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   COVID-19 Information and Discussion
      05/15/2020 Update     

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adam
Moderator
 
05/15/2020 12:37PM
The update is pending the release of the official press release.

On Monday, May 18, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) will open for both day and overnight use.

It does appear the fire ban has been lifted per this announcement, but please confirm when you pickup your permit or print it.

FS update



 
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Blatz
distinguished member(1390)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/15/2020 12:47PM
Good News. Next week's weather looks pretty damn good as well
 
neveragoosechase
member (25)member
 
05/15/2020 12:51PM
I’ll second that. Getting closer to feeling excited again for my Monday entry.

Thanks, Adam, for being so on top of things.
 
GopherAdventure
distinguished member(652)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/15/2020 12:52PM
I’m glad, heading in Monday morning, hoping to enjoy some good weather.

Tony
 
Aguynamedjosh
member (49)member
 
05/15/2020 12:54PM
This has made my day! I hope its all true. Can't wait to spend my Memorial day in the Bdub!
 
cburton103
distinguished member (382)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/15/2020 12:56PM
Woohoo! Thanks for the update and all of your work, Adam!
 
Justwannafish
member (8)member
 
05/15/2020 01:11PM
Happy Day!!! Again, thanks Adam for all of your efforts, not only updating us and trying to reign in the criticisms and speculation, but for this BWCA.COM community that you have kept going for all the years that you have. So many depend on it for trip planning. You Are The Man!! ....and all the other moderators!!
 
Karl
member (17)member
 
05/15/2020 01:13PM
Fantastic news thanks for the updates, Adam!
 
Pinetree
distinguished member(12608)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
05/15/2020 01:15PM
I figured the fire ban would be lifted also. They just wanted to keep it closed at first to discourage people.
Now that it is open I hope someone doesn't mess it up by not following protocol etc.
 
adam
Moderator
 
05/15/2020 01:19PM
Pinetree: "I figured the fire ban would be lifted also. They just wanted to keep it closed at first to discourage people.
Now that it is open I hope someone doesn't mess it up by not following protocol etc."


The fire ban being lifted still needs to be signed, sealed and delivered. And this is in large part due to the recent rains which may be enough to lift the ban.
 
illini79ps
member (39)member
 
05/15/2020 01:19PM
adam: "The update is pending the release of the official press release.

On Monday, May 18, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) will open for both day and overnight use.

There is a rumor the fire ban will be lifted, but this is not official yet.




"


Adam,

Thanks for the update, great job as always. What is your take on the state's opinion on out of state visitors coming out in normal numbers from places like Chicago, Milwaukee, Des Moines, etc? We have 7 from Illinois joining a gopher June 13 in Ely to Moose Lake. On arrival Saturday over the past 20 years, there are more out of state plates in Ely than locals. Tofte and Grand Marais have plenty as well. I know the feds want BW open, but I am still reading Minnesota wants close to home travel. What gives here, does the state want the onslaught?
 
BJWCA
member (17)member
 
05/15/2020 01:40PM
My truck can get there and back on 1 tank of gas, so we plan to drive straight to our entry point and then straight home without stopping anywhere. Not even a bathroom stop! We have face masks and gloves, just in case.

I want locals and Forest Service to know how much we appreciate them opening this up, and that their safety is my #1 priority.
Safe travels everyone!
 
LindenTree
distinguished member(2499)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/15/2020 01:47PM
 
paddlefamily
distinguished member(1567)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/15/2020 01:48PM
I called and did clarify with Kawishiwi Ranger station that it's limited to single households traveling together vs mixed groups per MN Governor's orders. Hopefully that will change sooner vs later.
 
paddlinjoe
distinguished member (382)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/15/2020 01:53PM
illini79ps: "adam: "The update is pending the release of the official press release."
Adam,

Thanks for the update, great job as always. What is your take on the state's opinion on out of state visitors coming out in normal numbers from places like Chicago, Milwaukee, Des Moines, etc? We have seven from Illinois joining a gopher June 13 in Ely to Moose Lake. On arrival Saturday over the past 20 years, there are more out of state plates in Ely than locals. Tofte and Grand Marais have plenty as well. I know the feds want BW open, but I am still reading Minnesota wants close to home travel. What gives here, does the state want the onslaught? "

That is a really good question. This is only my opinion with a grey area answer. I don't think they want an onslaught of normal numbers, but they do want some numbers of people traveling in a responsible way. How do you set that kind of limit? I have no idea. I think that is why we see language that seems to conflict. "BWCA is Open" while also saying "don't travel too far to get there" . There are people who will be comfortable traveling and those that aren't. That split may be enough to strike the right balance. I guess we won't know until we start moving around.

Typical staging areas for a trip (like campgrounds) are going to be closed for a little while yet. Getting a hotel room in Duluth and launching from there, would be one way to be socially distanced from the entry points.

When day use looked like the only option, I was prepared to rent an airbnb away from Ely, but do day trips to Ely entry points. I thought that would be in the spirit of staying socially distanced while still accessing the BWCA.

I hope you are able to find a way to make it work.
 
StraightShooter
 
05/15/2020 02:00PM
Thanks for the update. Great news!
 
jjk2160
senior member (70)senior membersenior member
 
05/15/2020 02:13PM
That is great news!! Thanks Adam for the update and keeping everyone posted
 
fishEH
member (37)member
 
05/15/2020 02:24PM
So whose restriction is the Single Household?? That press release says "We are happy to be FULLY allowing visitors....". Fully meaning no restrictions IMO.
 
thlipsis29
distinguished member(1224)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/15/2020 03:14PM
Thank you for posting this Adam and correcting me on the minor detail between state forests being open and the USFS finally being in sync with everyone else. Next Friday can come soon enough!
 
heelix
senior member (79)senior membersenior member
 
05/15/2020 04:01PM
This is great news. I've got plans for Memorial weekend and just recently realized when they opened things on the 4th, that they did it for daytime use only. Looking forward to seeing the sun after a few months of hard core isolation. (Mostly because I never got around to putting winter tires on this year)

Anyone have a list of restaurants that are doing curb side pickup?
 
Jeromeo
 
05/15/2020 04:12PM
Wow, hallelujah! I have been following this thread closely! I bought a permit for the 18th back in January.... what fortuitous dumb luck! :D Thank you everyone!
 
nooneuno
distinguished member(523)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/15/2020 05:13PM
paddlefamily: "I called and did clarify with Kawishiwi Ranger station that it's limited to single households traveling together vs mixed groups per MN Governor's orders. Hopefully that will change sooner vs later. "

The only clarification still missing.

 
nooneuno
distinguished member(523)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/15/2020 05:24PM
fishEH: "So whose restriction is the Single Household?? That press release says "We are happy to be FULLY allowing visitors....". Fully meaning no restrictions IMO. "
That is a state restriction, the press release also says you should follow state rules......

I called my longtime paddling partner and told him I had good news and bad news: the good news was the BDub will be open for our trip next week, the bad news is we may have to swing by a justice of the peace on the way up.....
 
Fahl0029
 
05/15/2020 05:29PM
Would somebody at the ranger station be more equipped to interpret these rules than any of the rest of us? IMO when they say “single household”, I read that as a camping area that was designed for use by a single group, unlike a campground that is designed for use by many households. This may just be wishful thinking as I’ve got a permit to go in next Thursday.

New to the group here. Been following for a long time but finally decided to join!
 
Pinetree
distinguished member(12608)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
05/15/2020 05:42PM
adam: "Pinetree: "I figured the fire ban would be lifted also. They just wanted to keep it closed at first to discourage people.
Now that it is open I hope someone doesn't mess it up by not following protocol etc."



The fire ban being lifted still needs to be signed, sealed and delivered. And this is in large part due to the recent rains which may be enough to lift the ban."


correct
 
Pinetree
distinguished member(12608)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
05/15/2020 05:45PM


It would seem this is close to being official read:
read:update


Voyageurs National Park and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness will reopen to overnight camping starting Monday following the state’s gradual relaxing of COVID-19 restrictions.
Both the park and the BWCAW have essentially been closed to overnight camping since April, but will now be open to the public under the usual reservation and permit systems.
Meanwhile, Superior National Forest officials also announced they will allow overnight camping at individual dispersed campsites throughout the forest starting Monday and that the campfire ban has been immediately lifted for the Superior and Chippewa National Forests. Visitors are now permitted to have campfires, use charcoal grills and wood-burning camp stoves in both forests.
Formal, multi-site campgrounds on both forests remain closed under state COVID-19 guidelines as do all other campgrounds statewide, except those that serve as permanent residences.
 
LindenTree
distinguished member(2499)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/15/2020 05:55PM
Pinetree: "


It would seem this is close to being official read:
read:update



Voyageurs National Park and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness will reopen to overnight camping starting Monday following the state’s gradual relaxing of COVID-19 restrictions.
Both the park and the BWCAW have essentially been closed to overnight camping since April, but will now be open to the public under the usual reservation and permit systems.
Meanwhile, Superior National Forest officials also announced they will allow overnight camping at individual dispersed campsites throughout the forest starting Monday and that the campfire ban has been immediately lifted for the Superior and Chippewa National Forests. Visitors are now permitted to have campfires, use charcoal grills and wood-burning camp stoves in both forests.
Formal, multi-site campgrounds on both forests remain closed under state COVID-19 guidelines as do all other campgrounds statewide, except those that serve as permanent residences."


Thanks, looks like was wrong on the campfire ban. I'll delete my other post so as not confuse people. It is imperative that people be very careful with fires now, I failed at digging up fire danger indexes for the Ham Lake fire. My guess is that it is, or will soon be as dry or drier than when the Ham Lake fire started on May 5th, 2007. No rain is predicted for the Isabella area until memorial weekend.
 
Pinetree
distinguished member(12608)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
05/15/2020 06:27PM
Linden Tree-they had a fire north of Motley last night-yes it is getting dry and very hot temps(for me anyhow) coming. They are talking rain this weekend. Hope to get dumped on.
 
LindenTree
distinguished member(2499)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/15/2020 07:13PM
Pinetree: "Linden Tree-they had a fire north of Motley last night-yes it is getting dry and very hot temps(for me anyhow) coming. They are talking rain this weekend. Hope to get dumped on."

Yes, but it looks to be light rain and is following a line mostly south of Detroit Lakes and Duluth, forecasted weather is dry and warm in the arrowhead according to accuweather for the next ten days.
Agreed, hope we get dumped on, its's getting dry out here.
Glad they opened up dispersed camping as well, wifey and I will be heading up next week with our Aliner camper, perching on some Superior NF land.

My fire district that I still do emergency work for has had 2 fires for 700 acres total.
The White Earth Reservtion where I live part time had 62 fires 10 days ago with the largest being over 200 acres.
 
adam
Moderator
 
05/15/2020 07:37PM
It does appear the campfire ban has been lifted.

Forest Service annoucement
 
05/15/2020 07:51PM
adam: "It does appear the campfire ban has been lifted.


Forest Service annoucement"


Fantastic. Continuing packing.
 
VoyageurNorth
distinguished member(2598)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/15/2020 08:23PM
I had a conversation with Melissa at the Ely Ranger Station & she said the Forest Service would not be "going there" or enforcing with only people in the same household being able to travel together.

I asked if the group traveling and camping at one site together was then a "household" and she said and since the limit is 10 people together and the BWCA limits groups to 9, the size of the group is within the limits.

I am trying to get a non-verbal (written) answer on this from her or someone at the Ranger Station (I emailed her) and expect to hear from them tomorrow.

(so, if the governor says Household meaning actual family members, does that mean you can't go to the bars or restaurants with anyone but the people you have been living with and seeing for 24 hours ever since this thing started? Not my idea of socializing (love my family, but ...)



 
bweber85
 
05/15/2020 09:21PM
Why are you pushing the issue. She already said they aren't going to go there. They don't want responsibility for enforcing that issue, but if people keep pushing them for a written response (which could be used against them), maybe you'll get a different response.
 
Echols61
 
05/15/2020 09:21PM
adam: "The update is pending the release of the official press release.

On Monday, May 18, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) will open for both day and overnight use.

It does appear the fire ban has been lifted per this announcement, but please confirm when you pickup your permit or print it.
"


Does anyone know what this means:
“Visitors are asked to stay as local as possible when picking a site“
 
VoyageurNorth
distinguished member(2598)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/15/2020 09:24PM
Or maybe being used against my business? Thus the worry.
 
hotDish
member (5)member
 
05/16/2020 01:05AM
My trip has the green light. Ep50 solo through Frost River.Thanks for the update! See y'all memorial weekend.
 
PineKnot
distinguished member(1553)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/16/2020 01:12AM
VoyageurNorth: "Or maybe being used against my business? Thus the worry."

+1
 
bweber85
 
05/16/2020 02:23AM
VoyageurNorth: "Or maybe being used against my business? Thus the worry."

Ah
 
KarlBAndersen1
distinguished member(1232)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/16/2020 05:53AM
I could use a little clarification from those knowledgeable - if in fact any of us are at this point.
If campgrounds are not open - where can we camp the night before?
"Meanwhile, Superior National Forest officials also announced they will allow overnight camping at individual dispersed campsites throughout the forest starting Monday....."
What is a "dispersed camp site"?

And consider this - it also says, ".....will now be open to the public under the usual reservation and permit systems."
Think of it this way, can you ever remember a time when you made your "usual reservation" that all the members of your party were from your immediate household?

 
neveragoosechase
member (25)member
 
05/16/2020 07:54AM
KarlBAndersen1: "I could use a little clarification from those knowledgeable - if in fact any of us are at this point.
If campgrounds are not open - where can we camp the night before?
"Meanwhile, Superior National Forest officials also announced they will allow overnight camping at individual dispersed campsites throughout the forest starting Monday....."
What is a "dispersed camp site"?

"


“Camping at individual dispersed campsites” makes it sound confusing. Dispersed camping is by definition not at a designated campsite. It’s anywhere BUT in a campground or other designated place. There are rules governing it, so you have to know what you’re doing. But it can be very useful in its flexibility.
Dispersed Camping in MN
 
KarlBAndersen1
distinguished member(1232)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/16/2020 08:12AM
neveragoosechase: "KarlBAndersen1: "I could use a little clarification from those knowledgeable - if in fact any of us are at this point.
If campgrounds are not open - where can we camp the night before?
"Meanwhile, Superior National Forest officials also announced they will allow overnight camping at individual dispersed campsites throughout the forest starting Monday....."
What is a "dispersed camp site"?


"



“Camping at individual dispersed campsites” makes it sound confusing. Dispersed camping is by definition not at a designated campsite. It’s anywhere BUT in a campground or other designated place. There are rules governing it, so you have to know what you’re doing. But it can be very useful in its flexibility.
Dispersed Camping in MN "


Thanks for the hint to look up that phrase.
Dispersed Camping
 
hotDish
member (5)member
 
05/16/2020 10:12AM
Thanks for the hint to look up that phrase.
Dispersed Camping "

Also, more here More about dispersed camping
 
VoyageurNorth
distinguished member(2598)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/16/2020 07:50PM
Took me what seemed like forever, but I found this in Governor Walz's new order which starts on May 18th.

New Order 20-56 "Stay Safe MN".

This outlines the no more than 10 in a GATHERING, not all from same household. Read carefully.

Couldn't get it to copy, edit, paste for text so picture of what I found online today is below.





 
geotramper
distinguished member (138)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/18/2020 11:20AM
KarlBAndersen1: "neveragoosechase: "KarlBAndersen1: "I could use a little clarification from those knowledgeable - if in fact any of us are at this point.
If campgrounds are not open - where can we camp the night before?
"Meanwhile, Superior National Forest officials also announced they will allow overnight camping at individual dispersed campsites throughout the forest starting Monday....."
What is a "dispersed camp site"?



"




“Camping at individual dispersed campsites” makes it sound confusing. Dispersed camping is by definition not at a designated campsite. It’s anywhere BUT in a campground or other designated place. There are rules governing it, so you have to know what you’re doing. But it can be very useful in its flexibility.
Dispersed Camping in MN "



Thanks for the hint to look up that phrase.
Dispersed Camping "


This page doesn't do a great job of distinguishing backcountry campsites and dispersed camping. Are backcountry campsites a type of dispersed campsite? Is the use of the backcountry sites listed on that page allowed under the current restrictions? I haven't seen an order that specifically mentions backcountry campsites, just campgrounds or dispersed camping.
 
keegan99usa
distinguished member (146)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/18/2020 11:44AM
I keep trying to figure all this out. My children and I usually camp at Mcfarland campground and day trip in each day. We are not really set up to do a "real" trip at this point. Being that the campground is closed, where can we truck camp close by? It looks like South Fowl road has a few spots that seem to be large enough to pull off the trail and camp. Any suggestions? WE have a small adventurer trailer with a roof top tent and kitchen for our base camp. Thanks
 
LindenTree
distinguished member(2499)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/18/2020 12:31PM
geotramper: "
Are backcountry campsites a type of dispersed campsite? Is the use of the backcountry sites listed on that page allowed under the current restrictions? "


I'm not sure technically, but IMO they are the same.
Dispersed camping, is camping outside of a campground, back country sites are ones that you have to boat or hike into. These usually come with a picnic table, fire ring and latrine, but they are not in any kind of campground and spaced far apart, similar to BWCA campsites.

I'm sure back country campsites are allowed now since camping in the BW is open.

I'm going up to Isabella Wednesday, I will check out if the rustic campgrounds are open, I'm guessing not and the outhouses will most likely be locked.
 
thegildedgopher
distinguished member(685)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/18/2020 12:34PM
keegan99usa: "I keep trying to figure all this out. My children and I usually camp at Mcfarland campground and day trip in each day. We are not really set up to do a "real" trip at this point. Being that the campground is closed, where can we truck camp close by? It looks like South Fowl road has a few spots that seem to be large enough to pull off the trail and camp. Any suggestions? WE have a small adventurer trailer with a roof top tent and kitchen for our base camp. Thanks"

Have you considered using bunkhouses at the outfitters along the trail? It's not ideal because most don't allow more than 1-night consecutive stay, but it's also a cool way to see a bunch of different outfitters and lodges. Clearwater, Rockwood, Gunflint, Tuscarora, Seagull, VCO, all come to mind as options depending on availability. Some are actually fairly private.
 
hotDish
member (5)member
 
05/18/2020 11:42PM
Alright, found a Document dating 2018 from Superior Forest USFS which states the following:

"Dispersed Camping If your idea of camping is literally off the beaten trail, most of the Superior National Forest outside of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is open for dispersed tent camping with no permits or reservations needed. This is camping outside of designated sites - just you and the woods without latrines, fire rings, or any additions. Please follow Leave No Trace ethics to make sure no evidence of your visit remains. ? Be aware of fire restrictions that apply to campfires outside of developed campsites. In dry conditions, campfires may be banned in the general forest, but still allowed in campgrounds. ? Parking motor vehicles or trailers is not allowed where it will impede traffic, harm vegetation, or harm soils. ? You may not construct any “improvements” at your camp, including trenches, or cut live trees. Disperse all signs of a campfire if you use one, or use a campstove. ? You may not leave your camping equipment unattended for more than 24 hours.
For more information, go to www.fs.usda.gov/superior on the web or contact:

Superior National Forest Headquarters 8901 Grand Avenue Place Duluth, MN 55808 (218) 626-4300 r9_superior_NF@fs.fed.us

Gunflint Ranger District 2020 W. Hwy 61 Grand Marais, MN 55604 (218) 387-1750 gunflint@fs.fed.us

Tofte Ranger District 7355 W. Hwy 61 P.O. Box 2159 Tofte, MN 55615 (218) 663-8060 tofte@fs.fed.us

Kawishiwi Ranger District 1393 Hwy. 169 Ely, MN 55731 (218) 365-7600 kawishiwi@fs.fed.us

LaCroix Ranger District 320 Hwy 53 North Cook, MN 55723 (218) 666-0020 lacroix@fs.fed.us

Laurentian Ranger District 318 Forestry Road Aurora, MN 55705 (218) 229-8800 laurentian@fs.fed.us"

It's still ambiguous, but hopefully it will help some one.
 
hotDish
member (5)member
 
05/18/2020 11:56PM
Also, forgot to mention that there was a section on "Backcountry Campsites." To sum it up, it is a "BWCA style campsite" without fees and reservations.
 
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