Crossing the Border
Why not make it a two-nation vacation while you are here. Fort Frances, Ontario, Canada is only separated from International Falls and Ranier by the width of the Rainy River. Please do visit our neighbors to the north, it is a distinctly different country where you will find the people friendly and the dining and shopping options truly different. There are great golf courses, scenic drives, museums and historic sites to make for a day-trip. Stop at our office for ideas and information, we are just blocks from the International Bridge.
International Falls and Fort Frances share many events and celebrations, but are in two different countries, each with homeland protection priorities and procedures. To make travel across the border easy, bring along a passport or become a trusted traveler. Below, you will find links to help you understand the border crossing procedures and how you can become a trusted traveler.
It is possible to boat into Canada to visit and then boat back into the United States, but you must follow the proper reporting procedures. Again, the information is included in the links below, but if you have difficulty navigating or understanding the websites we have regular phone numbers you can call. Our local Customs and Border Protection phone number is 218-283-2541 and the Canadian border station is at 807-274-3655.
Many people consider making international crossing part of the trip here or home. Cross at International Falls and head east toward Thunder Bay on Lake Superior and return to the U.S. at Pigeon River. Be sure to stop at Split Rock Lighthouse as you head south on the scenic drive. Going the other way? Head west from Fort Frances along the Rainy River Valley and return to the US at Baudette. If you head west, be sure to take in Kay Nah Chi Wah Nung, an interpretive center for ancient burial mounds found throughout the Rainy Lake Watershed.
Global Entry & NEXUS Processing in International Falls, Minnesota.
The International Falls port of entry processes Global Entry and NEXUS applicants, both are trusted traveler programs sponsored by Customs and Border Protection. Additional information about Global Entry and NEXUS can be found at www.globalentry.gov or www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/nexus.
The ice is off of Rainy Lake and Rainy River is attracting anglers. The River attraction is the catch-and-release sturgeon season, pulling in one of these monster sized fish is quite a thrill. However, anglers on the lake and the river can also fish for northern pike, smallmouth bass and crappie.
In the meantime, signs of spring and summer are popping up everywhere, things such as wildflowers, mushrooms, songbirds and more. This is the time of year Ruffed Grouse are drumming and American woodcock are peenting. These are fairly noticeable breeding activities that come with spring.
Whitetail deer are browsing where they can get to new growth pushing out from damp areas well exposed to the sunlight, like the southern exposure of a ditch. Keep your eyes open while traveling our highways. It will be a month or more, but soon does will be giving birth to their fawns.
Us humans are stirring more as well. This past weekend a group of 80 ATV’s toured through the western part of Koochiching County. Bike riders are getting out on the bike paths joined by roller bladers.
It won’t be long before summer vacations start, and if you haven’t planned your outing, you should. We have information on Voyageurs National Park, accommodations ranging from Houseboats to Vacation Cottages to convenient motels near restaurants. Things to do both within and outside of the Park. If you’d like some information, just go to the bottom of the page and access our order form. We can also answer your questions by phone or email, those options are also listed at the bottom of the page.
National Park’s Week is upon us, and Minnesota’s National Park is ready to celebrate. Here’s a quick look at what Voyageurs National Park is doing. On Friday, April 21, 2017 there will be a Native Foods Cooking Demonstration. Students from the Indus High School ProStart Foods Class will prepare a delectable meal using locally available native foods. Samples will be provided. Be at the Rainy Lake Visitor Center on Black Bay at 2:00 pm for the demonstration.
Take the Ethno-botanical garden tour on Saturday, April 22, 2017 and Ranger Lisa Maass will explain the importance of native plants to the Ojibwe culture. The tour will start at the Rainy lake visitor Center at 1:00 pm. At 2:00 pm, Park Biologist Bryce Olson will discuss the reasons behind a cattail invasion and the multi-year project to reduce the cattail problem and restore delicate wetlands. The “Invasion of the Cattails” talk will be at the theatre within the Rainy Lake Visitor Center.
Sunday April 23, 2017 is National Park Prescription Day, and the prescription is to get out and hike in our park, it’s good for you and it’s fun. Hike to health passports will be available at the Rainy Lake Visitor Center all day.
Voyageurs is a water-based park and is so named because of the French Canadian Voyageurs that plied these waterways carrying furs from the interior for export to Europe and trade goods for the natives. The Park was established because of the vibrant history, rich natural resources and spectacular scenery in this north American waterways crossroads.
Boat tours will start on Rainy Lake in June and will take in some of the scenery, wildlife and history including a stop at Little American Island, the site of the biggest and most successful Gold Mine of the late 1800’s. You can hike the handicap accessible trail for about a quarter mile and see how the mine operated as your Ranger guide explains the process and the geology that provided the gold that was mined.