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01/18/2022 01:18PM  
What are the rules on splitting up the group? Say if part of the group wants to day trip to see a pictograph and the rest want to fish around camp or nap. Is that fine?

Also, what if someone wants to go home? Can one or more people head for the EP (assuming they don't stop to camp on the way) and go home while the remainder of the group stay? Does the group leader matter in this situation or alternate leader? And would the rest of the group need to escort them to the edge of the boundary waters, while making sure they do not leave themselves?

Lastly, what about people joining the group the day after, or later? Would it be ok if they had a day pass until they joined the group, and were on the original permit?

I've never been very clear on the rules for splitting up the group or entering on different dates. Just looking for a little clarification.
 
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RMinMN
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01/18/2022 02:33PM  
Our permits have always had a tear off portion so that our group could split up with one canoe going fishing in another bay. I have no idea on the rest of the questions.
OMGitsKa
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01/18/2022 03:05PM  
They would need a new permit for the day they entered on if they are coming in on a different day. They could still meet up & camp with you as long as you are under the 4 canoe 9 person limit.

You can split up for the day just can't camp at more than 1 campsite.
schweady
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01/18/2022 04:56PM  
A1t2o: "What are the rules on splitting up the group? Say if part of the group wants to day trip to see a pictograph and the rest want to fish around camp or nap. Is that fine?"
Yes. RMinMN mentioned the tear-off tabs, one for each watercraft. We found out a couple of years back how important those are. The thing is, it's easy to hand them out at the beginning of the trip, but if guys switch up who's riding with whom on different days, they might find themselves facing a ranger out on the water with no permit tab. (Mentioning for a friend...)

A1t2o: "Also, what if someone wants to go home? Can one or more people head for the EP (assuming they don't stop to camp on the way) and go home while the remainder of the group stay? Does the group leader matter in this situation or alternate leader? And would the rest of the group need to escort them to the edge of the boundary waters, while making sure they do not leave themselves?"
Any number of the group may exit without overnighting (just remember to carry a permit tab!), although the leader may not exit and leave behind any others in their group. No escort. Once a group enters the wilderness, there is one group leader named on the permit; no such thing as alternate leaders any longer. Alternates are named only as part of the permit issuing process. If they are named leader at that point, that's it... they are the leader.

A1t2o: "Lastly, what about people joining the group the day after, or later? Would it be ok if they had a day pass until they joined the group, and were on the original permit?"
OMGitsKa has this covered. They would need to enter with their own separate permit on the proper date.
01/18/2022 05:05PM  
"Also, what if someone wants to go home? Can one or more people head for the EP (assuming they don't stop to camp on the way) and go home while the remainder of the group stay?"

If they can exit within the day, sure they can leave, but they'll have to carry a copy of the permit with them (see RMinMN's answer).

"Does the group leader matter in this situation or alternate leader?"

The person who signs the permit (usually the group leader) must stay or the entire group must leave.

"And would the rest of the group need to escort them to the edge of the boundary waters, while making sure they do not leave themselves?"

No.
01/19/2022 03:25PM  
Interesting that the group leader cannot exit, while anyone else can.

Doesn't seem fair. Not sure why that person has to have that extra onus on him/her.
andym
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01/19/2022 03:38PM  
Whether or not it is fair, it is the leader that has signed the permit and accepted responsibility to see that the group obeys the rules. If they leave, they can’t do that. Most of our trips don’t really have a leader but are a group of equals. But the FS doesn’t see it that way.
01/19/2022 04:11PM  
andym: "Whether or not it is fair, it is the leader that has signed the permit and accepted responsibility to see that the group obeys the rules. If they leave, they can’t do that. Most of our trips don’t really have a leader but are a group of equals. But the FS doesn’t see it that way. "

Yeah that's kind of what I was getting at. My group has no hierarchy and nobody looks to the "leader" for anything other than the signed permit. So I was just thinking if that fella sprains his ankle Day 1, it kind of stinks everybody else's trip needs to end as well.
schweady
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01/19/2022 04:47PM  
treehorn: "andym: "Whether or not it is fair, it is the leader that has signed the permit and accepted responsibility to see that the group obeys the rules. If they leave, they can’t do that. Most of our trips don’t really have a leader but are a group of equals. But the FS doesn’t see it that way. "


Yeah that's kind of what I was getting at. My group has no hierarchy and nobody looks to the "leader" for anything other than the signed permit. So I was just thinking if that fella sprains his ankle Day 1, it kind of stinks everybody else's trip needs to end as well."

Forest has to have a way to track whether or not a group is legally occupying the wilderness. Imagine an exiting group who might scheme to hand off their permit to another group who wasn't able to secure one appropriately. Without the need to have an identifiable leader present, the risk of that second group being caught wanes as they get farther away from the entry point. Far fetched, sure, but so is a lot of other crazy stuff that winds up actually happening these days.
Hammertime
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01/19/2022 05:27PM  
If our group leader (me) had to leave early there is no way I would let anyone come with me (unless severely injured of course).

If the rest of the group gets checked they can take their chances explaining the situation to the ranger. In my opinion this scenario comes down to the spirit of the law, not necessarily the letter.
HayRiverDrifter
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01/19/2022 09:40PM  
I have done two trips where everyone was on the permit, half of the group came in on a Wednesday and the others paddled in on a day permit on Friday.

I called the Ranger Station in Ely and confirmed with a ranger that this was allowed under two conditions. (1) everyone must be on the overnight permit and be paid for and (2) the second half of the group must get a day permit and reach camp with the others on the day they enter.

It makes sense to me. The second group enters on a day permit which is legal. Once they reach the main group, they get their canoe permit from the leader making it legal for them to camp overnight and travel with the group on the following days.

Now if the second group fails to meet up the the main group on day one, they would have to exit because they cannot stay overnight.
schweady
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01/19/2022 10:19PM  
HayRiverDrifter - At least it's worked for you, I guess. It seems all well and good and would work if this was a rule interpretation held by 100% of Forest personnel. Can't be too sure that all rangers would be willing to hear out the story of a fully loaded group traveling on a free, self-issued, unlimited-availability day permit. Also, it requires things to go well enough for that trailing group to find the rest of the cohort. Probably would need to be on a lake close to the entry. Unfortunate weather or communication breakdown could spell failure, and the temptation to make an illegal overnight stay.
Hammertime
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01/20/2022 09:27AM  
HayRiverDrifter: "I have done two trips where everyone was on the permit, half of the group came in on a Wednesday and the others paddled in on a day permit on Friday.


I called the Ranger Station in Ely and confirmed with a ranger that this was allowed under two conditions. (1) everyone must be on the overnight permit and be paid for and (2) the second half of the group must get a day permit and reach camp with the others on the day they enter.


It makes sense to me. The second group enters on a day permit which is legal. Once they reach the main group, they get their canoe permit from the leader making it legal for them to camp overnight and travel with the group on the following days.


Now if the second group fails to meet up the the main group on day one, they would have to exit because they cannot stay overnight."


Good to know, thanks!

Now if I could only find some sherpas to set up my campsite the day before I show up….
01/20/2022 10:32AM  
Hammertime: "If our group leader (me) had to leave early there is no way I would let anyone come with me (unless severely injured of course).


If the rest of the group gets checked they can take their chances explaining the situation to the ranger. In my opinion this scenario comes down to the spirit of the law, not necessarily the letter."


I completely agree. Especially if the alternate leader is there. The ranger should get it, especially if it is close to the entry date listed on the permit. On longer trips it might be more of a concern than shorter ones though. It's a different situation if the entry date was 2 days ago vs 10. The ranger might not be as understanding too far out from the entry date.
schweady
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01/20/2022 10:59AM  
It probably boils down to your own level of risk tolerance. Will the Forest personnel we meet be understanding and let it go? Will we even see anyone from Forest on this trip? Give it a try, I guess. Keep in mind: once you enter the wilderness, there is no such thing as "alternate leader." That is used solely for the issuance of the permit.
01/20/2022 01:09PM  
Hammertime: "HayRiverDrifter:
Now if I could only find some Sherpas to set up my campsite the day before I show up…."
/quote

They will need a day permit to set up your camp:-)<>
ockycamper
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01/20/2022 04:06PM  
There is a wrinkle for non profits. . .you can take out permits in the name of the non-profit, not an individuals name. Then, the person that picks up the permit becomes the group leader. This is what we do. I pull the different permits for entry points, and the trip leader for each camp site/group picks up the permit becoming the group leader.
thegildedgopher
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01/20/2022 04:14PM  
Requiring the presence of the trip leader who reserved the permit also serves to protect against emergence of a permit re-sale market. Just food for thought. I realize that's maybe an unlikely scenario but with all the to-do about permit availability, high demand can bring out the worst in people. In my opinion if the trip leader exits, then all should exit.
HayRiverDrifter
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01/20/2022 07:05PM  
HayRiverDrifter: "I have done two trips where everyone was on the permit, half of the group came in on a Wednesday and the others paddled in on a day permit on Friday.

I called the Ranger Station in Ely and confirmed with a ranger that this was allowed under two conditions. (1) everyone must be on the overnight permit and be paid for and (2) the second half of the group must get a day permit and reach camp with the others on the day they enter.

It makes sense to me. The second group enters on a day permit which is legal. Once they reach the main group, they get their canoe permit from the leader making it legal for them to camp overnight and travel with the group on the following days.

Now if the second group fails to meet up the the main group on day one, they would have to exit because they cannot stay overnight."


Did a bit of reading here: BWCAW Trip Planning Guide

On page three it says: 'Groups may only enter the BWCAW on the entry date and through the entry point specified on the permit'

That would imply that the Group (meaning everyone on the permit reservation?) must enter on the entry date, so my option above is fudging the rules.

Ok, it's cold and it's winter, so where can we research these questions. Is the link above the official rules? Does anyone happen to have a permit from last year that you can post here so we can read what it says on the leader permit, and the additional canoe permit?
HayRiverDrifter
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01/20/2022 07:14PM  
Here is a list of possible situations:
1) Leader books a permit, up to 9 people and 4 canoes. Leader has the leader permit, each additional canoe gets an Additional Canoe permit. Everyone enters together. Each canoes can do as they please all day as long as everyone camps together on one site each night. Everyone exits together. This is the default situation and Legal
2) Leader books a permit with everyone on the permit and paid for. Leader and some of the group enter on the permit date. Additional group members enter at a later date on a Day Use permit and join the main group on the day they entered. Everyone camps at one camp site. Questionable
3) Leader books a permit. Everyone enters together. Part of the group leaves early not including the Leader. They exit on the day they leave camp. Legal
4) Leader books a permit. Everyone enters together. Part of the group including the Leader leaves early. The remainder of the group stays. Questionable
5) Two Leaders book two permits. The combination of the two group is within the limit of 9 people and 4 canoes. The two group are free to travel and camp together at one site, or travel separate and camp on two separate sites. Legal
6) Up to 4 solo canoeists (4 canoes) each book a separate permit. All four canoeists can share a campsite for any number of nights, travel together, or go their separate ways. Legal
HayRiverDrifter
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01/20/2022 08:10PM  
On page 6 of the document linked above: "Permit stubs become invalid when the
group leader exits the wilderness."
Hammertime
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01/20/2022 08:56PM  
HayRiverDrifter: "On page 6 of the document linked above: "Permit stubs become invalid when the
group leader exits the wilderness.""


You are right, the letter of the law says if the leader goes everyone must go. I’m just having a hard time imagining a ranger ticketing the rest of a group (who’s names are all on the permit) when they explain their leader had to leave early because of a family emergency back home.

All of the rest of the rules serve a purpose to protect the resource or the wilderness experience for others. This one just seems so bureaucratic to me.

I didn’t mean to start an argument. Happy travels in 2022 everyone!!!




Rules and Regs from the Forest Service
Hammertime
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01/20/2022 09:02PM  
Scout64: "Hammertime: "HayRiverDrifter:
Now if I could only find some Sherpas to set up my campsite the day before I show up…."
/quote

They will need a day permit to set up your camp:-)<>
"

Ha!

Obviously I would make them pay for the permit and come in on a day permit myself. :)
01/21/2022 05:37PM  
Hammertime: "HayRiverDrifter: "On page 6 of the document linked above: "Permit stubs become invalid when the
group leader exits the wilderness.""



You are right, the letter of the law says if the leader goes everyone must go. I’m just having a hard time imagining a ranger ticketing the rest of a group (who’s names are all on the permit) when they explain their leader had to leave early because of a family emergency back home.


All of the rest of the rules serve a purpose to protect the resource or the wilderness experience for others. This one just seems so bureaucratic to me.


I didn’t mean to start an argument. Happy travels in 2022 everyone!!!





Rules and Regs from the Forest Service "


Obviously I am not a FS employee but I agree I have a hard time believing in your hypothetical situation any FS employee would give a ticket to your group.

Now if there was only one person listed as some people do, and that person wasn’t there…they might throw the book at them. For the reason mentioned above by another poster—some group may give their permit to another. I don’t think that is far fetched either. People do all kinds of tricks to get around the rules and the FS has heard them all :)

T
schweady
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01/23/2022 09:43PM  
timatkn: "Now if there was only one person listed as some people do, and that person wasn’t there…they might throw the book at them."
There IS only one person listed. EVERY permit has only one leader listed. In the wilderness, there are no alternate leaders. That is strictly part of the permit reservation and issuing process.
01/24/2022 09:27AM  
schweady: "timatkn: "Now if there was only one person listed as some people do, and that person wasn’t there…they might throw the book at them."
There IS only one person listed. EVERY permit has only one leader listed. In the wilderness, there are no alternate leaders. That is strictly part of the permit reservation and issuing process.
"


I don't like the whole "leader" idea myself. Most of the time we all go get the permit together and all have to watch the video. We are all listed as going on the permit and most, if not all of us, are either listed as the leader or alternate leader. We'd all be happy to be accountable for our own actions, but booking 2-4 permits just to make everyone a "leader" is just wasteful. The extra processing fees and the fact that you are taking permits that others could use is wrong. I really wish they would allow you to have multiple leaders instead of trying to imply some sort of hierarchy.
schweady
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01/24/2022 03:43PM  
There is no hierarchy. Think of it as ownership of a vehicle. It doesn't make you the biggest, bravest, smartest individual in the car. But it does name the responsible party for legal purposes.
 
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