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Bentonite doesn't bond well with sandy soil. Particularly sandy soil can require up to 12 pounds of bentonite per square foot, as opposed to 6 pounds in clay-rich soil.
Although there are numerous drive-in campgrounds surrounding the wilderness, most campsites in the BWCAW are accessible only by water. As of 1999, about 75% of the BWCAW's water area was reserved for non-motorized boat travel. Most lakes and rivers are interconnected by portage trails, resulting in over 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of canoe routes. Chains of lakes and portages of various lengths and difficulties can be combined to create either linear or circular routes. Some of the most popular entry points include Lake One, Trout Lake, Mudro Lake, Moose Lake, and Snowbank Lake near Ely, Saganaga Lake and Seagull Lake at the end of the Gunflint Trail, and Sawbill Lake near Tofte.
Canoe campers often use Duluth packs, designed for easy portaging and loading in canoes, to carry their gear.