Sustainability at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters


Here at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters, we understand how lucky we are to be surrounded by over one million acres of pristine waters, towering pines, and abundant wildlife. Our goal is to play a small part in preserving the character of the BWCAW now and for generations to come. Some of the ways we do this include educating our guests on protecting our waterways and wildlife, being a certified EPA WasteWise partner, and extensively researching our gear and equipment so it lasts for years to come. 


Here are some simple ways you can help us achieve our goal of protecting our environment:

  • Carpool with your group to VCO: When planning your trip, consider carpooling with your group members to reduce your carbon emissions on your drive up.
  • Use biodegradable soap and wash dishes and yourself away from shore. We have several biodegradable soap options available for purchase in our store.
  • Follow MN Fishing regulations and guidelines. Storing fish to take home with you is tricky in the wilderness, so only keep what you will eat.
  • Follow the 7 Leave No Trace Principles: Every guest who walks through our door can expect to be educated on the BWCAW’s rules and regulations as well as the 7 Leave No Trace Principles. You can read a bit about them below to learn more before your trip!


  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare: This is what we are here for! Before your trip it is important to understand the area’s rules and regulations, check the weather forecast, pack appropriately, and know your route. Whether this is your 40th trip to the BWCAW or your first, we are here to walk you through each step of the way! 
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces: The BWCAW requires you to camp in designated campsites. Each site has a latrine, fire grate, and a few tent pads. When choosing a campsite, ensure that there is enough tent space for your group. We recommend bringing no more than 3 tents to allow for ample campsite options. When portaging, be sure to stay on the trail. This reduces impact on the environment and helps you to not get separated from your group!
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly: the BWCAW is a pack it in, pack it out wilderness area. This means any leftover food, garbage, and toiletries must be carried out of the wilderness with you. Latrines are provided for human waste and toilet paper, but all other items must be carried out. We recommend bringing heavy duty trash bags if you are outfitting yourself to carry out trash. It can also be helpful for each group member to carry a gallon ziplock or other small garbage bag to carry out any personal waste such as feminine hygiene products, wipes, etc. If you are bringing pets into the wilderness please pick up and dispose of their waste properly.
  4. Leave What you Find: the BWCAW and Quetico are full of treasures, from moose sheds to arrowheads to beautiful wildflowers. While it is encouraged to pick some berries to put in your pancake breakfast or have a fish fry dinner, anything else you find in the BWCA should be left behind so that other visitors can enjoy. 
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts: Each campsite in the BWCAW is equipped with a fire grate. Use the fire grate to build small fires, and pay attention to the wind and the weather. The Boundary Waters has a long history of wildfires so having a fire is something to do very mindfully. We remind our guests that burning trash is illegal in Minnesota and trash must be packed out on trips. Burning trash can harm air quality and be a wildfire risk.
  6. Respect Wildlife: Voyageur Canoe Outfitters is surrounded by wilderness and we frequently see moose, wolves, black bears, foxes, and many more wild animals in our area.  It is always a good idea to ask about bear activity before you head out on a trip, and no matter what, it is important to keep a clean campsite and keep food stored appropriately. Chipmunks and squirrels are more than happy to get into your food pack even if there are no bears around! Dogs must be kept on leash on portages and under control at all times. While your dog might be friendly, the wolves might not see it that way!
  7. Be considerate of others: We are so lucky to have thousands of visitors to the BWCAW each year.  Our guests come from all over the country, and even all over the world. For some this is their first BWCAW experience and some have been coming up their whole life. Whether you are in the backcountry or here at Voyageur, respect other visitors and be courteous. Give people time and space to launch their canoes at landings and portages. Keep a quiet campsite. Leave your campsite cleaner than you found it. Keep the BWCAW a pristine and welcoming place for generations to come!

Around our resort, you’ll find even more ways we are working to help our environment! We provide clearly labeled bins for garbage and recycling that are available for use to our resort and canoe guests. We aim to reduce waste in our cabins by using refillable products rather than disposable shampoo and soap bottles.  We maintain a working septic system and keep any possible pollutants as far away from the water as possible. We do not use fertilizers on what little lawn we have so we are sure to keep water runoff clean and pure– we even recently set aside space for a wildflower sanctuary so that our local pollinators can thrive. Our crew helps us plant trees every spring to help our forest thrive and recover from wildfires. In spite of our efforts, we are always looking for ways to reduce our environmental impact and improve our business. If you have suggestions for ways we can improve, do not hesitate to let us know!

Voyageur's Guarantee

We promise to make your participation with Voyageur a success. Please let us know if any part of your experience, which was under our control, did not meet your satisfaction. We will make it right for you!