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MikeinMpls
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03/31/2020 08:39AM
The current coronavirus situation has a lot of us thinking legitimately about how the pandemic will affect our 2020 BWCAQ plans. I have a permit for entry into Cross Bay Lake on May 16. That's fairly early, and my plans could very easily become derailed and my trip canceled. I'm worried that I won't see the BWCA this year. That would suck, but I'm a big boy and can understand that it is what it is. So, it's gotten me thinking...I am not actually considering engaging in what I describe and ask below.

Scenario: BWCA is closed by government order. Re-opening date TBD. Permits for dates during time of closure are unusable.

Questions and discussion: I assume going into a closed federal wilderness area would be considered a big deal, and one would face considerable legal trouble if they did so. But, who will know? In answering my own question, I assume NFS planes will still patrol for fires, and would also report any violators to Superior National Forest law enforcement. In turn, I assume SNF law enforcement duties will not be curtailed at all, and finding someone who violates the order would be rather easy. Vehicles at EPs would be recorded, adding to the ease of any investigation. I also assume anyone entering against an order would be entering without a permit, another big deal.

Maybe I've just answered my own questions. But, truth be told, part of me has a fantasy of just going in regardless of an order. I think "if I go straight in, no human interaction coming or going, it would be OK. It's the wilderness, and it's very safe." It's a fantasy, and I WILL NOT do that. WILL NOT. But I'm wondering if others have mused about the subject.

Maybe I'm pre-mourning for a canceled trip, despite having no evidence that anything would be canceled. Or maybe I think too much.

Mike
 
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thegildedgopher
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03/31/2020 09:27AM
I find reality to be challenging enough at the moment so trying not to get too deep into any theoreticals.

i wouldn't do it. too much risk in my opinion. i want to enjoy the wilderness for another 40 years so i'll suffer this year if necessary. easy for me to say with a september permit. not counting on being able to use my june permits.
 
x2jmorris
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03/31/2020 09:39AM
If I were to do it I would have someone drop me off. That way no vehicle at the EP and while a plane might spot you I think there are ways around that as well :) You can hear them.. just start a fire after they have flown by. Put the fire out within an hour.
 
VaderStrom
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03/31/2020 10:16AM
I've had a similar thought, but in a slightly different scenario. It would make sense to me to see all current reservations cancelled for the season. What if you went in before the season started, on April XXth, and made a few week trip out of it? Would you technically be breaking the rules if you're using the self issued permit that didn't require a reservation as it was before the season 'started'?

Regarding your hypothetical, it seems to make sense, but I'd never risk it as it'd be too much to risk the rest of my tripping lifetime on one year of trips.
 
03/31/2020 10:56AM
I'll be ok playing by the rules on this one, whatever they are at the time.

I fantasize about doing the same Mike, and if the park officially closes there will be people that go in anyway. Those people are called a-holes, and in general they don't seem to mind being called as such.


 
x2jmorris
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03/31/2020 11:27AM
fadersup: "I'll be ok playing by the rules on this one, whatever they are at the time.

I fantasize about doing the same Mike, and if the park officially closes there will be people that go in anyway. Those people are called a-holes, and in general they don't seem to mind being called as such. "

That part about the a-holes is spot on.
 
MikeinMpls
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03/31/2020 12:00PM
VaderStrom: "I've had a similar thought, but in a slightly different scenario. It would make sense to me to see all current reservations cancelled for the season. What if you went in before the season started, on April XXth, and made a few week trip out of it? Would you technically be breaking the rules if you're using the self issued permit that didn't require a reservation as it was before the season 'started'?

Regarding your hypothetical, it seems to make sense, but I'd never risk it as it'd be too much to risk the rest of my tripping lifetime on one year of trips."

If ice-out is early, I am considering a brief solo in mid-to later April. It won't be an extended trip, but kinda/sorta in the scenario you mention.

Mike
 
MikeinMpls
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03/31/2020 12:02PM
As Morris said, spot on! I agree. I don't like being called one. Usually.

Mike
 
VaderStrom
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03/31/2020 12:51PM
Where would you put in for mid April? My April trips have been on the far west ends of the Echo Trail at LIS N. and Nina Moose and then a random Lake One when ice was still on parts of the lake. Lady chain could be worth a shot if it warms up this year.
 
MikeinMpls
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03/31/2020 01:24PM
I'd like to do Wood Lake, and base camp there. LIS would work, too, though I'd have to be sure Upper Pauness was open. Also, if I paddle to and from Upper Pauness, would the LIS current be too strong in high water...for me to paddle against the current? I've paddled LIS many times, and paddling against the current isn't tough, though I'm not sure how it would be during the spring thaw.

Mike

 
mutz
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03/31/2020 01:43PM
I think that if the BWCA is closed that would include the parking lots. If this is the case be prepared for a long walk to town and a hefty tow/storage bill. I would guess that if law enforcement were to catch you in the park while closed for this, you better bring your check book and a high limit credit card to pay the fines and costs.
 
billconner
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03/31/2020 01:59PM
Since I'm fairly certain the parking lots are not actually in the BWCAW, in line with no motorized vehicles, I would not assume they would be closed if the Wilderness was.

 
4keys
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03/31/2020 03:23PM
I had an actual situation similar to this recently.

My husband and I had traveled out of state to visit our son. We planned on doing a lot of outdoor activities, one of which was to visit a hot spring. We drove an hour from the city, only to find a notice at the trail head that said the 2.5 mile trail and hot springs were closed. I believe it was by the forest service. (Nothing was on the website when he checked it). There were a few other cars n the parking lot which were empty.

Let me say that I am not a rule breaker, but at first we were like, well, we won't be near others on the trail and there are several pools to spread out among. As we were discussing it, I reread the notice and saw mention of a $5,000 fine! That ended the discussion right there, especially after my son said he has seen rangers up there before.

So we left and found an open hiking trail nearby. I'm not sure what the group of six college age kids that arrived after us decided to do though.

So we would find other activities to do if the BW was closed and save our plans for next year.
 
GraniteCliffs
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03/31/2020 07:46PM
We were on Silence Lake in the Q some 30-35 years ago. We were going to head east but the portage had a Park sign on it saying the portage was closed due to a fire. The sign threatened a fine.
No flames, no smoke. So we figured we could go regardless.
And then we saw words that basically said anyone violating the rule could be banned from the Q.
We turned around.
 
mutz
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03/31/2020 08:08PM
billconner: "Since I'm fairly certain the parking lots are not actually in the BWCAW, in line with no motorized vehicles, I would not assume they would be closed if the Wilderness was.


"


That’s a good point, but I would guess if they close the BWCA, they will close the parking lots to stop those who feel they are above the law and decide to take the chance and just go.
 
Beavercreek56
 
03/31/2020 10:10PM
I’m planning on a trip in mid April into entry 33. Hoping that it will be open then. Just need to get away from craziness for a couple days. Wedding plans for 30 may aren’t looking so good. Praying for early ice out and warm temps. Done most of my trips mid to late may so cold weather is ok. Won’t break any of the rules though. BWCA is to be respected in all areas.
 
Grizzlyman
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04/01/2020 06:40AM
I find it funny that we can “close the wilderness”...
 
LindenTree
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04/01/2020 07:48AM
I won't speculate whether the BWCA will be closed.

I ran the fire engine for the USFS out of Isabella for over 3 years. I rarely went to the BW during those years. I discovered that there is a whole lot of wilderness outside the BWCA, with far fewer people. That area is called the Superior National Forest.


In the years I worked/lived and recreated on USFS land. I only scratched the surface on things to see and lakes to camp and paddle on.
That portion of the Superior National Forest is still there.
"Come find it"
I will not be closed, there is too much private, state and county land in the area.
 
nofish
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04/01/2020 08:18AM
Certainly is a tempting thought. Since its so hard to patrol the whole park and keep people out I'm sure they'll attempt to scare people from even attempting it with a rather large fine for those caught. Like others mentioned a $5000 fine if caught would keep me out even if there is only a small chance I'd be caught.

There is a whole lot of other public land to roam around on that can't be closed so that could be an option. However, if you are not from the area I would encourage you to stay home and not make the trek up there.

This is a good time to explore your local waters and find the gems right around you. As tempting as it is to sneak away for a canoe trip during all of this there really is no valid reason to take the risk of spreading things around any more than they already area. Its all part of that stay at home order.
 
x2jmorris
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04/01/2020 08:34AM
nofish: "Certainly is a tempting thought. Since its so hard to patrol the whole park and keep people out I'm sure they'll attempt to scare people from even attempting it with a rather large fine for those caught. Like others mentioned a $5000 fine if caught would keep me out even if there is only a small chance I'd be caught.


There is a whole lot of other public land to roam around on that can't be closed so that could be an option. However, if you are not from the area I would encourage you to stay home and not make the trek up there.


This is a good time to explore your local waters and find the gems right around you. As tempting as it is to sneak away for a canoe trip during all of this there really is no valid reason to take the risk of spreading things around any more than they already area. Its all part of that stay at home order."


They can't just make up a fine. Has to be already around and I would guess it is no different than the being in there without a permit fine... whatever that might be.
 
Michwall2
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04/01/2020 08:49AM
x2jmorris: "nofish: "Certainly is a tempting thought. Since its so hard to patrol the whole park and keep people out I'm sure they'll attempt to scare people from even attempting it with a rather large fine for those caught. Like others mentioned a $5000 fine if caught would keep me out even if there is only a small chance I'd be caught.



There is a whole lot of other public land to roam around on that can't be closed so that could be an option. However, if you are not from the area I would encourage you to stay home and not make the trek up there.



This is a good time to explore your local waters and find the gems right around you. As tempting as it is to sneak away for a canoe trip during all of this there really is no valid reason to take the risk of spreading things around any more than they already area. Its all part of that stay at home order."



They can't just make up a fine. Has to be already around and I would guess it is no different than the being in there without a permit fine... whatever that might be."


While they can't "make up" a fine, they can find multiple violations that you don't even know exist:

e.g.
Entry without permit.
Disobeying a lawful federal closure order.
Trespassing.
Illegal camping in a closed recreational area.
Fishing closed lakes.
Taking fish beyond the limit(0) on closed fishing lakes.
Unlawful use of a watercraft on a closed lake.
Endangering a peace officer (Having to deal with you at close range during Covid-19 outbreak.)
Open fire in a closed recreational area.
Illegal parking in a closed recreation area.

If they really wanted to make and example of you, besides the fines, you would probably lose your canoe and related equipment, your camping equipment, and your fishing equipment through asset forfeiture. (Maybe even the auto that brought you there?)

 
missmolly
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04/01/2020 08:54AM
nofish: "Certainly is a tempting thought. Since its so hard to patrol the whole park and keep people out I'm sure they'll attempt to scare people from even attempting it with a rather large fine for those caught. Like others mentioned a $5000 fine if caught would keep me out even if there is only a small chance I'd be caught.


There is a whole lot of other public land to roam around on that can't be closed so that could be an option. However, if you are not from the area I would encourage you to stay home and not make the trek up there.


This is a good time to explore your local waters and find the gems right around you. As tempting as it is to sneak away for a canoe trip during all of this there really is no valid reason to take the risk of spreading things around any more than they already area. Its all part of that stay at home order."


Once again, I agree with nofish. So many local waters to explore.

Here's one of the world's great mysteries: How can someone so wise catch no fish like nofish? ;-)
 
nofish
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04/01/2020 09:16AM
missmolly: "

Here's one of the world's great mysteries: How can someone so wise catch no fish like nofish? ;-)"


Its really part art and part science. You have to know where the fish aren't going to be so you can cast there but then you have to be able to do it with just the right amount of style.

 
LindenTree
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04/01/2020 09:22AM
missmolly: " wise catch no fish like nofish? ;-)"

Wow mm, and all.
i bet you can't say that three times in a row fast :-)
 
nofish
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04/01/2020 10:48AM
LindenTree: "missmolly: " wise catch no fish like nofish? ;-)"


Wow mm, and all.
i bet you can't say that three times in a row fast :-)"


Might need to make this into a t-shirt.

"No one can catch NO fish like Nofish"

 
missmolly
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04/01/2020 10:57AM
nofish: "LindenTree: "missmolly: " wise catch no fish like nofish? ;-)"



Wow mm, and all.
i bet you can't say that three times in a row fast :-)"



Might need to make this into a t-shirt.


"No one can catch NO fish like Nofish"


"


If my family situation permitted it, I'd love to take you to a 50-fish-or-more-per-person lake.

And I'd merrily wear that t-shirt until your wrist ached, which would force you to say, "That t-shirt tells a damn lie!"
 
missmolly
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04/01/2020 11:01AM
LindenTree: "missmolly: " wise catch no fish like nofish? ;-)"


Wow mm, and all.
i bet you can't say that three times in a row fast :-)"


I tried!

I failed!

It's hard!
 
mooseplums
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04/01/2020 11:03AM
I wanted a late May trip, unfortunately if we're going to be real, that's not going to happen, and I've already made peace with that
That said, still holding out hope for a late Sept trip.
 
adam
Moderator
 
04/01/2020 11:10AM

There are many things at play with this.

1) It certainly would be possible to limit the contact between people.
a) permit videos could be watched online or on mobile phone in their car at the outfitters before permit is slipped through the window.
b) outfitters could accept checkin and payment online, have canoes/gear ready outside or drop off canoes and gear at the entry point.
c) Forest service could just close their offices, relaying on online/outfitter issued permits.
d) Forest service would need to be active in managing the bathrooms/garbage at entry points and monitoring for the worst offenders. The bathrooms at entry points are likely one of the highest risk areas.

2) Larger issue is community health services due to visitors coming up with the illness and entering the health system and spreading the virus.
 
nofish
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04/01/2020 11:49AM
adam: "
There are many things at play with this.


1) It certainly would be possible to limit the contact between people.
a) permit videos could be watched online or on mobile phone in their car at the outfitters before permit is slipped through the window.
b) outfitters could accept checkin and payment online, have canoes/gear ready outside or drop off canoes and gear at the entry point.
c) Forest service could just close their offices, relaying on online/outfitter issued permits.
d) Forest service would need to be active in managing the bathrooms/garbage at entry points and monitoring for the worst offenders. The bathrooms at entry points are likely one of the highest risk areas.


2) Larger issue is community health services due to visitors coming up with the illness and entering the health system and spreading the virus.
"


#2 is for sure the biggest concern. The other stuff can probably be managed with a little creativity. I just picture how busy hwy 61 can be with folks streaming up north in the summer. If only 1 out 100 cars brings someone that infects another person we could still see a spread that could quickly overwhelm the small medical facilities in the area.
 
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