Nastawgan: Wilderness Canoe Association Journal

An excerpt from a 1974 issue of  Nastawgan . Photo courtesy of

An excerpt from a 1974 issue of Nastawgan. Photo courtesy of

I'd seen Nastawgan, the quarterly journal of the Wilderness Canoe Association (WCA), mentioned as additional resource material in Cliff Jacobson's books, but I'd never been able to get my hands on a copy. I recently noticed that the WCA posted their collection of Nastawgan back issues online.  

What is nastawgan? Today (well, since the early 70's), Nastawgan is a journal published by the WCA to give members an inside look into other's paddling adventures, and also to discuss techniques and equipment . Winter or Summer, the Nastawgan features many awe-inspiring stories from wilderness travelers.

However, nastawgan originated with the Ojibwa years ago. Hap Wilson talks about the definition and history of nastawgan in his book, Trails and Tribulations, Confessions of a Wilderness Pathfinder: "The Ojibwa Nation had an elaborate webwork of summer and winter trails called nastawgan, some dating back more than five thousand years." 

I've only read through a small portion of the online issues, but they appear to be an incredible resource for the wilderness enthusiast. Aside from the trip reports from far off lands, I found some great recipies, technique discussions, and loads of other valuable information. Even if you are simply a bushcrafter, or backwoods camper, as opposed to a Boundary Waters paddlers, or expedition canoeist, chances are you'll enjoy perusing Nastawagan. Plus, if you're like me and just like retro stuff, this is pretty cool.

Check out more about the Nastawgan journal and the Wilderness Canoe Association.