Woods & Waters exists because we value playing outdoors — all the physical, social, and psychological benefits that result from getting wet feet, soaking up the sun, or feeling spent after an adventure. We lead trips, share knowledge, and sell quality gear to everyone with the intent of being your awesome, trusted, and unbiased partner in human-powered outdoor adventures. 

On being your awesome partner…

We are enthusiastic about what we do and always seek to expand knowledge and inspire confidence. We are not about showing off or putting people down — we are interested in and enjoy patiently helping others. Our true selves are personable, optimistic, outgoing, and confident. We love telling stories, interacting, teaching, learning, and growing friendships. We aim to surprise and delight.    

On being your trusted partner…

Choosing us is trusting us to make decisions — both easy and hard ones. Being aware in every situation requires making observations, proactively solving problems, predicting what might be coming, watching out for others, and putting someone else first. We are decisive in managing risk, but we hope you’ll keep an eye on us too. 

On being your unbiased partner…

We believe in accepting all people and abilities, being honest and genuine, and providing a just experience to the best of our abilities. We deliver this by listening to your needs, being empathetic, and remaining open-minded. Learning is often a two-way street. Even when disagreeing or believing something different, treating everyone with respect and without prejudice is non-negotiable. We all may occasionally fail at being unbiased, or succumb to psychological noise, but hope we can partner in overcoming unintentional oversights.  

Our mission is to:

  • Play outdoors
  • Build relationships 
  • Nurture a positive, accepting, and professional culture
  • Embrace life-long learning and skills development
  • Share relevant technical, natural, cultural, and historical knowledge
  • Make decisions and take actions utilizing principles of risk management and environmental ethics
  • Be an asset to our local communities of Hessel and Cedarville, the Les Cheneaux Islands, and the places we play — primarily in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Playing by the rules...

We play by the rules for utilizing public resources. Wood & Waters is permitted by the United State Forest Service (USFS) to operate in the Hiawatha National Forest. Woods & Waters also holds a National Park Service (NPS) commercial use authorization (CUA) for Isle Royale National Park. These authorizations ensure that our staff, equipment, and activities are in compliance to protect you and the resources. If a Woods & Waters trip utilizes these public lands, a portion of your trip fee is paid annually to the issuing agency. We use it, with you, and are doing our part to help maintain it for the future.