What is it?


PaddleFest Weekend,(formerly known as the Paddle-A-Thon) is a three-day fundraising event for Wilderness Wind in northern Minnesota. On Thursday and Friday, paddlers gather at Wilderness Wind for preparation and orientation. Saturday, the big day, consists of a celebratory paddle in the picturesque Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness followed by a cook-out dinner at Lakeside on Armstrong Lake. Paddlers have paddled from 20-70 miles during this single day. Sunday includes story-telling, a delicious brunch, celebration and rejuvenation. PaddleFest takes place the first weekend of August (July 31-Aug 2, 2015).

The main purpose of the event is to raise funds for Wilderness Wind operations, but of course we intend to have a memorable and enjoyable time doing it. In addition, we seek to make the event faithful to our mission, meaning that we seek to nurture our relationship with God and creation through wilderness living, which promotes spirituality, cooperation and environmental sustainability.

For Paddling Participants, scroll down for Registration Form.

Registration by the early deadline includes:

  • PaddleFest tech-tee
  • Fundraising materials (WW brochure, personalized fliers, tips)
  • Lodging and meals from Friday through Sunday*

*additional nights/meals free of charge will be offered to travelers coming from long-distances

Where does the money go?


PaddleFest was created to raise funds for Wilderness Wind operational expenses. In an attempt to make wilderness experiences accessible to people of diverse economic backgrounds, Wilderness Wind’s fees do not cover the entire expenses of Boundary Waters canoe trips. Instead, our fees cover only two-thirds of all program expenses. Additionally, we desire to be a positive influence on our local community, so we have agreed to tithe a portion of the event’s proceeds to the betterment of the Ely community.

In total, the funds raised by the PaddleFest support:

  • program expenses, such as equipment replacement
  • camper scholarships
  • summer staff stipends
  • introducing additional sustainability practices and equipment into Wilderness Wind’s daily functions
  • ecological and community projects in Ely, MN (10%)
How can you be involved?
  • Be a Paddler *See registration form at the bottom of this section*
  • Join the support team Help with cooking, transportation, or logistics to support paddling teams
  • Become a business sponsor Click for a list of previous years’ sponsors
  • Donate or sponsor prizes
  • Offer financial support online
  • Contribute by mail – send your tax-deductible donation to: Wilderness Wind PaddleFest, 2945 Hwy 169, Ely, MN 55731
  1. Though PaddleFest means a full day of canoeing for some, they are few when compared with all of the people involved. We have thought of a few ways you could become a part of the event, but feel free to use your imagination and let us know how you will participate. We love to hear the ideas of people thinking outside the box! You could join with other people in your community: several people in the Goshen area planned a breakfast and short paddle to publicize the later event and raise funds within that community. Several of our board members are wearing their Wilderness Wind t-shirts to special events and telling others about the event. Another board member/former staff organized her own Tri-Adventure Fundraiser to participate in Ohio. Be imaginative!
  2. Required Forms for Paddlers: