For Eric Johnson and Megan Bond, following their passion has literally allowed them to “live their dream” here in Voyageur Country.
Eric, owner of International Dental Arts in International Falls, has had a life-long interest in boating adventures in Northern Minnesota. While maintaining his day job as an owner/operator of a dental lab, he continued to follow his boy-hood love of boating, exploring the many bays and waterways of Voyageurs National Park and Rainy Lake and sharing these experiences with others. That experience grew to the point where, in 2011, he created Voyageurs Outfitters – a way to provide personalized outdoor experiences in Voyageurs National Park and Rainy Lake.
Although the National Park Service offers a variety of tour boats within several of the lakes within the Park, Johnson offers custom tailored boat tours – hiking and birding tours, as well as canoe, kayak, paddle board, and a fishing boat rental. And beyond that, Voyageurs Outfitters can provide all the camping gear a couple, or a family might need with suggested locations, routes, and itineraries. They look to provide a spectrum of services from self-directed trips to a hands-on turnkey service where they provide the gear and set-up camp. There is nothing quite like it in Northern Minnesota.
Voyageurs Outfitters embraces sustainability practices as part of its approach and business decision making. And being “green” is not just a slogan, it’s an integral part of who they are. In fact, they donate 3% of their proceeds to conservation measures.
“I am able to live, play, and work doing what I love and enjoy. Everyday is a new adventure serving my customers and my community.” Says Eric, “I am grateful for all of the opportunities there are here in Koochiching County. Sometimes it is hard to see those opportunities because they are disguised in a pair of leather work gloves and resemble hard work and long hours. None the less those opportunities are here.”
Johnson and long-time partner Megan Bond, were recently married and share a passion for Rainy Lake adventure. Megan is an active board member of Voyageurs National Park Association, the non-profit partner and “friends’ group” of Voyageurs National Park. Although Megan doesn’t take an active role in the day to day operations of the business, she is integral in providing input on the delicate balance between social, economic, and ecological sustainability.
Voyageurs Outfitters is seeing consistent growth and is planning to continue to add to its fleet of boats and also the services and opportunities it provides. “We’ve also started a very fun marketing campaign featuring our own local celebrity Vic the Voyageur. Vic will give us a consistent voice and brand when promoting not only our business but other entities and attractions in the area.” Eric adds. You can check out the series of promotional videos on Voyageurs Outfitters’ YouTube page:
For more information on Voyageurs Outfitters, visit their website at: www.voyageursoutfitters.com .