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      Awkward encounter with Canadian Rangers     

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Wharfrat63
member (45)member
 
10/01/2020 09:20AM

I was paddling on LLC on 9/15 with 3 newbies and paddled over to see and photo the Pictos. As we are sitting in the canoes bobbing and taking pictures, a tandem approaches us. I didn't notice that they were rangers at first. When encountering others in the wilderness, I always greet people with a friendly Hello and then "Where are y'all coming from?" Sometimes they give me a lake name, sometimes their home state, sometimes an Entry Point. Either way, it is a nice way to start a conversation. Unfortunately...

He must have assumed I knew he was a ranger and replied with "Where are you coming from?..." I thought that was strange and then noticed the patch on his shirt. I laughed out loud and said "oh, you guys are rangers. We are coming from Iron..." I then get grilled about "Did we step on Canadian Soil? Where are you going? Are you fishing? ". I thought that strange, as he could see our rods all attached to the thwarts.

I told him we are checking out the Pictos and he says: "Well you have seen them." At that point, I start with some small talk about when the boarder is going to open and how they have southern Q all to themselves. They chit chat a bit, but still seemed "grumpy" with our presence. At that point, I said " Have a good day and be safe"...and we promptly headed north to Fish Skate Narrows.

So later that day, I find out that the newbies in our other canoe, engaged them first. Our tripmate "Maps" (Who asked about 3 or 4 times a day about where we are.) Was questioned by the Ranger first about where we were going....Ooops, the ranger asked the wrong person in our group. He said we are going to "Lake Lac Las Croixs." Blahahahaha, he had no idea he had been on LLC for most of the day and could not even remember the name correctly!..

This is only the second time I have encountered rangers. First time was a pleasant experience. Maybe, Maps' answer and my greeting started the whole thing?...Who knows. Just a very awkward encounter.



 
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10/01/2020 10:16AM
Did you get to see the picto’s enough? Seems a little weird... now if your getting out of your canoes on warrior hill like years ago was common, that might be stretching the border agreement. There may have been evidence of people not honoring this. Maybe because they heard or even experienced of our troubles with groups or whatever leaving messes and such in the BWCA. How did your newbies do in canoe country? Did they grasp the LNT and other ethical aspects not normally the norm in other areas?
 
Michwall2
distinguished member(959)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/01/2020 10:17AM
My guess - given all that has been written here about the behavior of our "newbie" fellow citizens throughout the rest of the BW this summer - is that they were as tired of dealing with (as we are hearing about) all the people who either have no clue about the border rules (and other rules of the BW) or simply choose to ignore them. (Because, "what harm am I causing?") Having encountered the newbie of your group who had no idea where he was (or where he had been?) probably set them further on edge. While you had likely not broken the treaty rules, you were in Canadian waters. Hence you were technically "aliens" in their jurisdiction.

The border is closed, especially to tourists. Your presence there, however "legal" you might interpret your "rights", is probably pushing the limit of their patience.

My guess is that you had little or no identification on you, much less a passport? (They are not issuing RABC's so it is unlikely you had one.). You were carrying fishing gear and most likely did not have a Canadian fishing license. Did you have barbed hooks or lead sinkers? Both are banned in Canada I believe. Someone can correct me, but I think live bait is also a no-no in Canada. Whether you were using them at the time or not, simply their presence in your boat in Canadian fishing waters may be a violation of their laws.

As close and "friendly" as Canada my be, it is still foreign soil. And it does not mean that you are not subject to careful scrutiny as to your adherence to their laws. I would say you were lucky not to be further searched and cited.
 
Wharfrat63
member (45)member
 
10/01/2020 10:47AM
nctry: "Did you get to see the picto’s enough? Seems a little weird... now if your getting out of your canoes on warrior hill like years ago was common, that might be stretching the border agreement. There may have been evidence of people not honoring this. Maybe because they heard or even experienced of our troubles with groups or whatever leaving messes and such in the BWCA. How did your newbies do in canoe country? Did they grasp the LNT and other ethical aspects not normally the norm in other areas?"

I have seen the pictos at least 4 times. Maybe he knew! Oh, the newbies were great. Except for all the selfies! They are all Millennials and I am an old fart....Trip report coming sometime this fall...

We entered EP16 up to Iron; up to Pocket, and down to Oyster was the route. Couple of wind days changed our route, but that always happens...So many cars in the EP16 parking lot...but the only place that felt "crowded" was LLC from Fish Skate to Pocket creek. Iron was pretty busy too. Where were all the peeps? We had Pocket to ourselves for a couple of days. First trip without rain!
 
GopherAdventure
distinguished member(700)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/01/2020 12:34PM
I was in that area at the same time. Didn’t see any Rangers, but I did see a Canadian motorboat fishing waaaayyy over on the American side. They were trolling coming out of Lady Boot Bay, west of Fish Stake Narrows. I know many of the people that did the Border Route Challenge that same week were told to take the American portage if their was one available which would imply that Bottle portage was off limits since there’s another portage on the west end of Iron that comes out right by the American Ranger cabin on LLC (very few people use it because it’s longer and tough with a beaver pond in the middle). That’s probably why they asked you if you stepped on Canadian soil coming from Iron. Sorry to hear that it wasn’t a more pleasant encounter.

Tony
 
mgraber
distinguished member(1091)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/01/2020 02:20PM
Even though this seems like an overreaction, what you were doing was technically illegal. I have asked a number of times and authorities on both sides have said that it is never, under any circumstance, legal to significantly cross the border whether by land or water without the proper documentation, unless necessary in order to portage. I know of a group who got in trouble for wandering over the border less than 1/4 mile while paddling. Another example is a group that got fined for fishing on the Canadian side of Basswood. They had an RABC and Canadian fishing license, but failed to get either a Day pass, yearly vehicle pass, or overnight permits. It is difficult to get a day, or overnight pass for this, as they can only be picked up the day of or the day before at the ranger station or main office. The only practical solution is a yearly vehicle pass along with the RABC which will allow you to cross over the border as long as you do not camp. This was explained to me at the main Atikokan office. You need an RABC to satisfy customs, a permit to satisfy park requirements and, if fishing, an Ontario fishing license to satisfy Ontario Fish and Wildlife. I know not everyone does it this way but they are just tempting fate. A quote from the first Canadian official I ever asked about this, "You should always be aware of where the border is while paddling and never assume that close is good enough."
 
adam
Moderator
 
10/01/2020 02:32PM
Canada has taken a tougher stance on this. They would deem visiting pictographs as discretionary (non-essential) travel and therefore subject to a fine. Given the directive, I can understand why this meeting would be less than positive.

Article.
Wharfrat63
member (45)member
 
10/01/2020 02:37PM
GopherAdventure: "I was in that area at the same time. Didn’t see any Rangers, but I did see a Canadian motorboat fishing waaaayyy over on the American side. They were trolling coming out of Lady Boot Bay, west of Fish Stake Narrows. I know many of the people that did the Border Route Challenge that same week were told to take the American portage if their was one available which would imply that Bottle portage was off limits since there’s another portage on the west end of Iron that comes out right by the American Ranger cabin on LLC (very few people use it because it’s longer and tough with a beaver pond in the middle). That’s probably why they asked you if you stepped on Canadian soil coming from Iron. Sorry to hear that it wasn’t a more pleasant encounter.


Tony"


Interesting. Bottle Portage off limits...That is the first time I have heard that. I even have maps from outfitters from previous trips, that have the American Portage crossed out and arrows to Bottle Portage. Oh well, All is well that ends well.

Wharfrat
 
GopherAdventure
distinguished member(700)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/01/2020 02:46PM
Wharfrat63: "GopherAdventure: "I was in that area at the same time. Didn’t see any Rangers, but I did see a Canadian motorboat fishing waaaayyy over on the American side. They were trolling coming out of Lady Boot Bay, west of Fish Stake Narrows. I know many of the people that did the Border Route Challenge that same week were told to take the American portage if their was one available which would imply that Bottle portage was off limits since there’s another portage on the west end of Iron that comes out right by the American Ranger cabin on LLC (very few people use it because it’s longer and tough with a beaver pond in the middle). That’s probably why they asked you if you stepped on Canadian soil coming from Iron. Sorry to hear that it wasn’t a more pleasant encounter.

Tony"

Interesting. Bottle Portage off limits...That is the first time I have heard that. I even have maps from outfitters from previous trips, that have the American Portage crossed out and arrows to Bottle Portage. Oh well, All is well that ends well. Wharfrat"

Whoa, you misunderstood. In normal years, yes, Bottle portage is free to use as is any Canadian Portage along the border, by treaty of 1840 I believe. This year, with the border closed, it is different. They’re discouraging people from doing anything debatable in regards to the border, meaning, step on Canadian soil at your own risk. I for one don’t want my family to have to find out how complicated it is to get out of jail for violating the border closing.

Tony
 
Wharfrat63
member (45)member
 
10/01/2020 02:53PM
adam: "Canada has taken a tougher stance on this. They would deem visiting pictographs as discretionary (non-essential) travel and therefore subject to a fine. Given the directive, I can understand why this meeting would be less than positive.


Article."


Interesting. Thanks for the link. I can see how that could be deemed non-essential. It that case, maybe the encounter was positive....But still awkward. Ignorance is not a defense, but a maybe a little education from our outfitter or the rangers may have went a long way. It is now just another story to add to my Canoe Country travels.

Thanks again for the link.

It is a good thing we didn't infect any Canadians while up there. ;-)

 
Wharfrat63
member (45)member
 
10/01/2020 03:01PM
GopherAdventure: "Wharfrat63: "GopherAdventure: "I was in that area at the same time. Didn’t see any Rangers, but I did see a Canadian motorboat fishing waaaayyy over on the American side. They were trolling coming out of Lady Boot Bay, west of Fish Stake Narrows. I know many of the people that did the Border Route Challenge that same week were told to take the American portage if their was one available which would imply that Bottle portage was off limits since there’s another portage on the west end of Iron that comes out right by the American Ranger cabin on LLC (very few people use it because it’s longer and tough with a beaver pond in the middle). That’s probably why they asked you if you stepped on Canadian soil coming from Iron. Sorry to hear that it wasn’t a more pleasant encounter.

Tony"

Interesting. Bottle Portage off limits...That is the first time I have heard that. I even have maps from outfitters from previous trips, that have the American Portage crossed out and arrows to Bottle Portage. Oh well, All is well that ends well. Wharfrat"

Whoa, you misunderstood. In normal years, yes, Bottle portage is free to use as is any Canadian Portage along the border, by treaty of 1840 I believe. This year, with the border closed, it is different. They’re discouraging people from doing anything debatable in regards to the border, meaning, step on Canadian soil at your own risk. I for one don’t want my family to have to find out how complicated it is to get out of jail for violating the border closing.

Tony"

Thanks Tony. I didn't know that Treaties can be suspended. These are crazy times with many in power exercising it in extreme ways. I appreciate all the input here and can now call myself an "illegal alien". ;-}
 
mooseplums
distinguished member(10205)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
10/01/2020 07:22PM
I did the American portage once years ago. It's a mile long and it sucks.
 
10/01/2020 07:57PM
As Mgraber said, technically what you did was illegal...it has always been illegal. I know a lot of people do it and the majority are fine, but they could of given you a ticket if he wanted. The treaty allows for navigation along the border, sightseeing and fishing are not covered by the treaty. I would say you got off easy—-especially this year—as the Canadians unlike the FS tend to “educate” with fines rather than explain the rules. Probably didn’t want to get too close as they seem to think all Americans have COVID ;) Not saying I agree or think it is a big deal, just saying there is a small risk.

T
 
yogi59weedr
distinguished member(2161)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/01/2020 08:31PM
Okay.
No sudden movements toward your waist line...
I need to see everyone's
License
Registration
And insurance card.....

 
user0317
distinguished member (324)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/01/2020 09:24PM
mooseplums: "I did the American portage once years ago. It's a mile long and it sucks."
I was really dumb and went up the Bottle river. Pretty though. No regrets.
 
Northland
distinguished member (203)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/02/2020 02:48AM
They could have been following up on a report of someone doing something illegal. You never know. The questions, in that event, would seem strange because you probably wouldn't be told what it was they were looking for.

I recall a few years back when the individual from (I think) North Carolina was wandering around both the BWCA And downtown Ely, with little or no proper gear and was not exactly mentally aware of what was going on. This was the guy who told people he had once eaten human flesh or some such nonsense. LEO's were on the lookout for him at various times and would ask a lot of questions regarding who a party had seen or met with, when, where, etc. Most paddlers were already aware, but for someone who may not have been, that would have seemed like an odd conversation. It's not like they would come right out and ask "seen any weirdos or cannibals?" ??
 
Northwoodsman
distinguished member(1500)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/02/2020 07:43AM
yogi59weedr: "Okay.
No sudden movements toward your waist line...
I need to see everyone's
License
Registration
And insurance card.....
"

...and test results.
 
Portage99
distinguished member (461)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/02/2020 08:15AM
I don't think border patrol staff are overly nice, and I don't expect them to be. They have a job to scrutinize and make decisions about what's going on. I wouldn't expect small talk with border staff in a car or in a canoe. They are focused on assessments as they spoke with you. Kind of like when a cop pulls you over and is checking out everything in your car, while you are pleading your case. : )

I was selected for a further search because I said I was canoeing but had little gear (used the Wabakimi Project) and no canoe. It was before 5 am and I was by myself. I also stopped to look at a family of foxes and did not realize that was a surveillance area (seemed far from the border). Two agents searched my car and were very serious, bordering on "mean". I was honestly nervous because I knew my story sounded super sketchy. I stammered around that they could call people I knew to verify. I felt like everything I said made me look more sketchy. I had to admit I was looking at a family of foxes which brought a ton of questions about where the foxes were and where they went. : )

After searching for about 15 minutes, their demeanor completely changed and they started complimenting me on my paddle and started joking with me to bring a canoe next time I plan to canoe. It's their job to be kinda stern and intimidating while they are assessing you.

In hindsight, it would have been better if your buddy just said he was new and to ask you. But, he was trying to provide information. Probably looked potentially suspicious.

I also agree that they are probably fatigued with the whole thing. Aren't we all? And, collectively, the world is kind of in awe of our behavior right now, so....

 
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(13370)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
10/02/2020 08:28AM
It always makes me wonder why people are so cavalier with the international border. It’s another country!
 
scotttimm
distinguished member (387)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/02/2020 09:41AM
When we were on LLC this summer (July), some other paddlers told us that two other canoes in their group were run off by "some guys in a boat" who were yelling at them while they were looking at the Pictos. He said they almost ran over the canoe. We had been there a day earlier and had a nice discussion with some First Nation folks who were visiting in a motorboat - we were super respectful and immediately started to paddle away as they approached. It was actually a really memorable experience for us as the First Nation visitors told us about their ancestors who were responsible for the pictos, a little history about where they lived, etc...but it definitely made me wary about visiting in the future to hear the other story.
 
tumblehome
distinguished member(1727)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/02/2020 09:44AM
Savage Voyageur: "It always makes me wonder why people are so Cavalier with the international border. It’s another country! "
Speaking from one guy that’s been around a while to another guy that’s been around a while: how many times have we heard this same sort of story?

Americans think they can do what they please on the border and then wonder why they are stopped and interrogated. We don’t let illegal aliens come across our southern border. Why do we feel it’s OK for us to go across the Canadian southern border?

I can understand the frustration by the Canadians and in the perpetual dealings with hoards of Americans illegally crossing into their country.

There is no gray area, no permission to cross the imaginary line to sightsee, fish, camp, or anything else.

Sigh.
Tom
 
Wharfrat63
member (45)member
 
10/02/2020 11:17AM
tumblehome: "Savage Voyageur: "It always makes me wonder why people are so Cavalier with the international border. It’s another country! "
Speaking from one guy that’s been around a while to another guy that’s been around a while: how many times have we heard this same sort of story?

Americans think they can do what they please on the border and then wonder why they are stopped and interrogated. We don’t let illegal aliens come across our southern border.

I can understand the frustration by the Canadians and in the perpetual dealings with hoards of Americans illegally crossing into their country.

There is no gray area, no permission to cross the imaginary line to sightsee, fish, camp, or anything else.

Sigh.
Tom"


Hey Tom and Savage Voyageur,
My original post was to see what this community thought about the encounter. At the time it occurred, the experience was neither bad or good. Just a strange and awkward experience for me. Not something I had experienced or heard others experienced, like you have. I certainly did not think I would be characterized in such a negative way by people who do not know me.

Your characterization of me "As cavalier and as an American who thinks he can do whatever he wants" is uncalled for. You don't know me. You don't know who I am or what I believe in. But you are both quick to characterize me anyway.

Since 1981, I have heard the same advice given by multiple outfitters, that it is ok to view the pictos as long as you don't leave your canoe. So as customers, we take the advice of experts in the area. 99.999% of us are not an international law experts. Maybe, that is the reason this story occurs so much, as Tom has said, and not because "Americans think they can do whatever they want or are cavalier."

Law is full of grey and context is extremely important. Fortunately for us, our Canadian Rangers had critical thinking skills and were not handicapped by their own confirmation bias of Americans.


Wharfrat.


 
Jackfish
Moderator
 
10/02/2020 11:18AM
Well said, Tom. I've always wondered about people in the BWCA who want to "do a quick run up to Rebecca Falls and take some pics". The falls are probably a mile into Canada.
 
PineKnot
distinguished member(1571)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/02/2020 11:25AM
tumblehome: "Savage Voyageur: "It always makes me wonder why people are so Cavalier with the international border. It’s another country! "
Speaking from one guy that’s been around a while to another guy that’s been around a while: how many times have we heard this same sort of story?

Americans think they can do what they please on the border and then wonder why they are stopped and interrogated. We don’t let illegal aliens come across our southern border. Why do we feel it’s OK for us to go across the Canadian southern border?

I can understand the frustration by the Canadians and in the perpetual dealings with hoards of Americans illegally crossing into their country.

There is no gray area, no permission to cross the imaginary line to sightsee, fish, camp, or anything else.

Sigh.
Tom"

I feel very much the same. Three weeks ago on my solo, I was camped on LLC at the site just south and west of Warrior Hill (great view, btw). It was late afternoon and I noticed a tandem canoe cruising from Never Fail Bay into Canada just north of Warrior Hill. I surmised that they were headed into the no-name lakes between Warrior Hill and the pictos. Never saw them after they headed east around a point. I doubt they were Canadian coming from the US side.

And another reason to not always expect Canadian rangers to be pleasant, especially this year... and probably next year, too.
 
AndySG
distinguished member(8091)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
10/02/2020 12:34PM
tumblehome: "Savage Voyageur: "It always makes me wonder why people are so Cavalier with the international border. It’s another country! "
Speaking from one guy that’s been around a while to another guy that’s been around a while: how many times have we heard this same sort of story?

Americans think they can do what they please on the border and then wonder why they are stopped and interrogated. We don’t let illegal aliens come across our southern border. Why do we feel it’s OK for us to go across the Canadian southern border?

I can understand the frustration by the Canadians and in the perpetual dealings with hoards of Americans illegally crossing into their country.

There is no gray area, no permission to cross the imaginary line to sightsee, fish, camp, or anything else.

Sigh.
Tom"

Well said Tom.
 
10/02/2020 12:43PM
When encountering Canadian officials you can be dealing with three different agencies. At border crossings you encounter CBSA (Canadian Border Services Agency) agents. In parks you generally deal with Parks Canada rangers and anywhere in the bush you may encounter MNR (Ministry of Natural Resources) officers.

In more than 14 years of crossing the border at four different entrance stations I have always found CBSA agents to be at least business like if not friendly. I have been on trips where we were approached by Parks Canada rangers and those encounters were always friendly. Since I have yellow Eureka Canada food barrels the rangers always assumed we were Canadian which may be why the encounters were friendly. When they checked our permits they have commented that the food barrels made them believe that. There have been several encounters with MNR officers who were business like and were obviously looking for violations like fishing or lack of proper permits/licenses.

There was a Wabakimi Project trip 4 or 5 yrs ago where the only American on that trip was cited by MNR for not having a Non Resident Crown Land Camping Permit. Uncle Phil had always told us he had a handshake agreement with MNR in Thunder Bay that since the Project was doing work to document/improve canoe routes we did not need crown land permits. Phil had told the American participant he would take the citation to the Thunder Bay MNR office to have it voided but never did so. The American figured he was okay with MNR until months later when he got a phone call at home in Minnesota from the MNR office telling him if he ever wanted to return to Canada he had to pay the violation cost of about $160.00 which he did.

Uncle Phil always told us that when crossing the border and asked for the reason we were traveling to Canada to state we were going on a fully outfitted canoe trip. We were not to mention doing volunteer work since the word “work” might make the border agent question exactly what we planned to do. We were also told to just answer the questions we were asked, which I always felt was very good advice.
 
tumblehome
distinguished member(1727)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/02/2020 01:18PM
@warfrat63,

Mmmm, don’t take it personally. Speaking for myself, I was generalizing the issue that you wrote about. With that, there are at least a dozen posts or more annually about people inquiring about the consequences or lack of them for illegally crossing into Canada. Over the years, some people have rationalized some real crazy scenarios where they think it will be OK.

Back to your original post, My thoughts on it is that you were dealt a fair response from the rangers. I think they treated you better than many. Collectively we have heard of many, many encounters with rangers stopping people over the border. Some are stopped in speed boats, some in canoes, some in planes, once I know of in a helicopter.

Please don’t take my writing personally, it wasn’t really aimed at you but rather the subject.

Cheers,

Tom
 
LindenTree
distinguished member(2589)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/02/2020 02:07PM
Wharfrat63: "

He must have assumed I knew he was a ranger and replied with "Where are you coming from?..." I thought that was strange and then noticed the patch on his shirt. I laughed out loud and said "oh, you guys are rangers. We are coming from Iron..." I then get grilled about "Did we step on Canadian Soil? Where are you going? Are you fishing? ". I thought that strange, as he could see our rods all attached to the thwarts.

"


I find this original greeting/line of questioning odd from a Ranger in the field.

I have mostly worked with US Federal Conservation/Wildlife Officers, in my career. The good ones would have seen your poles and started a line of questioning with "how was the fishing". Anything you say will be anaylized/mentally, noted and followed up with another question by them. They will find out where you have been, what you fished with and what you did by simply engaging in friendly conversation.
Then after they have gained enough intelligence to determine if a violation has occured, they may drop the hammer and the seriousness begins.
 
Wharfrat63
member (45)member
 
10/02/2020 03:06PM
tumblehome: "@warfrat63,


Mmmm, don’t take it personally. Speaking for myself, I was generalizing the issue that you wrote about. With that, there are at least a dozen posts or more annually about people inquiring about the consequences or lack of them for illegally crossing into Canada. Over the years, some people have rationalized some real crazy scenarios where they think it will be OK.


Back to your original post, My thoughts on it is that you were dealt a fair response from the rangers. I think they treated you better than many. Collectively we have heard of many, many encounters with rangers stopping people over the border. Some are stopped in speed boats, some in canoes, some in planes, once I know of in a helicopter.


Please don’t take my writing personally, it wasn’t really aimed at you but rather the subject.


Cheers,


Tom"


Thanks Tom. I appreciate your note. I apologize that I assumed it was personally directed. Thanks.

Take care
Wharfrat
 
mschi772
distinguished member (460)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/02/2020 04:25PM
Wharfrat63: "Since 1981, I have heard the same advice given by multiple outfitters, that it is ok to view the pictos as long as you don't leave your canoe."

Americans telling other Americans that doing something that takes advantage of Canada and is technically illegal is OK for at least the past 40 years... I can't blame any Canadian border patrol officers for being grumpy once in awhile. Add the context of Covid and the abuses of so many visitors this year, and I'm surprised you didn't have a much more awkward experience with them. Because they look and act so similarly to our own American public servants in the USFS, I get why many people might overlook the unique importance of interactions with Canadian law enforcement, but that is why I can never stress enough when discussing trips that involve the border that the imaginary line between the US and Canada, and the Canadians on the other side of it are a very big deal deserving of major respect.

With me, it's passport, RABC, Ontario fishing license, and Ontario parks pass if there is any chance of crossing the border. Fishing license optional if it is agreed to leave all fishing gear behind on the US side during a day trip. This year, I wouldn't even entertain the thought of crossing the border except where totally necessary and allowed by treaty due to the path of a portage.
 
scat
distinguished member(896)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/02/2020 05:47PM
You meant no harm. You got scolded. You got away relatively unscathed. Till you posted about it on here. Let it go. Your experience was informative to me, and fun sport for all the experts. Nicely played.
 
Northland
distinguished member (203)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/02/2020 11:35PM
Savage Voyageur: "It always makes me wonder why people are so cavalier with the international border. It’s another country! "

It makes me wonder if people would be as cavalier if hiking around Organ Pipe NP and wandering into Mexico ??. Probably not fun, I'd wager.
 
Northland
distinguished member (203)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/02/2020 11:42PM
Northland: "Savage Voyageur: "It always makes me wonder why people are so cavalier with the international border. It’s another country! "
It makes me wonder if people would be as cavalier if hiking around Organ Pipe NP and wandering into Mexico ??. Probably not fun, I'd wager."

Oops, just saw that I was beaten to the punch on that one!
 
HangLoose
distinguished member(798)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/03/2020 10:29AM
This isn't directed at the original post or at anyone specifically, but I'm sorta glad to see some patrol of Quetico. I'm guessing our Canadian friends heard about all the shenanigans in the BWCAW this year and increased border patrols to prevent any of that foolishness from crossing the border. Maybe if the patrols on the USA side of the border were a bit more of what you described, then we could prevent some of the tomfoolery that we experienced in the BWCAW this season. Great thread and good discussion
 
Pinetree
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10/03/2020 11:13AM
tumblehome: "Savage Voyageur: "It always makes me wonder why people are so Cavalier with the international border. It’s another country! "
Speaking from one guy that’s been around a while to another guy that’s been around a while: how many times have we heard this same sort of story?

Americans think they can do what they please on the border and then wonder why they are stopped and interrogated. We don’t let illegal aliens come across our southern border. Why do we feel it’s OK for us to go across the Canadian southern border?

I can understand the frustration by the Canadians and in the perpetual dealings with hoards of Americans illegally crossing into their country.

There is no gray area, no permission to cross the imaginary line to sightsee, fish, camp, or anything else.

Sigh.
Tom"


Agree. Its their Country and we are privileged if we get a chance to visit it.

Also I have had only 100% good encounters with the Canadian Rangers. In fact they have told me to come and visit them in Aitikoken different times. Treat them with respect and friendship, that is what you will get back.

Also if they have had a few bad encounter with U.S. citizens by the last few days they might be a little grumpier than normal. I know by lac Croix their have been a few Americans running all over. A few damage it for the other 95% plus honest and caring folks.
 
Blatz
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10/03/2020 01:13PM
My only encounter with Canadian Rangers was a good one. Two ladies on Kawnipi in the early 90s. They seemed more interested in my Barton Carbon bent shaft paddle than anything else.I let them check it out. Didn't see many of those paddles in the BW back then
 
mutz
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10/03/2020 05:47PM
I understand that there has been excessive damage this year in the BWCA, it appears that most people think the only ones who trash the wilderness are Americans and that would cause more parol by the Canadians. We have done a lot of boat in wilderness camping in Ontario over the past 20 years and I can assure you the Canadians trash the woods as much as Americans do.
 
Argo
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10/04/2020 07:34PM
These are Quetico Park wardens. They are not called rangers. They shouldn't have any authority normally afforded to border agents nor MNR conservation officers both of whom are armed.

From their perspective you were in or entering Quetico without a permit. So it sounds like they were just letting you know if you set foot in the park you may get fined.
 
missmolly
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10/05/2020 07:54AM


The big trash that Canadians leave in the woods are their boats. The one in the photo was abandoned years/decades ago as the earth was creeping up its sides. Its owner likely grew too old to ever retrieve it. There are literally thousands of such abandoned boats up there and everyone I've tried leaks.

I also find other things that they lug in, but won't lug out.
 
Soledad
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10/05/2020 10:29AM
Canadians feel like they are living on the second floor apartment building, and there is a meth lab on the first floor.

I saw the pictographs in July, I am glad I didn't run into Rangers. I also thought it was OK to visit those rocks.
 
Jackfish
Moderator
 
10/05/2020 10:45AM
Soledad: "Canadians feel like they are living on the second floor apartment building, and there is a meth lab on the first floor. "
I doubt that's exactly how they feel, but it's still a funny analogy. LOL
 
goatroti
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10/05/2020 11:26AM
Sorry, but many of those boats are there at the ends of trails and portages because they've been left by fishing lodge operators to serve their American clients that make up 90% of their business.

The second photo might be the remnants of a moose or bear hunting camp used by our native friends. They, in four short generations, have been thrust from an organic lifestyle where most of their materials were bone, sinew, wood and stone, (these would easily be re-absorbed into the earth) into a non-organic way of life with metal, petroleum-based oils, fuels and plastic materials. These are not absorbed into the earth without the evidence remaining for many years. They are learning about the difficulties of living in a more modern culture and are slowly changing their ways.

Wabakimi Park is doing a credible job of cleaning up these fishing boats, but it's a big task. Friends of Wabakimi may be helping the park in the future. The Wabakimi Project cleaned up many a campsite with similar garbage remains for 14 years.
 
Chosa
Guest Paddler
 
10/05/2020 04:41PM
The Indians have not changed. The garbage has changed.

Look at what we find. Beads, arrowheads, pottery, pictographs, petroglyphs, cliff dwellings, etc....
 
10/05/2020 06:54PM
goatroti: "Sorry, but many of those boats are there at the ends of trails and portages because they've been left by fishing lodge operators to serve their American clients that make up 90% of their business.

The second photo might be the remnants of a moose or bear hunting camp used by our native friends. They, in four short generations, have been thrust from an organic lifestyle where most of their materials were bone, sinew, wood and stone, (these would easily be re-absorbed into the earth) into a non-organic way of life with metal, petroleum-based oils, fuels and plastic materials. These are not absorbed into the earth without the evidence remaining for many years. They are learning about the difficulties of living in a more modern culture and are slowly changing their ways.

Wabakimi Park is doing a credible job of cleaning up these fishing boats, but it's a big task. Friends of Wabakimi may be helping the park in the future. The Wabakimi Project cleaned up many a campsite with similar garbage remains for 14 years. "

I think Miss Molly is talking about regular crown land lakes as per her experience. And not usually lakes you’d expect to find resort or outfitter boats. I’ve fished some similar lakes where there are boats stashed like that from years gone by in some crazy places. Lots of relics in them there woods!
 
VoyageurNorth
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10/06/2020 08:15PM
About a couple weeks into June we found out that Bottle Portage and the portage north of Horse River, while both technically in Canada, were deemed legal to walk/use.

However, especially like at Bottle portage, people were asked to be on the Canadian side as little as possible. That meant come up to Bottle portage from the U.S. southern side of La Croix and when over the portage, start to head southward to the U.S. side.

At first Customs were very strict, no Canadian soil at all but then they had these exceptions.

They still didn't want anyone crossing the border to view Warrior Hill or the pictographs. At least not until the border is reopened. I have gone to see both but not gotten out of the canoe and have know many customers who have done the same.

With the COVID & border closed, they are just being more cautious & if their government says "No", they work for the governments, so they have to enforce the rules. Not the year (or maybe even next?) to get so close to Canada except for the agreed upon portages.
 
GraniteCliffs
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10/06/2020 10:16PM
I know in past decades, the border has had very loose enforcement. However, it is 2020. I’m am as guilty as many others of cutting corners on the border route and veering into Canada. I did it this year on a very windy day heading east from Curtain. I knew I shouldn’t, but took the risk. Had I been pinched for it, I would have understood why I was at fault.

I often think it is odd that we won’t stand on Canadian soil except on the allowed border portages. We would not fly into Canadian airspace. On a lake like Basswood, if we had a boat and motor, we would stay on the US side, but somehow we think we have the right to paddle into Canada.
 
missmolly
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10/07/2020 06:16AM
nctry: "I think Miss Molly is talking about regular crown land lakes as per her experience. And not usually lakes you’d expect to find resort or outfitter boats. I’ve fished some similar lakes where there are boats stashed like that from years gone by in some crazy places. Lots of relics in them there woods!"
Exactly, Ben. Of course, there are lodge boats too, but always in the vicinity of a lodge, usually a lake abutting the lodge's lake, and those boats are often identified as the property of a lodge. You and I have seen the "some guy's" abandoned boat on some lonesome lake, and when they're wood, they're often down to their ribs.
 
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