Boundary Waters-Voyageur Waterway

The Boundary Waters-Voyageur Waterway extends 250 km along the international boundary extending from the western tip of Lake SUPERIOR to Lac La Croix in Ontario's Quetico Provincial Park. The waterway drains in 2 directions from an almost imperceptible height of land between North and South lakes (474 m above sea level). The waterway is a string of rock-rimmed lakes, narrow river channels and portages that once formed the main fur trade route to the west. The Pigeon River, draining east to Lake Superior, and the Basswood River, flowing west to Lac La Croix, are the largest rivers comprising this water route. The famous 14-km GRAND PORTAGE, linking the watershed of the St Lawrence River to the PAYS D'EN HAUT (the vast hinterland lying to the west and north), forms the eastern terminus of the route at Grand Portage National Monument in Minnesota.

The Boundary Waters-Voyageur Waterway has been important for wilderness recreation since the turn of the 20th century. Less than 1% of the shoreline has been developed, leaving the landscape much as it was in the days of the VOYAGEUR. It is one of the busiest wilderness canoe routes in North America today. The waterway was designated a CANADIAN HERITAGE RIVER in 1996.