Wilderness Guide

Dave Freeman has guided canoe trips in the BWCAW for many years, and is one of the foremost wilderness expeditioners and educators of this era. He and his wife, Amy, were named National Geographic Adventurers of the year 2014. Dave’s heart is very close to the Boundary Waters. He is passionate about sharing this place with people today, as well as protecting the BWCAW for future generations.

Dave’s expeditions have taken him to remote points around the globe. In 2013, he and Amy completed an 11,700 mile expedition across North America by canoe, sea kayak, and dogsled. In 2014 he celebrated Pres. Teddy Roosevelt’s epic descent of the River of Doubt in the Amazon by canoeing the same river.

Closer to home, Dave has circumnavigated Lake Superior  and paddled the length of the Mississippi. He and Amy paddled and sailed 2,000 miles from Ely, MN, to Washington, DC to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act while raising awareness for protection of the BWCA.

In 2015/2016 Amy and Dave spent 366 consecutive days in the BWCAW bearing witness to this unique region while highlighting its fragility and beauty, and wrote “A Year in the Wilderness: Bearing Witness in the Boundary Waters,” which was published by Milkweed Editions in 2017.  Click here to learn more about their year in the Wilderness. Signed copies are available for purchase in our retail shop.

Dave is the Founder and Executive Director of the Wilderness Classroom Organization, a nonprofit that introduces thousands of students to the world’s wild places with interactive online learning experiences connected with his expeditions.

When the Freemans aren’t in the Boundary Waters they live on their 35-foot sailboat, Iron Bark, which they have sailed from the Caribbean to Labrador and back over the past couple years.

Originally from Western Springs, IL, Dave graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and Anthropology.

Dave Freeman

There is magic in the feel of a paddle and the movement of a canoe, a magic compounded of distance, adventure, solitude and peace. The way of a canoe is the way of the wilderness and of a freedom almost forgotten, the open door to waterways of ages past and a way of life with profound and abiding satisfaction.

-Sigurd Olson