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Mobwca12
member (8)member
 
09/28/2020 11:47AM
I was wondering what peoples opinions are on entering someone else’s campsite in the BWCA? My personal opinion is I never enter someone’s campsite.Over the years I have had people enter my campsite, most people announce themselves an ask if it’s Ok if they check out the site, however some just walk into the campsite unannounced as if I am invisible. I personally never mind when someone wants to check out my campsite especially if they announce themselves and ask first. Most people are great and fun to chat with, but then you get the groups that just roll up let the dog run thru and show no courtesy what so ever. By far the most obnoxious Example of this is early this year a group of five walked onto my campsite at about 1 pm about 2 hours after I had arrived, they all walk right into the site with gear. None of them tried to communicate with me, even though I was 5 feet away in plain site, with a tent and a trap set up. after a minute I said how are you guys doing today. After some small talk one of the men said we have already past 2 sites that where full today so if you don’t mind we are going to stay on this site, in which I replied I do mind actually because this is a small site and I want my privacy, also it is only 1 pm and there are dozens of sites on each connecting lake with very short portages as well as possible open sites on the current lake. Most seem to understand but one member ask me what I was going to do if they stayed. Lucky my answer cleared that situation up pretty quick. But wow what a odd chain of events. Any ways anyone have any story’s similar or opinions on the matter.
 
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09/28/2020 12:15PM
Wow.

Never had anything close to that happen with me - seems to be borderline criminal especially with the apparent threat. Would be interesting to get a true legal perspective since the entire BWCA is public land. Is there some sort of occupancy law that applies to a campsite once you are there? Once you set up? Would trespassing laws apply? hmm...now I am curious.

The closest thing that I have experienced was on the SHT (Superior Hiking Trail). Three of us were in a campsite and it was starting to get dark when we had a group of hikers come by looking for a site. They sent one guy to ask if they could join us for the night as the next site was IIRC about 4 more miles down the trail. Since it was a large site we had no problem saying yes. Turns out it was an group of Boy Scouts, mostly 15-17 year olds with their 2 adult leaders. We ended up have a great time telling stories around the campfire that night as the three of us were all Eagle Scouts ourselves.
 
heavylunch
distinguished member (140)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/28/2020 12:28PM
You all are starting to scare me. We have had people ask to share before in the past but nothing like that. We only shared our site once and they had done all they could to procure one before asking us.

Wow...
 
09/28/2020 12:29PM
As far as I can remember, I have only once entered someone else's campsite, and it was just on the rocky point off the site. When we did our "Return to Cherokee" trip in 2012 I wanted to take some photos of us on the points at site #899, as it had fond memories from times we had stayed there in 1992 and again in 2002. We didn't want to see the site itself, just the "sitting rocks", and I approached the young man there, after asking permission, and told him a bit of our story, while asking to pose quickly for some photos on the rocks. He agreed.

We got our photos and quickly left again. It meant a lot to me.

It ended up having a flip side, though, as later on he posted on this board that I had "told him a long sob story about wanting to camp at the site and tried to make him feel guilty so that they would move and let us have it." All untrue except that I told him a story. We had already camped with HoHo and David on another site and had absolutely no intention of moving.

Sort of spoiled the experience.

 
HangLoose
distinguished member(798)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/28/2020 12:30PM
It is NEVER okay to set foot in an occupied site in the BWCAW without an explicit invitation. I think it is rude to even ask to enter an occupied campsite unless it is an emergency situation.

Solitude and privacy are number one priorities for many BWCAW travelers. Respect that.
 
tonyyarusso
distinguished member(1382)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/28/2020 12:31PM
Cricket67: "The closest thing that I have experience was on the SHT (Superior Hiking Trail). Three of use were in a campsite and it was starting to get dark when we had a group of hikers come by looking for a site. They sent one guy to ask if they could join us for the night as the next site was IIRC about 4 more miles down the trail. Since it was a large site we had no problem saying yes."

That case isn't at all comparable. Campsites on the Superior Hiking Trail MUST be shared - they shouldn't have even asked, because you would have had no right to say no, no matter how packed the site is. If you need to rearrange tents to squeeze everyone in, that's what you have to do.
 
HangLoose
distinguished member(798)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/28/2020 12:36PM
Comparing rules on the SHT with the rules and etiquette in the BWCAW is comparing apples to oranges. The two should not even be mentioned in the same sentence.
 
09/28/2020 12:51PM
On the other side of the fence: We have had someone come into our site (while we were napping in the tent and didn't hear the arrival) and ask to share. It was on Loon Lake, and it was a really nice afternoon, good weather, and as I remember it was about 2 PM. Seemed to be a family group, and for some reason they didn't want to go on any longer.

My husband explained (I didn't leave the tent) that we were really looking for solitude when we were canoe-tripping, and since it was early and the weather was good he wanted them to move along.

They then proceeded to set up a camp just down the shore from us, within sight of our camp, (not a campsite), had a fire and enjoyed their evening all within our sight as we cooked our dinner and ate. I was not happy, but we didn't say anything.

In the morning as we were enjoying breakfast, the man again entered our campsite to ask if the grandfather could come up and use our latrine. What could we say? So he did so, and then they packed up and left quite quickly.

I would have shared a campsite if someone were threatened by bad weather, or if it was very late and there seemed to be a danger involved if they went on. But this one always left a bad taste in my mouth.
 
Northwoodsman
distinguished member(1500)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/28/2020 12:53PM
What are you going to do if we stay? I would have said "Nothing. I'm just going to take photos of you, your canoes, and your equipment and provide it to the proper authorities and let them deal with it. Do you mind smiling for the photo? Would you prefer I take individual photos or do you want to gather for a group photo? Say cheese.".
 
bottomtothetap
distinguished member(757)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/28/2020 01:09PM
Northwoodsman: "What are you going to do if we stay? I would have said "Nothing. I'm just going to take photos of you, your canoes, and your equipment and provide it to the proper authorities and let them deal with it. Do you mind smiling for the photo? Would you prefer I take individual photos or do you want to gather for a group photo? Say cheese."."

LOL-perfect!
 
Mobwca12
member (8)member
 
09/28/2020 01:18PM
Northwoodsman: "What are you going to do if we stay? I would have said "Nothing. I'm just going to take photos of you, your canoes, and your equipment and provide it to the proper authorities and let them deal with it. Do you mind smiling for the photo? Would you prefer I take individual photos or do you want to gather for a group photo? Say cheese."."

That is a lot more PG-13 than what i said and did after i got out of my chair :)
 
Porkeater
senior member (99)senior membersenior member
 
09/28/2020 01:56PM
It's sad that this seems to have come up several times this year. It would be interesting to have an authoritative answer to the question, as opposed to what seems to be the consensus of proper etiquette. I searched a little bit and couldn't seem to find anything definitive.
 
soundguy0918
member (50)member
 
09/28/2020 02:10PM
@Cricket67 it was Scouting that taught me that you never, ever enter someone else's campsite without permission.

The OP's story is about as rude as it gets. Certainly dangerous weather conditions or a medical issue might excuse someone seeking emergency shelter, but poor planning is no excuse for rudeness or threat of violence. It just goes to show that there are always exceptions the rule that MOST camping folks are decent, respectful people.

 
Mobwca12
member (8)member
 
09/28/2020 02:11PM
Porkeater: "It's sad that this seems to have come up several times this year. It would be interesting to have an authoritative answer to the question, as opposed to what seems to be the consensus of proper etiquette. I searched a little bit and couldn't seem to find anything definitive. "

Rule or not i just don't understand why anyone would want to share a campsite.
 
bottomtothetap
distinguished member(757)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/28/2020 02:22PM
Even this year when we were visited by Forest Service rangers, who I believe DO have some rights to come in to your camp, they only did so after announcing themselves from the water and asking permission to come ashore.
 
geotramper
distinguished member (156)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/28/2020 02:35PM
Slightly different context, but I hiked the Angleworm trail recently and had some other hikers enter our camp. In my mind, the same campsite etiquette that applies to canoe campsites applied to hike in campsites (in the BWCA/not like the SHT), especially because when hiking you can camp off trail at non-designated sites if need be.

We had a couple enter our campsite on Whisky Jack lake. We greeted them (so did our dog), assuming they would see the camp was occupied an leave. Without asking, they proceeded to hang out on a rock on the north side of camp to eat a snack and filter water. That's not problematic, but it would have been nice if they asked. They left after about 15 minutes.

After they left, we went over to the rock they have been on and found a banana peel with the sticker still on casually tossed to the side of the rock. I was astounded by this, because not only is this littering (I don't care if it will decompose eventually/also still had the sticker), but it showed an incredible lack of awareness for keeping a clean camp and bear safety. A single banana peel is not a huge problem (there has been evidence of much worse this year and it was easy for us to pack out) but I found the whole situation to be disrespectful of us and the BWCA.

To me they seemed like pretty inexperienced backpackers, so I don't think it was done with an kind of ill intent or malice. But it does show how important the permitting process is for preventing degradation of the BWCA.

Don't want to derail the thread, but as an aside there were far more overnight campers on the Angleworm Trail that weekend than permits could have possibly allowed, and one group even confirmed they were hiking with a paddle-only permit...
 
09/28/2020 02:49PM
HangLoose: "Comparing rules on the SHT with the rules and etiquette in the BWCAW is comparing apples to oranges. The two should not even be mentioned in the same sentence."

I do get that the rules are very different and that the SHT are very different, but it was really the closest personal experience I had and I was more using it as contrast to what the OP had described. In our case, the incoming group asked when they did not need to (IMO following proper etiquette). While in the BWCA the group Mobwca ran across followed neither etiquette or the rules.

I would like to hear from a lawyer or someone who understands law regarding the rights campsite occupants have in this type of setting. Does it differ between federal or state land? Does the wilderness designation change anything?

 
09/28/2020 03:40PM
Wow...what a group of $$$!

They did everything wrong they could think of...

1. Entered camp unannounced....even the authorities such as the FS announces their presence before landing at a camp
2. Entering camp not invited
3. Telling you they were going to camp with you not even asking
4. Making a veiled threat if you didn't allow it.
5. Have they heard of COVID-19?...what the F--Bomb

What if it had been a big site? It still shouldn't matter. An occupied site is an occupied site. We just did a trip in August, watched the FS videos we were told to in our permit emails. It clearly states in the videos to NOT APPROACH occupied sites because it is a wilderness and people go for privacy. It also states only one group can camp at a site because it is a wilderness and it lessens the impact on the land.

It just blows my mind someone would land at your site and once they see it occupied not be embarrassed and leave.

Maybe report it to the FS even if you don't have any info. Maybe they need to make it more part of the education, but some people just do what they want anyway I know.

T


 
09/28/2020 03:54PM
Cricket67: "HangLoose: "Comparing rules on the SHT with the rules and etiquette in the BWCAW is comparing apples to oranges. The two should not even be mentioned in the same sentence."


I do get that the rules are very different and that the SHT are very different, but it was really the closest personal experience I had and I was more using it as contrast to what the OP had described. In our case, the incoming group asked when they did not need to (IMO following proper etiquette). While in the BWCA the group Mobwca ran across followed neither etiquette or the rules.


I would like to hear from a lawyer or someone who understands law regarding the rights campsite occupants have in this type of setting. Does it differ between federal or state land? Does the wilderness designation change anything?


"


By no means a lawyer, but I believe the wilderness designation is probably the difference. I have only camped in Wilderness areas so this "sharing" of campsites seems like an entirely foreign idea to me. If I remember the wilderness goals correctly it is to disperse groups and limit impact to campsites. Multiple groups in the same camp is the opposite of that goal.

T
 
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(13370)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
09/28/2020 03:58PM
Wow that is just about the strangest thing I’ve heard happen up there. They really need to change the way the Forest service communicates the rules, guidelines, LNT rules, to people. It really need to be clearly stated beforehand in a video and on the back of the permit that only one group to a campsite unless it is an emergency or weather related. The old saying that “common sense is not that common anymore” is so true nowadays.
 
adam
Moderator
 
09/28/2020 04:30PM
Solitude is one of the defining characteristics of a Wilderness Area.
 
GeoFisher
distinguished member(1541)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/28/2020 05:15PM
Mobwca12: " I was wondering what peoples opinions are on entering someone else’s campsite in the BWCA? My personal opinion is I never enter someone’s campsite.Over the years I have had people enter my campsite, most people announce themselves an ask if it’s Ok if they check out the site, however some just walk into the campsite unannounced as if I am invisible. I personally never mind when someone wants to check out my campsite especially if they announce themselves and ask first. Most people are great and fun to chat with, but then you get the groups that just roll up let the dog run thru and show no courtesy what so ever. By far the most obnoxious Example of this is early this year a group of five walked onto my campsite at about 1 pm about 2 hours after I had arrived, they all walk right into the site with gear. None of them tried to communicate with me, even though I was 5 feet away in plain site, with a tent and a trap set up. after a minute I said how are you guys doing today. After some small talk one of the men said we have already past 2 sites that where full today so if you don’t mind we are going to stay on this site, in which I replied I do mind actually because this is a small site and I want my privacy, also it is only 1 pm and there are dozens of sites on each connecting lake with very short portages as well as possible open sites on the current lake. Most seem to understand but one member ask me what I was going to do if they stayed. Lucky my answer cleared that situation up pretty quick. But wow what a odd chain of events. Any ways anyone have any story’s similar or opinions on the matter."

it is NEVER acceptable.....PERIOD.
 
missmolly
distinguished member(6957)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
09/28/2020 05:36PM
I'm a Crown Land paddler, so I rarely see other canoeists, but on one lake trout lake, we were camped when three Canadians arrived at our island and pitched their tent close to ours.They were friendly and it was their country, plus the Crown Land has nearly no rules, so we didn't mind.
 
woodsandwater
distinguished member (305)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/28/2020 06:20PM
Ha! Well done! Please share!
 
Old Timer
Guest Paddler
 
09/28/2020 06:35PM
What if there are no other camp sites? Isle Royale requires you to share “your” site if others are being used. People will often share their screened in 3 sided shelters.
 
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(13370)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
09/28/2020 07:12PM
Old Timer: "What if there are no other camp sites? Isle Royale requires you to share “your” site if others are being used. People will often share their screened in 3 sided shelters. "

He said it was 1:00 in the afternoon, no emergency, no weather. I would not want anyone in the campsite I’m at unless it’s an urgent situation. He said there were dozens left on the lake, and other nearby lakes.
 
09/28/2020 08:39PM
Old Timer: "What if there are no other camp sites? Isle Royale requires you to share “your” site if others are being used. People will often share their screened in 3 sided shelters. "

Different rules for a different area i would guess...but I looked up Isle Royale and they either have campgrounds...which obviously are different than camp sites like the BWCAW or they have campsites but they also say campsites are first come first serve for groups 6 or less...groups 7 or more have to have a reservation. I did not look hard but it looks like the majority of Isle Royale is not shared based on the FS website.

But to answer the first part of your question...move on!...when you get a BWCA permit it doesn’t guarantee you a site on a specific lake. It also doesn’t entitle you to be an ahole and force your way into a campsite. I bring my kids...let’s say I am on the other side fishing...then I walk back and see you in my camp with my kids...what do you think I will do...what possible intention could you have by blatantly violating the rules entering my camp hanging out with my kids? The whole thing makes me cringe...

T
 
Mobwca12
member (8)member
 
09/28/2020 09:29PM
Yeah I told them if they keep walking onto peoples sites sooner or later they are going to met by someone less laid back than myself, and like I said some of the group members were understanding. I used the example what if you guys walked up and a women was getting dressed she probably wouldn’t be to happy with you would she?
 
tarnkt
distinguished member (321)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/28/2020 10:13PM
Mobwca12: "Porkeater: "It's sad that this seems to have come up several times this year. It would be interesting to have an authoritative answer to the question, as opposed to what seems to be the consensus of proper etiquette. I searched a little bit and couldn't seem to find anything definitive. "


Rule or not i just don't understand why anyone would want to share a campsite. "


Exactly. Just go to the state park or KOA if that’s your mentality.

The second I see an occupied campsite I do a 180 or give as wide a berth as possible.

One year on Crooked lake I woke up at 7:00 AM on a perfect summer morning and walked out of my tent in my boxers and met an a**hat sitting in his canoe 10 feet offshore who asked me how long I was planning on staying at the site. Told him we were packing up and leaving in a few hours. Moron proceeded to pile his gear on the only suitable landing area and said he was going to claim it after we left.

Still pisses me off when I think about it.
 
Nigal
distinguished member (210)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/29/2020 05:48AM
Mobwca12: " Lucky my answer cleared that situation up pretty quick. But wow what a odd chain of events."

So what was your answer? LOL!

I was once on a lake outside of the bwca and there is one site that is just picture perfect. It is a smallish site so imagine my surprise when we came back from fishing to find about 20 Boy Scouts standing around in our camp. I found the leader and said hi. They had backpacked in. I said, “you’re not thinking of staying here are you?”. He indicated they were to which I corrected him by saying, “no you’re not.”. So they ended up stringing out along the ridge behind us and generally ruining our night by walking through our camp to get water. So the next time I know the correct explanation to scout leaders is “I ain’t allowed within 1,000 yards of minors and I ain’t going back to prison for nobody. Move along.”.

 
Mobwca12
member (8)member
 
09/29/2020 07:09AM
I just told him if they want to go down that road its fine with me, I got up and he floated away just as snowflakes do.
 
Mobwca12
member (8)member
 
09/29/2020 07:20AM
timatkn: "Wow...what a group of $$$!


They did everything wrong they could think of...


1. Entered camp unannounced....even the authorities such as the FS announces their presence before landing at a camp
2. Entering camp not invited
3. Telling you they were going to camp with you not even asking
4. Making a veiled threat if you didn't allow it.
5. Have they heard of COVID-19?...what the F--Bomb


What if it had been a big site? It still shouldn't matter. An occupied site is an occupied site. We just did a trip in August, watched the FS videos we were told to in our permit emails. It clearly states in the videos to NOT APPROACH occupied sites because it is a wilderness and people go for privacy. It also states only one group can camp at a site because it is a wilderness and it lessens the impact on the land.


It just blows my mind someone would land at your site and once they see it occupied not be embarrassed and leave.


Maybe report it to the FS even if you don't have any info. Maybe they need to make it more part of the education, but some people just do what they want anyway I know.


T

I had actually forgotten about covid at this point in my trip as well lol

"
 
Outdoorsfan69
senior member (72)senior membersenior member
 
09/29/2020 07:32AM
What it boils down to is a total lack of respect. Walking into someone else's camp shows little respect. Mouthing off about it shows total lack of respect. Decent folks wouldn't do this.
 
mooseplums
distinguished member(10205)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
09/29/2020 09:43AM
Most of the time, I trip solo these days. I would NOT be a fan of someone waltzing into my campsite and announcing that they were staying. For me it's a safety issue, and I'd be alittle freaked out about it....I don't know them, so why should I trust them. Especially with all the BS going on this year.
 
yogi59weedr
distinguished member(2161)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/29/2020 10:47AM
I bet the sound of my 12 million volt taser would send them a paddling.
 
bottomtothetap
distinguished member(757)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/29/2020 11:02AM
tarnkt: "Mobwca12: "Porkeater: "It's sad that this seems to have come up several times this year. It would be interesting to have an authoritative answer to the question, as opposed to what seems to be the consensus of proper etiquette. I searched a little bit and couldn't seem to find anything definitive. "



Rule or not i just don't understand why anyone would want to share a campsite. "



Exactly. Just go to the state park or KOA if that’s your mentality.


The second I see an occupied campsite I do a 180 or give as wide a berth as possible.


One year on Crooked lake I woke up at 7:00 AM on a perfect summer morning and walked out of my tent in my boxers and met an a**hat sitting in his canoe 10 feet offshore who asked me how long I was planning on staying at the site. Told him we were packing up and leaving in a few hours. Moron proceeded to pile his gear on the only suitable landing area and said he was going to claim it after we left.


Still pisses me off when I think about it."


I don't think there was much wrong in him asking about your plans and I have not minded when asked the same (though it's never been that early in the morning!) but he certainly crossed the line as soon as he started unloading his gear before you left the site. That would have irritated me too. Did you ask him to wait until you were gone?
 
Nigal
distinguished member (210)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/29/2020 11:11AM
yogi59weedr: "I bet the sound of my 12 million volt taser would send them a paddling. "

I was wondering how hard it would be to paddle away from my camp at full speed after being hit with bear spray? Haha!
 
Soledad
distinguished member(1709)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/29/2020 12:06PM
The fact that you are forced to share your site on the SHT is the reason I no longer hike it. 20 years ago, it was understood that if a site was occupied you would keep hiking. Sometimes, we would share a site, but it was very rare. There are just too many people on that trail now.

I would turn most folks away in the BWCA, but I have let a group stay with us because they were in over their heads, and exhausted late in the day and we were leaving in the morning.

I go to the BWCA to get away from people.
 
Mobwca12
member (8)member
 
09/29/2020 12:44PM
Yeah sharing a site on the SHT has always been a pain, there is always the group that rolls in right when you are going to bed, and the people that set up a foot from the fire grate every time lol!
 
tarnkt
distinguished member (321)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/29/2020 12:57PM
bottomtothetap: "


I don't think there was much wrong in him asking about your plans and I have not minded when asked the same (though it's never been that early in the morning!) but he certainly crossed the line as soon as he started unloading his gear before you left the site. That would have irritated me too. Did you ask him to wait until you were gone? "


Definitely agree the asking wasn’t the problem. Just taken aback that he was sitting so close so early in the morning. I was in my underwear at the time. Went back to change and he was in the middle of the unloading when I got back. Just too annoyed to deal with it at that point.

To top it all off he had a fish on his stringer and I asked him how he caught it he made some cheeky remark about it being a secret.
 
1lookout
distinguished member (131)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/29/2020 01:07PM
As a former ranger, my best guess would to write them a ticket as a public
nuisance and check the box that says they have to bring it up with a federal
judge in Duluth. I would then either escort them to a nearby open campsite or
call other authorities to assist me in have them exiting the wilderness.
Never heard of this, but it would really piss me off.
 
smoke11
distinguished member (194)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/29/2020 01:08PM
That dude sounds like a real pillar of the community!
 
KawnipiKid
 
09/29/2020 07:21PM
+1 on HangLoose's comment: "It is NEVER ok to enter an occupied campsite in the BWCA without an explicit invitation."
 
Mocha
distinguished member(7165)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
09/29/2020 07:36PM
Just throwing this out there..... this is aside from being courteous and practicing etiquette and solitude and all the things we strive for on a canoe trip....

I have never seen it written that sites are good for one permit only. I have seen it written that no more than 4 watercraft and/or 9 people in one place at the same time.

The former ranger who replied above would be the best person to know the answer.

Don’t get me wrong...I am NOT agreeing to anyone else in my site but my party.
 
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