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Border Lakes Tour Company LLC

Border Lakes Tour Company LLC

Border Lakes Tour Company LLC

A lifelong dream of Mike Bartz to share his love of the Boundary Waters Canoe area with EVERYONE! Age or ability is not a barrier.

In February of 2017 Mike met with SBDC business counselor Pat Campanaro in Grand Marais to share his idea of starting some type of business that would allow him to bring his extensive knowledge of the outdoors and wilderness to others. Mike is a retired conservation officer who has spent over 50 years in the outdoors, wilderness canoe camping, hiking, snowshoeing and XC skiing.  

Mike’s excitement for his business venture was contagious.  Pat worked with Mike to pull together the various options he might offer into a business plan, complete with tour descriptions, inventory needs, marketing plans and potential rates and Border Lakes Tour Company was up and running for the 2017 summer and fall season.

Border Lakes offer clients a variety of field experiences that include guided day trips into the BWCAW and Superior National Forest by foot or canoe, providing all necessary equipment and lunch.  These guided tours are a great way to discover wilderness canoeing, see wildlife, pristine waters and boreal forests. At the end of the day guests return to the comfort of their own lodgings. 

Trips are designed to meet the comfort level of each group. They can range from easy to challenging based on the type of experience people desire.

Here’s what his clients have to say:

Had a perfect day canoeing the BWCA with Mike's guidance. He is kind and supportive, and clearly has a great deal of knowledge about the region. Though I kayak, I have only been in a canoe a couple times as an adult. Mike's coaching and assistance helped me feel comfortable so that I could enjoy this amazing wilderness area.  Nicole, Minneapolis


My 1st time in the area and I haven't canoed in years. Mike put together a great day trip, provided instruction, and knew so much about the area. I would recommend for both experienced paddlers and newbies! - Emily from Philadelphia, 2017

 It was a wonderful experience! Highly recommend it. Great paddling, beautiful scenery, very tasty lunch and a wonderful guide! Jennifer

Mike is appreciative of the support Pat and the SBDC provided, “My business was up and running sooner than I expected. The information and help Pat continues to provide is invaluable.”

Schedule an adventure with Border Lakes Touring, call Mike at (218) 370-0427, or visit his website at

Border Lakes Tour Company LLC

sba_and_sbdc_logos.pngFunded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and regional support partners. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the program sponsors. Programs are open to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact UMD CED at 218-726-7298.