History & Family Tradition

History and family tradition are the foundation of River Point Outfitting Co. in Ely, Minnesota. Family-owned and operated, the site of River Point is steeped in a rich history and family tradition. It has been in the same Minnesota family…the Koschak family…for 75+ years, and before that the Laurel Indians (dated 500 B.C.) called this tranquil northern wilderness peninsula near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area BWCA their home.

2020:  Steve and Jane’s 44th Year

We welcome you to come and share in the River Point journey as we enter our 44th year of helping people enjoy the great outdoors surrounding River Point and the incredible Boundary Waters Canoe Area.


Jane and Steve Koschak were born and raised in Ely and grew up in the tourism business.

Fishing, hunting, backpacking, and canoeing are second nature to Steve, since he was raised at the site of River Point Resort and Outfitting. His parents, Fran and Frank Koschak, began the resort operation in 1944. Their vision was to create a special place for families and friends to return year after year to enjoy the natural surroundings and beauty of Minnesota’s North Woods.


During the early years, the focus of a resort was totally on fishing, so it was natural for Steve to help his father guide guests to the favorite fishing holes.

Soon Steve knew the northern half of Birch Lake and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area — including the North and South Kawishiwi River (entry point #32), Bald Eagle, and Little Gabbro Lakes, Snake River, Island River, and Isabella Lake — like the back of his hand. Pictured above is the entry point into Little Gabbro Lake, Steve’s favorite entry point, and one he holds dear to his heart as he spent many hours guiding guests on that beautiful body of water and onward into Bald Eagle, and then a paddle back t River Point via the South Kawishiwi River.

Steve’s Favorite Entry Point

After years of guiding and adventures on dozens of canoe trips, Steve has a wealth of information to share on the Boundary Waters routes and border lakes of Minnesota and Canada’s Quetico Park, including the entry points of Mudro, Moose River Portage North, Little Indian Sioux, Fall Lake and others.


Jane’s parents owned a motel in Ely where she grew up learning all facets of the business and how to provide guests with comfort and service during their vacation. Her love of nature began at an early age when she took frequent wilderness canoeing trips, enjoyed hiking, swimming in the area lakes, and the quiet and stillness of the beauty of the BWCA.

To Jane, every day is Earth Day

Both are master teachers – Jane as an Elementary/Middle School Educator and Reading Specialist/Consultant, and Steve as a High School Industrial Tech Educator. They also became one of only a few second generation owners of a resort and canoe outfitting business in the Ely area when they purchased the property from Steve’s parents in 1976, thereby continuing the Koschak history and family tradition.

In the late spring, summer, and early fall they lived at the resort and canoe outfitting property on Birch Lake while managing and maintaining it. A very busy life…especially so because they did all the new construction, remodeling, and updating of all the buildings and took care of the maintenance of the mile of wilderness property themselves, with the help of their two young sons, Kevin and James–lovingly calling their many years of family effort and hard work: “sweat-equity”. In 2002, they sold their “winter” home in Plymouth, MN and moved back “home” to River Point to live year-round.

As second generation owners of River Point, over the years, they increased the offerings at both the resort and canoe outfitting base and continued to provide their guests with the opportunity to enjoy Boundary Waters canoe trips by being completely outfitted with all equipment, canoes, and fine food for either guided or unguided overnight canoeing adventures. Happy and satisfied guests that often become friends is the number one goal of Jane, Steve, James.


James Koschak is a connoisseur of new ideas to improve the offerings of both the resort and canoe outfitting. Love for his favorite tree, the White Pine, has led James and his staff to clear out all the dead and downed trees on the mile long shoreline of River Point, thereby creating a natural buffer against forest fire by removing the build up of fuel. Planting thousands of seedlings over many years has led to a rebirth of the natural forest around River Point. Guests notice these amazing, healthy White Pine and Norway Pine trees at several different heights dotting the landscape. In addition, James has relocated very large, mature pine trees using his skills with the skid steer and grapple and replanted them in strategic locations throughout the property. Thus, the property has been enhanced by his talents and energy.

An expert Trip Router and Guide, James has routed and orientated literally hundreds of canoe trips over the past 20+ years, to the satisfaction of so many  canoeing guests. His guiding skills were honed quite early in his career at River Point and he loves guiding and sharing knowledge of the natural world and canoeing and camping to this day. His guided trips often are with long time canoeing guests who have become like family, and his quick witted, fun-loving nature makes him an excellent guide. Passionate about preserving our clean waters and clean air, he strives to improve anything related to the natural world surrounding River Point Resort & Outfitting Co. James is also indispensable to the everyday operation of River Poin. His knowledge, passion, and ability to “fix” things and maintain everything to the highest level is a gift.


Having left the traditional school classroom setting years ago, Jane and Steve continue to share their knowledge in the natural wilderness classroom at River Point. Through the efficient help of their son, James, the operation of River Point continues to grow and expand to meet the needs of today’s canoeists with the hope that the traditions and history of River Point will help foster a reverence for the wild wilderness of the Boundary Waters and that this iconic place will be preserved  for future generations.

With a combined background of over 100 years of educational knowledge and experience in resorting, outfitting, and “Making Wilderness Paddling Memories,” Steve, Jane, and James and their competent, friendly staff offer a service that continues the River Point history and family tradition begun so many years ago.

Your best choice of Boundary Waters Canoe Outfitters is River Point Outfitting Co.

Your Adventure Is Waiting™……Paddle the Quiet Side®

Jane, Steve, and James Koschak

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