such as portage lengths and campsite ratings. To get back to the normal view, press "Normal View".

9/12/2011 - We added the ability to leave and view comments on trip reports. At the top of the trip report, click on the link that says "View/Leave Comments". In parentheses, it shows how many comments have been left. To leave a comment, you must first be logged in. You can delete comments that you have left. Anyone can flag comments as inappropriate, which would then be reviewed.

9/11/2011 - On the map, you can view details when clicking on an entry point. Clicking on "More Information" will show you the description of the entry point along with a list of trip reports associated with that entry point.

8/5/2011 - We added a map index to the map. This allows you to look up the areas that the Fisher, McKenzie, and Voyageur maps cover. You can turn the map boundaries on or off under Map Index. Also, by clicking anywhere on the map, you can see what maps cover that area. This is displayed under Map Details along with the latitude/longitude.

7/9/2011 - We added a membership area, allowing you to upload photos and write trip reports. You can upload your photos and write reports for everyone to enjoy, or you can set them as private so only you can see them. "Public" photos also appear on the map if you set a location. In the future, we plan to support uploading of videos as well. Registration is free, so please register and start sharing!

6/2/2011 - We just added an interactive map of the BWCA and Quetico using Google Maps. It has been a couple of months in the making, but it is now ready to be used! We plan on adding more content to the map in the future, including allowing others to upload photos, rate campsites, write trip reports, mark fishing spots, and more.