Ely's oldest canoe outfitter has been shut down by the government

Apparently the owner owes the IRS money.
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A longtime canoe outfitter in northeastern Minnesota has been shut down by the government for apparently not paying taxes.

Wilderness Outfitters says it's the oldest established Boundary Waters Canoe Area outfitter in Ely. It opened in 1921. But last week, the Duluth News Tribune reported the place had closed.

The paper said that there was an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) notice on the door.

Gary Gotchnik has owned it since 1995, and he told the Star Tribune he owes the IRS money – most of that being in penalties and interest.

However, Gotchnik told the News Tribune he hopes to resolve the issue and reopen the business soon. But it's not clear exactly how that's going to happen.

The paper adds that there are at least five federal tax liens against the business and its owner. They're for "tens of thousands of dollars" of unpaid taxes.

In addition to that, Northern National Bank in Ashland filed a lawsuit against the Gotchniks in May. It claims they owe $199,940, Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal reports. A hearing for that has been set for Aug. 17.

More about Wilderness Outfitters

According to its website, Wilderness Outfitters first opened as a corporation owned by a group of shareholders in 1921. Since then, several longtime Ely residents have owned the business – including Gotchnik.

Gotchnik worked with Wilderness Outfitters "long before becoming owner" in 1995. He started as a wilderness-fishing guide. Then he became partial owner in 1985.

Now he and his family – Gotchnik has a wife and two kids – are the sole owners.

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