75-year-old Minneapolis man dies after canoe capsizes in BWCA

Photo taken by Josh McNicholl at Snowbank lake in BWCA.

A 75-year-old Minneapolis man died Tuesday after his canoe capsized in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. 

The incident occurred on Sawbill Lake near the portage to Kelso Lake, approximately 25 miles north of Tofte, Minnesota in the BWCA. Niles Richard Schulz was paddling his canoe when the rest of his party heard a splash and saw him standing up while trying to right the canoe, according to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office. 

Schulz was unable to right the canoe and went under the water. He was not wearing a life jacket. 

Members of his party tried to locate him in the water, while another member paddled out to call 911 at the Sawbill Canoe Outfitters. 

First responders recovered Schulz body from the water at approximately 5:30 p.m. An autopsy will be conducted to determine his cause of death. 

Cook County Sheriff Pat Eliason described the incident as “heartbreaking.”