Van Lake
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Nearest Entry Point: Kawishiwi Lake, Snowbank Lake or Round Lake Fishing: Unknown
Maps: Fisher F-11, F-12; McKenzie #7, #8 Lake Depth: 48 feet; MN DNR Map
Bushwhack Rating: Lake Size: 41 acres; MN DNR Map
Campsites: None Wildlife Seen on Visit: Never visited
Last Visited: Never Lake Elevation: 1690 feet
Water Clarity: MN DNR Fire History: 1875 and 1863-64

Van 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

Old maps do not show a portage was ever maintained out to Van Lake. Thus, the lake supports no previously maintained campsites. Van Lake drains out through Bewon Lake and eventually into Cap Lake.

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 near the town of Isabella, Minnesota.

Approach to Van Lake

The first order of business will be to reach Bewon Lake. See the Bewon Lake page for details. The real approach begins from there.

From Bewon Lake, head up the creek that flows into the northeast shore of the lake. This creek flows in just to the east of the spur of forest coming down to the middle of Bewon Lake.

Bushwhack to Van Lake

The first 30 rods of the creek from Bewon Lake, heading north, passes through peat bog. You can probably squeeze a canoe through it. After that, you are bushwhacking for a while. After the creek gets to be too narrow to paddle, follow it north through the peat bog valley for about 60 rods. You will arrive at the very long and skinny southeast arm of Van Lake.

Exploring Van Lake

A tiny island lies in the southeast part of the lake. A prominent underwater point marked by some exposed boulders extends out from the west shore. The northwest corner of the lake may have suffered some blow down damage from the 1999 Independence Day Windstorm. There are really no other routes beyond Van Lake. You could potentially make your way up to the My/Your Lake area.

Van Lake has two benchmarks placed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Benchmark #1 is a spike implanted into a 16 inch diameter at breast height (DBH) white pin tree which is about five feet from the edge of the lake. This benchmark is on the western most of the two points along Van Lake's northern shoreline. When this benchmark was established, the water survey level was eight and a half feet below the base of the white pine tree that the benchmark spike is embedded in.

There is a second benchmark (Benchmark #2) which can be found in the middle of the north end of the peninsula in the southeast part of the lake (by the long south arm of the lake). Benchmark #2 is spike embedded into a 16 inch DBH white pine that is 15 feet from the where the water's edge was at the time of establishment. At this time, the water survey level was just over 10 feet below the base of the white pine tree that contains the benchmarker. These benchmarks were set on or about September 11, 1972.

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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