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HomeBusinessMedia Company Focused on BWCAW and Quetico Opens in Grand Marais

Media Company Focused on BWCAW and Quetico Opens in Grand Marais

Paddle & Por­tage (P&P), a media company offering a unique perspective on news, adventure, and storytelling from and about the Boundary Waters, commenced operations this month in Grand Marais.

It offers three ways to engage with its original and curated content: A monthly podcast about the Boundary Waters, a monthly digital magazine, and its website, www.paddleandportage.com

The podcast hosts are Joe Friedrichs and Matthew Baxley. In 2017, they founded a podcast focused on the Boundary Waters for WTIP, the com­munity radio station in Grand Marais. The P&P platform allows for expanded story­telling, more voices from the community of paddlers, and the ability to travel deep­er and capture more stories in the BWCA and Quetico. It will be accessible wherever you get your podcasts on the 10th of each month.

The podcast has a sibling called Pad­dle and Portage Bo­nus Media for P&P members that offers a variety of additional content in audio form. Expect interviews with DNR, USFS, and other agencies and organizations that work in and around the Boundary Waters. The bonus audio will include audio diaries from guest contrib­utors who visit the BWCA, Quetico, and other locations. Bax­ley and Friedrichs also share seasonal conditions, fish re­ports, news, and ad­ditional information from the wilderness for P&P members.

The digital maga­zine curated by P&P serves as a place for feature stories, pho­tos, interviews, and diverse content from and about the Bound­ary Waters. Expe­rienced journalists, writers, and BWCA paddlers will all see their work shared in the digital magazine. It features articles exploring ongoing conservation efforts, ecological research, and the importance of preserving these natural wonders for future generations. It will also highlight the dedication of USFS employees from the Superior National Forest in many issues of the magazine.

P&P’s business is membership focused and driven. It has several locally based sponsors interested in the boundary waters of the wilderness.

P&P’s founder and owner is Joe Fried­richs, a Grand Mara­is-based journalist and author.

Most recently, Frie­drichs served five years as the News Di­rector at Grand Mara­is’ radio station WTIP. In that role, he was recognized in the Best Investigative Report­ing category by the Midwest Broadcast Journalists Associa­tion for a 2022 story he did exploring the possibility of a brain cancer cluster in Cook County.

Friedrichs grew up in Mason City, IA, where he started on his high school news­paper as a sophomore, rising from reporter to editor. He followed a similar path at the University of Mon­tana, where he earned his journalism degree.

An avid outdoors­man, Friedrichs dis­covered the BWCAW in 2013, which began what he describes as “a deep and ev­er growing fasci­nation” with canoe country.

“Our goal is to pro­mote wilderness trav­el and recreation the smart and safe way,” Friedrichs said.

Friedrichs encour­ages member feed­back and commen­tary. The publications are open to submis­sions from everybody.

“We believe that storytelling has the power to connect peo­ple with the wild in a real, tangible way,” Friedrichs wrote in his vision statement for P&P. “Paddle and Portage media is our endeavor to bridge the gap between adven­ture and narratives, in­viting our audience to experience the mag­ic of the Boundary Waters and Quetico through the eyes and ears of those who live here, visit the area, or are still waiting to make that first trip to the canoe-country wilderness.”

Friedrichs and his team will be at Ca­noecopia in Madison, WI, March 8-10. He also plans to be at lo­cal events throughout this winter and spring.

Friedrichs’s lat­est book, Last Entry Point, is scheduled to be released this spring with a celebration at Drury Lane Books in Grand Marais. The book shares stories of death and danger from the Boundary Waters.

Paddle and Portage offices are at 121 1st Avenue West in Grand Marais. Friedrichs can be reached by email at joe@paddleandportage.com.

Steve Fernlund
Steve Fernlund
Typically these “about me” pages include a list of academic achievements (I have none) and positions held (I have had many, but who really cares about those?) So, in the words of the late Admiral James Stockwell, “Who am I? Why am I here?” I’m well into my seventh decade on this blue planet we call home. I’m a pretty successful husband, father, and grandfather, at least in my humble opinion. My progeny may disagree. We have four children and five grandchildren. I spent most of my professional life in the freight business. At the tender age of 40, early retirement beckoned and we moved to Grand Marais. A year after we got here, we bought and operated the Cook County News Herald, a weekly newspaper in Grand Marais. A sharp learning curve for a dumb freight broker to become a newspaper editor and publisher. By 1999 the News Herald was an acquisition target for a rapidly consolidating media market. We sold our businesses and “retired” again, buying a winter retreat in Nevada. In the fall of 2016, we returned to Grand Marais and bought a house from old friends of ours on the ridge overlooking Lake Superior. They were able to move closer to family and their Mexico winter home. And we came home to what we say is our last house. I’m a strong believer in the value of local newspapers--both online and those you can wrap a fish in. I write a weekly column and a couple of feature stories for the Northshore Journal. I’m most interested in writing about the everyday lives of local people and reporting on issues of importance to them.
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