Traveling to the NW Angle
It’s the news many were looking to hear since the border closed March, 2020. The Canadian border is open as of August 9th to Americans who have a vaccination card combined with a negative COVID PCR (molecular) test less than 72 hours old. This is great news for those wanting to take advantage of fall up at the NW Angle.
Americans will have to download the ArriveCAN app. Canada Border Services Agency launched the ArriveCAN mobile app to make it easier for travelers to provide their contact information upon entering the country. Travelers must download the ArriveCAN mobile app, available on the Apple App and Google Play Stores, prior to your arrival to reduce wait times and limit points of contact.
Once the ArriveCAN app is downloaded, travelers from the U.S. into Canada will upload their COVID-19 vaccination card. Travelers must also have a COVID-19 PCR (molecular) test showing a negative test that is less than 72 hours from when the test was taken.
Where to get tested? Depending upon where you are traveling from, it will typically work out best to get testing in your own community. This will, depending upon how large of a community you live in, will provide you with more testing options.
Rapid tests that are also a PCR test are the most convenient but not readily available. If you can find them through a drug store or your health care provider, great. Our resources tell us rapid tests that are a PCR test are really hard to find right now primarily due to supply and demand. It seems first on the list are people showing symptoms. Second are other groups with those who intent to use the test for travel reasons towards the bottom of the list.
An option that has been working out better for travelers is the saliva test usually from a company called Vault. In the State of MN, the MN Department of Health are using these tests often. You are also allowed to order them from the MN Department of Health. They come with a prepaid UPS expedited delivery envelope. This test can be taken at home, shipped to the testing center and results emailed back. How long does this take? It depends, but normally if a test is shipped on a Monday, results will be back Tuesday night.
Some have simply made a few calls to their local pharmacy or health care providers and have found convenient options.
Driving back from the Angle. Technically, when a traveler enters Canada, they need a qualifying negative COVID test. That technically means on the return trip from the Angle, through Canada, to the south shore. Canadian officials realize there are no health care or testing facilities within the NW Angle, so they have allowed travelers traveling back from the Angle to pass through without a new test.
There have been some long wait times calling into CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency) and getting a call center agent, but other than the inconvenience, the process is working.
Yes, we knew there could be a couple of additional hoops to jump through to ensure safety but the bottom line is access to the Angle via vehicle will once again be available. And what’s waiting?
It’s the northernmost point of the Contiguous United States. It is where the 14,552 islands of the lake begin. It is surrounded on three sides by Canada. It is Minnesota’s Northwest Angle. This area is special all of the time, but fall up at the NW Angle is definitely one to add to your list, it’s spectacular. Fishing, after basically being closed for a couple of summers, has been excellent. So many great reports.
Avoiding Customs all together. Of course, the options of traveling up to the Angle and avoiding customs and Canada are still in place. The Lake of the Woods Passenger Service transports people to the Angle via the charter boat service. Comfortable and easy aboard large charter boats (and bombardiers across the frozen lake in the winter) can be a great way to travel north.
Lake Country Air is also a nice option. Using float planes, the flight across Lake of the Woods from the south shore to the NW Angle is less than 15 minutes. How easy! This service is also available during the winter season with planes landing on the ice.
Some who have large enough boats can boat across the lake. It is about a 40 mile boat ride, depending upon where you depart and your destination. Good planning, flexibility and an experienced boat driver are all important if traveling across on your own. Some will work with the Passenger Service to follow the big boats across.
Whatever way you decide to come, the trip is worth it. The beauty, fishing and simply feel of the Angle is well worth it. There is a reason people keep coming back up. Make your plans for a fall or winter adventure now!