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The Great Outdoors
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04/13/2018 03:47PM

Thinking about becoming a
BWCA guide? Forget about it

The U.S. Forest Service is up to its old
tricks again, this time not allowing new fishing
guides or any other types of recreational special
uses.
The agency is hiding behind yet another
lawsuit that it now needs to study and while that
study is going on, everything and everybody
gets put on hold.
This appears to be directly related to the
lawsuit against towboats in the BWCA and the
agreement/settlement that requires a study be
done on Recreation Commercial Services.
Instead of focusing on the towboat issue,
the agency has expanded the impact to include
the entire Superior National Forest and any type
of recreational special use permitting.
This is simply ridiculous. The Forest Service
should be able to study the towboat issue
and continue to conduct business as usual.
For businesses that already have a recreational
use permit, including fishing guides, they can
continue.
But if a person decided they wanted to
start a guide business this spring, their application
would not be considered by the Forest Service.
Another example of government putting
unnecessary, unreasonable and draconian limits
on instead of adapting and being user friendly.
A letter on this decision was sent out to
current recreational special use permit holders
last month.
Forest Supervisor Connie Cummins said
in the letter the USFS is currently conducting a
Recreational Commercial Services Needs Assessment.
“No new permits will be issued, and no
new levels of services will be processed during
this time. Exceptions to this hold will be for
permits that were in the process of being issued
at the start of the Needs Assessment…
“If the Forest authorizes new business
or the expansion of services by existing businesses
during the analysis period, it will be
necessary to start over as there would be new
information to include,” the letter states.
There is no timeline for this process other
than the looming possibility of the agency
having to implement a National Environmental
Policy Act (NEPA) analysis to evaluate potential
changes. This could literally take years.
Some local guides believe this is the
beginning of the end of commercial uses in the
BWCA (and the Superior National Forest for
that matter). The Forest Service doesn’t want to
have to deal with towboats or ciscoes or guides
or truck portages or any other type of commercial
endeavor. This is their way to shut the door
and keep it shut.
Existing businesses may believe this is
just the Forest Service stumbling through legal
hoops as the result of yet another lawsuit filed
by groups who really don’t want people to use
the Boundary Waters.
If you don’t believe this is the case,
remember this is the same agency that got
all excited about a basketball hoop on Prairie
Portage.
We would like to see the agency reverse
its position on this issue and continue to work
with people instead of slamming doors. Start by
asking how the agency can help.
For instance, there are numerous outfitters
who issue BWCA permits on behalf of the
agency which could not possibly do it without
them. Instead of hassling, how about reaching
out and asking what could be done to help
private businesses.
We only have to look at the decision to
dump the lottery for motorized permits as an
example of a federal agency that is far from user friendly.
 
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Savage Voyageur
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04/13/2018 04:34PM
This is not good news for a lot of people that make a living up there. I agree with you Jim that this is only the beginning of the end for commercial use.
The Great Outdoors
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04/13/2018 05:17PM
The article above is the Ely Echo Editorial for this week.

Yup, our Cisco trapping business was the tip of the iceberg!!
Some doubted my posts about big changes coming, now it's starting.
This will hurt many tourist oriented businesses.
Stumpy
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04/13/2018 09:37PM
Go figure.
murphylakejim
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04/13/2018 09:49PM
the fishing guide black market just opened up >:)
Haha
Guest Paddler
 
04/13/2018 10:08PM
Man, I hate to hear about govt regulators and beauracrats making wllly nilly decisions and then expanding upon the apparent authority granted therein to justify their agendas. Frankly, other than having the power to make arbitrary and capricious decisions, these folks haven't a clue Whether relating to Ely, the BWCA or otherwise, there is a lack of coomon sense displayed by those apparently in power and those that I have had an opportunity to interact with have been as impressive as the proverbial turd in the punchbowi - Good luck with trying to talk some common sense into the powers that be.
PaddlinMadeline
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04/13/2018 10:48PM
Tried doing more research on this. Couldn’t find anything. Can I ask the source?
The Great Outdoors
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04/13/2018 11:02PM
PaddlinMadeline: "Tried doing more research on this. Couldn’t find anything. Can I ask the source?"
I had previously posted about changes coming a year or more ago.
We were told about it in a meeting with the US Forest Service when we were discussing the demise of our Cisco trapping operation on October 25th, 2016 with Gus Smith and another person from the DNR.
They were conducting a 30 month study at that time with an environmental group that was suing over the tow boats.
The article above is the Ely Echo Editorial in this week's paper, and is the result of a letter from the Forest Service representative, Connie Cummins out of the Duluth office.
I believe several outfitters received a copy , don't know if they wanted it released to the press??
Just a warning, you ain't seen nothing yet!!!!
PaddlinMadeline
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04/13/2018 11:19PM
Interesting! Thanks
Soledad
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04/13/2018 11:38PM
So the cisco fiasco caused this to happen?
Guest Paddler
 
04/14/2018 12:03AM
Well, if this is true I think it's complete bs and just one more overstep of big government...working its way into parts of society where they really have no business. Last I checked fishing guides in the BWCA weren't hurting a darn thing.

Having said that, if a guy can't catch fish in the BWCA, of all places, without a guide then there's not much hope for 'em in the first place..
ellahallely
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04/14/2018 06:47AM
Soledad: "So the cisco fiasco caused this to happen?"

No where did you get that info? You shouldn't say stuff like that, some people are ignorant enough to believe stuff like that. No charges in the cisco thing, maybe because no laws were broken.

It was brought on by a lawsuit by Kevin Proeschold and Wilderness Watch, a group based in Missoula, Montana. Their goal is to ban all motors in the area. This group is say for a bwca trip you need 2 permits because it is 2 trips. 1 trip in and 1 trip out, no joke.The next thing will be a ban on people. It seems the father away from Ely people are the more control over it's residents well being they have.

First airplanes in the 40's alone with promises that no more government take overs or laws. Then in the 60's peoples houses, cabins, resorts burnt to the ground by the forest service. With the promise of we will never take your motors. Then in the 70s motor bans and limited numbers of permits for these people. With the promise of leaving the 3 motor portages open and the snowmobile route from Gunflint to Ely. Then in the 80's and 90's we lose fourmile portage and the snowmobile boarder route.

After almost 100 years my last family member moved out of Ely September 2018. He is a photographer who did work for the freemans and many Ely businesses. With this last lawsuit commercial photography is also banned in the bwca.

Now we see the government and forest service trying to ban and/or control businesses next to the b-dub.

Ely is no longer a dying town it is in hospice. Has this outside control destroyed any other towns in this country in this way? I am not talking by limiting 1 or 2 businesses but scores from all sides.




DrBobDg
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04/14/2018 07:02AM
as if we don't have enough issues to deal with....
bet those studies will end up in the bottom of a pile on someone's desk.

dr bob
04/14/2018 07:11AM
Their taking our politicians example of finding ways to get nothing done and mess up a lot of people's lives in the process. Decisions like that hurt communities like Ely who depends on tourist dollars now. Getting kinda sick of, oh we gotta study this and that. See you in a few years... I just hope it doesn't get worse like you say tgo.
The Great Outdoors
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04/14/2018 07:34AM
Soledad: "So the cisco fiasco caused this to happen?"
Did not say that!
It was the beginning of certain businesses or commercial operations being curtailed or eliminated. We were just the "fortunate ones" that happened to be first.
Were you aware of the fact that the same law that took out the Cisco trapping and sales, also makes it illegal for someone to pick blueberries in the BWCA, bring them home to make muffins, then sell them at the farmers market??
The same law makes the sale of any animal hides trapped in the BWCA illegal, and it applies to many other things, too ludicrous to mention.
04/14/2018 09:47AM
I am not sure I understand. If you are a fishing guide don’t you just get a BWCAW permit and add the group members. If not couldn’t you just circumvent the rules and get a permit for your “group”.

If the law suit is about tow boats, why aren’t tow boats being banned temporarily? I am not an advocate of that but I am confused on how this affects people.

T
The Great Outdoors
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04/14/2018 10:14AM
All guides that use the BWCA must be registered and have a guide card issued by the Forest Service.
You don't just put people in your boat, and go to Basswood or other BWCA lakes for a fee.
The must declare the fee, and pay a certain amount (I think 3%???) to the Forest Service.
Kind of like the old days in Chicago when a guy with a bent nose and violin case came into your shop to collect your protection money, only the FS can legally do it!! :)

Stumpy
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04/14/2018 10:52AM
murphylakejim: "the fishing guide black market just opened up >:)"

Why who would ever do that ?
????????
The Great Outdoors
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04/14/2018 11:07AM
timatkn:
If the law suit is about tow boats, why aren’t tow boats being banned temporarily? I am not an advocate of that but I am confused on how this affects people.
T"

They aren't banning tow boats (YET) because they are still legal, just as they are not banning guides.
NO NEW OPERATIONS will be allowed, and new regulations or banned activities will come out after this study is done.
arctic
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04/14/2018 11:38AM
arctic
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04/14/2018 11:51AM
The Great Outdoors: "All guides that use the BWCA must be registered and have a guide card issued by the Forest Service.
You don't just put people in your boat, and go to Basswood or other BWCA lakes for a fee.
The must declare the fee, and pay a certain amount (I think 3%???) to the Forest Service.
"


I think the State of Maine requires the same thing.


The Canadians actually give exclusive commercial rights to individual resorts to specific lakes (or groups of lakes) to increase the likelihood that the business will be profitable and survive.


Contrast that with Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, etc where multiple businesses try to compete and survive on smaller lakes that are over-fished by the teaming masses. It's no wonder so many resorts are going out of business, and that anyone who wants great fishing heads north of the border.


A logger has to bid for the right to harvest timber that goes up for sale on public land. The public owns the land and timber and deserves to be compensated--just like the private landowner would. Same goes with grazing fees on western lands.


Why should a fishing guide be excluded from that?


MooseTrack
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04/14/2018 12:21PM
As an outfitter, guide and resort owner, I am having a very hard time biting my tongue on the issue.
04/14/2018 12:39PM
Okay that makes more sense, thanks for the info. So no new guides can start up is that what you are saying? Current guides are okay...for now, but waiting for the shoe to drop so to speak?


Are guides then subject to the same rules on obtaining permits as regular paddlers?
I.e. the same quota system as regular paddlers?

I have no idea about this process (obviously) never used a guide before.

T
04/14/2018 12:42PM
TGO, you are probably unaware but this is an anti-semetic stereotype and is offensive: "old days in Chicago when a guy with a bent nose and violin case came into your shop to collect your protection money"
04/14/2018 12:47PM
arctic: "The Great Outdoors: "All guides that use the BWCA must be registered and have a guide card issued by the Forest Service.
You don't just put people in your boat, and go to Basswood or other BWCA lakes for a fee.
The must declare the fee, and pay a certain amount (I think 3%???) to the Forest Service.
"



I think the State of Maine requires the same thing.



The Canadians actually give exclusive commercial rights to individual resorts to specific lakes (or groups of lakes) to increase the likelihood that the business will be profitable and survive.



Contrast that with Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, etc where multiple businesses try to compete and survive on smaller lakes that are over-fished by the teaming masses. It's no wonder so many resorts are going out of business, and that anyone who wants great fishing heads north of the border.



A logger has to bid for the right to harvest timber that goes up for sale on public land. The public owns the land and timber and deserves to be compensated--just like the private landowner would. Same goes with grazing fees on western lands.



Why should a fishing guide be excluded from that?



"


Actually a lot of Minnesota lakes are way better fishing than when I was growing up in the 80’s. So despite “teaming with the masses” and increased pressure, size and numbers have been better on the majority of lakes we fish. The same goes for Canada, we used to go up there and catch walleyes all day long but it was rare to catch a walleye over 20 inches. The regs in both areas and more catch and release have helped both Canada and Minnesota. Sure over fishing happens, but I guess my personal experience is it isn’t as bad.

Most resorts fail because they pay too much for the operation and the margins are tight. Lake front property over the last 30 years has gone up exponentially not linearly, that is a hard business model to keep. Many resort owners I know just break even for years even when the fishing is great, they make their money when they sell the resort. Then sell it for a profit, but then the next guy has even tighter margins...sort of like the housing bubbles we see every 10 years or so in the Twin Cities. Sure if you pay a lot for a resort then the fishing goes down you are probably doomed but that is the business unfortunately.

T
04/14/2018 12:49PM
Davkumi: "TGO, you are probably unaware but this is an anti-semetic stereotype and is offensive: "old days in Chicago when a guy with a bent nose and violin case came into your shop to collect your protection money""

C'mon. Stop.
04/14/2018 12:57PM
Davkumi: "TGO, you are probably unaware but this is an anti-semetic stereotype and is offensive: "old days in Chicago when a guy with a bent nose and violin case came into your shop to collect your protection money""

Umm he was talking about Italians??? Trying to be funny...I’ll agree a little too dramatic of a comparison so you can belittle that but it is a reach to say anti-Semitic IMHO. Maybe the Italians on here will be upset lol

T
The Great Outdoors
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04/14/2018 01:00PM
Cc26: "Davkumi: "TGO, you are probably unaware but this is an anti-semetic stereotype and is offensive: "old days in Chicago when a guy with a bent nose and violin case came into your shop to collect your protection money""


C'mon. Stop."

He is correct Cc26, and I apologize to all people with thin skin of any nationality, race, religion, and sexual persuasion with bent noses, carrying violin cases, that have jobs as "Insurance agents"! :)
The Great Outdoors
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04/14/2018 01:08PM
timatkn: "Okay that makes more sense, thanks for the info. So no new guides can start up is that what you are saying? Current guides are okay...for now, but waiting for the shoe to drop so to speak?
Are guides then subject to the same rules on obtaining permits as regular paddlers?
I.e. the same quota system as regular paddlers?
I have no idea about this process (obviously) never used a guide before.
T"

All guides are subject to the same permit rules that everyone else is.
They may have a permit, or be included on the permit of the person that hires them as long as the number of people on the permit does not exceed the legal number.
As far as waiting for the other shoe to drop, unfortunately that may be a lot sooner than people think!
04/14/2018 01:35PM
MooseTrack: "As an outfitter, guide and resort owner, I am having a very hard time biting my tongue on the issue."

I would seriously like to hear your opinion on this.
arctic
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04/14/2018 01:46PM
timatkn: "Actually a lot of Minnesota lakes are way better fishing than when I was growing up in the 80’s. So despite “teaming with the masses” and increased pressure, size and numbers have been better on the majority of lakes we fish. The same goes for Canada, we used to go up there and catch walleyes all day long but it was rare to catch a walleye over 20 inches. The regs in both areas and more catch and release have helped both Canada and Minnesota. Sure over fishing happens, but I guess my personal experience is it isn’t as bad.

T"


Musky, stream trout, and sturgeon fishing are certainly better now than in the 80s. I would argue that walleye fisheries are in decline on more and more waters due to zebra mussel infestations and warmer summer water temps.

In Canada (Ontario) science tends to carry more weight when it comes to fisheries management than it does in Minnesota. Hence, their coaster brook trout and steelhead fisheries, once in decline, are now well-recovered and provided excellent fishing. Ever wonder why fishing in Quetico is WAY better than in the BWCA? It's no accident.
Savage Voyageur
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04/14/2018 01:48PM
Frenchy19: "MooseTrack: "As an outfitter, guide and resort owner, I am having a very hard time biting my tongue on the issue."


I would seriously like to hear your opinion on this."


I would also like to hear your opinion. Why bite your tongue? Did the forest service say you can’t talk about it? Let’s hear it.
KarlBAndersen1
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04/14/2018 01:55PM
Davkumi: "TGO, you are probably unaware but this is an anti-semetic stereotype and is offensive: "old days in Chicago when a guy with a bent nose and violin case came into your shop to collect your protection money""

You're point?
arctic
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04/14/2018 01:59PM
timatkn: "Most resorts fail because they pay too much for the operation and the margins are tight. Lake front property over the last 30 years has gone up exponentially not linearly, that is a hard business model to keep. Many resort owners I know just break even for years even when the fishing is great, they make their money when they sell the resort. Then sell it for a profit, but then the next guy has even tighter margins...sort of like the housing bubbles we see every 10 years or so in the Twin Cities. Sure if you pay a lot for a resort then the fishing goes down you are probably doomed but that is the business unfortunately.
T"


Very true. I feel bad for the traditional, mom and pop resort owners. It's got to be nearly impossible to make it work. High property costs/taxes, changing client expectations, etc.

The sky-rocketing lakeshore prices, largely driven by the demand that has resulted from the insane population growth in the Twin Cities, has permanently changed the traditional, lake culture of Minnesota. When I was growing up a LOT of middle income families owned cabins, but today, unless you inherited the property, there is almost NO WAY those same people could afford to have a lake cabin.

Both my wife's and my families own cabins in the Brainerd Lakes area--it's almost like entire suburbs have been transplanted northward.

missmolly
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04/14/2018 02:39PM
arctic: "timatkn: "Most resorts fail because they pay too much for the operation and the margins are tight. Lake front property over the last 30 years has gone up exponentially not linearly, that is a hard business model to keep. Many resort owners I know just break even for years even when the fishing is great, they make their money when they sell the resort. Then sell it for a profit, but then the next guy has even tighter margins...sort of like the housing bubbles we see every 10 years or so in the Twin Cities. Sure if you pay a lot for a resort then the fishing goes down you are probably doomed but that is the business unfortunately.
T"



Very true. I feel bad for the traditional, mom and pop resort owners. It's got to be nearly impossible to make it work. High property costs/taxes, changing client expectations, etc.


The sky-rocketing lakeshore prices, largely driven by the demand that has resulted from the insane population growth in the Twin Cities, has permanently changed the traditional, lake culture of Minnesota. When I was growing up a LOT of middle income families owned cabins, but today, unless you inherited the property, there is almost NO WAY those same people could afford to have a lake cabin.


Both my wife's and my families own cabins in the Brainerd Lakes area--it's almost like entire suburbs have been transplanted northward.


"


That's the seed for an article, Arctic, an article I'd like to read.
arctic
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04/14/2018 08:25PM
It might not be a nice article : )
missmolly
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04/14/2018 09:26PM
arctic: "It might not be a nice article : )"

Yeah, i think it would be depressing in many ways, but I'd still like to read it.
old_salt
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04/14/2018 10:03PM
I would like to hear what Outfitters have to say about this.
Pinetree
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04/14/2018 10:27PM
arctic: "It might not be a nice article : )"

Not doubting a article that may be recent in the Echo exists,but the newest article(a one sided opinion editorial) I found was May,21,2017 discussing a study of commercial use in the BWCA and How much. It was a study at this time and that was it. You could read things into it if you wished. It also was a editorial and it had its own opinions and wanted slant.
Like to see a updated version of what were talking about etc.. It wasn't a news article or a statement from the Forest service at all.
There may have been a letter sent to all concerned commercial operators that I could not find.
The Great Outdoors
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04/15/2018 12:16AM
old_salt: "I would like to hear what Outfitters have to say about this."

I'm not sure what they'd have to say would be appropriate on a family forum!! :)
When these new regulations come out, it can only end badly for many people and businesses.
AND when I say people, I mean ALL BWCA users!!
arctic
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04/15/2018 02:01PM
When a market becomes over-saturated (too many lawyers, plumbers, resorts, fishing guides, etc.) it become difficult for ANY of them to make a decent living.
The Great Outdoors
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04/15/2018 02:13PM
arctic: "When a market becomes over-saturated (too many lawyers, plumbers, resorts, fishing guides, etc.) it become difficult for ANY of them to make a decent living."
Agreed, but it makes it hard to accept when the number of slices in a pie in Minnesota remain the same, and the government makes the diameter much smaller through some regulations meant to appease a group from Montana!!
arctic
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04/15/2018 02:20PM
What pie is the government trying to shrink? The number of BWCA permits has not changed in 20 years.
ellahallely
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04/15/2018 02:35PM
The motor permits have been decreased by about 30% when Four Mile Portage was closed. None of the Four Mile Portage motor permits were move to Newton or Prairie Portage.

Now all of the motor permits get taken early. Many of them never used, taken by groups hoping to put an end to motor use. That is part of the reason for the lottery permit change.

TGO have heard good or bad things about people getting their motor permits with the new system?
Pinetree
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04/15/2018 02:43PM
arctic: "What pie is the government trying to shrink? The number of BWCA permits has not changed in 20 years."

MPR NEWS OCT 2015: The lawsuit by Montana-based Wilderness Watch alleges the Forest Service has allowed outfitters to top the cap on motorized tow trips allowed each year. There is zero attempt to eliminate Tow boats,just control the number and usage as the plan was in 1993.

Twenty-three outfitters offer towboat services into the Boundary Waters in 2014. Many canoeists use the tows for quicker access to Quetico Provincial Park just across the border in Canada. According to the suit, the Forest Service's 1993 plan caps towboat trips at 1,342 per year. The group said data from its freedom of information request show the Forest Service allowed 1,639 trips in 2011 and 2,124 last year.

The Tow boat operators suppose to be keeping a log of trips and some have not been keeping tabs and some had incorrect entries according to forest service info.

The planed study is just to get a better tabs on actual usage and type of usage,nothing else,nothing more.
Pinetree
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04/15/2018 02:54PM
ellahallely: "The motor permits have been decreased by about 30% when fourmile portage was closed. None of the fourmile portage motor permits were move to Newton or Prairie Portage.

Now all of the motor permits get taken early. Many of them never used, taken by groups hoping to put an end to motor use. That is part of the reason for the lottery permit change.


TGO have heard good or bad things about people getting their motor permits with the new system?"


2009 Timberjay-Forest service quotes:
In the past one or two outfitters were tying up most of the motor permits issued for Moose lake. 75% went to one outfitter.

2009 Timberjay-Forest service quotes: Local outfitters obtained the lion’s share of those permits. In fact, of 521 permits issued for the Moose Lake chain in 2009, 440 went to outfitters, and three-quarters of those went to just one outfitter. Motor permits to Basswood were more highly sought-after by the public in 2009, but even there, a large majority went to outfitters. Of 1,502 permits issued to Basswood, outfitters received 957, compared to 545 for members of the public.

Overall, said Van Every “roughly 80 percent of the permits are going to customers of outfitters.”

Bob Olson, with Canoe Country Outfitters, said access to permits has been particularly difficult in recent years, as a result of the change in the motor quotas. While outfitters might be tempted to reserve blocks of permits, to make sure they have them available for customers, Olson said he applies to the lottery based on actual customer requests for permits.

High demand creates additional problems

The high demand for motor permits not only makes it difficult to obtain a reservation, it appears to have increased the number of reserved permits that go unused.

Van Every notes that the “no-show” rate for permit reservations for both Moose and Basswood runs about 25 percent. That’s far higher than the rate experienced on Lake Saganaga, on the east side of the wilderness, where just four percent of reserved permits go unused.

Van Every noted that the Saganaga permits are typically obtained outside the lottery system and are reserved, on average, much closer to the date on which users plan to visit. By contrast, said Van Every, “virtually all of the permits for Moose Lake and Prairie Portage (Basswood) are reserved in January.” And that gives users more time to change their plans, said Van Every.

arctic
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04/15/2018 03:03PM
Although I'm almost exclusively a paddler, there have been a couple of occasions over the years where we tried to get a motor permit. No luck.

I sure do see a lot out outfitters using motors, though...

I'd like to see the quotas strictly enforced and all permits chosen via lottery, and a specific number reserved for folks who don't use outfitters.

That would make it fair.
ellahallely
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04/15/2018 03:13PM
Thanks Pinetree. 25% of motor permits go unused. That's tough on the local businesses. Like La Tourell's Prairie Portage that's 25% off the top, with very tight margins to start with. It would be nice to know who reserved the 25% of unused motor permits.
MooseTrack
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04/15/2018 04:17PM
First of all, I am apprehensive to post my opinion on this issue because I hope it does not offend anyone or have a negative impact on my business. But, my tongue is sore from biting it.

Secondly, a little bit of my background. I am an avid supporter of Wilderness preservation as long as it is done with common sense. I have been guiding since 1997 and started our resort and outfitting business in 2002. I have degrees in wildlife management, BS in environmental studies, BS in Chemistry and a Masters in Environmental Chemistry. So, when it comes to an environmental issue I think I am at least knowledgeable or can dazzle you with BS.

After college, I chose to follow my dreams and started my guide service here in Ely. Certainly not for the money, but because I loved the BWCA and Quetico and what better way to make a living right? Fortunately, through lots of hard work, we have been successful and are blessed to survive here in Ely.

Early in my career, and fresh out of college, my guided trips were geared towards canoeing, wilderness travel and sharing my knowledge about the local history, flora and fauna as well as fishing and fly fishing. During these early years, I was honestly anti-motorboat usage in the BWCA and avoided them like the plague. Mostly because of my ‘so-called’ environmental background and pure ignorance towards what it takes to survive and live here in Ely. As my guiding career continued and my reputation grew, I was guiding 120-140 days per year and strictly out of a canoe. Never once did I do a guided motorboat trip and never really wanted to.

Now, after typing that I laugh! As old man time takes its toll and the map of life takes different paths, viewpoints tend to change. Sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. For me, things began to change when I was guiding a group of outdoor enthusiasts from the Marmot Corporation. I had been guiding 2 trips per year, which were a lot of fun and not to mention I landed some great swag.

Well, in the fall of 2000 while we were preparing to leave the dock on Farm Lake, heading into the N Kawishiwi River for a 5-day trip, an attractive Marmot employee was chosen to be my paddling partner. One year later she became my paddling partner for life. Then in 2002 we purchased the resort, which ironically is on Farm Lake, and began our outfitting business and I continued guiding.

Suddenly, we started receiving calls requesting guided motorboat fishing trips! Hmmm, what the hell was I going to do? I do not like motor boats and wanted them BANNED from the wilderness…RIGHT! Hell, I didn't even know how to fish out of one without a paddle in my hand. I was like a fish out of water, but since the resort had boats and I am a pretty fast learner, I started doing guided motorboat trips. At first mostly on lakes outside of the BWCA, but eventually, I was spending a lot of time on Basswood and the Pipestone chain. Why? Because there is a market for it and as a business owner it’s called revenue.

As I became more confident and successful I suddenly found myself out on guided wilderness trips for 5-10 days then returning home and having to do guided motorboat trips for next 3-4 days and back in the woods for another wilderness tip. Getting older has a way of making you see things differently. I began to recognize that this Wilderness area is very unique and while on a guided day trip on Basswood Lake with one of my best customers, who was 82 at the time, says “I am so glad I have the opportunity to experience this beautiful part of the world”. His statement really had an impact on me and made me realize that without the hard work from those that supported to preserve motorized use he would not have had that moment in life and I would not have been there to enjoy it with him. He has since passed and I am fortunate to have spent his last days on Basswood Lake.

So, with all of that gibberish, it leads me to my thoughts on this issue and to where I might become offensive. To say I have changed my views on the BWCA usage is correct. From a once supporter of a more left-wing approach of Wilderness preservation to one that supports multi-use with common sense would be accurate. The constant bombardment of frivolous lawsuits from extreme environmental groups is not only a waste of taxpayers’ money, but my main concern is what are their ultimate goals.

We as outfitters and guides operate under a “special use” permit which allows us to conduct business on Federal Land including the BWCAW. This is not just for guiding but includes towboats, shuttles, and outfitting. Basically, any commercial activity utilizing Federal Land that generates revenue. We are required to carry a minimum of a 1 million dollars insurance policy and pay a 3% tax to the USFS for all revenue generated from commercial use on Federal Land. The most recent lawsuit was aimed at commercial tow boat usage and to evaluate the numbers. Okay, that seems fair enough. The monitoring system is not perfect, so go ahead and evaluate the issue and only that issue.

Unfortunately, as a result of this most recent lawsuit, there is now a freeze on ALL SPECIAL USE PERMITS! Not just for guides or limited to the BWCAW. The freeze is for all of the Superior National forests which includes the BWCAW. For example, if we wanted to start offering bear hunts on Superior National Forest land we would be denied because bear hunts are not included in our existing special use permit. There will be no new business or activities allowed that would require a special use permit. Therefore, this new lawsuit not only potentially threatens our present ability to conduct commercial use, but any future expansion of business opportunities.

It seems to most of us that live and breathe here trying to make a living, that the extremists are always trying to find some loophole to sue the Feds over some activity and shut the door on multi-use. What is their goal? Is it to find a way to make the BWCAW their private playground where you pull into Ely and all there is only one convenience store and a gas station. No more outfitters, guides, resorts, lodging facilities liquor stores, restaurants or even a Great Outdoors bait shop where a grumpy old owner will dazzle you with BS.

The point is that those of us that live here fully understand that without the BWCAW there would be no Ely. I find it amusing that some outfitters in Ely claim to be anti-tow boat use and support the left-wing extremists, but when their customers request a tow or when they take a personal trip they are the 1st ones jumping on a towboat or sending customers to entry points via towboats. Let’s face it, the BWCAW permit, motorized usage and monitoring system are not perfect and changes are needed. So, yes let’s “Save the Boundary Waters”, but how about saving the commercial operations that make Ely what it is today and not some private playground.

I understand that this may have sounded or come across as my life's story, however, I felt it was important that you learn a bit about my adventure and how my viewpoints have changed. I contribute this to the fact that I was once viewing the BWCAW strictly from a canoe and with blinders on. Once the blinders were removed, my eyes were opened to how difficult it is to operate a business that utilizes commercial use on Federal Land and not to mention in Ely. By placing more and more restrictions on commercial use, the survivability of Ely and all business utilizing the BWCA are questionable. My advice is to take off the blinders.
Voice Of Reason
Guest Paddler
 
04/15/2018 04:19PM
arctic: "

In Canada (Ontario) science tends to carry more weight when it comes to fisheries management than it does in Minnesota. ...... Ever wonder why fishing in Quetico is WAY better than in the BWCA? It's no accident."


ever consider the fact that there is 1/10th the traffic in Quetico there is in BWCA?

The Great Outdoors
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04/15/2018 04:49PM
arctic: "What pie is the government trying to shrink? The number of BWCA permits has not changed in 20 years."
Just a few examples recently is our Cisco trapping business, wonder why there are no Ciscos around?? Thank the Forest Service. Now illegal to trap and SELL furs caught in the BWCA. Thank the Forest Service. Pick some blueberries in the BWCA, take them home and make a pie or muffins, then sell them at the Farmer's Market in Ely, nope, not legal to do, thank the Forest Service for that, and we haven't even got to their decision on photography yet!!
When you look at what the government has shrunk, go way back to the beginning with the airplane ban, then the "Wilderness Acts of 1964 and 1978"
See anything different between then and now???
I'm not going to get into a long winded trip through history of all the changes (pie shrinking) that have been made to the area, but I do encourage you to do this if you would?
Drive over to Forest Center and ask the residents of that small town if anything has changed dramatically for them since the government restrictions and elimination of their main revenue source began?
Let me know what you find out!! :)

PS-The goal of the group from Montana is to eliminate the tow boat, not if, just when is the question.
04/15/2018 06:12PM
Moosetrack, that might be the best post I have ever seen on this forum.... well said.
ellahallely
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04/15/2018 06:19PM
+1 MooseTrack you should send a copy of your post to the Ely Echo. I would like to think if people really knew what was going on they would help put a stop this continued crap. Nice post.
The Great Outdoors
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04/15/2018 07:06PM
ellahallely: "+1 MooseTrack you should send a copy of your post to the Ely Echo. I would like to think if people really knew what was going on they would help put a stop this continued crap. Nice post."
I agree with sending it to the paper, but this crap will never end because those starting these law suits don't care about the truth (unfortunately)
arctic
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04/15/2018 07:56PM
The Great Outdoors: "arctic: "What pie is the government trying to shrink? The number of BWCA permits has not changed in 20 years."
Just a few examples recently is our Cisco trapping business, wonder why there are no Ciscos around?? Thank the Forest Service. Now illegal to trap and SELL furs caught in the BWCA. Thank the Forest Service. Pick some blueberries in the BWCA, take them home and make a pie or muffins, then sell them at the Farmer's Market in Ely, nope, not legal to do, thank the Forest Service for that, and we haven't even got to their decision on photography yet!!
When you look at what the government has shrunk, go way back to the beginning with the airplane ban, then the "Wilderness Acts of 1964 and 1978"
See anything different between then and now???
I'm not going to get into a long winded trip through history of all the changes (pie shrinking) that have been made to the area, but I do encourage you to do this if you would?
Drive over to Forest Center and ask the residents of that small town if anything has changed dramatically for them since the government restrictions and elimination of their main revenue source began?
Let me know what you find out!! :)

PS-The goal of the group from Montana is to eliminate the tow boat, not if, just when is the question."


I'm very informed on the history of the BWCA and Quetico, the good and the bad. I also think the 1978 BWCA Wilderness Act was a reasonable compromise that allowed some established motor use on some routes and eliminated continued logging in the area. Heck, 60 percent of the area had already been cut over by that time, leaving the remaining 40 percent as the biggest tract of uncut forest in the entire US, east of the Rockies.

As for Forest Center, yes I have been there, and knew at least one logger (now deceased) who used to live there. The whole existence of that town depended on massive clearcutting of the southern BWCA (250,000 acres for the Tomahawk Sale alone). And that was due to the utter incompetence of the Forest Service to maintain a sustainable harvest on its lands outside of the BWCA.

A HUGE amount of the old jack pine/black spruce forest in the Isabella area that was used for high-quality paper is now replaced with crappy aspen/birch/ balsam forest or just grew back as brush. Other areas are unnatural rows of planted red pines.

I'm not opposed at all to the continuance of towboats by outfitters. I do think that the DISTRIBUTION of the motor permits should be fair, and that people who don't cancel their permits if they don't use them should be fined. They do that in Ontario, and it is SPENDY.

Who said it's illegal to trap in the BWCA? The state manages all fish and game, not the Forest Service.
arctic
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04/15/2018 08:25PM
Voice Of Reason: "arctic: "In Canada (Ontario) science tends to carry more weight when it comes to fisheries management than it does in Minnesota. ...... Ever wonder why fishing in Quetico is WAY better than in the BWCA? It's no accident."

ever consider the fact that there is 1/10th the traffic in Quetico there is in BWCA?
"


I have. Excellent fisheries in heavily used areas can be maintained through good regulation. Ever been to Yellowstone? I have. The fishery gets pounded, but the fish kill is kept fairly low. The fishery remains world-class.

The regs in Ontario (including Quetico) are WAY more suited to maintaining excellent fisheries in a fairly unproductive environment than are the liberal limits set for the BWCA.
ellahallely
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04/15/2018 08:26PM
It's not illegal to trap. It's illegal to sell that fur or pelt. That's where the commercial use of the bwca comes in to play with this new lawsuit.
Mocha
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04/15/2018 08:42PM
so photographers can't use their photos on calendars that are sold to the public? or sell them as prints?
Pinetree
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04/15/2018 08:54PM
Mocha: "so photographers can't use their photos on calendars that are sold to the public? or sell them as prints?"

I can't answer that,I can just speculate.
But what I can find this was a nationwide restriction on permits were going to be needed for commercial photos and commercial movies with people and needed props. I did see something on that was dated 2014 talk of this happening and also talk of exempting single photographers as you mention,with limited equipment. It did also say at that time they were not enforcing single photographers with single camera at that time.
I think much of the questions(some) raised are coming from a nationwide regulation on all forests and not the BWCA specific.


04/15/2018 09:53PM
A very interesting thread. Thanks to TGO, MooseTrack and all others that have contributed.
old_salt
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04/15/2018 10:03PM
Thanks Moose Track! I agree with everything you said. I agree with submitting your post for publication. Send it to Stu at BWJ. The ones who use the BWCA need to wake up and understand the benefits of multiple use. It belongs to ‘we the people’. We need to defeat the lawsuits.

I will add that I have been using public lands my whole life. While I don’t earn a living from their use, I hold those who do in high regard. It is users who understand best the need to protect them. I hope other outfitters and users will chime in. Thanks!
The Great Outdoors
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04/15/2018 10:40PM
arctic: "The Great Outdoors: "arctic: "What pie is the government trying to shrink? The number of BWCA permits has not changed in 20 years."
Just a few examples recently is our Cisco trapping business, wonder why there are no Ciscos around?? Thank the Forest Service. Now illegal to trap and SELL furs caught in the BWCA. Thank the Forest Service. Pick some blueberries in the BWCA, take them home and make a pie or muffins, then sell them at the Farmer's Market in Ely, nope, not legal to do, thank the Forest Service for that, and we haven't even got to their decision on photography yet!!
PS-The goal of the group from Montana is to eliminate the tow boat, not if, just when is the question."



I'm very informed on the history of the BWCA and Quetico, the good and the bad. I also think the 1978 BWCA Wilderness Act was a reasonable compromise that allowed some established motor use on some routes and eliminated continued logging in the area. Heck, 60 percent of the area had already been cut over by that time, leaving the remaining 40 percent as the biggest tract of uncut forest in the entire US, east of the Rockies.

Who said it's illegal to trap in the BWCA? The state manages all fish and game, not the Forest Service.
"


1st, the Wilderness Act of 1964 allowed the motor because of "Historic motor use" in the area, and was working just fine.
Then "The Wilderness Act of 1978" continued to take out more of the outboard motor and snowmobile routes allowed by the 1964 Act.
Hubert Humphrey made sure the motor routes of the original act were kept intact, even though they were being attacked by many environmental groups.
Coincidentally, the same year that Humphrey died, these groups got busy and developed the 1978 Act which eliminated many promises of the earlier Bill.
As ellahallely stated, the SALE of furs trapped inside of the BWCA is not legal, just as our Ciscos and any products made from any berries picked inside of the area also became illegal to sell. Photographs taken inside of the BWCA and sold outside of it would also be considered illegal. (with more regulations coming after these meetings with several environmental groups, one being from Montana)
FYI, I and several others including Reps from Senator Klobuchar's office and Representative Nolan's office were in that late October meeting in 2016 with Gus Smith of the USFS, and Joe Mix from the Minnesota DNR fisheries.
We were told of this new study, and advised that we were no longer in the Cisco business, and the other activities mentioned above were no longer considered legal.
ellahallely
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04/16/2018 05:18AM
Mocha,

From my understanding you would need to get a permit from the forest service for any photography to be sold or used to promote a cause. I don't know if you need the permit before the photo or video can be taken or if you can get a permit after the picture or film was taken. I am not a lawyer so don't take this as legal advice.
adam
Moderator
 
04/16/2018 06:33AM

Can someone post a link to the editorial in Ely Echo, as well as, links to the lawsuits or briefs from or to the FS?
thistlekicker
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04/16/2018 08:26AM
adam: "
Can someone post a link to the editorial in Ely Echo, as well as, links to the lawsuits or briefs from or to the FS?"


Yes, I'd be interested in learning more about what's going on. A lot of things flying around in this thread; it's difficult to understand what the issue is...


pswith5
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04/16/2018 08:34AM
I'd like to commend everybody for keeping this thread amiable. No name calling or back and forth bickering. Very informative. Thanks
ozarkpaddler
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04/16/2018 08:54AM
I don't think anyone could sum things up better than this? I cannot imagine anyone on this site being so close minded it would negatively impact your business? As a matter of fact, I think your summation of the issue would ATTRACT customers?

I remember years ago supporting a group purportedly to "Protect the Boundary Waters." I had fallen in love with the Gunflint Trail a few years earlier so what better group to join and send my yearly "Dues" to? Heck, they even sent me a nice coffee cup that I took to work and used every night! Then, I found out the group was involved in a lawsuit against the Forest Service. I thought about that. These people are suing ME, their contributor, because I am a taxpayer! They were stealing money that could have been utilized in managing the place I love and giving it to, IMHO, some slimy attorneys. I wrote them a letter about my thoughts on their actions and informed them I would no longer support them. I wonder how many well meaning BWCAW users like me continue to support these groups, not realizing the real harm they do?

I feel badly for you, Moosetracks, and for TGO. I hate that the actions of these narcissistic groups whom refuse to consider other's needs and point of view. I pray that they are unsuccessful and I hope that possibly shining a little light on them and their actions might diminish their support/funding?

bobbernumber3
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04/16/2018 09:37AM
adam: "
Can someone post a link to the editorial in Ely Echo, as well as, links to the lawsuits or briefs from or to the FS?"


Somewhat related... this is the only info I could find. It is from last summer.

cwcs newsletter
SammyN
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04/16/2018 10:12AM
subbed.
Magrockt
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04/16/2018 10:13AM
A Bit off topic but, Something for thought...Forest Center area in the BWCAW that was clear cut in the 50s and allowed to regrow into undesirable trees has been burned off in 2011 (Pagami Creek fire). The new growth is Jack Pines (high ground) and Aspen (wetter areas). Some spruce are growing within the Jack pines. Are these not commercially harvested just outside the BWCAW as well. Hopefully coincidental, but on Sat maps, it looks like a giant plantation. If permit use on the entry points decreases to zero, what will happen? I was concerned about this lack of use. Some of these entry points are / can be adopted by volunteer groups for maintenance (all sponsored through the FS. Filling or buying up as many of the available permits each season is a relatively inexpensive way to show use and revenue for the FS. Day use permits generate zero revenue and FS must still “check on” the entry points almost daily.

Also I personally saw groups of “survey crews?”heading North from the Tomahawk rd last year. For what purpose and how far in? Just seemed out of place. Yes I know conspiracy theories aren’t productive, but I worry that if I don’t actively preserve and advocate for intended use, others with commercial interests will steal it away. Please convince me otherwise...
Pinetree
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04/16/2018 10:14AM
bobbernumber3: "adam: "
Can someone post a link to the editorial in Ely Echo, as well as, links to the lawsuits or briefs from or to the FS?"



Somewhat related... this is the only info I could find. It is from last summer.


cwcs newsletter "


The Ely editorial is from last year 2017 in May also I think

Much of it has to do with Tow boat usage and how much,not eliminating but staying within the boundaries and quotas set in the past-1993 and not like a operator or two who are ignoring the quotas and also not keeping the required log book. Speaking of Tow boat usage it has to be controlled by how much is allowed if you want any resemblance of a Wilderness or wild area.
Abuse by a small fraction of Tow boat operators may of brought this forth.
I say this in respect that most Tow boat operators have improved substantially in respecting canoe people when paddling up the Moose chain and co-exist. Yes there is like one operator(at least his tow boat operator) who also still thinks its fun to give paddlers a scare and go close to canoes, when you get to like Prairie Portage and the people who got the tow,wait on the hill to apologize for a certain tow boat operator who almost swamped us and others. The canoe people who got a tow apoligized and said they would never take a tow from them again(a couple of years ago).
Will call it a isolated incident or what the main point much of this surfaces and comes forward because abuse by a few. Be it quotas etc.
So people like Moosetrack who do good job in the ethics front, suffers some consequence of others for their abuse and neglect. Yes customers,commercial operators for the most part are very good and want a quality experience for all.
There has to be regulations of some type to maintain a quality experience.
Sometimes if certain sides would just work together much can be solved.

Pinetree
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04/16/2018 10:32AM
Just for your info and knowledge and nothing more.
A list of BWCA commercial licenses
Soledad
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04/16/2018 11:11AM
Thanks MooseTrack for taking the time. It does help me to understand your point of view and respect it.
04/16/2018 12:27PM
I’ve been fortunate to meet many people that I consider good friends in my 50 years of going up north. I think they should send the suits making decisions up there for a entire summer to spend some time talking to the long time residents and business owners and maybe, just maybe they would understand just how tough it is to make a go of it up there.
HowardSprague
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04/16/2018 12:52PM
wow,, some of that is just nuts! Next, will it be illegal for a bait shop or resort owner or outfitter to mark up my map with good potential fishing spots? It could be considered a form of "guiding"!

tumblehome
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04/16/2018 12:57PM
Against my better judgement, I will comment on Moostrack's post.

I totally get your point of view. And I'll reply by saying that the BWCA comprises 1% of Minnesota's land mass. And when people continue to try to exploit that one percent for increased human activity, I will not support that no matter what the cause. Whether it be your income, your moral stance, your wish for regional economic activity or whatever.

99% of our state is outside of that area and there are plenty of places to exploit our lands for profit. If the BWCA was a larger place I wouldn't have such a viewpoint. But it's so small. Death by a thousand cuts.

Tom
Mad_Angler
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04/16/2018 01:23PM
I'm confused... And probably ignorant. Please educate me.

Right now, motor boats are not allowed in nearly all of the BW. That applies to guide too, correct?

Assuming that is correct, what exactly are we discussing? Are we discussing the use of boat and guides on waters that border the BW?

For example, I know that boats are allowed on parts of Seagull lake. I assume that there are some guides who take clients fishing on that part of the lake. I'm okay with that.

Basically, I'm okay with the current boundaries. I don't want motors inside the BW. But I am okay with guides and towboats running as they do today.

Why is this all so controversial?
The Great Outdoors
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04/16/2018 02:06PM
Mad_Angler: "I'm confused... And probably ignorant. Please educate me.
Right now, motor boats are not allowed in nearly all of the BW. That applies to guide too, correct?
Assuming that is correct, what exactly are we discussing? Are we discussing the use of boat and guides on waters that border the BW?
For example, I know that boats are allowed on parts of Seagull lake. I assume that there are some guides who take clients fishing on that part of the lake. I'm okay with that.
Basically, I'm okay with the current boundaries. I don't want motors inside the BW. But I am okay with guides and towboats running as they do today.
Why is this all so controversial?"

1. Motor boats are only allowed in certain areas of the BWCA, guides are allowed everywhere but must use a canoe in the paddle only areas.
2. The tow boats (for now) are the target of certain groups, and they'd like them eliminated. When they get rid of the tow boats, private motor boats will be next.
3. This is controversial because nothing is ever enough for many of these "anti just about everything" groups, and they want to eliminate commercialization of many activities now allowed .
4. Finally, many do not realize that once the tow boats have been eliminated, the number of canoe permits on the Moose Chain will be next.
Pinetree
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04/16/2018 02:45PM
Yes certain groups would like tow boats eliminated,but zero groups even in the lawsuit asked or wanted to reduce the tow boat use from present 1993 quota use guideline now. They repeatly said that.
The Great Outdoors
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04/16/2018 03:11PM
Pinetree: "Yes certain groups would like tow boats eliminated,but zero groups even in the lawsuit asked or wanted to reduce the tow boat use from present 1993 quota use guideline now. They repeatly said that."
Are they the same "they" that say "The check is in the mail, Yes I'll respect you in the morning, or I'm from the Federal Government and I'm here to help you?" :)
I am not as trusting as you are Pinetree, the towboat elimination is coming, not if, just when.
Remember the word "feasible" and how it came back to haunt us, and finally resulted in the elimination of the Four Mile Portage??? ("Troubled Waters" by Kevin Proeschold)
This same guy, Kevin Proeschold, is one of the players in this latest attack on commercialization in the BWCA.
GraniteCliffs
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04/16/2018 04:50PM
I don't pretend to know much about the current lawsuit or what may or may not result. I use towboats several times a year and am fine with the current set up.

With that said, I do think it is more than a little unfair to the Forest Service to do nothing but complain about them, blame them and brand them as someone that is clueless.
The Forest Service has many masters to please. Commercial operations are but one of them. I would like to think that people that use the BWCA are one of the primary points of focus and consideration. Their viewpoint is obviously not always in alignment with commercial operations in Ely or elsewhere.
I guess what I am saying is the BW is a wonderful place that I think we all agree is an invaluable asset. The US Forest Service played a great role in establishing it and operating it. Along with whatever concerns over what is currently going on I think it is only fair to recognize their contribution to the BW and their unique situation of taking all viewpoints into consideration.
I am not trying to be combative or oppose the narrative on this thread. I just think it is equally important to look at all vantage points since nothing is ever as simple as it seems. I won't comment again on this thread.

Pinetree
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04/16/2018 05:11PM
GraniteCliffs: "I don't pretend to know much about the current lawsuit or what may or may not result. I use towboats several times a year and am fine with the current set up.


With that said, I do think it is more than a little unfair to the Forest Service to do nothing but complain about them, blame them and brand them as someone that is clueless.
The Forest Service has many masters to please. Commercial operations are but one of them. I would like to think that people that use the BWCA are one of the primary points of focus and consideration. Their viewpoint is obviously not always in alignment with commercial operations in Ely or elsewhere.
I guess what I am saying is the BW is a wonderful place that I think we all agree is an invaluable asset. The US Forest Service played a great role in establishing it and operating it. Along with whatever concerns over what is currently going on I think it is only fair to recognize their contribution to the BW and their unique situation of taking all viewpoints into consideration.
I am not trying to be combative or oppose the narrative on this thread. I just think it is equally important to look at all vantage points since nothing is ever as simple as it seems. I won't comment again on this thread.


"
Very well said.
arctic
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04/16/2018 08:29PM
The Great Outdoors: "
3. This is controversial because nothing is ever enough for many of these "anti just about everything" groups, and they want to eliminate commercialization of many activities now allowed .
4. Finally, many do not realize that once the tow boats have been eliminated, the number of canoe permits on the Moose Chain will be next."


The "antis" are on both sides of the political divide, whether the issue is guns, abortion, public lands, hunting, marijuana, balancing the federal budget, public access to streams running through private lands---you name it.

Also, ANYONE who paddles the Moose Chain (I only do so to get to Quetico) knows that the number of paddle permits should be reduced there. It's a F*****g ZOO, and it can be almost impossible for a paddler to find an open campsites within many miles of there because of it.
04/16/2018 08:43PM
tumblehome: "Against my better judgement, I will comment on Moostrack's post.
I totally get your point of view.

99% of our state is outside of that area and there are plenty of places to exploit our lands for profit. If the BWCA was a larger place I wouldn't have such a viewpoint. But it's so small. Death by a thousand cuts.

Tom"


Also feel the need to comment on Moosetrack's post and will leverage some of what Tumblehome said, because I don't think I can say it any better.

It's interesting how our life journey leads us to different perspectives. As I've grown older, my views on the importance of wilderness preservation have only strengthened, and when it comes time that I cannot physically make my way into some of the wild places that I love, then so be it.


adam
Moderator
 
04/16/2018 09:07PM

It is interesting to read about the "needs assessment" and "commercial services" in the history of federal wilderness areas. It sounds like the need for pack animals (horse/mules) to support recreation is the foundation for the legislation/rules around "needs assessments". Although it sounds like this extended to watering stations for bighorn sheep, likely the basis of the removal of canoe rests on portages, and motorized boats and guides/outfitters in general. I would encourage those with an interest to google it.

"There is a basic tension between the Wilderness Act objective of preserving the wilderness character of an area and the devotion of the area to public purposes such as recreation This is particularly true with respect to commercial pack stock use in the Ansel Adams John Muir and Dinkey Lakes Wildernesses As the Needs Assessment will show there is a definite and clear need for commercial pack stock services in the wilderness areas and these services are appropriate and proper for realizing the recreation and other wilderness purposes of the area This use however has to be limited by the need to protect wilderness character The purpose of this Needs Assessment is not to resolve this tension between recreation and wilderness character Rather it is to acknowledge that this tension exists and that the resolution of the tension is a challenge fraught with difficulty For these wilderness areas the decision as to the appropriate ..."

Inyo and Sierra National Forests (N.F.), Trail and Commercial Pack Stock

And this gives you a perspective on the lengthy debate on these matters which included a number of outfitters at a sub-committee hearing in washington.

Transcript 1995

Pinetree
distinguished member(12783)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
04/16/2018 09:20PM
Hoaf: "tumblehome: "Against my better judgement, I will comment on Moostrack's post.
I totally get your point of view.


99% of our state is outside of that area and there are plenty of places to exploit our lands for profit. If the BWCA was a larger place I wouldn't have such a viewpoint. But it's so small. Death by a thousand cuts.


Tom"



Also feel the need to comment on Moosetrack's post and will leverage some of what Tumblehome said, because I don't think I can say it any better.


It's interesting how our life journey leads us to different perspectives. As I've grown older, my views on the importance of wilderness preservation have only strengthened, and when it comes time that I cannot physically make my way into some of the wild places that I love, then so be it.



"
I agree with the aging, I am thankful I had a chance to visit the place when younger and now,and when the time comes instead of downgrade the wilderness I will know I had my turn and it is time for others to have that chance instead of changing it.
K52
member (14)member
 
04/16/2018 09:30PM
The Great Outdoors: "arctic: "What pie is the government trying to shrink? The number of BWCA permits has not changed in 20 years."
Just a few examples recently is our Cisco trapping business, wonder why there are no Ciscos around?? Thank the Forest Service. Now illegal to trap and SELL furs caught in the BWCA. Thank the Forest Service. Pick some blueberries in the BWCA, take them home and make a pie or muffins, then sell them at the Farmer's Market in Ely, nope, not legal to do, thank the Forest Service for that, and we haven't even got to their decision on photography yet!!
When you look at what the government has shrunk, go way back to the beginning with the airplane ban, then the "Wilderness Acts of 1964 and 1978"
See anything different between then and now???
I'm not going to get into a long winded trip through history of all the changes (pie shrinking) that have been made to the area, but I do encourage you to do this if you would?
Drive over to Forest Center and ask the residents of that small town if anything has changed dramatically for them since the government restrictions and elimination of their main revenue source began?
Let me know what you find out!! :)

PS-The goal of the group from Montana is to eliminate the tow boat, not if, just when is the question."


Make no mistake that the end game of lawsuits like this one is total elimination of ANY kind of consumptive use in federal lands. As a outdoorsman that likes to hunt, fish and trap I am very familiar with the use of lawsuits by different groups that want to eliminate our use of federal land for anything. Here start with tow boats, after all there are people here that would be just fine with that. Motor boats will be next, once again there would be supporters of that on this site. Sounds good doesn't it, no pesky outboards to ruin someone's idea of a "pristine wilderness", just canoes silently slipping through the water. But wait, someone who doesn't subscribe to leave no trace left some trash at a campsite. Now they want to ban canoes because that is how the people with no ethics accessed the BWCA campsite. As long as it's the other groups ox that's getting gored everything is fine. This is how these anti's are successful, we don't stick together as outdoorsmen, they do. And they have very deep pockets to fund these lawsuits, very deep. Also don't think their aren't people working in the USFS that would be just fine with no human activity in the BWCA and other federal lands.
The Great Outdoors
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04/17/2018 08:54AM
arctic: "The Great Outdoors: "
3. This is controversial because nothing is ever enough for many of these "anti just about everything" groups, and they want to eliminate commercialization of many activities now allowed .
4. Finally, many do not realize that once the tow boats have been eliminated, the number of canoe permits on the Moose Chain will be next."

Also, ANYONE who paddles the Moose Chain (I only do so to get to Quetico) knows that the number of paddle permits should be reduced there. It's a F*****g ZOO, and it can be almost impossible for a paddler to find an open campsites within many miles of there because of it. "

Thank you for your honesty!! Just shows what I've been saying all along is true: The bottom line is to limit, and eventually dry up, most canoe permits after they remove the tow and motor boats.

All paddlers on this forum should pay attention, YOU will be the next targets as this NEW vision of wilderness begins.
dele
distinguished member (118)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/17/2018 09:17AM
Moosetrack, that was a wonderful post, thank you for writing it. And I certainly sympathize with people who have developed a business model that's dependent on a certain number of users of the wilderness buying their services, and now feel like they are having the rug pulled out from under them, whether they are guides, bait shop owners, or outfitters.

However I do think the links being drawn between restrictions on guiding (which, in agreement with most in this thread, I find problematic), and restrictions on explicitly consumptive use of wilderness resources, such as furs, berries, and bait fish, are strange. Guiding is not a problem, as long as guides aren't enabling people to extract an unsustainable amount of fish from the lakes and rivers. Commodity extraction for commercial purposes, on the other hand, to me seems clearly a violation of the spirit of the wilderness, if not the letter of the law. The whole idea of LNT is that one takes what one needs for personal use while in the wilderness, and nothing more. Of course people should be able to keep fish and cook them while they are tripping. But I don't think people should be able to take fish home from the wilderness to eat later, nor that they should be able to trap animals in the wilderness for the purpose of selling furs, nor even that they should be able to take blueberries home with them, whether or not they plan to sell blueberry muffins at a bake sale. Taking any of those things is clearly leaving quite a significant trace.

This is a wilderness area. Of course people use it and that means it's not a true wilderness, but it's the closest thing we've got in the Midwest, if not the whole country, to a true wilderness. We have to find a balance between people being able to use it and keeping it wild. There are millions of acres of forest from which people can harvest blueberries, furs, or walleyes to take home with them and/or sell. Now of course most of those are not nearly as productive as the BWCA, precisely because everyone can take from them! There aren't vast swathes of wild blueberries outside of protected areas, because those areas are not protected. The walleye fisheries in most lakes are not as productive as in the BWCA, precisely because people overfish them. Beavers disappeared from much of the US precisely because people were allowed to trap them and sell the furs. Etc.

So we have a situation where a bounteous resource exists, and is capable of providing the commodities people want, precisely because we have put in place restrictions stopping them from harvesting those commodities within its boundaries. The minute we say it's okay to bring home gallons of blueberries, or coolers full of walleye, or a few fox pelts, or whatever, from the wilderness, we'll start to lose what makes the place so valuable to begin with.

For what it's worth, I don't favor banning motors from the areas where they're allowed now, nor do I think additional restrictions on guiding are a good idea. But the notion that any person who can get an entry permit should be able to extract resources to take home, whether for their own personal financial benefit or just for their own use, seems wrong to me. If everybody could take out piles of ciscos to sell, or furs to make hats out of, or walleye to put in their freezer, then we'd soon have no real wilderness left to visit.
ellahallely
distinguished member (378)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/17/2018 10:38AM
Lets be honesty you can't have people in an area and have it be LNT, it has to be one or the other. Would this mean no portages, campsites you have to pack out human waste. Some people would like to see it this way. Or make it like the Church wilderness in Idaho and let only airplanes bring people in and out. That would eliminate all kinds of traffic, no portaging or overland travel. That would suit me best. Do I fight for that no!! I want to share it with others. It's the bwca for people not just me and my needs. However it seems to be the way this country in going. I will tell you what to sacrifice and give up, yet I will do as I please.
Does it not bother anyone that's promises were made. And many promises have been broken. Can't anyone be taking for their words anymore?

All I can say for fact is my word in my word. Period and I stand by that!!
K52
member (14)member
 
04/17/2018 10:50AM
ellahallely: "Lets be honesty you can't have people in an area and have it be LNT, it has to be one or the other. Would this mean no portages, campsites you have to pack out human waste. Some people would like to see it this way. Or make it like the Church wilderness in Idaho and let only airplanes bring people in and out. That would eliminate all kinds of traffic, no portaging or overland travel. That would suit me best. Do I fight for that no!! I want to share it with others. It's the bwca for people not just me and my needs. However it seems to be the way this country in going. I will tell you what to sacrifice and give up, yet I will do as I please.
Does it not bother anyone that's promises were made. And many promises have been broken. Can't anyone be taking for their words anymore?"


Ella just hit one out of the park!!!!
HowardSprague
distinguished member(2840)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/17/2018 11:18AM
dele: ".... But I don't think people should be able to take fish home from the wilderness to eat later,..... "

Strongly disagree with that one. You're on a weeklong trip - whether BWCA or resort, and last day you want to take a day trip to Wood, Lake One, Parent, whatever and you take a few walleye to eat that night or for the freezer, (or catch something the last morning of your canoe trip) I think whatever perceived damage someone concocts from this is highly exaggerated. That's what limits are for anyway!
Or someone lives in the area - you're gonna tell them they can't do a day trip into the BW and bring some fish home for dinner? I'd say that's a bit extreme.
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(13213)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
04/17/2018 11:31AM
Delete
inspector13
distinguished member(4060)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
04/17/2018 11:46AM
dele: "There are millions of acres of forest from which people can harvest blueberries, furs, or walleyes to take home with them and/or sell."
You have missed a point TGO made in his OP. I can only take his word for it, but he wrote: "Instead of focusing on the towboat issue, the agency has expanded the impact to include the entire Superior National Forest and any type of recreational special use permitting."

That certainly seems contrary to the role of the USDA, of which the US Forest Service is a part. One of the roles they are supposed to perform is to "maintain(s) and cultivate(s) these lands for public use and national interests through activities ranging from scientific research and development to firefighting, recreation maintenance, wilderness and wildlife protection, ecosystem management, and timber production."

dele
distinguished member (118)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/17/2018 11:47AM
HowardSprague: "dele: ".... But I don't think people should be able to take fish home from the wilderness to eat later,..... "


Strongly disagree with that one. You're on a weeklong trip - whether BWCA or resort, and last day you want to take a day trip to Wood, Lake One, Parent, whatever and you take a few walleye to eat that night or for the freezer, (or catch something the last morning of your canoe trip) I think whatever perceived damage someone concocts from this is highly exaggerated. That's what limits are for anyway!
Or someone lives in the area - you're gonna tell them they can't do a day trip into the BW and bring some fish home for dinner? I'd say that's a bit extreme.
"


Yeah, I can agree with that. It's why we have possession limits. People should be allowed to keep what those limits allow them to keep.

Any particular resource can have a reasonable debate around it and you have convinced me on this one.

I think my larger point stands though. That the government seems to be doing something silly with regard to guiding regulations doesn't meant that ALL restrictions on resource use and extraction in the wilderness are illegitimate. But that's what some posters in this thread are arguing - that because the government gets some things wrong, everything it does with regard to the wilderness must therefore also be wrong.
dele
distinguished member (118)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/17/2018 11:53AM
inspector13: "dele: "There are millions of acres of forest from which people can harvest blueberries, furs, or walleyes to take home with them and/or sell."
You have missed a point TGO made in his OP. I can only take his word for it, but he wrote: "Instead of focusing on the towboat issue, the agency has expanded the impact to include the entire Superior National Forest and any type of recreational special use permitting."

That certainly seems contrary to the role of the USDA, of which the US Forest Service is a part. One of the roles they are supposed to perform is to "maintain(s) and cultivate(s) these lands for public use and national interests through activities ranging from scientific research and development to firefighting, recreation maintenance, wilderness and wildlife protection, ecosystem management, and timber production."

"


Thanks for pointing that out. You're right that I missed that part of his post.

Here's where I think people are crossing signals. So the Forest Service is supposed to "maintain and cultivate these lands," as you state. Doing that necessarily means enacting regulations of various kinds.

When we empower and entrust a government body to make regulations we should expect that it will make some good choices and some bad ones. I'm fairly convinced by those in this thread who are arguing that it has made a bad choice with regard to the new guiding restrictions.

Where I vehemently disagree is the implication that BECAUSE this one choice the government has made is a bad one, it is THEREFORE ILLEGITIMATE that the government has made other choices that may - or may not - be good ones. Such as restrictions on selling the pelts of animals trapped in the wilderness, or enforcement of laws that prohibit people from selling bait fish they harvest in the wilderness.

It think we should look at each restriction, evaluate it, and lobby for changes where necessary, instead of using the implementation of one or a few bad restrictions as a basis for questioning the legitimacy of the entire system. Because when we do the latter, we the people will collectively lose the ability to preserve lands for non commercial use.
inspector13
distinguished member(4060)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
04/17/2018 12:22PM

I don’t think the purpose of TGO’s post was to whine about his lost cisco business. I think he was only telling us "I told you so" by posting the newspaper’s editorial. It does look like a power grab by the Feds to me though, since by law the State of Minnesota has the right to manage fish and wildlife within it’s borders. There is no talk here of Lacy Act violations, international commerce, endangered species, or migratory birds.

HowardSprague
distinguished member(2840)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/17/2018 01:41PM
dele, agree with you on that "all or nothing mindset".

arctic
distinguished member(5099)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
04/17/2018 01:54PM
The Great Outdoors: "arctic: "The Great Outdoors: "
3. This is controversial because nothing is ever enough for many of these "anti just about everything" groups, and they want to eliminate commercialization of many activities now allowed .
4. Finally, many do not realize that once the tow boats have been eliminated, the number of canoe permits on the Moose Chain will be next."

Also, ANYONE who paddles the Moose Chain (I only do so to get to Quetico) knows that the number of paddle permits should be reduced there. It's a F*****g ZOO, and it can be almost impossible for a paddler to find an open campsites within many miles of there because of it. "

Thank you for your honesty!! Just shows what I've been saying all along is true: The bottom line is to limit, and eventually dry up, most canoe permits after they remove the tow and motor boats.

All paddlers on this forum should pay attention, YOU will be the next targets as this NEW vision of wilderness begins."


Using your logic, there should be no limits. I brought up the VALID point that there was too much traffic (ON THIS PARTICULAR ROUTE) for the available campsites for the traditional canoe tripper, and you jump to the other extreme and imply that I want to '"dry up" the majority (all?) of permits! Illogical.

Atb
distinguished member (214)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/17/2018 10:23PM
ellahallely: "+1 MooseTrack you should send a copy of your post to the Ely Echo. I would like to think if people really knew what was going on they would help put a stop this continued crap. Nice post."

And cc to the star trib, where more opinions might be swayed.
The Great Outdoors
distinguished member(5624)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
04/18/2018 03:19AM
The point of the post was to try to warn people that future regulations/restrictions are being negotiated to appease certain environmental groups that have threatened law suits.
Some activities have already been removed, and more restrictions are coming.
And to address Arctic's last post, stating in his opinion that there are too many paddlers entering from the Moose Chain: There are many like him, and more will be screaming it when the tow boats have been eliminated resulting in wall to wall canoes from the Moose Lake landing all through the Newfound and Sucker portions of the chain.
Keep in mind, the ONLY ones that will pay the price for this will be future visitors who WILL NOT RECEIVE a permit when they substantially drop the total number allowed!
When all this happens, the canoe outfitters will also suffer and some will eventually be forced out of business.
04/18/2018 05:36AM
Interesting. The USFS is named in a lawsuit regarding commercial activities in or near the BWCA and they place a temporary moratorium on NEW guide permits until the lawsuit is settled. Doesn’t seem all that unreasonable without “the sky is falling” narrative included. I realize if I lived there and needed new guiding permits for my business I would be upset as well. The USFS is the middleman trying to appease commercial interests and settle a lawsuit. Consider this....they could have placed a cease and desist order on all tows, guiding, etc..... Firesuit is on let me have it.
The Great Outdoors
distinguished member(5624)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
04/18/2018 07:55AM
BnD: "Interesting. The USFS is named in a lawsuit regarding commercial activities in or near the BWCA and they place a temporary moratorium on NEW guide permits until the lawsuit is settled. Doesn’t seem all that unreasonable without “the sky is falling” narrative included. I realize if I lived there and needed new guiding permits for my business I would be upset as well. The USFS is the middleman trying to appease commercial interests and settle a lawsuit. Consider this....they could have placed a cease and desist order on all tows, guiding, etc..... Firesuit is on let me have it."
Very valid questions and comments:
Several of these cease and desist orders were already put on in the meeting several of us had with the USFS in late October 2016. They included selling Ciscos taken from the BWCA, selling furs trapped in the BWCA, and selling anything made from blueberries (or any berries) harvested in the BWCA, such as muffins or bread, at the local Farmers Market.
All three of these enterprises were very small operations, and to call them commercializing is a stretch, though true by definition.
More restrictions on photography, taking a piece of driftwood, or other trivial items will follow whenever they get to them.
No new guides are allowed, whether being offered through an outfitter, or an individual that guides for themselves to make a living.
These "negotiations" and others to come, do not bode well for many users of the BWCA, whether commercial operations, or individual parties.
I don't know how many from this forum ever knew Cliff Wold, or used his business? Cliff was a real character, and towards the end of his days used to send out several very nice letters on some rather expensive paper to hundreds of people, predicting what he saw as the future of the BWCA.
He made some rather bold predictions, even going as far to suggest that users will not be allowed to travel without a "Naturalist" who would control all activities of the trip. These would be small groups, as LNT would be the mantra, and the trips would be brief. Most of us thought that Cliff was getting a bit "crazy!"
After seeing what demands these lawsuits may hold, old Cliff doesn't seem so crazy anymore!!
ellahallely
distinguished member (378)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/18/2018 08:34AM
I knew Cliff,
He was quoted as saying "BWCA is going to be a biosphere reserve one day where people aren’t allowed."
schweady
distinguished member(6718)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
04/18/2018 08:41AM
Clarify for me, please:
If I get a tow starting at Moose Lake to begin our BW adventure, maybe headed toward Splash and Ensign Lakes, I need an overnight paddling permit, right? What about the tow operator? Does the trip taken to haul me in require a day trip motor permit? Or is there an additional quota for that commercial purpose? If so, is there a limit to the number allowed each day? If not, why not?
mutz
distinguished member(1349)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/18/2018 08:50AM
TGO are the people you were at the meetings with in 2016 the ones who make the final decision on this, or do they just forward the findings on to someone in Washington who then determines what will be done?
What worries me the most, is that the final decisions on all of this will probably be made by people who have never been in a canoe, and never camped in or experienced an area like the BWCA.
ellahallely
distinguished member (378)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/18/2018 10:04AM
Copied and pasted from timberjay. Might answer some questions.

Commercial use can be a fine line
While court rulings have generally sided with federal regulators on commercial uses in wilderness areas in the past, each case presents its own set of facts upon which any decision can hinge. A well-known case of a clash between the Wilderness Act and a commercial operation eventually led to the closure of the Drake Bay Oyster Company, a longstanding oyster harvesting operation and retail outlet located in the Point Reyes Wilderness in California.
In that instance, the Department of the Interior declined to renew a permit for the business, since operating an oyster harvesting business to supply a retail facility located within the wilderness boundary was prohibited activity. The shop and business closed doors in 2014 after a lengthy legal battle.
When it comes to cisco harvest at Prairie Portage, however, no Forest Service permit is required. The Boundary Waters Wilderness Act makes it clear that jurisdiction over fish and wildlife remains with the state Department of Natural Resources, which has issued licenses and permits to the individuals involved in the bait harvest at Prairie Portage. According to Sean Sisler, who oversees bait licensing and permitting for the DNR, those permits give the holders the right to harvest bait in any Minnesota water body that they can legally access.
In effect, acknowledges Smith, the harvest of ciscoes at Prairie Portage is perfectly legal. It’s the sale of those ciscoes to bait shops in Ely that turns a legal activity into a violation of the ban on commercial use of the wilderness.
Smith notes that there are obvious exceptions to the ban on commercial activity. Outfitters, guides, and towboat operators are allowed because the wilderness act grants an exception to commercial activity “to the extent necessary to serve recreation.”
Even so, the lines aren’t always clear. Earlier this year, Smith contended with complaints from a Fall Lake township supervisor who argued that anti-copper-nickel mining activists Dave and Amy Freeman were violating the commercial ban by posting pictures and reports of their year-long wilderness excursion online. Some of those photos and reports included images of outdoor gear that sponsors had donated, which some argued constituted advertising.
Smith had initially suggested the Freemans might have violated the ban, but later determined otherwise. “It’s fairly philosophical at times,” said Smith.
What makes the cisco case more challenging is that the commercial activity in question (the sale of the ciscoes to bait shops) takes place outside the wilderness.
In that sense, it’s virtually identical to trapping, which is an allowed activity within the Boundary Waters wilderness, according to Sue Duffy, wilderness and recreation program manager for the Superior National Forest. Virtually all trappers trap for the commercial fur market, so the pelts they obtain within the wilderness are being sold to fur dealers, just as the controversial ciscoes are sold to bait dealers. “It’s not an issue we’ve ever addressed,” acknowledged Duffy.
The tussle over ciscoes raises questions about all kinds of small-scale activities that could come under scrutiny if the Forest Service chooses to take a hard line. Pick a few gallons of blueberries in the Boundary Waters and you’re just fine. Sell a few quarts of your berries at a farmers market or to the local grocer and suddenly you’re an outlaw. Duffy acknowledges that would be consistent with the Forest Service’s current reading of the wilderness act.
As usual, the Forest Service is caught in the middle, taking flak from all sides in the wilderness debate, and that makes the agency particularly cautious as it approaches such issues. Smith notes that the agency is currently in a lawsuit filed by Wilderness Watch that seeks to end the use of towboats on the Moose Lake chain of lakes. “We have to be very careful with commercial activities right now,” Smith said, although he acknowledged that environmental groups have yet to weigh in on the issue. “Their silence makes me a little nervous,” said Smith.
At the same time, Smith said he recognizes that the impact of the cisco harvest on the wilderness, or wilderness values, is probably negligible. At that time of year, Prairie Portage is closed for the season and canoe traffic through the portage is rare to non-existent. And Prairie Portage is already an intrusion, of sorts, in the wilderness, with a truck portage, vehicles, and several buildings, including a Canadian Customs office. “In terms of a wilderness intrusion, it’s not a huge thing,” acknowledges Smith. “But the wilderness act doesn’t want us to look at those kind of tradeoffs.”
Nolan seeking
law change
Eighth District Congressman Rick Nolan’s office is currently working on a possible amendment to the Boundary Waters Wilderness Act, which would help to clarify the issue. “The draft legislation Mr. Nolan’s team has been working on would amend Section 14 (State Jurisdiction over Fish & Wildlife) of Public Law 95-495 as such: SEC. 14. Nothing in this Act shall be construed as affecting the jurisdiction or responsibilities of the State with respect to fish and wildlife including commercial bait harvest of cisco (Coregonus artedi), in the wilderness and the mining protection area.” That’s according to Nolan spokesperson Samantha Bisogno.
Nolan had hoped to reach accommodation for an administrative solution, said Bisogno, “however, after dialogue with bait industry stakeholders and the Forest Service (well before the federal raid) it appeared as though legislation to effectively codify the long-standing cisco harvest on the American side of Prairie Portage would be necessary.”
But Smith isn’t sure that the language, as currently proposed by the Congressman, resolves the issue. He said the Forest Service doesn’t dispute the right of the state to regulate fish and wildlife. It’s the commercial activity that creates the conflict with the wilderness act, he notes. Bisogno said Nolan’s legislative staff is still pursuing the issue and that final language remains a work in progress.




The Great Outdoors
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04/18/2018 11:57AM
ellahallely: "I knew Cliff,
He was quoted as saying "BWCA is going to be a biosphere reserve one day where people aren’t allowed.""

Yes he did, doesn't sound so crazy anymore, does it???? :)
The Great Outdoors
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04/18/2018 12:08PM
mutz: "TGO are the people you were at the meetings with in 2016 the ones who make the final decision on this, or do they just forward the findings on to someone in Washington who then determines what will be done?
What worries me the most, is that the final decisions on all of this will probably be made by people who have never been in a canoe, and never camped in or experienced an area like the BWCA. "

Gus Smith was the only Forest Service employee at the meeting. The other official was Joe Mix, Fish & Wildlife Department for the Minnesota DNR.
The other officials at the meeting were one from Senator Klobuchar's office, and another from Representative Nolan's office.
The three others were myself, our bait trapper/canoe outfitter, and another bait shop owner from Babbitt.
I believe the FS officials can make a "restriction" that may or may not have to be cleared with higher up officials????
I know there have been complaints in the past where some FS regulations have been made by unelected officials, that can carry fines and jail sentences if not obeyed.
04/18/2018 12:14PM
TGO, the sun is up and your feet are on the ground. Isn't that something to be thankful for? Ely, MN is a veritable economic dynasty compared to Atikokan, ON where extremely lower permit quotas combined with excessive camping fees have certainly crushed anyone trying to make a living on that side of the wilderness area. Point being, it could always be worse and you don't have to look very far. Have a great day and sleep well my friend understanding you have to accept things beyond your control.

Historically, people complained about anything and everything always wanting something else. We're all OK today. As a mission priest (born in the USA) once said at my parish after serving in an impoverished third world country for years..."When you were born in the USA you have already won life's lottery." :-)
ellahallely
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04/18/2018 12:25PM
The anti mining people are talking about the mines ruining tourism. I will bet my bottom dollar tourism will have hit rock bottom before Twin Metals mine even opens. Tourism is a small fraction of what it was when I was a child in Ely.
thistlekicker
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04/18/2018 01:07PM
The FS is studying commercial use in the wilderness (and on the forest in general) and I get the impression there may be some changes to the nature and amount of commercial use that's allowed. Or maybe just more enforcement of existing limits on commercial use. Anyway, things may change with respect to commercial use.

For those who are concerned that this will result in further restriction of existing commercial use, I'd be interested in hearing what you would consider reasonable guidelines/regulations for commercial use within the wilderness? What types of commercial uses should be allowed, and how much?

arctic
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04/18/2018 02:28PM
BnD: "Ely, MN is a veritable economic dynasty compared to Atikokan, ON where extremely lower permit quotas combined with excessive camping fees have certainly crushed anyone trying to make a living on that side of the wilderness area. "

Quetico is owned by the people of Ontario. They raised provincial park fees years ago to make sure that most parks could be financially self-suficient and not be overly subsidized by the taxpayer. Quetico is financially solvent.

Also, the goals of the park include providing a traditional, Canadian wilderness canoe tripping experience, as well as placing a priority on preserving the natural features of the park.

Accomodating the teaming masses was never the goal, and really isn't compatible with wilderness tripping.

Atikokan is far enough from the population centers of the US that it could NEVER compete with Ely for tourist business--even back in the day.
arctic
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04/18/2018 02:28PM
Frankie_Paull
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04/18/2018 05:27PM
The way I intrupt this and keep in mind I’m no type of law scholar. Is that this review was part of the terms to resolve the lawsuit. I 100 % believe in mix use of the BWCA and think that the system that is in place is as close to a Happy comprise as possible. ????????
brantlars
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04/18/2018 07:07PM
dele: "Moosetrack, that was a wonderful post, thank you for writing it. And I certainly sympathize with people who have developed a business model that's dependent on a certain number of users of the wilderness buying their services, and now feel like they are having the rug pulled out from under them, whether they are guides, bait shop owners, or outfitters.


However I do think the links being drawn between restrictions on guiding (which, in agreement with most in this thread, I find problematic), and restrictions on explicitly consumptive use of wilderness resources, such as furs, berries, and bait fish, are strange. Guiding is not a problem, as long as guides aren't enabling people to extract an unsustainable amount of fish from the lakes and rivers. Commodity extraction for commercial purposes, on the other hand, to me seems clearly a violation of the spirit of the wilderness, if not the letter of the law. The whole idea of LNT is that one takes what one needs for personal use while in the wilderness, and nothing more. Of course people should be able to keep fish and cook them while they are tripping. But I don't think people should be able to take fish home from the wilderness to eat later, nor that they should be able to trap animals in the wilderness for the purpose of selling furs, nor even that they should be able to take blueberries home with them, whether or not they plan to sell blueberry muffins at a bake sale. Taking any of those things is clearly leaving quite a significant trace.


This is a wilderness area. Of course people use it and that means it's not a true wilderness, but it's the closest thing we've got in the Midwest, if not the whole country, to a true wilderness. We have to find a balance between people being able to use it and keeping it wild. There are millions of acres of forest from which people can harvest blueberries, furs, or walleyes to take home with them and/or sell. Now of course most of those are not nearly as productive as the BWCA, precisely because everyone can take from them! There aren't vast swathes of wild blueberries outside of protected areas, because those areas are not protected. The walleye fisheries in most lakes are not as productive as in the BWCA, precisely because people overfish them. Beavers disappeared from much of the US precisely because people were allowed to trap them and sell the furs. Etc.


So we have a situation where a bounteous resource exists, and is capable of providing the commodities people want, precisely because we have put in place restrictions stopping them from harvesting those commodities within its boundaries. The minute we say it's okay to bring home gallons of blueberries, or coolers full of walleye, or a few fox pelts, or whatever, from the wilderness, we'll start to lose what makes the place so valuable to begin with.


For what it's worth, I don't favor banning motors from the areas where they're allowed now, nor do I think additional restrictions on guiding are a good idea. But the notion that any person who can get an entry permit should be able to extract resources to take home, whether for their own personal financial benefit or just for their own use, seems wrong to me. If everybody could take out piles of ciscos to sell, or furs to make hats out of, or walleye to put in their freezer, then we'd soon have no real wilderness left to visit."


I am a public land owner..as we all are..i pay for a fishing license. .i should be able to keep a fish i caught anywhere in MN as long as it was taken legally..same goes for trapping..people pay for the right to trap..i dought there are many who trap because they like killing animals..they trap to sell fur..and should be able to do so on public land..also people are a part of nature/wilderness. I dont think any outfitters are getting filthy rich off of the bwca..they are making a living..or barley making ends meet..people donate to this website..should it become illegal as well?
The Great Outdoors
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04/19/2018 01:06PM
BnD: "TGO, the sun is up and your feet are on the ground. Isn't that something to be thankful for? Ely, MN is a veritable economic dynasty compared to Atikokan, ON where extremely lower permit quotas combined with excessive camping fees have certainly crushed anyone trying to make a living on that side of the wilderness area. Point being, it could always be worse and you don't have to look very far. Have a great day and sleep well my friend understanding you have to accept things beyond your control. "
Hey man, not complaining- just explaining!!
The gist of my posts was to let people know what is happening, what has happened in the past, and what will potentially happen in the future to not only commercial use, but restrictions on individual canoers.
Don't attack the messenger, heed the message!
Many will be in for big surprises in the future, and as you stated in your post above, "Things could always be worse, and you don't have to look very far!" :)
Pinetree
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04/19/2018 01:44PM
Yes maybe the study could of been setup different on various restrictions but the study is not all bad and people are reading into it various criteria at time.
Here is what brought the study on and from what I could find it is a planned 3 year study and similar studies have been done elsewhere over the years in various national forest. I think some are reading too much into it or reading what they want into it.

The Forest Service’s 1993 BWCAW Management Plan established an overall motorboat cap of 10,539 motorboat trips for the entire Wilderness, based on the 1976-78 average use. It limited commercial towboats to their 1992 levels, which the agency later calculated was 1,342 towboat trips per year. Litigation by environmental organizations challenged some aspects of the 1993 plan, including the FS’s proposal to remove towboats from the overall motorboat quota, place all towboat operators under Special Use Permits (SUPs), and cap towboat use at 1992 levels. During the litigation, the agency calculated 1992 use levels and told the court that it would cap the towboat use at 1,342 towboat trips per year.

But since that time, the FS has turned a blind eye to the commercial towboat use and allowed it to grow. Several Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and subsequent analysis showed that the FS has allowed use to significantly grow to several times that cap (e.g., 3,879 “boat days” of towboat use—not trips, which would be a higher number—in 2000, 4,555 “boat days” from just one district in 2003, etc.). In 2014, for example, the FS authorized 2,124 commercial towboat trips, but 2,614 towboat trips were actually reported. And these figures come from substantially incomplete report forms.
arctic
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04/19/2018 01:59PM
Pinetree: "Yes maybe the study could of been setup different on various restrictions but the study is not all bad and people are reading into it various criteria at time.
Here is what brought the study on and from what I could find it is a planned 3 year study and similar studies have been done elsewhere over the years in various national forest. I think some are reading too much into it or reading what they want into it.


The Forest Service’s 1993 BWCAW Management Plan established an overall motorboat cap of 10,539 motorboat trips for the entire Wilderness, based on the 1976-78 average use. It limited commercial towboats to their 1992 levels, which the agency later calculated was 1,342 towboat trips per year. Litigation by environmental organizations challenged some aspects of the 1993 plan, including the FS’s proposal to remove towboats from the overall motorboat quota, place all towboat operators under Special Use Permits (SUPs), and cap towboat use at 1992 levels. During the litigation, the agency calculated 1992 use levels and told the court that it would cap the towboat use at 1,342 towboat trips per year.


But since that time, the FS has turned a blind eye to the commercial towboat use and allowed it to grow. Several Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and subsequent analysis showed that the FS has allowed use to significantly grow to several times that cap (e.g., 3,879 “boat days” of towboat use—not trips, which would be a higher number—in 2000, 4,555 “boat days” from just one district in 2003, etc.). In 2014, for example, the FS authorized 2,124 commercial towboat trips, but 2,614 towboat trips were actually reported. And these figures come from substantially incomplete report forms."


In other words, if the Forest Service had done its job in the first place, there would have been no legal action brought against them.

In my view, an investigation should be conducted to identify the incompetent individuals in the Forest Service who ignored the law. They should be fired, as the US taxpayer is utterly fed up with paying the salaries of incompetent or corrupt government employees.
tumblehome
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04/19/2018 02:34PM
@BND Regarding the Atikokan economy. Their economy is not crushed by quota restrictions. Most quotas are never met on any given entry point and on any given day. Camping fees are not the biggest hurdle in Quetico, the accessibility and international hurdles are. It's hard for most people to get to when compared to the BWCA.

The BWCA is so cheap because it's subsidized. So it's not really cheap either. We just pay for it in different ways.
arctic
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04/19/2018 09:03PM
tumblehome: "@BND Regarding the Atikokan economy. Their economy is not crushed by quota restrictions. Most quotas are never met on any given entry point and on any given day. Camping fees are not the biggest hurdle in Quetico, the accessibility and international hurdles are. It's hard for most people to get to when compared to the BWCA.


The BWCA is so cheap because it's subsidized. So it's not really cheap either. We just pay for it in different ways."


Very true. In Quetico the focus is on providing a more traditional wilderness canoe tripping experience, as well as prioritizing the protection of the natural environment. It is NOT identical to wilderness tripping in the North, but still excellent.
The Great Outdoors
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04/20/2018 09:37AM
Pinetree:

.................. cap the towboat use at 1,342 towboat trips per year.
But since that time, the FS has turned a blind eye to the commercial towboat use and allowed it to grow. Several Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and subsequent analysis showed that the FS has allowed use to significantly grow to several times that cap (e.g., 3,879 “boat days” of towboat use—not trips, which would be a higher number—in 2000, 4,555 “boat days” from just one district in 2003, etc.). In 2014, for example, the FS authorized 2,124 commercial towboat trips, but 2,614 towboat trips were actually reported. And these figures come from substantially incomplete report forms."

The towboat trip numbers, (both high and low) actually are one and the same-they just counted the number of trips differently and the tow boat use did not actually increase.
If I have this right, when they used to issue towboat permits, EACH DAY was counted as ONE if they entered the BWCA (Moose Chain) traveling to Prairie Portage, and several other drop off points.
Several groups complained, and demanded each entry to be counted individually, so what was once counted as one trip for each day they entered the BWCA, became counted as a trip every time they ran to PP Portage, etc. (example, August 1st = 1 trip even if the boat went in several times, has now becomes 4 trips if it entered 4 times)
You must remember that the distance between being in or out of the BWCA on the Moose Chain can be less than one mile, and the towboats never leave that body of water so having to count every trip traveling that short distance to pick up more customers seems to be nit picking. The only reason for the higher count being preferred is to increase demand that towboats be eliminated.
arctic
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04/20/2018 10:33AM
The Great Outdoors: "The towboat trip numbers, (both high and low) actually are one and the same-they just counted the number of trips differently and the tow boat use did not actually increase.
If I have this right, when they used to issue towboat permits, EACH DAY was counted as ONE if they entered the BWCA (Moose Chain) traveling to Prairie Portage, and several other drop off points.
Several groups complained, and demanded each entry to be counted individually, so what was once counted as one trip for each day they entered the BWCA, became counted as a trip every time they ran to PP Portage, etc. (example, August 1st = 1 trip even if the boat went in several times, has now becomes 4 trips if it entered 4 times)
You must remember that the distance between being in or out of the BWCA on the Moose Chain can be less than one mile, and the towboats never leave that body of water so having to count every trip traveling that short distance to pick up more customers seems to be nit picking. The only reason for the higher count being preferred is to increase demand that towboats be eliminated.
"


The idea that you should be able to enter and leave the BWCA numerous times per day on a single permit is idiotic, and bypasses the entire reason for quotas in the first place. The reason for daily entry quotas has always been to reduce crowding and to preserve the reasons why so many people go there in the first place.

I would even say that for guides, who might take clients out for fishing in the morning and a different group in the afternoon, a couple of daily entries per motor permit might be reasonable, but this constant back-and-forth down the Moose Chain is just ridiculous.
Pinetree
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04/20/2018 05:53PM
arctic: "The Great Outdoors: "The towboat trip numbers, (both high and low) actually are one and the same-they just counted the number of trips differently and the tow boat use did not actually increase.
If I have this right, when they used to issue towboat permits, EACH DAY was counted as ONE if they entered the BWCA (Moose Chain) traveling to Prairie Portage, and several other drop off points.
Several groups complained, and demanded each entry to be counted individually, so what was once counted as one trip for each day they entered the BWCA, became counted as a trip every time they ran to PP Portage, etc. (example, August 1st = 1 trip even if the boat went in several times, has now becomes 4 trips if it entered 4 times)
You must remember that the distance between being in or out of the BWCA on the Moose Chain can be less than one mile, and the towboats never leave that body of water so having to count every trip traveling that short distance to pick up more customers seems to be nit picking. The only reason for the higher count being preferred is to increase demand that towboats be eliminated.
"



The idea that you should be able to enter and leave the BWCA numerous times per day on a single permit is idiotic, and bypasses the entire reason for quotas in the first place. The reason for daily entry quotas has always been to reduce crowding and to preserve the reasons why so many people go there in the first place.


I would even say that for guides, who might take clients out for fishing in the morning and a different group in the afternoon, a couple of daily entries per motor permit might be reasonable, but this constant back-and-forth down the Moose Chain is just ridiculous.
"


Agree
Basspro69
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04/20/2018 08:35PM
The Great Outdoors: "Cc26: "Davkumi: "TGO, you are probably unaware but this is an anti-semetic stereotype and is offensive: "old days in Chicago when a guy with a bent nose and violin case came into your shop to collect your protection money""



C'mon. Stop."

He is correct Cc26, and I apologize to all people with thin skin of any nationality, race, religion, and sexual persuasion with bent noses, carrying violin cases, that have jobs as "Insurance agents"! :)"
That really made me laugh lolololololol
VoyageurNorth
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04/21/2018 03:14AM
When there was a survey of sorts, counting motor permits and limits/quotas and so on, Voyageur North supposedly had more permits than were supposed to be handled.

We don't do tows in the BWCA and we rarely have any customers who do a motor trip, unless you count the tows that go up the Moose Lake chain (by a company that does have a permit & license).

Most of you know that we have some of the longest daily store hours around. Starting Fishing Opener until just about Labor Day, we are open from 5 am to 10 pm.

The Ranger Station has limited hours so we get lots of people making VNO their issuing station, both motor & paddle permits.

Here is the "spin" on the counts they did; every dang motor permit, whether day us or overnight, that was sent to us to be issued (not an outfitting customer), was entered as Voyageur North's amount of "commercial" motor permits.

We had less than 13 motor permits that we reserved for customers that year and yet the survey had VNO with more than 200+ (at least) "commercial" permits. All permits sent to VNO to be issued, are counted as our "commercial" permits.

Does that sound right or fair to you?

Copied from another post here:
******************************
2009 Timberjay-Forest service quotes: Local outfitters obtained the lion’s share of those permits. In fact, of 521 permits issued for the Moose Lake chain in 2009, 440 went to outfitters, and three-quarters of those went to just one outfitter. Motor permits to Basswood were more highly sought-after by the public in 2009, but even there, a large majority went to outfitters. Of 1,502 permits issued to Basswood, outfitters received 957, compared to 545 for members of the public.
************************

Of those 957, if the survey worked the spin of commercial like it did to us, I'm thinking that maybe half or less of those were really "commercial".


ellahallely
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04/21/2018 07:44AM

Pinetree, Arctic, TGO , VoyageurNorth and others....
Seems about the only thing that most people on this forum agree about how poorly the federal government runs and manages the bwca.

Lets get real, the people in the know saw the Moose lake chain motor and tow use going way up with the closing of 4 Mile Portage. So part of the blame goes to those who helped close 4 Mile Portage.

Can't say that I want the state of Minnesota getting involved. We can't even sell a car in this for the next 9 months because the DMV spent 150 million on a program that doesn't work. No one got fired or even had to work a weekend or 9 hour day to fix it. We could have bought a provin system for less then 10 million. Seems like these people are just putting in their time so they can retire 20 some years before the hard working people in the private sector.
The Great Outdoors
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04/21/2018 10:09AM
arctic: "The Great Outdoors: "The towboat trip numbers, (both high and low) actually are one and the same-they just counted the number of trips differently and the tow boat use did not actually increase.
If I have this right, when they used to issue towboat permits, EACH DAY was counted as ONE if they entered the BWCA (Moose Chain) traveling to Prairie Portage, and several other drop off points.
Several groups complained, and demanded each entry to be counted individually, so what was once counted as one trip for each day they entered the BWCA, became counted as a trip every time they ran to PP Portage, etc. (example, August 1st = 1 trip even if the boat went in several times, has now becomes 4 trips if it entered 4 times)
You must remember that the distance between being in or out of the BWCA on the Moose Chain can be less than one mile, and the towboats never leave that body of water so having to count every trip traveling that short distance to pick up more customers seems to be nit picking. The only reason for the higher count being preferred is to increase demand that towboats be eliminated.
"



The idea that you should be able to enter and leave the BWCA numerous times per day on a single permit is idiotic, and bypasses the entire reason for quotas in the first place. The reason for daily entry quotas has always been to reduce crowding and to preserve the reasons why so many people go there in the first place.
I would even say that for guides, who might take clients out for fishing in the morning and a different group in the afternoon, a couple of daily entries per motor permit might be reasonable, but this constant back-and-forth down the Moose Chain is just ridiculous.
"

arctic and pinetree,
I see you two are in total agreement that there is too much motor traffic on the Moose Chain. Okay!
However, you are not seeing the big picture as to the service that the towboats do to alleviate traffic on that stretch of water. To insist that once a towboat has left the magic line of the BWCA, traveled less than 1 mile to the outfitters dock (never leaving the same body of water), reloaded the gear of another group of visitors and brings them to their starting point should be counted as another trip is not a very good issue to press.
These towboats do a great service in dispersing traffic, and some cannot see that, for whatever reason (possibly a wilderness purist, where their strict beliefs override common sense??)
When these towboats are banned, and the traffic on the Moose Chain is so dense that shouting matches and possible physical altercations begin to occur, the daily permit numbers will drop dramatically.
I believe the daily number now stands at 27 permits, that allow 4 canoes max/party??
That allows 108 canoes (at max usage) daily to depart, and another 108 canoes to return at different times. With these figures, does anyone think using towboats to thin out these numbers is a bad idea? Should this petty "too many motorized trips by towboats" idea be rethought when one truly understands what service these boats do??
Then look at the businesses operating out of Moose Lake (Northern Tier, Canoe Country Outfitters, Vosburgh's, LaTourell's, Canadian Border, Williams & Hall, etc).
What do you think will happen to them when the daily number of permits is cut to, say 5, to appease those that think there are too many towboat trips??
More businesses and jobs lost to enhance tourism, which has been the case since they created the Roadless Area, (aka Boundary Waters) starting with the air ban in 1948??
Pinetree
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04/21/2018 11:58AM
As discussion has been very polite. Thanks.
I we can see the system of monitoring,keeping log books etc. is broken. The law suit in the agreement with the Forest service for 3years will collect data on uses to get a hold on what is going on.
Apparently rules got lax in being followed.

Speaking for myself I don't care for the motorboat traffic. But like the lawsuit just fix the system so they stay in set quotas and fix the system if their is problems monitoring and problems with some Tow boat operators not keeping records at all at times. Keep the quotas as it is now limited. Nobody is asking to change or eliminate Tow boats. Just record keeping and enforcement.
Most tow boats are running the 6 miles to Prairie portage,Vera or Birch and some travel miles on Basswood.

That biggest hazard to the canoeist and most hinderance is the constant tow boat going by and many will not move from a straight line to veer around a canoe. Thus making it unstable for the canoe. Waves from tow boats are uneven and tougher to paddle in than wind waves.
The reason many don't paddle up the Moose lake chain is the tow boat traffic. Many canoe people stay away from Moose because of boat traffic and ironic many people take a tow because they don't want to canoe thru the boat traffic. Look at Brule canoe travel doubled as soon as boat traffic was eliminated.
The Great Outdoors
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04/21/2018 01:09PM
One other viable option offered by the old Outfitter, Cliff Wold, would alleviate almost all the towboat traffic on the Moose Chain, but was sneered at by environmental groups.
His answer was to build a road to Basswood Lake which (I think) would most likely come out in Jackfish Bay, just east of Jimmy Pete's Range River entry point from many years back.
This could be a launching point for all the traffic heading for Basswood River and other west side areas of Basswood.
Simple solution to a complex problem!! :)
Mocha
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04/21/2018 01:15PM
i've only been on moose lake one time, in early october during the pagami fire. float planes, fire planes, tow boats... you name it... motors motors motors noise noise noise!
however, any time a tow boat passed us it slowed. as canoeists, we were smart enough to know that boats usually follow a pattern for a reason and sometimes that is water hazards, reefs, boulders just under the surface.... so WE alter our path. canoeists should stick closer to shore anyway... what is there to see in the middle of the lake? there is way more to see when paddling closer to shore.

we saw plenty of canoes, people, more than we expected for early october. did it bother us? we did discuss it while paddling and decided that it did NOT bother us because that is the type of use moose lake has for traffic, plus it was our last day. we discovered what bothered us more was that we got the very last campsite on Ogish on October 1! explain that one.

the first and last day of trips should be expected to be busy, i say "suck it up, buttercup" and get paddlin'. get off the beaten path asap and stay there until it's time to come out of the woods.



Pinetree
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04/21/2018 03:13PM
The Great Outdoors: "One other viable option offered by the old Outfitter, Cliff Wold, would alleviate almost all the towboat traffic on the Moose Chain, but was sneered at by environmental groups.
His answer was to build a road to Basswood Lake which (I think) would most likely come out in Jackfish Bay, just east of Jimmy Pete's Range River entry point from many years back.
This could be a launching point for all the traffic heading for Basswood River and other west side areas of Basswood.
Simple solution to a complex problem!! :)"


Yes,I thought might be a good alternative also. I suppose a talking point would be because it is another access point how do you control usage by people without permits,unless you have added enforcement there. It is of the beaten path to observe constantly,but it was something to think about and the pro's and con's. I know it had some mix feelings on both sides if part of the deal was to close Moose lake to all motors. I know a outfitter or two on Moose lake wasn't real happy with that idea.
Both sides at times disagreed to disagee. To bad.
The Great Outdoors
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04/21/2018 07:56PM
The Moose Chain would not have been closed to all motor traffic if I remember correctly, as there would be the normal motor permits allowed for those fishing the east end of Basswood. Those wishing to go to the west end could use the proposed access road.
As far as controlling access to those without permits, it would be the same as all other entry points-sometimes you're checked, sometimes you're not. There is enforcement on most lakes to run spot checks.
arctic
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04/21/2018 08:52PM
The Great Outdoors: "The Moose Chain would not have been closed to all motor traffic if I remember correctly, as there would be the normal motor permits allowed for those fishing the east end of Basswood. Those wishing to go to the west end could use the proposed access road.
As far as controlling access to those without permits, it would be the same as all other entry points-sometimes you're checked, sometimes you're not. There is enforcement on most lakes to run spot checks."


I'm not sure what any road access to Basswood via the Range River would do for anything. You would still have motorized access from Fall Lake via Newton, and continued motors on the Moose Chain. It would take an act of Congress, and that is a can of worms that few want to open.

There would be WAY MORE pressure to further restrict motor use than to increase it.
tumblehome
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04/22/2018 07:04AM
TGO, if a road were built (actually rebuilt from the old days) inside the BWCA to Jackfish bay, how would you motor to the east side of Basswood?
ellahallely
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04/22/2018 07:39AM
There is a short portage between Pipestone and Back Bay. Easy portage for a boat with portage wheels. The original agreement was to keep the motor route open around US Point. However "they" went back on their word and closed that motor route. So if you are a crippled veteran, like my father you are SOL. However the way it is now a person with minor disabilities could never get into Pipestone or Jackfish.

The Great Outdoors
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04/23/2018 08:12AM
tumblehome: "TGO, if a road were built (actually rebuilt from the old days) inside the BWCA to Jackfish bay, how would you motor to the east side of Basswood?"
The same way you would get to the west side if you put in at Prairie Portage, take the Back Bay Portage as ellhallely stated.
Being as how the intent is to limit motorized traffic, I would imagine that those entering with a motor boat through the Moose chain would be limited to only fish the east side of Basswood by closing the Back Bay Portage to portage wheels.
This had been the norm before they closed the US Point water route to motor traffic.
The Great Outdoors
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04/23/2018 08:21AM
arctic: "The Great Outdoors: "The Moose Chain would not have been closed to all motor traffic if I remember correctly, as there would be the normal motor permits allowed for those fishing the east end of Basswood. Those wishing to go to the west end could use the proposed access road.
As far as controlling access to those without permits, it would be the same as all other entry points-sometimes you're checked, sometimes you're not. There is enforcement on most lakes to run spot checks."

I'm not sure what any road access to Basswood via the Range River would do for anything. You would still have motorized access from Fall Lake via Newton, and continued motors on the Moose Chain. It would take an act of Congress, and that is a can of worms that few want to open.There would be WAY MORE pressure to further restrict motor use than to increase it."

Yes, you would still have motorized access to Basswood via Fall to Newton, just as you did when the 4 Mile Portage was open, but the daily permits stayed the same.
This proposed road entry permits would be the "new" 4 Mile Portage for lack of a better term, and permits from there would be included in the current Fall entry point quota.
As far as continued motor use on the Moose Chain, you are correct, HOWEVER many of the tows for upper Basswood Falls, US Point, Basswood River, etc, would all go through the east side entry, as would any motor boat traffic by fishermen so the Moose Chain would have dramatically less motor traffic.
As far as opening a can of worms, every solution to any problem will always do that.
One needs only to look to see if what you gave up versus what you gained has made the situation better than it was.
50% less motor traffic on one side that everyone complains about, versus one road through a small portion of wilderness to a landing on the south end of Jackfish Bay (east of Range River) seems to be a small price to pay.
tumblehome
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04/23/2018 09:56AM
OK, just trying to understand the reasoning.

You can already get to Jackfish Bay from Fall Lake. So you add another entry to Jackfish Bay via new road. Combine the permits from Fall Lake and new road between two. OK I got that. But it just adds another route to the Lake.

Then do you reduce the quota up the Moose Lake chain by 50% to push users to the west side? I'm not seeing how it would reduce any traffic up Moose Lake otherwise since we can already go up Fall Lake. And, they are awfully far apart and many users are not trying to get from one end of the lake to the other end, are they? Thanks for the civility in the thread.

Tom
The Great Outdoors
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04/23/2018 12:21PM
tumblehome: "OK, just trying to understand the reasoning.
You can already get to Jackfish Bay from Fall Lake. So you add another entry to Jackfish Bay via new road. Combine the permits from Fall Lake and new road between two. OK I got that. But it just adds another route to the Lake.
Then do you reduce the quota up the Moose Lake chain by 50% to push users to the west side? I'm not seeing how it would reduce any traffic up Moose Lake otherwise since we can already go up Fall Lake. And, they are awfully far apart and many users are not trying to get from one end of the lake to the other end, are they? Thanks for the civility in the thread.
Tom"

This proposed road access would be in Jackfish Bay, the Fall/Newton access goes into Pipestone Bay.
It really doesn't add another route, as the Four Mile Portage was already the other BWCA access to Basswood from Fall Lake, when in operation.
The quota on the Moose Chain would be reduced when all the traffic entering through that chain going to the west side of US Point & upper Basswood Falls is routed through the road on the east side.
As for the visitors trying to get from one end of the lake to the other, parties entering from the Moose Lake side often head for Basswood River, Back Bay, Ranger Bay, and North Bay (both Canadian)
There'd be some bugs in the system the first year, but nothing insurmountable that I can see?

 
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