BWCA Permit reduction talk on Tumblehome Podcast Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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scottiebaldwin
senior member (67)senior membersenior member
 
12/22/2021 10:29AM  
It's worth taking a listen to Erik & Adam's discussion/rant on "Tumblehome, A Boundary Waters Podcast" episode 171 about how ineffective the USFS decision is to reduce permits for the 2022 season. As a former outfitter, Erik brings up a myriad of salient points as to the arbitrary decision to reduce permits in an effort to address overcrowding and to mitigate destruction to the campsites in the BWCA. I submit that many people were a bit relieved to hear the announcement from the Forest Service at first, but upon closer inspection it appears to be yet another inane decision that will be of little effect and negative consequences. For example: outfitters had already put in new canoe orders to manufacturers in the autumn and those orders are based largely by permit use. Also, the goofy decision to basically ban blue bear-resistant barrels in the middle of the year last year had many outfitters up-in-arms as they have poured thousands into blue barrels for years.

Anyway, it's worth a listen. The discussion starts at the 18:00 minute mark and lasts about 30 minutes. I hope you enjoy their point of view!

Tumblehome: A Boundary Waters Podcast Episode 171 - Blizzard Warning

 
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12/22/2021 12:58PM  
I listened a while back and I agree to a point.

But...I don't think one permit less here or there will really impact if a canoe gets rented or not for the season.

Take an outfitter like VNO (love those folks) and someone that would have picked the last Mudro permit or they would have sent them there, taking the last one that's now gone. That person or group isn't likely just going to throw their hands up and say ok, that one day in that one EP was our option....I guess we're not coming. They'll move to an open date or move to an open EP. That canoe is still getting used by that group, it might be headed across Burntside to Cummins instead of up to Crooked. Or it could be headed to Fall lake or Angleworm or any others. I think it'll make the lesser used entries a little more used.
tumblehome
distinguished member(2366)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/22/2021 06:53PM  
The quota reduction wasn’t an arbitrary decision as the OP wrote.

The crush of ignorant campers forced the USFS to act on the human accelerated bear problem.
I am supportive of outfitters but I am not supported of an outfitter that cries foul when the Fed’s try to right a wrong.

If I was an outfitter and I marketed my company as providing a wilderness experience, I would be embarrassed by what most campers actually experience on the busy routes.

Tom
12/23/2021 11:05PM  
I'm a tumblehome podcast listener as well and really enjoyed listening to the guys talk through the permit reduction. I agree with a lot of points they made but I also feel the reduction will not hit an outfitters bottom line when it comes to canoes purchased. I do agree that when the FS comes to announcing these changes they could do a little better job explaining their decision. In conclusion I see the need for some changes but I would look at stronger enforcement of the existing rules as a place to start.
scottiebaldwin
senior member (67)senior membersenior member
 
12/23/2021 11:45PM  
Copy and paste of some of my thoughts on another thread…

(I’ve thought) about all of the concerns/solutions that could come up and be implemented to both alleviate congestion and mitigate destruction to the park that we love (seeing that we are all on this website). Raise fees? Sure, but the money doesn't go directly to the USFS. Quota the permits? Yeah, but what about people coming in for free, or congesting sites closest to entry points, or eating up sites by staying in for longer trips. So let's get more enforcement?! Great, but where are you going to get the money for that? Maybe volunteers at entry points to check permits? That's what the DNR does here the Twin Cities by staffing boat launches with volunteers to check for invasive plant species and it's been a complete and utter failure.

So...

I've humbly concluded that a better way to curate a pleasurable experience in the BWCA is to get a permit and go in - deep into the park, where there is less use and is harder to get to than other lower hanging fruit, and get away from all the issues. This is not a great idea, maybe not even a good one. But it's a guarantee that we can find the solace and experience for which we are looking.

I plan on starting my foray into PMA trips this year. I'm not necessarily happy about this but feel it will be a guarantor of a worthwhile trip.

That's just my two cents.
mgraber
distinguished member(1278)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/03/2022 11:57PM  
scottiebaldwin: "Copy and paste of some of my thoughts on another thread…


(I’ve thought) about all of the concerns/solutions that could come up and be implemented to both alleviate congestion and mitigate destruction to the park that we love (seeing that we are all on this website). Raise fees? Sure, but the money doesn't go directly to the USFS. Quota the permits? Yeah, but what about people coming in for free, or congesting sites closest to entry points, or eating up sites by staying in for longer trips. So let's get more enforcement?! Great, but where are you going to get the money for that? Maybe volunteers at entry points to check permits? That's what the DNR does here the Twin Cities by staffing boat launches with volunteers to check for invasive plant species and it's been a complete and utter failure.


So...


I've humbly concluded that a better way to curate a pleasurable experience in the BWCA is to get a permit and go in - deep into the park, where there is less use and is harder to get to than other lower hanging fruit, and get away from all the issues. This is not a great idea, maybe not even a good one. But it's a guarantee that we can find the solace and experience for which we are looking.


I plan on starting my foray into PMA trips this year. I'm not necessarily happy about this but feel it will be a guarantor of a worthwhile trip.



That's just my two cents. "


While I agree that going in further and to harder to reach areas will solve the problem for an individual or individual group, it does nothing to alleviate the crowding and damage that is happening nearer to entry points. It is the FS job to protect this area, and although I deeply sympathize with outfitters and visitors if this negatively affects them, that should absolutely never, under any circumstances whatsoever, be considered in that decision making. ALWAYS protect the resource first, that is absolutely, without question the most important thing for all of us.
outsidethebox
distinguished member (157)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/04/2022 12:35PM  
I thought that, in all fairness, I should listen to this podcast so that if I decided to comment I could do so somewhat intelligently. Well, I just listened to the first 28 minutes and was starkly reminded of why I have come to the belief that podcasts are a stunning waste of time. This podcast, for the first 28 minutes anyway, is just another brutally mindless stream of consciousness between two guys who like to hear themselves talk. OMG-you are exactly what you are complaining about...please go look in a mirror!!!

I am not an expert on the BWCA-have only been there once in my 68 years...September of 2020. We all hold our individual definitions and expectations-the BWCA does not/did not qualify as a "wilderness experience". Too many people-WAY too many people. Cut the permits in half, or even a fourth, and allow a maximum of 10 days per person per year...and have enforced entry points-with huge fines for entry point violators. The BWCA is not about the vendors.



IrishPaddler13
member (10)member
 
01/04/2022 07:00PM  
I’ve been tripping to canoe country for the last 22 years.

Never, in my life, have I struggled to get a campsite like I have the last two years.

It’s not like I just didn’t get my first option on my primary lake. I’m talking last campsite on third or fourth option as the sun is setting.

I, for one, applaud the decision to restrict permits.
mjmkjun
distinguished member(2872)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/06/2022 03:50AM  
outsidethebox: "I thought that, in all fairness, I should listen to this podcast so that if I decided to comment I could do so somewhat intelligently. Well, I just listened to the first 28 minutes and was starkly reminded of why I have come to the belief that podcasts are a stunning waste of time. This podcast, for the first 28 minutes anyway, is just another brutally mindless stream of consciousness between two guys who like to hear themselves talk. OMG-you are exactly what you are complaining about...please go look in a mirror!!!


I am not an expert on the BWCA-have only been there once in my 68 years...September of 2020. We all hold our individual definitions and expectations-the BWCA does not/did not qualify as a "wilderness experience". Too many people-WAY too many people. Cut the permits in half, or even a fourth, and allow a maximum of 10 days per person per year...and have enforced entry points-with huge fines for entry point violators. The BWCA is not about the vendors.

"

BRAVO!!!
When abrupt regulations change or alter how things are done, the money game is interrupted, comfort zones are broken and people get upset. Consider that PEOPLE have been upset because of the BWCA beginning way back in 1854--when the US government (White) took the lands from Chippewa (also called Ojibwe). Not trying to induce or encourage a political rant here--just stating fact. We'll all survive the modern-day changes, comparatively. Well, most, anyway.

01/10/2022 12:11PM  
IrishPaddler13: "I’ve been tripping to canoe country for the last 22 years.


Never, in my life, have I struggled to get a campsite like I have the last two years.


It’s not like I just didn’t get my first option on my primary lake. I’m talking last campsite on third or fourth option as the sun is setting.


I, for one, applaud the decision to restrict permits.
"

Now people will not struggle to find a campsite; they will struggle to find a permit;)
outsidethebox
distinguished member (157)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/10/2022 06:24PM  
egknuti: "IrishPaddler13: "I’ve been tripping to canoe country for the last 22 years.



Never, in my life, have I struggled to get a campsite like I have the last two years.



It’s not like I just didn’t get my first option on my primary lake. I’m talking last campsite on third or fourth option as the sun is setting.



I, for one, applaud the decision to restrict permits.
"

Now people will not struggle to find a campsite; they will struggle to find a permit;)"


From what I saw in September of 2020 the BWCA is over-used and needs to get reeled back in. Limit people to ten days per year...or even every two years.
andym
distinguished member(5087)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
01/10/2022 07:46PM  
Not sure I agree with limiting people's trips. For one thing, our trips tend to be 10 days long and so I could only do 1 a year. Also, what about people who try for epic trips of a month or even a year. I doubt that the long trips are a big part of the problem because there are fewer people doing them and we tend to go in further.

As for difficulty in getting a permit versus getting a campsite. I'll take difficulty getting a permit and maybe having to modify my dates or entry point over difficulty in finding a campsite. The former is an issue that is over and done with during the planning stage while the latter can make the actual trip stressful.
IrishPaddler13
member (10)member
 
01/11/2022 07:16PM  
egknuti: "IrishPaddler13: "I’ve been tripping to canoe country for the last 22 years.



Never, in my life, have I struggled to get a campsite like I have the last two years.



It’s not like I just didn’t get my first option on my primary lake. I’m talking last campsite on third or fourth option as the sun is setting.



I, for one, applaud the decision to restrict permits.
"

Now people will not struggle to find a campsite; they will struggle to find a permit;)"


As long as people don’t wise up to securing their permit the minute they open, I’m fine with that…

??
billconner
distinguished member(8139)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
01/12/2022 05:49AM  
This permit shortage does seem to depend on the pandemic crush of increased visitors. I don't think that is a permanent change.
ThreeRivers
distinguished member (104)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/13/2022 06:27AM  
The last 12 years I have done solos to the west, between May and August, I normally basecamp to do fishing day trips, I have always noticed minor bits of trash at sites, and on occasion worse LNT violations such as small trees cut or random branches. I am glad I did not witness more. For the permit reduction, time will tell if it really helps. I personally feel as others have said it will make preferred permits harder to find, but will not deter the problem of the problem children at all. they will come. we all need to report violations. All that said, I will make the best out of any trip to one of the most special spots in the nation.
MikeinMpls
distinguished member(1005)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/13/2022 12:42PM  
I'm in a bit of a cynical mood today, but here goes: the impression I get, fair or not, is that the permit reduction decisions were made by a government bureaucrat far away with relatively little understanding of the way the BWCA works. Please forgive me if the person ultimately responsible for this plan is a personal friend of yours. Numbers are only part of the problem but, like others have said, the real problem are the clowns who should not be there in the first place. Even if they have a permit, they lack the knowledge, respect, and understanding of this special place. Enforcement is what is required. Enforcement as to permits and noise and LNT issues certainly would not have solved all the problems, but I believe would've made a dent. I think the permit reduction plan was the cheapest way for the administrators to say "look, we've done something about the problem." In actuality, I believe it will merely kick the can down the road another year or two.

Did any politicians ever push for additional funding for national parks and wilderness areas in the Covid relief plans? It ain't hard to figure out: travel changed dramatically during Covid. I think everyone can agree that the increase in BWCA trippers was due to Covid restrictions. It would not have taken much money from the multi-trillion-dollar Covid bill(s) to fund BWCA enforcement efforts.

As we are seeing in many cities in the country, lack of law enforcement does not meet with positive results. I suspect that the lack of a permit will not stop a small but loud number of those illegally entering the BWCA.

Mike
outsidethebox
distinguished member (157)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/13/2022 05:24PM  
Mike, in this regard, personal responsibility is lacking on many fronts-that includes you and me. We can blame others all we wish.
billconner
distinguished member(8139)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
01/13/2022 06:40PM  
Washington or Duluth, it was mostly for show, like all politics, but it does take 4000 or so popular area permits off the table, and I'd guess puts most of them at lesser used EPs isn't guess.

There was money for national parks iirc.
ockycamper
distinguished member(845)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/21/2022 02:58PM  
IrishPaddler13: "I’ve been tripping to canoe country for the last 22 years.


Never, in my life, have I struggled to get a campsite like I have the last two years.


It’s not like I just didn’t get my first option on my primary lake. I’m talking last campsite on third or fourth option as the sun is setting.


I, for one, applaud the decision to restrict permits.
"


What time of year did you go?
 
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