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, 

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 who 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 wilderness.

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

Joe Friedrichs

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. 

Firedrichs’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 at 121 1st Avenue West in Grand Marais. Friedrichs can be reached by email at