BWCA Pre-trip certification? Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
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Eyedocron
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06/23/2017 07:38PM   (Thread Older Than 3 Years)
I have been reading the Quetico Management Plan discussion. A recent entry suggested that pre trip training and certification might be appropriate. I have mixed opinions about this. This summer will be my 26th trip, the first being in 1967, so I have the advantage of time. I have seen the Quetico open to all who showed up, to the mail in reservations, to the phone ins, to the Internet.

The entire time it was always only burnable bags, with no glass or metal bottles or cans.
The fellow travelers have always been very considerate and polite. What more could fancy training accomplish other than more paperwork? The rangers at Prairie Portage have usually been nice, and the lady at Atikokan is exceptional.

The only time we experienced trouble was about 15 years ago while camped on the island in Keats below the falls. We took a day trip to Splitrock Falls down to Chatterton and back, only to discover that our food, one tent and equipment had been burned. A crew came by and said they had seen some teens burning our stuff.

Fortunately we had just enough to complete the trip south to Moose Lake and out.
Once out of 20+ trips is no prediction for the future, but the number of times others have helped carry on Portages, or us for them, or even the simple pleasantries shared in the park far outweigh this one episode.

I guess I fail to see how pre certification training will do any more than increase the difficulties for normal people to enjoy this park.

 
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QueticoMike
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06/24/2017 05:35AM  
That is awful to hear that someone would actually burn someone else's tent and gear. I have never heard of such a terrible thing like that happening in the heart of the Quetico. Why in the world would anybody do that to some other group? Makes me angry to even think about something such as this. I am glad to hear your group made it out OK.
old_salt
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06/24/2017 07:00AM  
Increasing regulations does not improve compliance with the law.
The video could be put online with a way to record that it has been viewed.
mapsguy1955
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06/24/2017 09:37AM  
quote old_salt: "Increasing regulations does not improve compliance with the law.
The video could be put online with a way to record that it has been viewed."


I might be the one that put that up there and that is exactly my sentiment... have it online so it does not intrude on trip time unless they didn't do it.

Why do you think people trash a campsite or are inconsiderate of others while in the Park? Certainly some of it is immaturity and some anger issues and some pure laziness. I'm not sure if this will get better in the future so I think it should be addressed.
06/24/2017 07:28PM  
Just returned from a base camp trip on Quetico Lake. We found our camp site clean yet we worked to to leave it better than we found it. Some folks might be educated on LNT and take it seriously, yet there are a-holes that no amount of "certification" will prevent them from trashing wild places. Self empowered stupid people....Arrrrggggggg.
Wables
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06/25/2017 10:22PM  
They could ban axes and cut the campsite damage in half. Last week I saw lots of damage done.
mapsguy1955
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06/27/2017 12:26PM  
quote Wables: "They could ban axes and cut the campsite damage in half. Last week I saw lots of damage done. "

That would help!
OldFingers57
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06/27/2017 03:37PM  
quote Wables: "They could ban axes and cut the campsite damage in half. Last week I saw lots of damage done. "

That and some of the machete type knives people think they need to have to "survive" with.
06/27/2017 05:11PM  
I am against the pre-certification. Every time I go and pick up my permit I have to hear the same rules by the Ranger at the station. Although that is annoying after many trips, I get it...they have a process--follow it for everyone so they don't miss people. But now some certification...What the heck is that going to do? If you can't listen to a Ranger right in front of you then how the heck is making them do some online video make them learn?

I have one bad run-in in Quetico and it was a guy leading youth groups who had been going for 30 years and looked to be in his 60's. Came into our camp site with a big group and basically kicked my wife and me out because it was "his" lunch site. Let's face it...God or whoever or whatever you worship just made a few a$$ holes and part of life is dealing with them and moving on. No pre-certification will fix that or reduce that. Just will cost us law abiding people more money. Been going to Ontario long enough to know nothing they do is free :) everything will cost more. Heck I have to buy license in Ontario (outdoors card) for the purpose of making me eligible to buy a fishing license? What kind of non-sense is that?

T
mapsguy1955
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06/27/2017 06:02PM  
I know a lot of people don't like the idea, but a lot of "outdoors" people are clueless. There is really no baseline in the Q except money. I don't think it should be every trip or have to be at Outfitter. It should be one and done and online or at outfitter if you forgot. Maybe free or nominal charge. Small price to pay for paradise and if it stops 20% of the damage it would be worth it. Just the educational value would be worth it for a newbie.
dentondoc
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06/28/2017 11:33AM  
quote Eyedocron:"The only time we experienced trouble was about 15 years ago while camped on the island in Keats below the falls. We took a day trip to Splitrock Falls down to Chatterton and back, only to discover that our food, one tent and equipment had been burned. A crew came by and said they had seen some teens burning our stuff."
I stumbled on this (back in the woods a bit from the island campsite on Keats) 10+ years ago. I always wondered what the story behind the burned gear was. Now I know.

dd
06/28/2017 06:39PM  
quote mapsguy1955: "I know a lot of people don't like the idea, but a lot of "outdoors" people are clueless. There is really no baseline in the Q except money. I don't think it should be every trip or have to be at Outfitter. It should be one and done and online or at outfitter if you forgot. Maybe free or nominal charge. Small price to pay for paradise and if it stops 20% of the damage it would be worth it. Just the educational value would be worth it for a newbie. "

Look I am not going to stop going if they do this so it isn't the end of the world. But there has been no valid point presented for doing this.

1. We have no idea if it will change one thing as far as vandalism/degradation. They already do education for every entry or at least the rangers are supposed to. I know everyone learns differently but I am unaware of any study that supports the written word or video (especially when forced such as this plan indicates) beats person to person conversation/interaction such as they currently do.
2. I guarantee it adds costs to enter the park.
3. Why are they doing it? Is vandalism/park degradation increasing? This is a small samlpe size but I don't know anyone who thinks it is worse now than it was in the past if anything it has improved in Quetico over time. Does the park has some stats on this?
4. Yes some people in the outdoors are clueless...but this plan proposed seems to be clueless as well proposed by clueless people :) if they think it will have any meaningful affect. If they replace the current plan then I predict things will worsen over time.

I mean this whole thing just smells funny. In the real world you indentify a problem, you figure out what the cause is, then come up with a solution . Do we even have a "problem" in Quetico? If so, what is the cause? Are the Rangers not doing their job? heck they can jerk your permit if you refuse to listen to them when they go over their Park speech with you. If people don't listen to Rangers now your telling me this online video will fix them...come on...let's be real.

New rules like this only punish the lawful, it will do nothing for the idiots and you still haven't sold me there is even a consistent issue in Quetico.

I like what the Park does now for education. I like their enforcement. They hammer you if you are caught, no warnings no nice guy treatment. Either ya broke the rules and ya pay or you followed the rules. No ignorance nor personal interpretation allowed.

T
mapsguy1955
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06/29/2017 06:31AM  
I have never had any conversation about the things I have mentioned with anybody officially with the park. Granted, I will only be having my 4th and 5th trip this year and all have been northern entry after mid September so the experience level is probably not yours and I cannot relate to what rangers purportedly tell a visitor. I have spent a lot of wilderness time in my life though.

Quetico is what I would call vestigial wilderness, if not today then certainly in the future. If you simply look at how many humans treat our planet it is naive to think that they would reserve that behavior for everywhere BUT Quetico and frankly as we all know, there is more to a Q trip than just paying some money and renting a canoe.

The BWCA video is a good start but I believe it could be seriously improved on. My thought isn't something that would have to be expensive or difficult, just basic skills, rules and ideas on how to make your experience the best it could be for you and those who follow you. If it is interwoven with great pictures and videos it would also create more excitement prior to a trip. If online, it could be done prior to a trip, even months or more.

It would be best if the creation process involved seasoned trippers, for content and ideas. In my world, putting it together and the final product could all be fun and a great preparation for a trip, especially for first timers, as well as giving back to a place that brings us joy! While this wouldn't cure angry and or lazy behavior, it could definitely help with those who just don't know better and aren't well enough prepared. I also think it would be great for young people who frequently hold their elder's feet to the fire in terms of ecology etc... Does anyone think we know everything for every situation?
06/29/2017 11:07AM  
mapsguy....I love that you want to preserve Quetico. The idea of training isn't a terrible thing.

The issue is it is a solution to a problem that doesn't likely exist. Also a solution that I feel will have no effect anyway. So "you" go out of season it sounds and avoid the rangers? Your solution address "you" but most visitors go during the season and DO have Ranger interactions. They have everything you think is lacking? When you make up unneeded solutions you get cost increases and barriers.

I know you keep saying nominal fee or free for the training, but I just don't think that will happen. There is no precedent for Quetico/Ontario for adding a policy that doesn't cost more. Sure I can afford it---I'll still go---but for the average US or Canadian citizen Quetico has priced themselves out of the market. That selfishly makes it awesome for us that go, but on the flip side there are less youth going.

Yes the digital age is to blame somewhat but I personally know Boy Scout troops that no longer go to the Q because of the cost. Parents can't afford to pay for the wife and kids to go any longer. How does a young family starting out afford the Q. I know I couldn't of done it at the current prices.

You have only gone for 4-5 years...many of us have gone for years I can tell you I used to have to call exactly 5 months in advance the very first hour my chosen permit was available to get a permit and half the time I had to get my 2nd or 3rd choice or change my date. I used to see lot's of youth, lot's of boy scouts, lots of parents with young children. That's how popular the Q used to be. Now I can book a permit a few days to a week out and get what I want. I love that, but it worries me also about the future of the Park as well.

How do we introduce the park to the youth if the Q is pricing them out? Who will take care of it when we are too old or gone? It has become a Park for old white dudes (for the most part) due to the cost. When I bring my kids almost every traveler I see makes a comment they are surprised to see kids and how rare that is now compared to the past.

If the Park doesn't get used...eventually the Government over time will find a use if it needs money and it will likely be something we won't like. Training isn't a solution to preserving Quetico, getting the youth up there is the solution.

T

mapsguy1955
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06/29/2017 12:42PM  
I don't go in September to avoid the administration; I go to avoid the bugs and for a serious break from the Florida heat. I think if they are going to increase the visitors, it is a problem that will exist in the future. Otherwise you are probably right that they will look for other ways to wrest revenue out of the asset... There is a pretty old video out there right now that could use rehab...

So, what if you just put it together with a bunch of users and outfitters (who benefit from more traffic)? Sadly, you don't want to just increase the revenue. You want to increase with people who are somewhat in tune with what they are getting into.

My thought is to create something informative AND fun!
mutz
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06/30/2017 09:27AM  
I don't think any new type of training will change anything except the cost to go. The rangers have always explained everything when we went in and and I think this is much more effective than any film or in line video. So that everyone will have it explained in person, those going in during the shoulder seasons when the ranger stations are closed would be required to make an appointment at an active border crossing to have the rules explained.
Always remember, be careful what you ask for because you might get it.
mapsguy1955
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06/30/2017 12:35PM  
quote mutz: "I don't think any new type of training will change anything except the cost to go. The rangers have always explained everything when we went in and and I think this is much more effective than any film or in line video. So that everyone will have it explained in person, those going in during the shoulder seasons when the ranger stations are closed would be required to make an appointment at an active border crossing to have the rules explained.
Always remember, be careful what you ask for because you might get it. "


What you are talking about is even more than I was talking about. Personally, I would rather be able to do it on my time, not trip time, though the in person could potentially be more effective. My thought is a one time deal for everybody and could potentially affect what gear you bring if the ideas are something they hadn't even thought about. My own experience is that what I pack is refined a bit every trip I go on so knowing more prior to getting up there that first or second time is an advantage...

What we are missing is the long term picture since this would essentially be targeted at first timers. Most people visiting parks are used to places where everything is close.
 
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