Raven Lake
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Nearest Entry Point: Snowbank Lake or Kawishiwi Lake Fishing: Lake Trout, Yellow Perch; MN DNR Fish Survey
Maps: Fisher F-11, F-12; McKenzie #7, #8 Lake Depth: 56 feet; MN DNR Map
Bushwhack Rating: Lake Size: 70 acres; MN DNR Map
Campsites: Four Wildlife Seen on Visit: Never visited
Last Visited: Never Lake Elevation: 1620 feet
Water Clarity: MN DNR Fire History: 1875 and 1863-64

Raven Lake

Have not yet visited this Primitive Management Area lake. The information displayed on this page are notes used for planning a future trip to this area. Use the information on this page at your own risk.

Mugwump Lake PMA

Raven Lake is one of the few PMA lakes that has lake trout swimming in it. This is a popular lake (largely because of its fish), but also because it is big (for a PMA lake) and relatively easy to reach. The lake has clear water and no inlets (Rom, 1987).

In 1875, a large fire complex called the Alice Lake/Ogishkemuncie Lake/Tuscarora Lake/Cherokee Lake Complex burned the area around all those major lakes. It probably started near Lake Insula or the Hog Lake area. There was another large fire in this area around 1863-1864. This fire is known as the North Kawishiwi River/Alice Lake/Cypress Lake/Saganaga Lake Complex. Like the fire that burned this area in 1875, it began south of the current BWCAW's southern boundary (Heinselman, 1999).

The book "Canoe Country Wilderness", by William Rom has an entire chapter dedicated to Raven Lake. There is also some information about Van Lake in this chapter. The author describes the lake as it was between the years 1958 to around 1976. He claims it to be his favorite lake in the entire BWCA.

Heinselman, Miron, The Boundary Waters Wilderness Ecosystem (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999), 141, 156.
Pauly, Daniel, Exploring the Boundary Waters (Minneapolis:  University of Minnesota Press, 2005), 240.
Rom, William N., M.D., Canoe Country Wilderness (Stillwater: Voyageur Press, 1987), 33-37.

Approach to Raven Lake

Look for the creek flowing into the north tip of Roe Lake on its eastern end. The 2011 McKenzie #8 map shows a portage here along the west side (left) of the creek where it enters Roe Lake that is about 16 rods long. There is another unmaintained short portage further along that is 48 rods in length. This is probably to get around the marshy section.

Bushwhack to Raven Lake

Portage about 20 rods from Roe Lake into the creek. The portage is on the west side of the creek. Once on the creek, it is about 190 rods up to Raven Lake. The creek is passable in a canoe for about 140 rods through the peat bog until it is finally encroached upon by the forest. The last 30 rods is a bushwhack but trip reports indicate a well defined trail along the creek for this last part. Even recent maps of the area show there was a portage along the east (right side) of the creek for this last 30 rod push. Back in the 1950's and 1960's their was a blazed trail between Raven Lake, Mugwump Lake and Van Lake (Rom, 1987).

Exploring Raven Lake

There is fair amount of information in the form of trip reports detailing Raven Lake. Since I have not been there, check out these other available sources. Old Minnesota Department of Natural Resources maps (see links above) indicate that Raven Lake used to support four campsite. The lake has a good population of small lake trout. The lake is over 50 feet deep in two places. There are a couple of submerged islands in the south part of the lake.

Raven Lake has two benchmarks from previous surveys of the lake by the Minnesota DNR. Both of these benchmarks were set October 10, 1972. Benchmark #1 is a spike implanted in a 8 inch diameter at breast height (DBH) white pine tree, 10 feet from the lakes shoreline (at that time), near the outlet on the south tip of the lake. When this benchmark was emplaced, the water survey level was four feet below the base of this white pine tree. This is also where an old campsite used to be and where the old portage used to reach the lake. Benchmark #2 is about 500 feet to the northeast of Benchmark #1, out in the lake. This benchmark is implanted in the top of a large rock 150 feet from shore. At the time this benchmark was placed, the water survey level was four and a half feet below the benchmarks elevation.

PMA #1: Weeny PMA #4: Tick PMA #7: Pitfall PMA #10: Hairy
PMA #2: Canthook PMA #5: Spider PMA #8: Mugwump PMA #11: Weasel
PMA #3: Sundial PMA #6: Drag PMA #9: Humpback PMA #12: Fungus
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