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billconner
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01/18/2021 06:43PM  
With all the posts on campsites, maintenance, LNT, enforcement, etc., IF the USFS could change their model to be more like Quetico's, how much is it worth? I say double the budget and divide by number of camper nights, but honestly I don't know either of those numbers. I think I'd be fine with $15-20 per person per night, but that could be tough for some.
 
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MidwestFirecraft
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01/18/2021 07:10PM  
For those of us who take groups it would be very expensive. For three 7 day trips it would be $3,780. I don't charge anyone for permits, gear, or canoes. That would be very cost prohibitive to me and prevent many young people from learning , loving, and hopefully protecting the Wilderness. I'm for leaving it the way it is.
 
01/18/2021 07:12PM  
This is a really tough question, Bill, and invites serious discussion. I'm on the Board of Directors of a "Friends" group for a 10,000-acre state forest in NC. Last year we had one million visitors. Users include anglers, hunters, hikers, trail runners, bird watchers, mountain bikers, equestrians, wildflower enthusiasts, nature photographers, bird watchers, etc. The primary draw is a waterfall corridor whose proximity to a highway encourages roadside parking which in turn generates safety concerns for both the Forest's visitors and for people living near the Forest.

User fees have been suggested as a way to reduce (or redistribute) visitation numbers, but those discussions always turn into arguments about how fees would turn "public lands" into a paid venue. Determining what is a "fair" price for access is quite difficult. A price that's more than fair for a retired person like myself might be too much for a young family with low-paying jobs. A sliding scale of pricing would be difficult to manage and enforce.

We've been having these discussions for at least six years, and can't come up with an answer. I look forward to seeing more comments on your post.

TZ
 
01/18/2021 07:18PM  
I'm up for something but maybe in between what the OP suggested and the current rate. Right now if you take a 7 day trip you're looking at like....$2 a night? Give or take. If you take a 2 week trip you're at a buck a night. What a joke.

Whether it's by nights like the Q or still just the one time entry fee and stay as long as you like...it should go up some I believe. Even if it was just to $20/person that's still stupid cheap. $25 a person. That's $75 for your 3 trips (per person)

Or if you're looking per night....$4 or so? 7 day trip (6 nights) would be $28. Shorter trips would be cheaper and longer trips would be more....you're using the park less and you're using the park more. Makes sense to me.

More money for the FS to take care of the park and hopefully go directly to enforcement, upkeep, less permit fiascos, etc.
 
01/18/2021 07:24PM  
MidwestFirecraft: "For those of us who take groups it would be very expensive. For three 7 day trips it would be $3,780. I don't charge anyone for permits, gear, or canoes. That would be very cost prohibitive to me and prevent many young people from learning , loving, and hopefully protecting the Wilderness. I'm for leaving it the way it is."
You're taking nine each time and paying for all nine?
 
MidwestFirecraft
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01/18/2021 07:29PM  
cyclones30: "MidwestFirecraft: "For those of us who take groups it would be very expensive. For three 7 day trips it would be $3,780. I don't charge anyone for permits, gear, or canoes. That would be very cost prohibitive to me and prevent many young people from learning , loving, and hopefully protecting the Wilderness. I'm for leaving it the way it is."
You're taking nine each time and paying for all nine? "

Yes. They offer to pay, but anyone's first time I try to pay for everything and make sure they enjoy it to the fullest. I would not do that if it was $20 per person per day.
 
thegildedgopher
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01/18/2021 07:38PM  
They could still raise prices in a manner that is less harmful to large groups. Instituting a maximum trip fee for a group is one way. Midwestfirecraft — gotta think you are the 1% in this scenario. The majority of groups don’t work like that. And your groups might become even more invested in the BWCA if they had to invest more than just time. Just a thought.

As a motor permit user: day motor permits could be increased 10x. Seriously. I would prefer to pay $60 a pop than $6. That would make permits easier to get. At $6 per, people horde them for various reasons.
 
gopher2307
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01/18/2021 07:53PM  
Permit fees should definitely be increased. Even as I was graduating high school, that price was negligible. At least go $10/person/day.
 
MidwestFirecraft
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01/18/2021 07:53PM  
I'm likely in the minority, but I love that wilderness is America's National Monument. We don't have the old architecture, but we have National and State Parks. I love the idea that anyone can go, no matter what your economic status.

By the time you add canoe and gear rental, $15 a day would price out half the people I take. I would love to take a fly-in trip to Woodland Caribou, but can't swing the $. The BWCA has been an amazing place to take family and friends without breaking the bank.
 
01/18/2021 07:54PM  
So where does the money we pay go now, back to the USFS?

With any increase in fees, there should be a guarantee that the money would be reinvested back into the USFS.
 
JWilder
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01/18/2021 08:28PM  
Absolutely. This is where a plan would be extremely beneficial:

A little background info: "Here is where we are at; current personnel and the work being accomplished.

Proposal: If we increased fees by such and such, we could increase personnel by so many employees and this would help accomplish this and that. A set of 1, 5 and 10 year goals or milestones so you could gauge and evaluate how the plan is working and make adjustments accordingly.

In my experience, it's easier to get financial support with a plan for the additional funding.
 
mgraber
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01/18/2021 10:44PM  
I'm all for keeping it as affordable as possible. Some really do not have the means for a Quetico type trip, and I'd hate for them to lose that experience, even though I totally get what Bill is saying. I know we both love Quetico, and personally would not mind that type of Park expanding in to the US. I also STRONGLY believe it is way too cheap now , at least for larger groups, and especially for larger groups taking longer trips. There has to be at least some fee increase that takes this in to consideration, I'm just not sure how much or how to structure it. I would think that if everyone except minors would have to get a permit, or at least pay that amount, it would still be pretty affordable and would bring in a lot more $$. A modest per night fee could also work, but one of the charms of BWCA is that you stay as long as you like and leave when you want.
 
billconner
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01/19/2021 06:42AM  
Perhaps I have misunderstood but I don't believe the current fees cover a fraction of the USFS costs attributable to BWCAW. Doubling current fees will still be a small fraction of costs and even if it were spent on additional rangers, would not add nearly enough. Therefore, my hypothetical of paying its way rather than all taxpayers covering it for the few that use it.

I wish the USFS budget for BWCAW could be doubled - primarily more "boots in the woods" - but don't see it happening.

MidwestFirecraft -. Thank you for your generosity and support and sharing of the BWCAW experience. I'd love to hear more about it.

 
Voyager
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01/19/2021 07:20AM  
The exorbitant fees are the reason I haven't been to Quetico in 45 years. I called them when I retired, to see if there was a special rate. My wife and I wanted to spend 3 mos. there. Jeesh! I'd have had to mortgage the house. Keep the rates low so young people can afford it. Us old codger's days are numbered, soon the number of campers will decline.
 
Mocha
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01/19/2021 07:32AM  
A portion of user fees go back to the forest they were collected. Once back at the forest, who knows how the funds are allocated.
 
MidwestFirecraft
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01/19/2021 08:00AM  
billconner: "MidwestFirecraft -. Thank you for your generosity and support and sharing of the BWCAW experience. I'd love to hear more about it."
Thank you for the kind words Bill. I have paddled my whole life but only on local lakes and rivers. Wanted to go to the Boundary Waters since I was a little kid, but was never invited. I finally invited myself around 7 years ago and it changed my life. It has become a life goal to invite and teach as many people as I can about the wilderness. One of the dads of 7 kids was greatly impacted. One of the members on this forum gave them a used canoe and he took his family alone to Sawbill last year. This is important because he truly did not understand, even after watching the videos that some practices were unacceptable. When you get the chance to spend a week with parents and kids and show them the principles of wilderness management, they not only get it, but embrace it. My hope is that at least some of his 7 kids will grow to love the BWCA and be future stewards of our wild places. I have neither the desire nor the financial means to take my kids to Disney World, but I look forward all year to going to the BWCA for at least three weeks!
 
HistoryDoc
member (44)member
 
01/19/2021 08:06AM  
A funding system similar to Quetico's is that used by the North Maine Woods organization. There is a daily use fee and a separate fee for overnight camping. Both are applied to each day of one's trip. They also differentiate between Maine residents and non-residents. There are some significant differences with North Maine Woods vs BWCAW. NMW is a non-profit that was established to oversee the recreational use of a vast expanse of the Maine wilderness that is largely privately owned land. (Mostly forest products companies.) Access is limited via gated checkpoints and the NMW's primary function is to collect the fees, which go, (according to their website) to pay the personnel costs of manning the gates.
Interestingly, the fee scale was based on the Maine Minimum Wage, and has gone up gradually over the years.
I think in this circumstance, paying a user fee for access to wilderness that would otherwise by locked up by the timber companies, is a worthwhile endeavor. It looks to mirror the fee scale for Quetico or Canadian Crown Land, which are public lands.
The BWCAW is a bargain at the current price.
 
Jackfish
Moderator
 
01/19/2021 08:07AM  
People are always going to complain when the subject of raising prices is brought up. Doesn't matter if it's property taxes or the cost of milk. Most of the time, it just has to happen to cover costs, make improvements, etc. Wisconsin raised fees at some of the more heavily used state parks. As the saying goes, "they were getting loved to death". I doubt it affected attendance one bit. At the end of the day, people still see value in going and are willing to pay for that value.

In the case of the BWCA, the cost of going there is incredibly cheap. I believe the value FAR EXCEEDS the current cost. I'd be interested to know the last time the trip fee was adjusted.

The FS will never be able to sell a Quetico-like fee schedule, at least immediately, but I believe the trip fees should be increased. How many people would stay home if the trip fee was $32? I'll bet the answer is zero.
 
Minnesotian
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01/19/2021 08:53AM  
I can't believe there is an argument for raising fees on yourself. At the very least, the raising of fees is a way to price out poorer people so it becomes an economic penalty for being not as well off to afford a trip into the national wilderness.

The US Wilderness program is owned by all the citizens of the United States, or at least all the tax payers, not a private corporation, therefore all people of the United States should have the opportunity to experience and afford a canoe trip through their wilderness.

There is enough money and resources in the United States government that, if they were pressured, they would allocate more money to the BWCA for increased ranger patrols and upkeep.

You want to see the BWCA taken care of? Then do what MidwestFireCraft does and get people out there under your supervision to teach them the respect for the outdoors. Don't price them out. Just because people can afford to pay higher fees doesn't immediately qualify them for being better stewards for the wilderness.
 
thistlekicker
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01/19/2021 08:56AM  
The BWCA is not a national park. If it were, the camping fees would be much higher. Take a look at backcountry camping fees at, say, Yellowstone National Park: $25 per trip and $3 per person, per night (maxing out at some point). The BWCA is part of a national forest, which (as a land of many uses) tend to have modest or even non-existent user fees. But people perceive it (and use it) like a park, so maybe the user fees should be more in line with state or national parks?

Or, if it's not a park, but a wilderness, maybe it should be managed as a true wilderness (i.e., more like Quetico).
 
spud
member (28)member
 
01/19/2021 09:48AM  
Im curious as to what people think that increasing the fee would provide for? Everyone of us wants a great experience in the wilderness, free from trashed sites, but assuming we paid more money, and all that money went to the BWCA specifically, what could more Forest Service employees provide in order to make that possible?

We all have to be honest, in that catching those that are leaving campsites a mess, or cutting down trees is very difficult, no matter how many rangers are out there, as it happens so quickly.. We'd need either almost a team of FS rangers on every lake and portage to enforce rules (think almost "Lake Hosts"), which would not please those that go the BWCA and hope to find solitude, nor would it help if pressure on finding an open site already exists.

Before arbitrarily raising fees, it would really benefit all by stating what is the desired goal, and how it can be achieved with extra funding.. I personally pay a lot for fees / taxes / permits etc right now, so without knowing what paying more for a BWCA permit would actually accomplish, I don't know that I could support it. I hope this is not the case, but It sounds like a lot of the backing is specifically because people think that if it cost more, that the "rift-raft" would not go to the BWCA. We all have our part to play to keep the BWCA as clean and natural as possible, but just charging more for permits just to feel like you are doing something is just silly..

Its education and people feeling ownership of the land that will make things better, and charging them more money wont accomplish either of those..
 
01/19/2021 09:52AM  
I would be willing to pay more if the Ranger presence increased. BW people have enjoyed a ridiculously cheap ride for quite some time.
 
mschi772
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01/19/2021 10:08AM  
Raising fees to pay for the care of the BWCA is like making green choices at home to save the planet. Yes, it technically helps, but it is a grain of sand on a beach when you consider the vast majority of pollution and waste is generated by a few corporations and governments. If we want significant improvements for places like the BWCA, of course we have to do what we can as individuals, but we cannot lose sight of what would have the greatest effect--convincing our government to increase funding/support to the USFS and national wildernesses like the BWCA. I think we can afford to spend a little bit less on the war machine and on placating corporations and a little bit more on things like our natural areas. The amount of money it would take to make a HUGE difference for places like the BWCA would be imperceptible to our overall budget, and even just our insanely whack military budget. Not only would an increase in funding for our parks and wildernesses benefit our recreation (which benefits tourism), but it would benefit the environment, and it would help in preventing/mitigating/managing natural disasters like forest fires, improving the safety of surrounding communities/economies.

Hopefully if we can ever finally settle the mining threat, groups like Save the Boundary Waters might pivot their lobbying power toward seeking better funding and management of the BWCA.

Regarding fee raises specifically, I would happily pay 2-3x more without question. Even a $45 fee is a drop in the bucket of trip expenses of gas, food, and (often) pre-post trip overnight lodging. I'm all for not pricing people out of the BWCA, but if someone can afford the gear and the travel, I have a hard time sympathizing with their inability to afford $15-30 more for their permit, and for those people who truly cannot afford a trip, I provide support to non-profits whose mission is to help those without means on their own to access places like the BWCA, and I suggest that everyone who shares similar interests and financial ability do the same.
 
01/19/2021 10:39AM  
If you want to pay more, I'm sure the USFS takes donations. I don't think we should be pricing people out. It is not cheap for 1st timers, young families or just those on limited income to get outfitted or purchase gear.
 
Chieflonewatie
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01/19/2021 10:40AM  
The amount of money people pay has nothing to do with whether or not they will follow the rules. I think it could be the exact opposite of what many of you are saying.
 
merlyn
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01/19/2021 11:07AM  
Please don't charge a daily fee! Increasing the permit fee makes more sense. What is a little to some people is a lot to others. The last year has made profound changes (financially) to so many of us.
 
01/19/2021 11:24AM  
I'm for raising the fee but not to the level of Quetico. But one thing that could really help the fishery is to do like quetico and ban barbed hooks and live bait. I'm for that in a big way. How many young fish die after being gut hooked or having their gills damaged from barbed treble hooks?

Besides local bait shops losing some revenue all I see are pluses for the lakes and fish.

 
Stumpy
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01/19/2021 11:37AM  
Minnesotian: "I can't believe there is an argument for raising fees on yourself. At the very least, the raising of fees is a way to price out poorer people so it becomes an economic penalty for being not as well off to afford a trip into the national wilderness.

The US Wilderness program is owned by all the citizens of the United States, or at least all the tax payers, not a private corporation, therefore all people of the United States should have the opportunity to experience and afford a canoe trip through their wilderness.

There is enough money and resources in the United States government that, if they were pressured, they would allocate more money to the BWCA for increased ranger patrols and upkeep.

You want to see the BWCA taken care of? Then do what MidwestFireCraft does and get people out there under your supervision to teach them the respect for the outdoors. Don't price them out. Just because people can afford to pay higher fees doesn't immediately qualify them for being better stewards for the wilderness. "

Agree
Not only that....If I have to pay high fees per night, I'm skipping the permit altogether.
 
R1verrunner
member (12)member
 
01/19/2021 11:46AM  
minnmike: " If you want to pay more, I'm sure the USFS takes donations. I don't think we should be pricing people out. It is not cheap for 1st timers, young families or just those on limited income to get outfitted or purchase gear.
"


I agree for those who want to pay more just give the government more money.

They well gladly take all the money you want to give them.

There is even a line on your income tax form to do so.

 
brp
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01/19/2021 12:01PM  
I would happily donate $. There should be a box on the permit application for a $20 donation. Example, "Would you like to donate $20 to the BWCA Preservation Fund." Make it seem like most people do it, and most people will. This is a middle-ground where everyone wins.
 
RedLakePaddler
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01/19/2021 12:34PM  
The BWCA is a terrific place for families of all income groups. In the early years it was our go to vacation. With two kids, a wife with congenital heart defects and one income we could do it. If we had to pay a nightly fee we probably wouldn’t have gone.
Years ago I hitched a ride from an entry point to another to get my car. The family I rode with came from a southeastern state in a beat up van. During the ride I could hear the parents try to figure out if they had enough money to get home. If we were going the other way I would at least given them our extra food. We pay more than enough in taxes that we can keep this affordable for the families like them.

Carl
 
thegildedgopher
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01/19/2021 01:11PM  
spud: "Im curious as to what people think that increasing the fee would provide for? Everyone of us wants a great experience in the wilderness, free from trashed sites, but assuming we paid more money, and all that money went to the BWCA specifically, what could more Forest Service employees provide in order to make that possible?"

While I agree that we can't just throw money at the problems in the BWCA, money can't hurt.

I'll speak on the day motor (DM) permits since I'm in favor of increasing those from $6 a day to somewhere around, say $25-30/day (I'd actually prefer more like $50).

I don't want to do this as a revenue generator, I want to make it more difficult for a single person, or a group of like-minded and determined people, to buy up DM permits in mass quantities. I have read countless times that the number of DM permits that actually get picked up from cooperators is far less than the number of DM permits that are purchased. I will sound like a conspiracy theorist here, but there are organizations with deep pockets and a desire to remove all motors from the BWCA; and there are others -- both individuals and businesses -- who stand to benefit in some way (either perceived or tangible) from increased demand and/or decreased supply of DM permits. I'm not saying I have proof that this is related to the number of DM permits that go unused every year, but I have my ideas and I'm not alone.

Since 2021 reservations are not yet open, I can't get a view of actual number of DM permits available each week for each lake. I know it varies from lake to lake and week to week. But let's just throw this hypothetical out there. Permit season runs May 1 to Sep 30. Let's say 22 weeks to be safe. A person could buy a DM permit for every day of the entire permit season for less than $1,000. 22 weeks is 154 days X $6 per permit = $924. That's about equal to 3 nights at a nice cabin on the Gunflint Trail.
 
thegildedgopher
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01/19/2021 01:48PM  
Stumpy: "Not only that....If I have to pay high fees per night, I'm skipping the permit altogether. "

Internet bravado and entitlement at its finest!
 
spud
member (28)member
 
01/19/2021 02:44PM  
I don't want to do this as a revenue generator, I want to make it more difficult for a single person, or a group of like-minded and determined people, to buy up DM permits in mass quantities. I have read countless times that the number of DM permits that actually get picked up from cooperators is far less than the number of DM permits that are purchased. I will sound like a conspiracy theorist here, but there are organizations with deep pockets and a desire to remove all motors from the BWCA; and there are others -- both individuals and businesses -- who stand to benefit in some way (either perceived or tangible) from increased demand and/or decreased supply of DM permits. I'm not saying I have proof that this is related to the number of DM permits that go unused every year, but I have my ideas and I'm not alone.

This on one hand makes sense to me from a reasoning perspective, however it is also aiming to use cost as a deterrent to the permits.. Even tho the reasoning comes from a good place to make permits more available for all, it still is aiming to use money to control who gets permits..

The part that scares me, is that like a lot of previous comments have said, this is our land, paid by us, for us to use and people are advocating using money, no matter how small anyone thinks it is, to hamper our (the collective our) ability to use the land. We all love the land and want what's best for it, but a good number of us have financial privileges that others do not have.. This is why i'm curious as to what people think more money would achieve.. In this case it isn't like a state park where it would buy new camper cabins, buildings etc. So what is the goal with having it cost more $ (assuming adding more staffing?) and how would that make the BWCA and everyones trip better?

Your thought process is not one that I had considered and raises an interesting point to consider tho.
 
thegildedgopher
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01/19/2021 03:14PM  
And I totally understand and appreciate your perspective as well. I don't like the idea of money being used as a wedge like that, either. I would be all ears on ideas to curb the abuse of the system that don't involve adding financial barriers. I suppose that would be for another thread since this one is specifically about fees and pricing.

The only counterpoint I'll make is that you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube. Our Dept of Interior and USFS are already using fees to control access to our public lands in national parks and wilderness areas. That's not going away, and I think it's naïve to think fees won't increase over time.
 
thistlekicker
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01/19/2021 05:15PM  
While the BWCA is big, it's not infinite and the resource can't handle a certain level/intensity of use without damage occurring (erosion, soil compaction, water quality issues, etc). It costs money to do things that minimize impact - established campsites with tent pads, firegrates & latrines, erosion control structures on portages and landings, boardwalks through wet areas, checking permits to ensure that people have them and are abiding by the rules, etc.

I'm firmly of the belief that usage patterns have changed dramatically since the quota system was established, with visitor use focused much more on easily-accessed lakes. That's where I'd like to see the resources focused, whether increased or not. Keep the backcountry wild and wilderness-y, and make sure the frontcountry doesn't fall into the crapper (I feel like it is).
 
01/19/2021 06:09PM  
thistlekicker That's where I'd like to see the resources focused, whether increased or not. Keep the backcountry wild and wilderness-y, and make sure the frontcountry doesn't fall into the crapper (I feel like it is). "

This right here.....

I want to see the fees increased somewhat to put more rangers in the field in the popular areas and near entries and to help with issues in the park. Money spent on entries going directly to the park needs. Places like the numbered lakes, Horse, Fourtown, Knife, Seagull, etc. Permit checking, rule enforcing/reminding, entry parking lot maintenance? A better education system over the LNT video. Am I worried about Boulder and Adams? Not as much as I am Sawbill or Caribou for example. Busy, worn down campsites, etc.
 
JWilder
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01/19/2021 06:47PM  
cyclones30: "thistlekicker That's where I'd like to see the resources focused, whether increased or not. Keep the backcountry wild and wilderness-y, and make sure the frontcountry doesn't fall into the crapper (I feel like it is). "


This right here.....


I want to see the fees increased somewhat to put more rangers in the field in the popular areas and near entries and to help with issues in the park. Money spent on entries going directly to the park needs. Places like the numbered lakes, Horse, Fourtown, Knife, Seagull, etc. Permit checking, rule enforcing/reminding, entry parking lot maintenance? A better education system over the LNT video. Am I worried about Boulder and Adams? Not as much as I am Sawbill or Caribou for example. Busy, worn down campsites, etc. "


This has been a great thread. I have enjoyed reading so many different viewpoints on a issue worthy of debate. And I have watched my own thought process evolve.

With that said, I really like this realistic game plan . Here is a concentrated, focused approach that has an obtainable goal. And really focuses on the problem areas of the BWCA.

J
 
billconner
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01/19/2021 07:34PM  
It has been interesting. It seems more troopers on the highway reduces speeding. I think more rangers in the park would decrease "damages" (compared to having seen just one ranger inthe wilderness in 150 or so nights.). I don't think congress will ever come up with enough funds to make a difference: adding jobs in BWCAW means taking them from somewhere else.
 
tarnkt
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01/19/2021 11:21PM  
Is the budget data available?
- Annual permit revenue?
- Annual maintenance/staffing cost?

I don’t know if the BWCA is self sufficient or if other forestry funds are diverted to manage it. If the park was self sufficient with a balanced budget (LOL) I would be 100% in favor of doubling permit fees.

It probably isn’t so any added fees would probably just get lost in the universe somewhere. In that case let’s just keep on keeping on.
 
Heyfritty
senior member (65)senior membersenior member
 
01/20/2021 12:36AM  
This is a really tough topic. I find myself weaving between various solutions. As someone on a limited fixed income, I haven’t been able to afford Quetico, but hope to visit sometime.

I like the idea of putting more emphasis on the “entry lakes”. If there is a way to patrol those lakes more-and care for them more-people that stay there could pay a little more. The increased surveillance could allow for greater education of visitors, and it would incentivize people to travel further(something experienced visitors are likely to do anyway). As “entry lakes”, rangers could monitor two or more lakes per day. This would significantly increase the number of park ranger interactions and at least create a sense of greater enforcement. Perhaps-on the permit-you specify your first night destination, and therefore pay a little more. Of course, enforcement would be a major challenge.

For me, gas cost is a significant factor, so I like to stay longer. So I could afford an increase in the permit fee, but a daily fee would be tough.

Fritty
 
tumblehome
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01/20/2021 07:13AM  
Quetico fees are high because it is a self-funded park.
BWCA fees are low because the tax payers subsidize our fun.

When we complain that raising fees would not be fair to us to use the BWCA, we are also agreeing that we want the government to help pay for our trip.

The US government also pays substantial property taxes for the land in St. Louis within in the BWCA to the state of MN. The BWCA is a very expensive place and one probably nobody could afford to use if it were self-funded.

Just like flying out of an airport. Imagine the costs of our airline/airport system and the subsidies the Gov’t pays so that we can buy a $99 flight to Florida.

Tom
 
Chieflonewatie
senior member (53)senior membersenior member
 
01/20/2021 07:44AM  
The government doesn't pay for anything we pay for it.
 
billconner
distinguished member(7592)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
01/20/2021 08:30AM  
tarnkt - I hunted for numbers but no luck at all. I just suspect that after the costs of issuing permits is deducted, very little fee money compared to USFS budget. I don't think lumber income of SNF helps much either.

heyfritty - agree, tough, and I don't blame you for wanting something like BWCA for your tax dollars.

Tom - I agree with you on this. Include highway, rail, be and much else along with airports. Subsidizing air travel allows many more to use it, but also adds to pollution, etc. Would it have been better planning to leave it to the wealthy?

Chief - true but most here understand the difference between us deciding how to spend our after tax dollars versus govt spending our tax dollars. Bothers me that I have to think hard about buying a canoe and the government deciders could buy a fleet without blinking.

We mostly want everyone to follow the rules and try hard to LNT. A lot think more enforcement would help, but how much? None of us really want to pay more and would be happy if for those its a burden could go free. And while closing a military base would pay for all we want and much more, lots of people would loose a job. If the choice is higher taxes or higher fees, I think I'd go for the fees to assure they went to what I wanted - less trash and destruction.

 
01/20/2021 08:47AM  
I'm not saying that an increase in pricing would stop me from going on trips, but it wouldn't take much of an increase to have stopped me from getting started. My first trip was when I was living paycheck to paycheck and I had borrowed most of my gear from my parents or my brother. At this time $50 was a big investment for me. My gear was crap, we had no idea what we were doing, but we loved the experience and have been hooked ever since. I hate to think of all the young people we would drive off with a substantial price increase, or that I wouldn't go on trips at all if these proposed changes came before I got started.

I also don't like the nightly fee because of the uncertainty of weather. Are we going to be fined if we don't feel like pushing through rough weather? Right now there is a certain degree of freedom with charting your own course. As soon as you start adding a cost per night, you are going to be affecting people's plans. The people that exit early because of unfavorable conditions are more likely to stay because they already paid for it. Loops are going to be less popular if people feel they can't be flexible about how far they travel each day. How often do people choose to stay an extra night in a nice campsite when there is good fishing? I also just don't like the idea of treating the wilderness like some sort of hotel or resort.
 
Chieflonewatie
senior member (53)senior membersenior member
 
01/20/2021 09:28AM  
Once all this Covid is over I think things will get back to normal. If we all cleanup after ourselves and cleanup the mess by the few idiots who came before us things should be ok.
 
tumblehome
distinguished member(1905)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/20/2021 09:56AM  
Chieflonewatie: "The government doesn't pay for anything. We pay for it. "
I wrote that tongue in cheek.

To the original post. I would gladly pay a higher fee or per night fee if it were to mean better management of humans, water quality, and campsites. I would pay a higher fee if the money was allocated strictly for the BWCA.

I know some can’t afford that. I know some just don’t want to pay. I don’t have the answers but I do know that what we pay is far less than we should be paying to keep that place in order.

We buy canoes, gear, and all the junk that goes into a trip. It’s not always a cheap experience. Paying an extra $$ to go is not the deal breaker.
 
01/24/2021 07:50PM  
I could see like stays past 3 nights you pay a additional amount. Maybe pay in 3 night increments. Still very cheap if you even match your original payment every three nights.

With much of the BWCA booked solid maybe it would free up a few campsites during the week.

We need the money dedicated to the BWCA area tho, otherwise it would be meaningless.
 
Duckman
distinguished member (454)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/24/2021 08:01PM  
There are a lot of creative things they could do to raise funds without raising fees.

If when you get a permit there was a button to click to give like 20 bucks and get a seasonal sticker or patch, a ton of people would do it.
 
billconner
distinguished member(7592)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
01/25/2021 06:04AM  
I appreciate the needs and desire but just consider permit income is maybe $1m/yr for 20,000 permits and taxpayers probably contribute in the neighborhood of $30m/yr to the SNF. I could be off by half or double. Maybe someone can find better figures.
 
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