Gov. Walz authorizes National Guard to help search for missing canoeists in BWCA

Governor Tim Walz on Thursday authorized the Minnesota National Guard to bring equipment to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) to assist in the search for two missing canoeists.

Walz said that the National Guard will provide a CH-47 Chinook helicopter and four crew members. They will be helping to bring a boat and other equipment from the Ely airport to the area where the canoeists — 41-year-old Jesse Melvin Haugen of Cambridge and 40-year-old Reis Melvin Grams of Lino Lakes — went missing.

“No one expects their vacation to turn to crisis. Yet, when four canoeists went over Curtain Falls in the BWCA, this became a reality,” Walz said. “My family is intimately familiar with the fear and heartbreak these canoeists are feeling. We are praying for those involved and immensely grateful to everyone from the Sheriff’s office to the National Guard who are supporting this mission.”

As previously reported, four canoeists went over Curtain Falls in the BWCA on Saturday. Two have been rescued but Haugen and Grams remain missing.

The St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office requested the National Guard’s help, and Walz authorized the mission with an emergency executive order.

The Minnesota National Guard posted photos of the mission: