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41st Annual Gunflint Trail Canoe Races

July 18

In 1976, friends and neighbors on the upper Gunflint Trail organized the first Gunflint Trail Canoe Races to raise money for worthy causes benefiting all on the Trail. Since then only one year was cancelled – 1999 – when the great BWCA Blowdown occurred just a few days before the scheduled Races.The Gunflint Trail Canoe Races is a family-oriented fundraiser that benefits the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad.

This year the Gunflint Trail Canoe Races will be held at The Gunflint Lodge on the south shore of Gunflint Lake, Wednesday, July 18, 2018, beginning at 4:30 pm.

At 6 p.m., long-distance canoe races begin, followed by many age and gender-based races. Gunnel pumping (standing atop the canoe while bouncing up and down to make a canoe move forward) will follow.

Additional evening activities include a silent auction from 4 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., kid events starting at 4 p.m., food service beginning at 4:30 p.m., and a raffle with items donated by generous local merchants, which starts at 6 p.m.

Race registration takes place at the waterfront prior to 6 p.m.

There’s something for everyone at the 2018 Gunflint Trail Canoe Races!
  • Fifteen (15) Canoe Races for multiple ages and abilities and plenty of space to cheer on your favorites from Trail resorts and campsites. All are welcome to register onsite..
  • A Food Tent with pulled pork and brisket sandwiches, brats, salads and more! Service starts at 4:30.
  • Auctions – both Silent and Live. Items will come from up and down the Trail and throughout Cook County, including many hand-made treasures. One highlight of the live auction will be a hand-made quilt, created from souvenir tee-shirts of resorts along the Trail!
  • More items from the Live Auction will be guided fishing trips by some of the Trail’s in-the-know guides, along with some fab dinners and classes at North House.
  • Special guest author Cary J. Griffith, author of Gunflint Burning: Fire in the boundary Waters, the story behind the 2007 Ham Lake fire will be signing copies and donating a portion of book sales.
  • A commemorative, fund-raising 2018 Canoe Races tee shirt will be available onsite and at Trail Center on weekends before the Races for just $20.
  • Last but not least, a lucky $5 raffle ticket holder will win a bright yellow Current Designs Solara 120 Kayak, worth $800! Winner to be announced just after the concluding fun-to-watch Gunnel Canoe Race. The Kayak will be on display at Trail Center prior to the Races. Raffle tickets are available at numerous resorts and from volunteers.

According to GTVFD Chief Jim Morrison: “Funds from the Canoe Races support GTVFD Emergency Medical Services. We have ordered a new ambulance.  It is a type 1 Ford 450, 4×4.  It will also have a Stryker power cot and loader.  These additions will make for much safer operations for responders and patients.  This vehicle will also provide a much gentler ride to town!”

An active committee of the Gunflint-Seagull-Saganaga Property Owners Associations, working with volunteers from up and down the Trail, have made the Races a success for 41 years. This year’s overall chairman, Bob Baker, Sr. of Gunflint Lake, notes, “the Canoe Races are a true expression of how our Gunflint Trail community works together to make living in the wilderness better and better each year, for residents and visitors alike.”

WTIP will be broadcasting LIVE from the Canoe Races from 5-7pm as the kick-off for their summer pledge drive, which runs through July 24th.


July 18
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Gunflint Lodge
143 S. Gunflint Lake
Grand Marais, Minnesota 55604
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