Merrimack Canoe Contest


A million acres of breathtakingly raw beauty, a proposed copper mine and a stirring love letter have brought together some of the outdoor industry’s greatest champions for a contest aimed at raising both funds and awareness on behalf of America’s most visited Wilderness Area. The idea was inspired by a compelling film written and narrated by Nate Riverhorse Nakadate, a Patagonia Fly-Fishing Ambassador, regarding the impending threat to the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness by a sulfide-ore copper mine. Since Patagonia released the film as part of the “It’s All Home Water” series, the outdoor world has stood up and taken notice.

Tony Czech

WATCH "A Northern Light" HERE

So advocacy group Save the Boundary Waters has teamed up with Riverhorse and Merrimack Canoes – Riverhorse’s canoe of choice – to give away more than $7,000 in prizes to contestants who submit a $20 entry fee and explain one from-the-heart reason why the BWCA (and places like it) should be protected. Entries will be judged by Riverhorse and non-writers take note: He is not looking for fancy writing or flowing prose. He is looking for insight and sincerity -  why is the BWCA important and what do these wilderness spaces mean to you and to our planet?

Only 1,000 entries will be accepted. All proceeds will go to Save The Boundary Waters. Prizes include shipping and no additional purchase is necessary. Please see the complete contest description and rules BELOW.


Northern Light II

Tony Czech

Merrimack Tennessean Canoe

The Tennessean Canoe by Merrimack Canoes is a handcrafted boat built with a blend of wood and composites to create the perfect marriage of beauty and functionality. 

Length  14.5' -  Approx. Weight  45 lbs - Capacity  625 lbs. Value: $3,500

From Riverhorse:

There are a few  Merrimack design styles that set the bar for the rest of the world, but we chose to use the Tennessean model for the film A Northern Light thanks to it being an all-around perfect canoe.  It has a leaner taper to the outline which allows it to be as fast as anything I’ve ever had in the water.  She is an arrow of a sleek freight train out there.  I needed the speed to cover the endless miles we show in the film, along with how well it loves being balanced out with gear, shoulders like a dream, and has a gorgeous sticking point easily felt and found when you lean on the rails while standing.  You can see it in the fly-fishing portions of the film.  It also does well with two paddlers, which we had to do quite a few times thanks to the cameras, food supplies in the wilderness, etc. This canoe is beyond responsive and ready to go for a lifetime of adventures.


The First Runner Up prize is a 58-inch, straight-shaft Gunflint Class II made by Sanborn Canoe – the same one used by Riverhorse. In his words, “The Gunflint paddle is my go-to, has been for years.  Although there are paddles out there that move through the water faster, I need a paddle that gives serious strength and powerful drive in spades. The first one I ever ordered now has some 28,000 miles on it and it has kicked hard in salt marshes, oceans, lakes, and rivers around the world.” Value: $175 


The Second Runner Up prize is a Legend Xtreme XFS68MXF Spinning Rod from St. Croix Rods – maker of some of the most elite fishing rods in the world. This award-winning rod is insanely sensitive and awash with St. Croix proprietary technologies. Prize includes a St. Croix apparel package. Value: $700


The Third Runner Up will win a Hybrid-Series pack from Cooke Custom Sewing, maker of top-quality outdoor accessories for your wilderness adventure. The company’s Pioneer Hybrid Pack blends the utility of a traditional canoeing pack with all the cushy features of a backpacking-style pack for a bag that is the perfect marriage of functionality and comfort.  This prize includes a merchandise bundle from Save the Boundary Waters plus a commemorative True North Map Company cloth map of the area in danger. Value: $560


The Fourth Runner Up prize comes from Lake Commandos star and Fishing Hall of Famer Steve Pennaz, who is providing two Abu Garcia combos used on the Lake Commandos TV show. The first is a spinning combo with Revo X spinning reel and Vendetta rod, and the second is a baitcasting combo with a Revo X bait casting reel and Veracity rod. Value: $475


The Fifth Runner Up will receive a virtually indestructible  Grand Portage Canoe Pack from Frost River Trading Company,, a Duluth, Minnesota-based outdoor gear company that uses old-world techniques and premium materials to craft outdoor accessories that are legendary for their functionality, quality and style. Value: $370


The Sixth Runner Up will receive an Ice Package from Northland Tackle, a company that has been manufacturing some of fishermen’s favorite tackle for 40 years. This exclusive package contains a Cherry Picker Ice Rod plus an array of tackle including Glo-Shot Fire and EYE-Ball spoons and five of the company’s brand-new Rattlin’ Puppet Minnows. Value: $200

 The Campaign to Save The Boundary Waters is leading the efforts to protect the Boundary Waters from sulfide-ore copper mining.

The Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, led by Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness, is the national movement to protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, America’s most visited wilderness and Minnesota’s crown jewel, from copper mining. Learn more about Save the Boundary Waters.

Canoes Built for You.

Merrimack Canoes are hand-built with old-world craftsmanship and modern-day composites, making them as practical as they are beautiful. Each is customized for its owner and then numbered and signed by the  artisan who built it. The best marriage of art and science on the water, Merrimack Canoes are crafted to be used for generations. Find the right canoe for you.



1. Eligibility: Contest (the “Contest”) is open only to those who enter on the online contest page and who are 18 as of the date of entry. The Contest is only open to legal residents of the United States and is void where prohibited by law. Entries must come from people located within the United States at the time of entry, and prize delivery must be to a continental United States address. Employees of Save the Boundary Waters (the “Sponsor”) or Merrimack Canoes, their respective affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, suppliers and their immediate family members and/or those living in the same household of each are not eligible to participate in the Contest. The Contest is subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations. Void where prohibited.

2. Agreement to Rules: By participating, you agree to be fully unconditionally bound by these Rules, and you represent and warrant that you meet the eligibility requirements set forth herein. In addition, you agree to accept the decisions of Judge Nathaniel Riverhorse Nakadate, as final and binding as it relates to the content. The Contest is subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws.

3. Contest Period: Entries will be accepted online starting on or about November 10 and ending December 31, 2020. All online entries must be received by December 31 at 11:59PM EST. 

4. How to Enter: The Contest must be entered by submitting an entry using the online form provided on this Contest site. The entry must fulfill all Contest requirements, as specified, plus pay the fee of $20 USD, submit an entry according to the rules, and be eligible to win a prize. Entries that are not complete or do not adhere to the rules or specifications may be disqualified at the sole discretion of Save the Boundary Waters. You may enter multiple times with separate complete submissions. With each entry, a new form and entry fee must be submitted, and you must fill in the information as requested to be considered by the Judge. If you use fraudulent methods or otherwise attempt to circumvent the rules, your submission may be removed from eligibility at the sole discretion of Save the Boundary Waters.

5. Prizes: Winners will receive: Grand Prize: A Tennessean Canoe custom crafted by Merrimack Canoes and named Northern Light II as a matching canoe to the one used by Riverhorse Nate during the filming of the documentary A Northern Light. Value $3,500. First Runner Up: A handcrafted Sanborn Canoe Gunflint Paddle matching the one used by Riverhorse during the filming of the documentary. Value $195. Second Runner Up: Legend Xtreme XFS68MXF Spinning Rod plus an apparel package from St. Croix Rods Value: $700   Third Runner Up: A Pioneer Hybrid Pack from Cooke Custom Sewing plus a merchandise bundle from Save the Boundary Waters and a commemorative flag from True North Map Company. Value $560. Fourth Runner Up: Two Abu Garcia combos used on Lake Commandos TV show. Donated by Lake Commandos host and Fishing Hall of Famer Steve Pennaz. One a Revo X spinning reel and Vendetta rod, and the second a baitcasting combo with a Revo X bait casting reel and Veracity rod. Value: $475. Fifth Runner Up:Grand Portage Canoe Pack from Frost River Trading Company. Value $370. Sixth Runner Up: An Ice Package from Northland Tackle. Value: $200.

All prizes include shipping costs to an address in the continental United States. It is at the discretion of the sponsor to ship items in the most economical method available depending on the item and the location of the winner, and, as such, no delivery date is guaranteed. 

Actual/appraised value may differ at time of prize award. The specifics of the prize shall be solely determined by the Sponsor. No cash or other prize substitution permitted except at Sponsor's discretion. The prize is non-transferable. Any and all prize related expenses, including without limitation any and all federal, state, and/or local taxes shall be the sole responsibility of the winner. No substitution of prize or transfer/assignment of prize to others or request for the cash equivalent by winners is permitted. Acceptance of prize constitutes permission for Save the Boundary Waters and Merrimack Canoes to use winner's name, likeness, and entry for purposes of advertising and trade without further compensation, unless prohibited by law.

6. Odds: Only up to 1,000 entries will be accepted. The odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received and the quality and insight of those entries according to the Judge.

7. Winner selection and notification: Winners of the Contest will be chosen by Judge Nathaniel Riverhorse Nakadate according to criteria below:

Each entry shall provide one short essay about why the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) and areas like it should be protected from development. It is the responsibility of entrants to familiarize themselves with the BWCA, its assets, threats, history, uses and future potential in order to submit a knowledgeable and relevant entry. Total word count of each completed entry may not exceed 200 words. Entries exceeding that word count will not be considered. As an expert on the BWCA, Riverhorse will judge each entry with the help of Save The Boundary Waters staff according to the following standards: Articulation of points, ability to evoke emotion, and relativity to the BWCA. More weight will be placed on from-the-heart substance and insight (70%) than on style and prose (30%). 

Winners will be notified via email to the email address they entered for the Contest with within five (5) days following the winner selection. Winner selection will be made prior to January 30, 2021. Save the Boundary Waters shall have no liability for a winner's failure to receive notices due to winners' spam, junk e-mail or other security settings or for winners' provision of incorrect or otherwise non-functioning contact information. If the selected winner cannot be contacted, is ineligible, fails to claim the prize within 15 days from the time award notification was sent, or fails to timely return a completed and executed declaration and releases as required, prize may be forfeited and a runner-up winner selected. 

The receipt by winner of the prize offered in this Contest is conditioned upon compliance with any and all federal and state laws and regulations. ANY VIOLATION OF THESE OFFICIAL RULES BY ANY WINNER (AT SPONSOR'S SOLE DISCRETION) WILL RESULT IN SUCH WINNER'S DISQUALIFICATION AS WINNER OF THE CONTEST AND ALL PRIVILEGES AS WINNER WILL BE IMMEDIATELY TERMINATED. 

 8. Rights Granted by you: By entering this content you understand that Save the Boundary Waters, anyone acting on behalf of Save the Boundary Waters, or its respective licensees, successors and assigns will have the right, where permitted by  law, without any further notice, review or consent to print, publish, broadcast, distribute, and use, worldwide in any media now known or hereafter in perpetuity and throughout the World, your entry, including, without limitation, the entry and winner's name, portrait, picture, voice, likeness, image or statements about the Contest, and biographical information as news, publicity or information and for trade, advertising, public relations and promotional purposes without any further compensation.

 9. Terms: Save the Boundary Waters reserves the right, in its sole discretion to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Contest should (in its sole discretion) a virus, bugs, non-authorized human intervention, fraud or other causes beyond its control corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness or proper conduct of the Contest. In such case, Save the Boundary Waters may select the recipients from all eligible entries received prior to and/or after (if appropriate) the action taken by Save the Boundary Waters reserves the right at its sole discretion to disqualify any individual who tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operation of the Contest or website or violates these Terms & Conditions.

Save the Boundary Waters has the right, in its sole discretion, to maintain the integrity of the Contest, to void entries that do not comply with the stated rules in full.

Any attempt by an entrant to deliberately damage any web site or undermine the legitimate operation of the Contest may be a violation of criminal and civil laws and should such an attempt be made, Save the Boundary Waters reserves the right to seek damages from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law.

By entering the Contest you agree to receive email newsletters periodically from Save the Boundary Waters and Merrimack Canoes. You can opt-out of receiving this communication at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the newsletter.

10. Limitation of Liability: By entering you agree to release and hold harmless Save the Boundary Waters and its subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising and promotion agencies, partners, representatives, agents, successors, assigns, employees, officers and directors from any liability, illness, injury, death, loss, litigation, claim or damage that may occur, directly or indirectly, whether caused by negligence or not, from (i) such entrant's participation in the Contest and/or his/her acceptance, possession, use, or misuse of any prize or any portion thereof, (ii) technical failures of any kind, including but not limited to the malfunctioning of any computer, cable, network, hardware or software; (iii) the unavailability or inaccessibility of any transmissions or telephone or Internet service; (iv) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Promotion; (v) electronic or human error which may occur in the administration of the Promotion or the processing of entries.

11. Disputes: THIS CONTEST IS GOVERNED BY THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE STATE OF MINNESOTA, WITHOUT RESPECT TO CONFLICT OF LAW DOCTRINES. As a condition of participating in this Contest, participant agrees that any and all disputes which cannot be resolved between the parties, and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Contest, shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, exclusively before a court located in Minnesota having jurisdiction. Further, in any such dispute, under no circumstances will participant be permitted to obtain awards for, and hereby waives all rights to claim punitive, incidental, or consequential damages, including reasonable attorneys' fees, other than participant's actual out-of-pocket expenses (i.e. costs associated with entering this Contest), and participant further waives all rights to have damages multiplied or increased.

12. Privacy Policy Information submitted with an entry is subject to the following Privacy Policy: Entrant information may be added to the email databases of Save the Boundary Waters and Merrimack Canoes for the purpose of email communication now and going forward. Entrants can unsubscribe at any time. Entry information will not be sold, traded or shared with any other entity. .

13. Winners List: To obtain a copy of the winner's name or a copy of these Official Rules, mail your request along with a stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Save the Boundary Waters, 206 E Sheridan St, Ely, MN 55731, USA. Requests must be received no later than January 31, 2021.

14. Sponsor The Sponsor of the Contest is Save the Boundary Waters, 206 E Sheridan St, Ely, MN 55731, USA, in conjunction with Merrimack Canoes, 460 West 3rd St, Winona, MN 55987, USA.