Chat Rooms (0 Chatting)  |  Search  |   Login/Join
* For the benefit of the community, commercial posting is not allowed.
Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Listening Point - General Discussion
      Leave No Trace Video-next year Required     
 Forum Sponsor

Author

Text

01/15/2021 04:31PM  
 
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next
01/15/2021 04:33PM  
 
tumblehome
distinguished member(1974)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/15/2021 06:03PM  
Some people on here should get a test afterwards since the rules don’t apply to them, only the rest of us.

Bring your chainsaw.

Tom
 
01/15/2021 06:48PM  
tumblehome: "Some people on here should get a test afterwards since the rules don’t apply to them, only the rest of us.


Bring your chainsaw.


Tom"

True, throughout life rules only pertain to the next guy.
 
billconner
distinguished member(7700)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
01/15/2021 06:50PM  
Just so you know, those of us who don't pay the Star Tribune can't see those articles.
 
01/15/2021 07:00PM  
billconner: "Just so you know, those of us who don't pay the Star Tribune can't see those articles."

Usually you use to get like 5 free views a month.


2021 BWCA visitors will have to learn to 'leave no trace' of their visit
The Forest Service says it's making educational videos mandatory for permits after last season's bad behavior.
By Bob Timmons JANUARY 15, 2021 — 1:39PM

DENNIS ANDERSON
The quota permit season in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness runs from May through September.

Canoe campers permitted to visit the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness will be required to get educated on what it means to "leave no trace" after a pandemic-driven surge in visits last season saw everything from people cutting live trees to leaving campfires unattended.

The U.S. Forest Service, which manages the million-acre wilderness, said in a statement Friday that there has been "unacceptably high amount of resource damage," and visitors will be required to watch three Leave No Trace education videos online and review wilderness regulations before they receive permits.

Ann Schwaller is the Forest Service's forest program manager for the BWCA. She told the Star Tribune in August that careless and illegal behavior was unrivaled.

"We are witnessing the effects from much more degradation and damage than we usually see in an average year," she said. "And it appears our use is much higher now compared to this same time during an average year."

Reservations for quota permit season, from May through September, begins at 9 a.m. Jan. 27 online at recreation.gov and by phone at 877-444-6777.

In general, about 150,000 people visit the BWCA every year. The Forest Service said some of the conduct last season included improperly disposing human waste, leaving trash in fire rings, and gathering in disruptive and oversized groups.

"It takes a commitment from everyone visiting these treasured lands to ensure that the lakes, waterways and forests of the BWCAW are protected against resource damage, so the wilderness character is preserved for future generations," the statement added.

More information about the permit process, whether in-person or virtual, also is online at recreation.gov. Find more information about the Superior National Forest and the BWCA at these sites:

-Fs.usda.gov/superior

-Twitter.com/SuperiorNF

-Facebook.com/SuperiorNF

 
01/15/2021 07:02PM  
billconner: "Just so you know, those of us who don't pay the Star Tribune can't see those articles."

As Minnesotans rush outdoors for an escape, bad behavior follows
Surge in ATV use, boating, camping, and elsewhere has brought dark element with it. Advocates say education remains key.
By Bob Timmons Star Tribune AUGUST 3, 2020 — 1:00AM

From the U.S. Forest Service. Improper disposal of waste at a site on Alpine Lake. ORG XMIT: nWU_2nxhXJjYaEZc2wB4
TEXT SIZE
EMAIL
PRINT
MORE
Images of Minnesota’s idyllic public lands this summer are mixing with visions of crowded trails and parks, careless campers and boaters, and just plain bad behavior as people seek to do the one thing they’ve been encouraged to do since COVID-19 struck: Find escape in the outdoors.

Stories are ever-present from government agencies, field officers, outdoors advocates and others connected to the scene. Some examples:

•?Green trees cut to clear views at campsites — or just cut upon.

•?Helmetless kids buzzing around roadways on the family’s new all-terrain vehicle.

•?Jet Skiers jetting across lakes when it’s not permitted.

•?Trash piled up at portages after paddlers move out.

Minnesota isn’t alone. In recent weeks, reports abound of a crush of visitors — many thought to be newcomers — at hallowed places across the United States. Some national parks are seeing graffiti, feces and trash on trails, and damage to historic areas, like dirt bikers recently accused of tearing up part of Grand Teton National Park.

Ben Lawhon, education director at Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics in Boulder, Colo., said the numbers of new people recreating has amplified the issues. What might be one-time acts in other years have accumulated since the pandemic, he said, and the alarm is justified.

“So many of these people we see spending time outside either have never done so in the way they are doing now, so they’re either uniformed, unskilled or engaging in careless behavior,” he said.

It’s a disturbing period for those who make their living in the outdoors, like Lawhon, and feel a calling to welcome people to experience, learn and just possibly champion the outdoors to future generations. Outdoors caretakers interviewed said educating people remains one of the key tools to curb the problem.

Into the forest

Ann Schwaller, who has worked in the wild for 30 years, wonders why the message of respecting the outdoors hasn’t gotten through to some people.

Schwaller said there is careless and illegal behavior every year in the Superior National Forest where she works, from damage to resources to bad social etiquette. However, this year is different, said the U.S. Forest Service’s forest program manager for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

“We are witnessing the effects from much more degradation and damage than we usually see in an average year,” she said. “And it appears our use is much higher now compared to this same time during an average year.”

The data on increased visits Up North will get compiled in time. In general 50% of the 150,000 annual visitors to the BWCA come from the metro area. This summer, too, the wilderness has absorbed more traffic from paddlers who might have headed to the boundary waters of Quetico Provincial Park in Canada if the border wasn’t closed.

Schwaller said the irresponsible conduct has baffled her and her colleagues and her contacts across the country.

“Why is there a disconnect between visiting a place you think is beautiful and have wanted to visit your whole life, and your treatment of it once you arrive?” she asked. “We are trying to understand where the disconnect is coming from to prevent this damage in the future.

“Why would somebody think they could leave a pile of trash at a remote campsite in the wilderness after they are done visiting the area? Or think it’s OK to hack or peel live trees? Why don’t they understand their responsibility in protecting the BWCA while visiting?”

Schwaller speculated that some new visitors might be used to developed campgrounds, or resorts, and the pandemic has pushed them toward new locations, uninformed about the necessities.

What is clear, she said, is visitors aren’t watching the Forest Service video series online that’s regarded as mandatory viewing before a trip. Also, the agency’s trip planning guide isn’t getting read. People head out seemingly unaware about what it means to tread lightly, to leave no trace.

“They don’t seem to have the information and education or the tools necessary to protect the wilderness on their trip. It’s difficult for me to put myself in their shoes and understand the mind-set,” Schwaller said. “I think a lot of us are going to be studying this social issue when COVID is finally over.”

Some of the uptick in bear nuisance reports is caused by campers who mishandle their food.

People have the ability to tamp down encounters with bears, said Sean Williams, a Department of Natural Resources conservation officer in Ely. He added that too many people are bringing along coolers or relying on containers that are billed as “bear-proof.” The animals turn them into play things. A best practice is to hang “smellables” — food and anything that might attract attention — from a tree and out of reach.

“We’ve had a series of nuisance bear issues in this area, which are 100 percent avoidable and 100 percent human fault,” said Williams, whose territory includes the busy Fourtown-Mudro lakes area, Little Indian Sioux River (north and south), Big Moose Lake and part of Lac la Croix.

On the water

Conservation officers have reported unprecedented boat traffic on some waters — everything from who’s operating to what they’re using.

Mitch Lawler, a conservation officer in Alexandria, said more people are out on new paddleboards, kayaks, Jet Skis and wake boats.

Lawler said some users aren’t aware that paddleboards are considered watercraft. Those longer than 10 feet have to be registered through the DNR — just like boats. Paddleboarders also need to have a life jacket along. Jet Skiers and those on similar watercraft also have been testing the law by operating after hours. And wake boat drivers are getting warned about their gargantuan waves and their impact on fellow boaters, especially children in paddleboats or on paddleboards, and the shoreline, Lawler said. His tips:

•?Know what you are riding, what it is capable of, what its limits are, and what’s required to operate it.

•?Leave a note where you are boating and when you are coming home. “There are 100 lakes in Douglas County. If we don’t know where to start searching, that is going to be a problem,” Lawler said.

•?Know the law. Illegal Jet Ski use is an issue this summer. The window is 9:30 a.m. until an hour before sunset. Some riders don’t take the time to learn the rules. “People think if they can see, they can go ride,” Lawler said.

•?Be mindful of wakes. “[Wake boats] are fairly new, but I won’t issue a warning to the same person twice,” he said, alluding to a high number of complaints.

•?Inspect for aquatic invasive species more thoroughly. New boaters in particular are overlooking anchors and their ropes. “It’s got stuff jammed in the cracks and crevasses,” Lawler said.

On the ATV

Like other parts of the state, all-terrain vehicle use is up in the McGregor area, too, said conservation officer Amber Ladd. Sales are booming for manufacturers like Polaris. Also increasing are people younger than 18 who are operating them without helmets — illegally.

Rules are different depending on the roadway, the class of ATV and the operator’s age. Still, Ladd said the issue is prevalent with people operating Class 2 ATVs, aka side-by-sides, who don’t realize their passengers younger than 18 require helmets. She said she also is observing more Class 1 ATV riders breaking rules: from being underage without a helmet, to driving them in ways they shouldn’t.

“I’m seeing them utilized as a thing for kids to do, and I am seeing them out on the roadways,” Ladd said.

In general, Class 1 ATVs have to be ridden in a road ditch or on the outside slope; Class 2 must be to the far right of a road. Where they go depends on the area and road authority. Counties, for example, have different rules about use on gravel, and not every old snowmobile trail is fair game. “It just takes one ‘wheeler’ to go through there, and everyone thinks they can,” she said.

Ladd said there also has been a volume of ATVers who haven’t registered their machines or gone through the protocol of transferring ownership, blaming the pandemic for processing delays. It’s an excuse that’s wearing thin, Ladd said, as routine business returns.

Ladd said many people don’t have their required ATV safety certificate. Anyone born after July 1, 1987, is required to have the training. Don’t blame the pandemic, she added. They can meet the obligation online if they are 16 or older. “That is where they are going to learn a lot of that stuff, [the rules] are laid out there for them,” she said.

Riders age 10-15 need to take the safety course online and also attend a hands-on class that covers the basics of riding responsibly.

Ladd encouraged people to self-educate, too. She said she gives out a lot of DNR rule books and business cards so people can contact her with questions. Her number is even posted at a local gas station.

“The other thing I tell people is, if you think that it might not be right, it probably isn’t,” she added.

Going forward

Back in Boulder, the Center for Outdoor Ethics recently released findings from research about future activity among experienced outdoors people. Some supported land managers limiting access to public lands if they continue to get tarnished. That surprised Lawhon.

Still, he returns to educating, and the center is trying to figure out its next best moves to reach outdoors newcomers when its public events are allowed again. Lawhon said research shows that telling people why their actions matter is the best way to change behavior.

“Most people, if we can tell them the right thing to do, the least impactful thing to do — and can tell them why — most people will do it,” he said.

The question settling in Lawhon’s mind is how to make the outdoors welcoming for everyone going forward, how to build new stewards, even as his center struggles with what it’s observing.

“To not view it as an opportunity would be counter to our ultimate mission of teaching people how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly,” he said. “It’s not always just teaching them before they show up, it’s meeting them where they are.”

 
billconner
distinguished member(7700)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
01/15/2021 07:17PM  
Pinetree-thank you very very much. Good read. I hope they do push the education and that it works.

(lots of star links here ;) )
 
01/15/2021 07:23PM  
billconner: "Just so you know, those of us who don't pay the Star Tribune can't see those articles."

Trying using an Incognito browser.
 
01/15/2021 09:16PM  
Pinetree thanks for posting. I can never get anything up form Star Tribune anymore. Don’t know what the issue is.

I do agree I think a lot of it is education, most people are ignorant about the outdoors. I remember my first trip with buddies we had never heard of leave no trace before until they talked to us at the outfitter and made us watch the video. It really helped Our understanding.

T
 
billconner
distinguished member(7700)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
01/16/2021 07:15AM  
fadersup: "billconner: "Just so you know, those of us who don't pay the Star Tribune can't see those articles."


Trying using an Incognito browser. "


I still hit the paywall. Thanks for trying.
 
OtherBob
distinguished member (104)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/16/2021 08:15AM  
Watching the video at home was a requirement last year, so nothing new there. What appears to be different is that permit pickup must now be in person at cooperating outfitters - no "self-issued" permits like last year. The third video must be viewed at that time. The outfitter will then quiz the paddlers on the high points. It looks as if the Forest Service offices will not be open to issue permits - is that right?

Outfitters will be able to spot the newbies who need more instruction, as well as the "bushcrafters" who have machetes and zip ties strapped to their equipment belts. Some tasks are just incapable of being digitized; they need the human presence, especially when it comes to altering human behavior.

Here's to a more pristine wilderness.


 
scramble4a5
distinguished member(558)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/16/2021 09:25AM  
Any idea if the videos are available now to watch? I could see the system crashing if we all are trying to look at them permit day.
 
Tuscarora Outfitters
senior member (68)senior membersenior member
 
01/16/2021 09:30AM  
Here is a link to the USFS press release: 2021 Quota Permit Season

Andy
 
brp
distinguished member (140)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/16/2021 09:44AM  
This change will make it hard for my group, we come from all over the state and meet at a campground near the BWCA the night before, with people arriving as late as 11pm. The guy who lives closest get the permit in the afternoon.

I'm not saying the video requirement is a bad thing, it may just pose some logistical challenges.

I wonder if they might come up with some type of ID# you could have after you take a test, meaning you don't have to watch the video. For group leaders, frequent day-use people, people doing field-work, and others, it may be a nice option. It might also take traffic out of issuing/video sites in a Covid-21 world.

 
01/16/2021 10:38AM  
OtherBob: "Watching the video at home was a requirement last year, so nothing new there. What appears to be different is that permit pickup must now be in person at cooperating outfitters - no "self-issued" permits like last year. The third video must be viewed at that time. The outfitter will then quiz the paddlers on the high points. It looks as if the Forest Service offices will not be open to issue permits - is that right?....
"

No self-issued permits? Did I miss it - I just did not see that mentioned in either article above? Nor did I see mention of having to go to a cooperator to pick up the permit and watch video 3?
 
DanMN
member (29)member
 
01/16/2021 12:41PM  

No self-issued permits? Did I miss it - I just did not see that mentioned in either article above? Nor did I see mention of having to go to a cooperator to pick up the permit and watch video 3? "
The way I read it. If you pick the issue stion for permit pickup. That's where you would watch the 3rd video. Otherwise it is done online and the permit is e-mailed to you.
 
01/16/2021 03:51PM  
Jaywalker: "OtherBob: "Watching the video at home was a requirement last year, so nothing new there. What appears to be different is that permit pickup must now be in person at cooperating outfitters - no "self-issued" permits like last year. The third video must be viewed at that time. The outfitter will then quiz the paddlers on the high points. It looks as if the Forest Service offices will not be open to issue permits - is that right?....
"

No self-issued permits? Did I miss it - I just did not see that mentioned in either article above? Nor did I see mention of having to go to a cooperator to pick up the permit and watch video 3? "


From the press release link provided by Tuscarora:

Check the Cooperators tab on Recreation.gov at: (https://www.recreation.gov/permits/233396) before securing a permit to see which issue stations are issuing permits in-person or virtually. Permit holders who select a cooperator issuing permits in-person will be required to watch the final LNT education video and review the BWCAW Regulations and Rules prior to receiving their permit. Permit holders with permits listed at issue stations operating virtually will be e-mailed their permit by the Forest Service after completing required virtual LNT education online. If a permit holder does not have access to the internet, they must call the Forest Service to complete the LNT education requirement.

 
01/16/2021 06:24PM  
^^^ “..... Permit holders with permits listed at issue stations operating virtually will be e-mailed their permit by the Forest Service after completing required virtual LNT education online. “

I’m still wondering what that means. So maybe those getting permits virtually just have to say they watched? Is the real change that cooperators will have to make people watch?

 
JWilder
distinguished member (277)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/16/2021 07:34PM  
Local and state law enforcement agencies occasionally or annually conduct enforcement campaigns to crack down on seatbelt and dwi incidents.

The USFS needs to do something similar for LNT infractions and ethics violations within the BWCA for 2021:

1) Scrap the video and require in-person education with either a ranger or outfitter personnel. Warm-blooded people have more of an impact and can answer questions better than a video can offer...

2) Have USFS personnel stationed at random entry points daily looking for those red flag groups that will be an issue; keg, boom box, etc...

3) An increase of USFS paddles in the water daily checking camps and monitoring portages for rifraf.

To some this may seem radical. But I believe is necessary...

J
 
Mocha
distinguished member(7351)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
01/16/2021 08:12PM  
Not sure why this past summer behavior is confusing to the usfs. When there is no accountability for the education aspect of being issued your permit then it all goes downhill.
Honest people watch the video at home, now they will have to watch 2 at home and 1 at an outfitter? Plus, if only the permit holder has to watch the video what happens to the education for the rest of the party? It appears from this past season that the permit holder can't be trusted to relay and enforce rules within their own party.
It seems like life is just one big "hurry up" experience. Too busy getting packed, no time to watch video, and then once arriving at entry or outfitter or town just in a big hurry to repack and eat and drink some beers get a little sleep and hurry to entry point to beat other parties...get there first, portage first.....
When this idea of self-issuing permits came into discussions more than 5 years ago between usfs and outfitters, the major concern was the education part. Outfitters were very concerned. Now it happened. Not sure it can be totally blamed on covid. It's probably happening all over the country at nature areas.

I firmly believe in some sort of education, whether it's the video and in person review, or just the in person review. The usfs is dropping the ball on this and have only themselves to blame. Yes, they are short staffed. Who isn't? Outfitters also asked (over the years) for ways to utilize citizen volunteers (such as seasoned folks from this site) to help in summers by traveling routes and talking to campers. No ticket writing, just education and permit checking. Usfs won't do it because of liability issues...
I'm afraid it's only going to get worse until the bwca is no more.
The end.
 
01/16/2021 08:54PM  
Excellent write Mocha
 
Stumpy
distinguished member(1632)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/17/2021 12:08PM  
Maybe I'll send them a video
 
schweady
distinguished member(7276)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
01/17/2021 04:47PM  
OtherBob: "...permit pickup must now be in person at cooperating outfitters - no "self-issued" permits like last year. The third video must be viewed at that time. "
I hope that this, at a minimum, is true. Otherwise, I don't see any change.

Most media are carrying the USFS's water just like the STrib did: "The Forest Service says it's making educational videos mandatory for permits after last season's bad behavior." They state is as if this is something new, and so people go all gaga about how this will change everything.

Guess what, folks... the (rather good, and recently updated) online video message has been around for a long time, and folks have, sadly, been ignoring its message for just as long.

scramble4a5: "Any idea if the videos are available now to watch? I could see the system crashing if we all are trying to look at them permit day."
The current set of 3 LNT videos happens to be right here on this site.
 
Bearpath9
distinguished member (247)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/18/2021 08:37AM  
So they watch the videos. Does that mean that they will follow the videos ? Do everything that the videos say, and don't do everything the videos say not to do ? I may be a pessimist in thinking that once they are out there, they suffer amnesia. True, it may do some good and some folks may follow it to the letter, but there are too many out there that will just figure that they have fulfilled the only requirement that they have to fulfill. After that, they can do whatever pleases them, because that is their right. Without some form of accountability, and I realize that enforcement is stretched to the limit, it may change, but very little I'm sorry to say. Just my 2 cents.
 
Wharfrat63
senior member (98)senior membersenior member
 
01/18/2021 10:00AM  
billconner: "Just so you know, those of us who don't pay the Star Tribune can't see those articles."

Try clearing your browser cookies.
 
01/18/2021 06:04PM  
The solution is not easy to accomplish -- (1) make people understand the consequences of their actions, and (2) convince them to care.

I don't think that you can rely on mandating things and educating on cause and effect. You have to both educate and persuade at the same time. Since people must be persuaded in different ways it makes it quite difficult.
 
jdoutdoors
distinguished member (185)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/18/2021 08:12PM  
It seems like you might still be able to get a permit completely online if you pick a cooperator that is virtual only, or something. What would be nice is a testing/exam system that certifies you for the at-home permit. I'd like to print a permit at home for some more remote entry points and not have to visit an outfitter adding driving time in the morning, so at-home permits are definitely something I'm interested in. They just need to truly enforce video watching (through an "eLearning" platform that tracks playback so you can't skip it) and quiz you on every section, forcing you to retake each section until you can score 100% (and not tell you what you got wrong so you can't game it). Otherwise people will share answers or just brute force it until they get their permit.
 
01/18/2021 08:19PM  
You can't beat peer pressure to get things right, but now more than ever we need a increase in enforcement which is almost lacking with the huge cutbacks in forestry staff in the BWCA.
 
01/18/2021 09:48PM  
Some of the most liked comments from the Tribune:

Asking the "Rugged Individualists" guilty of these destructive behaviors will probably get a surly: 'Yer tryin' to deny me ma' free-doms!"


JANUARY 15
Exactly. They equate freedom to doing anything they feel like doing. Freedom without responsibility or regard is anarchy.


JANUARY 15
Insisting on your "rights" without acknowledging your responsibility isn't freedom, it's adolescence.

JANUARY 15
My husband has a co-worker that was there in a large, noisy group last summer. The Forest Service Agents came in and politely ordered them to pack up, and then escorted them out of the BWCA. Of course, the men in the group felt as if their rights had been impinged. Sigh.....

thumb_up
JANUARY 15
I can attest to encountering vandalism at a campsite in Seagull Lake last summer: 6” Balsam Fir cut down for no reason, a 100 lb. boulder pried out of the ground and dumped nearby for the fun of it, and a large hole dug in a sandy area near the canoe landing as a lark. It made me sick.

JANUARY 15
Not surprised this happened. After all, people are the dirtiest animal on the planet.

JANUARY 15
Amazing to me that we still have to remind the selfish to clean up when they’re done.

JANUARY 15
Ya, like that’s going to help. Everyone going into the “BW” already knows the rules. A slob is a slob, so no amount of “education” is going to change them.

 
01/18/2021 09:55PM  
Come on man...I pay my taxes. I own these trees I can do what I want to them.
 
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next
Listening Point - General Discussion Sponsor:
Rockwood Outfitters