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billconner
distinguished member(7286)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
06/30/2020 05:44AM
It's reported that the increase of trippers includes a lot of newbies and in combination with online permitting there are some issues with LNT and generally respecting the wilderness. I wondered if experienced trippers here had noticed it.

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06/30/2020 06:16AM
I spent the month of June in the Gunflint Trail area. I saw some people taking a bath in Gull Lake lathering up with soap. Also saw a guy launch a boat with a 115 hp outboard on Gull. Many paddle boarders and fishing kayaks. A few groups of Motorcycles with loud pipes were driving through the campground. I also saw a group of young people from out of state set up a tent the quick pitch way only using the fly and ground cover like they do out west. I wonder how it went at dusk without any insect screen. Also some really large RVs were squeezing into campground sites. All somewhat unusual sights from what I’ve seen in the past and may have indicated newbies.
On my 10 day BWCA trip to Saganaga Lake everything and everyone looked typical.
 
06/30/2020 06:25AM
That's very disappointing to read.
 
schwartyman
member (40)member
 
06/30/2020 07:58AM
I basecamped on Seagull memorial weekend for fishing. Two or three times throughout the trip one campsite had what had to have been a full blown boombox cranked up, and while they were paddling out it was blaring. I've never experienced anything like that before, but I haven't basecamped on an entry lake before either.

Was quite annoyed but didn't feel like confronting them. Hoping I dont come across that again.
 
Jaywalker
distinguished member(2183)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/30/2020 08:46AM
I came home from a week up on Knife last week. I noticed that every group I talked to seemed to be from pretty far away, and many were either on their first trip ever or in a very long time. I saw a more usually number things like, canoes sideways across portages, stopping for lunch on portages, moving other people’s gear on portages, yelling across lakes, etc. Fortunately I saw nothing more serious.
 
treehorn
distinguished member(525)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/30/2020 08:52AM
Do the actual permit numbers support the assertion of an increase in people in the BW? That article, and the article it links to, only reference anecdotal stories about 'outfitters reporting being busy.' I'd love to see permit numbers this year vs past years. Anyone know where a guy could look that up?
 
thegildedgopher
distinguished member(657)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/30/2020 09:36AM
treehorn: "Do the actual permit numbers support the assertion of an increase in people in the BW? That article, and the article it links to, only reference anecdotal stories about 'outfitters reporting being busy.' I'd love to see permit numbers this year vs past years. Anyone know where a guy could look that up?"

Curious as well. Last year Schweady did this helpful study. It'd be great to be able to compare that to this year's data en masse, but you could certainly pick a few key EP's and just compare the data from roughly this time last year to what you're seeing as "available" on rec.gov right now.
 
06/30/2020 10:29AM
Spent a week with a friend in the Pine Lake area from June 15-22. Did not notice any filth/lack of LNT, but the number of people was quite high. That area is easy to access, so that may be a part of what we saw. That said, I have gone to that area (Caribou, in particular) to fish in mid June many, many times over the past 20 years, and I have never seen the number of groups that we encountered.
 
mutz
distinguished member(1211)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/30/2020 11:02AM
I think that this will end as the virus goes away and a lot of the newbies will be back to what they were doing. I’m betting that next summer will be a good time to buy a used canoe with very little use.
 
scotttimm
distinguished member (326)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/30/2020 11:13AM
On our June 8 trip into Kawishiwi Lake, basecamped on Polly - didn't seem like a large number of people but met some newbies who looked like they were having fun. Another father/son duo who said he hadn't been in the BWCA for 15 years.
In our campsite, someone had taken a large dump in a hollowed out stump right in the nicest pad, and another dump with lots of toilette paper just outside of the main camp. There was a lot of trash in the thunderbox. On our way out, saw some abandoned/lost full sized camping chairs and a couple of cups loose on the portage. I chalked it up to Polly being a very well-used base-camping lake.
 
mjmkjun
distinguished member(2598)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/30/2020 12:51PM
This is sad and bad news. A sign of things to come. But....why should we have to suffer their idiocracy and blatant disregard?
Forest Service needs to light a fire under those rangers. As in a substantial PAY RAISE.
 
jillpine
distinguished member (452)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/30/2020 04:20PM
I've been spending most of June on BWCA perimeter lakes primarily in Cook County. Since the rustic campgrounds are closed, but boat access is not closed, the lakes have been so quiet....and no litter because no one to leave it. Here is the litter haul from a recent 12-mile walk and paddle on the lake and a night of dispersed camping:
 
LindenTree
distinguished member(2478)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/30/2020 04:42PM
I saw three parties with coolers in their canoes on Parent Lake beginning if June. Granted there is only one 15ish rod portage but it still seemed odd to me.
 
MN_Lindsey
distinguished member(2115)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/30/2020 06:14PM
I've never seen the north shore so busy in my life!

How does the Ely area equate? For example, Garrison on Mille Lacs has been SUPER quiet. Normally that is the bain of a Sunday coming home, or a Friday on the way up, but its been crickets around there. Drive right on through, no traffic.
 
corvidologist
member (44)member
 
06/30/2020 09:40PM
I'm not a native but I'm up there every summer the last five summers... Ely itself seemed pretty quiet. Lots of restaurants are closed or are doing very limited service (Two Gringos is belly-up, Rockwood (with that great patio!) is closed - not selling anything). Not sure how the outfitters are doing though.
 
06/30/2020 09:56PM
We were through the number lakes and into Insula 2 weeks ago. 1-3 were very busy as with Insula and nothing on 4 and Hudson. We did see 3 groups over the 9 person limit which I've only seen 1 other time in about 20 trips. The thing we found that bothered me the most was the 2 freshly cleaned pike tossed on the trail leading up to The Rock. Great job to whoever caught them and went on to enjoy a shore lunch but the complete lack of respect to just toss them up on shore on a place where people frequently visit had me wound tight for a little while.
 
Portage99
distinguished member (415)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/01/2020 03:16PM
That is sad to read.

The only thing I noticed was that most of the groups on the portages on my way out we’re wearing really nice shorts and T-shirts and tennis shoes. One group mentioned it was their first time. They seem like they would be respectful, but maybe not quite prepared for the conditions.

I did see a lot of cut green stuff. But I did the last time I was up there too. I don’t know why people do this.
 
NordSteve
 
07/02/2020 06:17PM
Here's a bit of data for you for reserved paddling permits for the date range of July 2 to July 9, comparing 2020 against the Schweady 2019 data. Data collected at the time of this post.

Format:
Entry point: 2020 (2019)

45 Morgan Lake: 3 (2)
47 Lizz: 23 (15)
48 Meeds: 10 (4)
49 Skipper: 3 (3)
50 Cross Bay: 14 (13)
51 Missing Link: 14 (13)
52 Brant: 12 (7)
54 Seagull: 63 (34)
54A Seagull ONLY: 7 (2)
 
billconner
distinguished member(7286)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/03/2020 06:18AM
Thanks for that. Seems to be more. Unknown is length of trips. Are the Coronavirus newbies staying as long as those that have come for years? No way to know I suspect.
 
marsonite
distinguished member(2275)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/03/2020 07:08AM
billconner: "Thanks for that. Seems to be more. Unknown is length of trips. Are the Coronavirus newbies staying as long as those that have come for years? No way to know I suspect."

I wonder if there is an increase this summer of people going without permits as well. I can imagine some newbie deciding to go on a trip, finding out they can't get a permit, and deciding to go anyway, or overstay a day use permit.
 
schweady
distinguished member(6916)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/03/2020 08:48PM
Our trip this past week was a short one, but yielded a far larger-than-usual number of newbie oddities sightings during our 4 days and 3 nights in the Moose/Nina Moose area. Off the top of my head:

* 4 bigger guys in a SRQ18.5, piles of gear, third guy in line sitting on a pack, 2nd guy in line sitting atop the portage yoke pads
* 2 guys who pulled up to our site and said that their 'map for this lake' blew away and did we know if there are any campsites nearby?
* 2 guys with a blue barrel for their food strapped lengthwise atop the thwarts, occupying nearly the highest point in the canoe
* family of 4 struggling to carry their canoes 2-man style and then going back for an uncountable number of duffle bags and assorted smaller day bags
* many dragging canoes across the land at portage landings, some nearly fully loaded
* LOTS and LOTS of folks moving through the lake at times during the day that you wonder why they couldn't have gotten up a little earlier, or where they think they're going to wind up before darkness set in
* quite a few canoes we met on the river struggling to get untangled from encounters with branches along the banks
* overheard many conversations out on the water that indicated a lack of understanding of where they were and how far it might be to the next lake
* one couple who asked if we might possibly holler if we find a lost shoe at one of the beaver dams up ahead
* 2 young couples putting in at a portage landing with one canoe in the only decent put-in spot and all of their stuff lined up the entire distance of the landing boardwalk over the deep mud, including the second canoe, a Target shopping bag, 2 Bear Vaults, assorted water bottles and shoes, fishing rods, and what-have you. Their first words to us as we waited a bit off-shore: "You guys need some help?" I wanted so badly to shout, "Yeah, get the f*** out of the way!" but I refrained. We did, however, finally land and push past them after realizing that the two guys had gone back to get more stuff. It was then that we heard one of the girls ask the other: "Do you still have the watermelon, or is it already in my canoe?"
A WATERMELON... that's a first for me.
 
MN_Lindsey
distinguished member(2115)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/03/2020 09:32PM
schweady: "Our trip this past week was a short one, but yielded a far larger-than-usual number of newbie oddities sightings during our 4 days and 3 nights in the Moose/Nina Moose area. Off the top of my head:


* 4 bigger guys in a SRQ18.5, piles of gear, third guy in line sitting on a pack, 2nd guy in line sitting atop the portage yoke pads
* 2 guys who pulled up to our site and said that their 'map for this lake' blew away and did we know if there are any campsites nearby?
* 2 guys with a blue barrel for their food strapped lengthwise atop the thwarts, occupying nearly the highest point in the canoe
* family of 4 struggling to carry their canoes 2-man style and then going back for an uncountable number of duffle bags and assorted smaller day bags
* many dragging canoes across the land at portage landings, some nearly fully loaded
* LOTS and LOTS of folks moving through the lake at times during the day that you wonder why they couldn't have gotten up a little earlier, or where they think they're going to wind up before darkness set in
* quite a few canoes we met on the river struggling to get untangled from encounters with branches along the banks
* overheard many conversations out on the water that indicated a lack of understanding of where they were and how far it might be to the next lake
* one couple who asked if we might possibly holler if we find a lost shoe at one of the beaver dams up ahead
* 2 young couples putting in at a portage landing with one canoe in the only decent put-in spot and all of their stuff lined up the entire distance of the landing boardwalk over the deep mud, including the second canoe, a Target shopping bag, 2 Bear Vaults, assorted water bottles and shoes, fishing rods, and what-have you. Their first words to us as we waited a bit off-shore: "You guys need some help?" I wanted so badly to shout, "Yeah, get the f*** out of the way!" but I refrained. We did, however, finally land and push past them after realizing that the two guys had gone back to get more stuff. It was then that we heard one of the girls ask the other: "Do you still have the watermelon, or is it already in my canoe?"
A WATERMELON... that's a first for me.
"


Bahahah! And people wonder why there is a bear problem at that EP!

A Watermelon! That's hilarious.
 
mutz
distinguished member(1211)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/03/2020 11:39PM
As much as we laugh when we hear and see These things, we were all new at one time some were lucky enough to be shown the way, our group was four guys who had never been before and learned By trial and error probably had people laughing at us. They evidently had no idea what they were doing, but had the courtesy to ask you, if you needed help.
 
07/04/2020 03:54AM
As we hear stories of possible over use, misuse and whatever... it’s good to hear people are getting out and such. Be it with watermelon or grapes they are seeking what many have found. We need to have patience as newbies find their way. Instead of getting frustrated about a portage yard sale, maybe pleasantly sharing some advice. Be glad the watermelon wasn’t a pig. Haha! We’re in this thing called life together... Be glad you can still travel and appreciate what is out there for you and others to enjoy. Covid crush? Whatever it takes to get people out there. Maybe plan on bringing out a little more garbage then normal and be grateful people are willing to learn and enjoy the areas we have got to enjoy for some of us a very long time.
 
missmolly
distinguished member(6723)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/04/2020 06:18AM
Gentle Ben. Looks like a bear. Sweet as a cub.
 
NoService
member (23)member
 
07/04/2020 07:34AM
We noticed some odd behavior on our trip this year as well. Strangest was a group of 4 or 5 with 2 canoes entering the lake on a beautiful day at around 4pm and checking for campsites. None available, but instead of moving on to the next lake they spent the hour or so searching for a bit of flat shoreline.. They had camp set up on an unmarked island with hours of light left. We have seen people bivouac before but usually only when the weather is terrible and it's already dark.

I mostly agree with the sentiment of the last few posts but find myself having little patience for negligence or incompetence. If people want to bring coolers, duffle bags, and their Sunday bests in and hog the portage, fine, it's not my business how you pack and I can be patient! But please follow the rules - there are not that many! And most are common sense.
 
marc24
distinguished member (135)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/04/2020 08:09AM
We’ve seen the watermelon! At the height of the Portage from Muskeg to Kiskadinna a group of youngsters were munching on it on the side of the trail. We think it was like an outward bound program or something and carrying the watermelon was like an incentive to behave and not complain. We still talk about it to this day and that was 12-13 years ago. You complain, you carry the watermelon. Enough incentive for me!
 
mschi772
distinguished member (408)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/04/2020 08:28AM
I want watermelon now.
 
schweady
distinguished member(6916)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/04/2020 11:07AM
mutz: "...but had the courtesy to ask you, if you needed help. "
"Some kind of help is the kind of help
That helping's all about.
And some kind of help is the kind of help
We all can do without."
--- Shel Silverstein
 
merlyn
senior member (83)senior membersenior member
 
07/04/2020 12:39PM
There is a difference between ignorance and stupidity. New and inexperienced are frustrating but forgivable, ignoring or flaunting the rules are not. IMO watching the LNT videos on line is far less effective then seeing them at the ranger station. I have never been stopped or checked by a ranger in the BWCA with more than 100 days of camping. More enforcement and education is necessary. If stupid gets ticketed maybe stupid will get the idea (probably not) but maybe they won't come back next year or if they do, have a better understanding of LNT.

 
mutz
distinguished member(1211)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/04/2020 01:19PM
schweady: "mutz: "...but had the courtesy to ask you, if you needed help. "
"Some kind of help is the kind of help
That helping's all about.
And some kind of help is the kind of help
We all can do without."
--- Shel Silverstein
"


It’s not the kind of help, it’s the thought and offer that they may have been able to help.
 
schweady
distinguished member(6916)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/04/2020 03:16PM
mutz: "schweady: "mutz: "...but had the courtesy to ask you, if you needed help. "
"Some kind of help is the kind of help
That helping's all about.
And some kind of help is the kind of help
We all can do without."
--- Shel Silverstein
"



It’s not the kind of help, it’s the thought and offer that they may have been able to help."

You weren't there. Give it up.

We were still floating. Waiting. There was no "help" they could possibly provide at the time. The guy was probably wondering why I didn't just pick a spot, ram the shore, and jump out.

These people offered the second kind of help, and were demonstrably incapable of the first.

In hindsight, perhaps my response should have been, "Yeah, do you have a slice of watermelon handy?"
 
thistlekicker
distinguished member (360)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/05/2020 08:11AM
You know all those watermelon rinds ended up either in the latrine, in the lake, or 10 feet into the woods off the campsite clearing. :(
 
billconner
distinguished member(7286)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/05/2020 06:21PM
I do not believe this is the new normal. In two years it will again be just us old farts primarily, a few with children or grand children, and little trouble finding campsites.
 
straighthairedcurly
distinguished member(573)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/06/2020 03:48AM
I think the 1st paragraph says it all. With the print at home permitting system this year, people are not being made accountable for demonstrating an understanding of LNT. Nothing like standing nervously in front of a ranger who is asking you to repeat back details from the video to make you sit up and pay attention.

While I have enjoyed the convenience of being able to print at home, and was diligent about rewatching the videos for the umpteenth time, I am guessing that a lot of people who are just borrowing a canoe and hauling in a cooler for a quick weekend away are brushing over the concepts or not watching at all. Too bad you don't have to pass an online quiz before being able to print your permit. I will be glad when things go back to normal.

I was fortunate in that my route took me far from most crowds and popular entry points, but when I did get near then, I did pick up a lot more garbage and evidence of "axes gone crazy" than in the past. No watermelons, though...LOL.
 
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