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olwaterhound
member (6)member
 
11/05/2018 06:18PM
In NY for a wedding late September. Some great canoeing in the Adirondacks with son, wife, their 6 & 4 yr old girls.
Perfect weather, rivers and lakes still warmish and leaves turning quickly.
Saw quite a few paddlers: almost all 60s or older.
Seems the little phone screen is diverting eyes from the big screen of outdoor beauty.
Perhaps a real challenge to future of conservation.
It's hard to love and preserve what you've never seen.
 
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dew042
distinguished member (242)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/05/2018 06:54PM
The trend has been captured in the BWCA as well: The Forest Service's last demographic study showed the average age of Boundary Waters' visitors increased from 26 in 1969, to 36 in 1991, to 45 in 2007

Pretty much everything you express is mirrored in this article: https://www.mprnews.org/story/2016/09/02/aging-paddlers-more-bwca-trips-but-fewer-young-visitors

olwaterhound
member (6)member
 
11/05/2018 07:49PM
Thanks for link.
I didn't know BWCA permits and visitor count was slowly declining.
Maybe one reason is fewer traditional 2-3 week destination vacations. Most time off now seems to be 'bite sized', a few days here and there.
Can't use up a day on each end for travel if you only have 3-4 days.
11/05/2018 08:07PM
Trying to do my part to get them younger, I believe I have my 13 and 16 years olds hooked.

Unfortunately when you add my age in and average it out, our average tripper age goes up to almost 30.
missmolly
distinguished member(8862)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
11/06/2018 08:11AM
I think money is also in play. As a group, Millennials are poorer than old folks. Some don't even have cars...by choice or generational chance.
Gadfly
distinguished member (288)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/06/2018 09:08AM
If the average age was 26 wouldn't that mean that there were very few in their 50's and 60's that were paddling at the time? With 45 now being the average is it possible that it is just more balanced now? In my early 30's I see a lot of people my age making trips to the boundary waters. I have tripped nearly 20 times and have never been in a group with anyone over 34. I have also never been "counted"
ozarkpaddler
distinguished member(5497)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
11/06/2018 09:57AM
missmolly: "I think money is also in play. As a group, Millennials are poorer than old folks. Some don't even have cars...by choice or generational chance. "

Absolutely! When I entered the workforce well paying jobs WITH benefits were the norm. Companies were firmly anchored in our communities and you didn't see their doors shutting with little notice. Housing didn't cost an arm and a leg, plus, you didn't have to sell a kidney or mortgage the farm (LITERALLY in my case) to pay for medical care. You don't have to look at any studies or statistics to note that folks are working more hours just to make ends meet. There is less time for recreation and less disposable income to "Recreate" with.
Canoearoo
distinguished member(2287)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/06/2018 11:34AM
missmolly: "I think money is also in play. As a group, Millennials are poorer than old folks. Some don't even have cars...by choice or generational chance. "

I agree with this completely. Quite a few need to live at their parents home to pay off their school debts and to save up to get their own place. It is hard work world out there for the 20-30 and even 40s. Health insurance takes up a lot of paychecks nowadays.
missmolly
distinguished member(8862)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
11/06/2018 12:54PM
ozarkpaddler: "missmolly: "I think money is also in play. As a group, Millennials are poorer than old folks. Some don't even have cars...by choice or generational chance. "


Absolutely! When I entered the workforce well paying jobs WITH benefits were the norm. Companies were firmly anchored in our communities and you didn't see their doors shutting with little notice. Housing didn't cost an arm and a leg, plus, you didn't have to sell a kidney or mortgage the farm (LITERALLY in my case) to pay for medical care. You don't have to look at any studies or statistics to note that folks are working more hours just to make ends meet. There is less time for recreation and less disposable income to "Recreate" with."


Oz, when I was in college, grants paid for my tuition and books and working minimum wage for 20 hours a week covered my apartment, food, and car. It was easier for us. When I returned to school 25 years later, things had changed. I had to work four jobs (I was a computer lab assistant, teaching fellow, I read to two blind women, and I worked Sundays with autistic children.) to keep my nostrils barely above water and I graduated with great debt. The world changed greatly in that quarter century.
goatroti
distinguished member (166)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/06/2018 01:34PM
I worked on campsite, portage and canoe route restoration with The Wabakimi Project for 13 summers. Every year the average age of those on these mostly demanding trips was 2 years older than me. I turned 64 last summer. Do the math.

11/06/2018 03:43PM
I'd like to think that at least part of the shift in demographics is that many of us 'older' paddlers have maintained a level of health and fitness that lets us stay active well into our 70s!
Soledad
distinguished member(1829)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/06/2018 04:23PM
I brought 5 kids in this year ages 8, 10,10,12 and 13.

Just doing my part- for most of them it was their 3rd year, for one of them it was his 6th.
mschi772
distinguished member (198)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/06/2018 04:26PM
A proper BWCA trip for me demands a week off of work (I live in southeast WI). I am a college-educated biologist with 7 years of lake, pond, prairie, and forest care experience making $16/hr with no benefits. Many "elder" millenials such as myself graduated into the recession and, as a result, are similarly stuck in under-paying and under-benefitted ruts--historically recession-era graduates lag behind their peers significantly for their entire lives, never catching-up.

My boss would also have a stroke if I even more than two days off between Apr and Nov. I'm more of an extreme case than others, but it's still true that many of my generation cannot afford the time to commit to a BWCA visit. It's either not in the budget or literally not permitted.

In a country where workaholism is praised and becoming more and more necessary to make ends meet, finding the time for something like this is just plain difficult for anyone but the luckier few.

I'm 32 and am hoping to make my first true BW trip next year (Clearwater to Johnson Falls or perhaps Horseshoe/Vista). This is only possible because over the past year I have made a STRONG effort to launch my own business (mobile auto detailing is more enjoyable and more profitable than caring for natural areas) in order to have a hope of having enough control over my schedule and free time to be able to do more than just work my youth away. Even this wouldn't be possible without the support of my significant other's income, and one large unexpected bill will still put more than the luxury of a BWCA trip in jeopardy.
OCDave
distinguished member (211)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/06/2018 05:02PM
missmolly: "I think money is also in play. As a group, Millennials are poorer than old folks. Some don't even have cars...by choice or generational chance. "

The young have always been poorer than the more aged. This will be eternally true.

What might be overlooked is that a generation ago, canoe tripping "up North" may have been considered high adventure. Today's youth might perceive that same trip to be mundane compared to their trips to Machu Picchu, New Zealand, Chile, Japan (places a "poor" neice has traveled before her 26th b-day). Far flung destinations and exotic locations are as easy, perhapes easier, to reach than the closest BWCA entry point.

Millenial might have their noses in their phones because their are booking an AirBNB at a destination us older folks haven't ever considered.

dew042
distinguished member (242)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/06/2018 05:38PM
Soledad: "I brought 5 kids in this year ages 8, 10,10,12 and 13.


Just doing my part- for most of them it was their 3rd year, for one of them it was his 6th."


That begs the question - did you bring them out too?
dex8425
member (29)member
 
11/06/2018 06:02PM
28 year old here. Wife is 27. We've backpacked every trail in the bwca except the pow wow, which we will tackle next spring.

We're definitely the anomaly among our peers. Most are slightly envious that we are "so adventurous" but most also say they wouldn't embark on a trip like we do. A lot of millennials are soft from being coddled growing up. Sleeping on the ground, not having phone service, not showering every day, not eating fresh fruit and vegetables, physically exerting oneself, not being in a climate controlled car or building 24/7, and (heaven forbid) having deep, meaningful conversation with someone else; these things are hard sells for most of our friends.

A lot of our friends do the same stuff we do though! I just backpacked the BRT/moss lake trail/ caribou rock trail with a 31 year old friend and a 25 year old friend last weekend. Saw no one! Views on views on views!
bwcadan
distinguished member(1286)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/06/2018 07:23PM
I would think programs for younger travelers such as Scouting, would be a pull back against the older average trend. Not too many older organized trips organized such as that. I would be interested in the MEDIAN age as well as the average age. I suspect the median age is well below the average age due to organized youth trips and families with younger kids. Could be in error here, as this is an opinion. Anyone actually know?
11/06/2018 07:40PM
I don't believe the interest in paddle sports is aging..........I think where and what young people paddle very well may be changing.

Want to see a lot of young people interested in paddle sports. Attend Canoecopia. Originally a mostly canoe show, it has expanded into some canoes and lots of kayaks and SUP's. The place is full of young folks.

I don't care what they paddle, as long as they paddle.
11/07/2018 07:39AM
There is nothing better than paddling with a kid! We started doing daytrips into the bwca when they were 4 and 2. Each of them did their first overnight trip into the bwca at age 5. Now they are 13 and 11...... their trips are their favorite part of the year. Now we have a baby boy coming soon and I can't wait to get him in the canoe.
Selfsuffi
senior member (85)senior membersenior member
 
11/07/2018 08:40AM
dew042: "Soledad: "I brought 5 kids in this year ages 8, 10,10,12 and 13.



Just doing my part- for most of them it was their 3rd year, for one of them it was his 6th."



That begs the question - did you bring them out too?"


LMAO!! I actually started laughing out loud at this one...co-workers are just shaking their heads. :)
4keys
distinguished member(585)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/07/2018 08:47AM
When our kids were younger we exposed them to many different outdoor experiences, from hiking, day paddles on rivers, car camping (no RVs tho), state parks, national parks, primitive camping in northern WI, and yes, a trip to BWCA. They were also in scouts and did some basic car camping with them.

They are now in their 20s. Our daughter still likes to hike, paddle, and camp but probably won't do a BW trip again. Our son likes to do anything outdoors, the harder the better (to stress out his mom, haha). He has taken newbies to the BW and has also taken 2 solos there.

I do think many of the younger people are limited by vacation time, and money. Some of their vacation time needs to be reserved for holiday trips home, and if they have to travel, that means more time. And unless you live in northern MN, it takes a day to drive to and a day from the BW, leaving less time to paddle. And most don't have high paying jobs at that point, not to mention student loans to repay (which is probably a lot more than when we were that age) and at 26 they have the shock of paying for their own health insurance. At that age most can not afford to take a day off without pay. Our son has a truck payment, there is no public transportation to get him to work. Where our daughter lives she cannot afford a car, but luckily has public transportation, tho that adds up too.

I must add that on our trip from the Crab Lake portage this summer we saw several middle age and older men (didn't see any other women besides myself this trip). One group consisting of a grandfather, son, and 12 -ish year old grandson. One group of 6 mid 20s guys, some hand carrying plastic grocery bags(garbage???) And one 70 year old who was excited to make the portage in 29 minutes while carrying a canoe. I was impressed.

At our age (mid 50s) we have a decent amount of vacation time (is it ever enough?). We have worked hard to get our expenses down (car payments, mortgage etc) so we can now afford to take trips that we couldn't when we were younger. It's too bad that for many people, by the time they can afford to take long trips, their health doesn't allow it.


OldPhart
Guest Paddler
 
11/07/2018 11:00AM
missmolly: "I think money is also in play. As a group, Millennials are poorer than old folks. Some don't even have cars...by choice or generational chance. "

the reason we went paddling back in the day was because it was the only thing we could afford to do, if millenials are poor, it's because they spend money on everything and everything that gives them an urge to buy it

compare the cost of a week in the BWC to a week skiing, or boozing it up on spring break, not even close

also they go out to eat and drink a lot, it was eat at home or in the cafeteria, rarely went to a bar, like maybe once or twice a semester, it was nearly always at somebody's place, I never had a credit card, or a checking account, if I didn't have the cash, I didn't buy it, and my parents sure didn't pay for it

no generation has ever pizzed money away like millenials, maybe they figure they might as well considering the debt this country has, once it comes due, their personal debt will be a drop in the bucket
RTurner
member (38)member
 
11/07/2018 12:57PM
I'll latch on to something 4keys mentioned. I did a week long trip this fall with my daughter, son and his girlfriend. I was surprised and a little disappointed by how few women we saw in the BW. We saw one large group, probably 5 canoes that had 2 or 3 women, but those were the only women we saw the whole time and we saw more people than I expected to that time of year.
TheGreatIndoors
senior member (84)senior membersenior member
 
11/07/2018 01:52PM
OldPhart:

"also they go out to eat and drink a lot, it was eat at home or in the cafeteria, rarely went to a bar, like maybe once or twice a semester, it was nearly always at somebody's place, I never had a credit card, or a checking account, if I didn't have the cash, I didn't buy it, and my parents sure didn't pay for it

no generation has ever pizzed money away like millenials, maybe they figure they might as well considering the debt this country has, once it comes due, their personal debt will be a drop in the bucket"


I basically agree with this statement. People didn't buy iPhones, iPads, TVs, multiple cars, etc. Things are cheaper now, but consumerism is the new norm. (I'm no exception!)
TheGreatIndoors
senior member (84)senior membersenior member
 
11/07/2018 01:52PM
OldPhart:

"also they go out to eat and drink a lot, it was eat at home or in the cafeteria, rarely went to a bar, like maybe once or twice a semester, it was nearly always at somebody's place, I never had a credit card, or a checking account, if I didn't have the cash, I didn't buy it, and my parents sure didn't pay for it

no generation has ever pizzed money away like millenials, maybe they figure they might as well considering the debt this country has, once it comes due, their personal debt will be a drop in the bucket"


I basically agree with this statement. People didn't buy iPhones, iPads, TVs, multiple cars, etc. Things are cheaper now, but consumerism is the new norm. (I'm no exception!)
dex8425
member (29)member
 
11/07/2018 02:45PM
TheGreatIndoors: "OldPhart:


"also they go out to eat and drink a lot, it was eat at home or in the cafeteria, rarely went to a bar, like maybe once or twice a semester, it was nearly always at somebody's place, I never had a credit card, or a checking account, if I didn't have the cash, I didn't buy it, and my parents sure didn't pay for it


no generation has ever pizzed money away like millenials, maybe they figure they might as well considering the debt this country has, once it comes due, their personal debt will be a drop in the bucket"



I basically agree with this statement. People didn't buy iPhones, iPads, TVs, multiple cars, etc. Things are cheaper now, but consumerism is the new norm. (I'm no exception!)"


I disagree. As part of my job I see the deep details of financial situations of countless couples. There is absolutely no financial difference between people in their 20's, 30's, 40's or 50's. I would say in general all are poor money managers, with expensive car payments, credit card debt, no saving, no budgeting, little to no charitable giving, and living above their means. Makes no difference what the household income is.
11/07/2018 03:52PM
I've taken my daughters (10 & 13) and wife on 3 trips over the last 4 years. I've been on 8. My daughters seem to enjoy the trips we've been on. Started off with easy trips moving campsites after a couple nights, and we've gradually lengthened the duration and difficulty. I'm not sure my kids will trip in the BWCA once they're out of the house as we live in TX, but would hope they would come on occasional trips with me later in life. They do generally enjoy camping in state/national parks over the years.

On my family trips we've seen a fairly balanced (subjective) mix of tripping groups. As we were exiting on our trip this summer we went by 4 groups. 2 groups of father/young sons, 1 father/young daughter/son, and 1 group of college aged guys. I may have been the oldest one at 42.

Previous summer we saw mostly under 40 year old groups coming through the Cross Bay area, including 2 female paddlers getting some time away from family responsibilities.

Jonesy
Minnesotian
distinguished member(1661)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/08/2018 09:28AM

You all might not be seeing them in the BWCA...yet...but the MN State Park system is being used:

"Characteristics of Minnesota Residents visiting MN State Park
This section of the report focuses on Minnesota residents that visited Minnesota state
parks and contrasts these visitors with the population of Minnesota as a whole. The age
and party composition of Minnesotans visiting the state parks is shifting slightly younger
in 2017 compared to 2012 (p.10-12).
• Adults between 19 and 40 years of age are a significantly lower percentage of the
party composition in 2017 than in 2012 (23% vs. 27%).
• Children 12 years old or younger are a significantly higher percentage of the party
composition in 2017 than in 2012 (24% vs. 19%).
• The age distribution of survey respondents mirrors the Minnesota population.
• In terms of party composition, the portion of Minnesota parties with
children/teens is higher in 2017 than in 2012, and similar to 2007 (2007, 44%:
2012, 39%; 2017, 44%), reinforcing the idea that the shift towards older visitors
seen in prior studies has slowed."

Source: MN DNR State Parks Survey Report 2017

“Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.”

? George Orwell
missmolly
distinguished member(8862)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
11/08/2018 09:38AM
dex8425: "TheGreatIndoors: "OldPhart:



"also they go out to eat and drink a lot, it was eat at home or in the cafeteria, rarely went to a bar, like maybe once or twice a semester, it was nearly always at somebody's place, I never had a credit card, or a checking account, if I didn't have the cash, I didn't buy it, and my parents sure didn't pay for it



no generation has ever pizzed money away like millenials, maybe they figure they might as well considering the debt this country has, once it comes due, their personal debt will be a drop in the bucket"




I basically agree with this statement. People didn't buy iPhones, iPads, TVs, multiple cars, etc. Things are cheaper now, but consumerism is the new norm. (I'm no exception!)"



I disagree. As part of my job I see the deep details of financial situations of countless couples. There is absolutely no financial difference between people in their 20's, 30's, 40's or 50's. I would say in general all are poor money managers, with expensive car payments, credit card debt, no saving, no budgeting, little to no charitable giving, and living above their means. Makes no difference what the household income is. "


Your observation about people being generally unprepared to retire doesn't surprise me and saddens me. I started saving to retire at 25 and if I had it to do again, I would have started at 15. I also agree that people spend what they earn, even if they're earning a quarter million a year.
inspector13
distinguished member(4091)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
11/08/2018 10:46AM
missmolly: "Your observation about people being generally unprepared to retire doesn't surprise me and saddens me. I started saving to retire at 25 and if I had it to do again, I would have started at 15. I also agree that people spend what they earn, even if they're earning a quarter million a year. "
As little as it is, a turn around has started. And just this morning I heard that Millennials are taking the lead.

BobDobbs
distinguished member (314)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/08/2018 01:37PM
If your not retired, or independently wealthy, it's just about impossible to have the flexibility in your job to take the amount of time off in order to drive up there, and do a trip of meaningful length. Taking a two week vacation in the 80's? No problem. Two week vacations in the 10's - you need to be very fortunate.

"Young People" (I'm 46) have it a lot worse now, as we are essentially forced to work high paying/high stress/zero flexibility jobs or be very poor, courtesy of the so-called 'affordable care' act.

I'm in a position to know what it costs my company to employ workers pre and post ACA implementation. WOW - most have NO idea how much their employers are spending on them, because they don't see it in their paycheck.

I have accumulated enough money by now that I would LOVE to switch to a more flexible job, or one I could simply quit, and find another. However, the 'obamacare tax' (IE being FORCED to buy crazy expensive insurance) would be so onerous, that I would then be forced to draw down my assets, which would force me back into the rat race.

THIS is why spend our $ on avocado toast folks!



11/08/2018 01:41PM
I have taken my children many times, they are in their late 20's early 30's now.
the problem (for the statistics anyhow), is that if I don't go they don't go.
they could, and they could even use my gear, but they don't.

its good for me, as I always have canoe partners and someone to carry the food barrel though :)
missmolly
distinguished member(8862)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
11/08/2018 02:25PM
Go, Millennials!
ghost of murphy lake jim
Guest Paddler
 
11/08/2018 09:16PM
This millennial got kicked off the website!

Its been a month or so since checking in because of the extra work involved with visiting the site through a proxy server but I find it ironic to see a thread expressing a lack of young paddlers.

Ill still be paddling as long as the interest persists but this website is no longer playing the active role it once did in fostering and encouraging that interest.

murphylakejim
ghost of murphy lake jim
Guest Paddler
 
11/08/2018 09:37PM
RTurner: "I'll latch on to something 4keys mentioned. I did a week long trip this fall with my daughter, son and his girlfriend. I was surprised and a little disappointed by how few women we saw in the BW. We saw one large group, probably 5 canoes that had 2 or 3 women, but those were the only women we saw the whole time and we saw more people than I expected to that time of year. "

Expect a gender imbalance currently.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/190118/outdoor-activities-participation-by-gender-in-the-us-2009/

First they are the majority for general outdoor activity. Next lets take into account what percentage of BWCA visitors would list fishing as the main reason for the trip, I would guess something like 50% give or take 20% to be sure. Once again fishing is a male majority activity and probably by a much higher margin.
AdamXChicago
distinguished member(1072)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/11/2018 12:26PM
11/11/2018 12:36PM
ghost of murphy lake jim: "RTurner: "I'll latch on to something 4keys mentioned. I did a week long trip this fall with my daughter, son and his girlfriend. I was surprised and a little disappointed by how few women we saw in the BW. We saw one large group, probably 5 canoes that had 2 or 3 women, but those were the only women we saw the whole time and we saw more people than I expected to that time of year. "


Expect a gender imbalance currently.


https://www.statista.com/statistics/190118/outdoor-activities-participation-by-gender-in-the-us-2009/


First they are the majority for general outdoor activity. Next lets take into account what percentage of BWCA visitors would list fishing as the main reason for the trip, I would guess something like 50% give or take 20% to be sure. Once again fishing is a male majority activity and probably by a much higher margin."




Boy, that being said... my experience was I was impressed by how many women I met out there. I met a gal (late September ‘12) who was solo with an older golden retriever. She may not have been going for 40 days, but she was definitely well set up in her bell magic.
bwcadan
distinguished member(1286)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/13/2018 09:53PM
My wife and I just recently got back from a cruise. By conserving money over the years, we are able to take 2 or 3 per year if we take an inside cabin. By not dying, we can spend down saved money. Insurance protects the kids from any disaster we may encounter along the way going forward. We do not spend much other than the price on the 28 night cruise and this last time had an ending balance of $76.00. Prepaid tips promotion saved $756.00 right there. We did book excursions in advance both from the ship and independent vendors. My son in law went on a different 5 day cruise 4 years ago and had a bar tab over $500.00. Truth is I could afford his bill better than him. He will not be going again soon, but we will go when the deal is right. By being retired, we can take last minute markdowns.
A1t2o
distinguished member(633)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/14/2018 12:22PM
I think that vacation time and being underpaid is a huge factor, but I think the culture has changed too. It is no longer as acceptable for one parent to leave for a trip like this. My wife hates me leaving her with the kids, same thing with my brother, cousin and buddy. A generation back, though, my dad often was gone on business, fishing, or hunting trips. Guys weekends seem to have been much more popular too. It seems like it used to be much more acceptable.

It just looks like couples are doing more things together or not at all to me. Maybe some of it is just my perception but it feels like that cultural shift is keeping people at home more.
 
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