BWCA Emergency closure order Boundary Waters Listening Point - General Discussion
Chat Rooms (0 Chatting)  |  Search  |   Login/Join
* BWCA is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Listening Point - General Discussion
      Emergency closure order     
 Forum Sponsor

Author

Text

BWCA
Administrator
  
05/20/2024 09:25AM  

**** UPDATE ****
The closure order expired on May 22nd. You can travel through the area and camp. However, the search team is still working in the area. The search team is not asking for any additional volunteers. Please stay clear of the search team, incoming air and watercraft when traveling through the area.

********

Original Order:

Emergency Closure NOTICE: The Superior NF has issued an Emergency Closure Order for Iron Lake Search and Rescue operations for land and water in St Louis County, NE MN. Restrictions go into effect at 12:01 am on Monday, May 20, 2024, and will remain in effect until 12:01 am on Wednesday, May 22, 2024. (See images below for order, map and release)
BWCAW CAMPSITES, PORTAGES, LAKES AND TRAILS: All trails, campsites, portages, rivers and lakes that are within the closure area shown in Exhibit A, including but not limited to Iron Lake, including the LaCroix-Bottle portage and LaCroix-Iron portage, and Crooked Lake west of Sunday Bay.

 
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next
LukeMacGillie37
member (29)member
  
05/20/2024 09:57AM  
What is the expected behavior of people who are within the closure area?

Hold in place, get to an exit point ASAP? What do you do if that exit isn’t where your vehicles are? I can understand not letting new people access the closed area, but am confused about what people already in the area are expected to do.

There was a body recovery near where I was at last summer, but no wholesale closure of a large swath of the BWCA. This, combined with the heavy handed food storage order, makes me
Want to ask if there has been a major change in management, and has the new command team decided to really flex their muscle to ensure everyone knows who’s in charge?
 
BWCA
Administrator
  
05/20/2024 10:10AM  

Search and rescue are managed by the county sheriff department which in this area is St. Louis County.

 
05/20/2024 10:13AM  
Presumably related to https://www.cbsnews.com/minnesota/news/parts-of-boundary-waters-closed-search-missing-canoeists/

"Officials with the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office say they received a report early Saturday evening of a water emergency on Iron Lake. The caller reported that two canoes had gone over Curtain Falls during the incident.

Two canoeists went missing and another person in the party was badly injured. A helicopter with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources was dispatched to the scene and extracted the injured victim as well as another person who was not injured.

According to the sheriff's office, the injured victim was taken to Essentia Duluth where they are expected to survive. "
 
Ironranger271
member (11)member
  
05/20/2024 10:16AM  
To stay clear of any Emergency operation. People within that area, will be contacted by area rangers just like any other time of emergency
 
05/20/2024 10:54AM  
I too am confused about the need for a closure order. If the missing people were swept downstream of the falls, the best means to find them is by canoe. And maybe the best people to search the lake and shoreline are people who are expert in paddling canoes- the public that may already be onscene.

 
05/20/2024 12:46PM  
BeaV: "I too am confused about the need for a closure order. If the missing people were swept downstream of the falls, the best means to find them is by canoe. And maybe the best people to search the lake and shoreline are people who are expert in paddling canoes- the public that may already be onscene.


"
maybe planes trying to land etc.
 
05/20/2024 01:58PM  
BeaV: "I too am confused about the need for a closure order. If the missing people were swept downstream of the falls, the best means to find them is by canoe. And maybe the best people to search the lake and shoreline are people who are expert in paddling canoes- the public that may already be onscene.


"

While I can't speak to the reasons for the closure in this case I can perhaps shed some light on the concept in general.

I work as a Firefighter/EMT. On a regular basis you get people on a emergency scene, be it Medical, Fire, Car crash, ect.... who want to help out. And in most cases these are the best of intentioned individuals. However, they often have little or no knowledge of how the situation is best handled. While my knowledge of water rescue/recovery is spotty at best, I promise that the Sherriff's office and those called into help have a plan that they practice and are ready for. That plan may call for getting help from John Q Public, but it needs to be requested help. Someone just jumping in is likely to disrupt the process and sadly, often waste everyone's time arguing as to why they should be involved.

I love the attitude of most people who use the BWCA and applaud the efforts they are likely to make, I've just seen too many well intentioned people cause more problems, or worse, get themselves in trouble, to want anyone jumping in without direction.
 
05/20/2024 03:42PM  
Thanks Pinetree and Barca for your responses.
 
briar
member (37)member
  
05/20/2024 03:56PM  
The Duluth Newspaper reported that search and recue is using airborne drones and remotely operated underwater vehicles in the search for the canoeist.
 
bwcamjh
distinguished member (113)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
05/21/2024 07:18AM  
Closure of the Crooked Lake area seems excessive. I can understand not letting new groups in. IF people are already on Iron Lake why chase them out? Meet with canoeing parties, explain the situation, let canoe parties know their help is not needed, have canoe parties stay at current camp site until they leave the area, communicate with rescue and a drone teams at to parties on the lake. Allow people to continue their vacation and exit the area as they planned. If a canoeing party finds something--let authorities know.

I understand on a certain level the Law Enforcement/Rescue don't need entanglements but particularly way out in the on Iron and Crooked Lakes I don't see the masses of humanity interfering or hampering the job that needs to be done. And hey if some canoeist gets in the way on purpose---escort them out with a hefty fine.

It's not like there is some imminent danger for any of the parties involved. Sure to be some unpleasantries in finding bodies. Unfortunate situation and cycle of life.

What would be a reasonable and prudent course of action?

 
kjw
distinguished member (117)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
05/21/2024 08:00AM  
I can see not allowing anyone in. There are a lot of people involved and it is round the clock operation. They need the campsites to rest/sleep, charging stations for all the drone batteries they are going through (probably takes more than one portable generator unless they are charging batteries offsite and flying them in & out), probably have food station set up and airplanes are probably bringing in food/supplies/other misc items more than once a day and landing on lake. If you were on the lake you would have to stay hunkered down and not move. The air drones are probably flying very low at times. The underwater drones probably eat batteries quickly.

I saw news article that campsites are are also being used to operate the drones. A private pilot landed on lake 4 times bringing people and lots of gear. Makes me wonder if they had life jackets on and fastened properly since they are still underwater unless current is keeping them trapped against something underwater.
 
05/21/2024 08:39AM  
Restrictions are understandable. And I don't know what the standard procedure is. But I don't recall instances of any lake anywhere being completely shut down for search or recovery operations. Seems excessive, and I think an explanation should be warranted at some point.
 
05/21/2024 10:08AM  
I think it makes sense to close the lake. Any person on the lake is someone they have to check in with to make sure they are not the people they are looking for. Plus, lets be blunt, they are looking for bodies right now. Not saying they couldn't still be alive, but I think they have been treating this like a recovery from the beginning. They probably don't want campers coming across the bodies, which makes sense for liability reasons.
 
gravelroad
distinguished member(1030)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
05/21/2024 10:28AM  
JCOAC. This is one of the biggest and most remote SAR operations ever conducted in the BWCA, short of the fire and windstorm incidents. Aircraft are being used to shuttle personnel, equipment and supplies to the scene. Do ya think it might be prudent to clear the lakes of recreational canoes and make them safe for landings and takeoffs?
 
Someday
member (44)member
  
05/21/2024 06:00PM  
If you’re on Facebook.
St Louis County Rescue Squad
 
05/21/2024 07:16PM  
Someday: "If you’re on Facebook.
St Louis County Rescue Squad "


Thank you for posting- they have some excellent information on their site and directly answer why the lake closures had to happen. They also announced that they are allowing the closure to expire as originally planned.
 
05/22/2024 06:33AM  
naturboy12: "
Someday: "If you’re on Facebook.
St Louis County Rescue Squad "



Thank you for posting- they have some excellent information on their site and directly answer why the lake closures had to happen. They also announced that they are allowing the closure to expire as originally planned. "


Yes, thank you. They say it was because canoeists were interfering with planes.
 
Findian
member (41)member
  
05/22/2024 06:38AM  
plmn: "
naturboy12: "
Someday: "If you’re on Facebook.
St Louis County Rescue Squad "




Thank you for posting- they have some excellent information on their site and directly answer why the lake closures had to happen. They also announced that they are allowing the closure to expire as originally planned. "



Yes, thank you. They say it was because canoeists were interfering with planes. "

Yes, that happens. Float planes attract boats. I have seen it firsthand. I was flying with a friend who grew up in Ely and we were landing on a lake, every boat on the lake headed for the landing plane. The pilot said, " if boaters were pilot's planes would be falling out of the sky like rain".
 
bwcamjh
distinguished member (113)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
05/23/2024 04:23PM  
Float Planes attract boats???

Who would have thought???

I'd think people would stay away from a larger, louder, propeller wielding machine....

Kind of like getting out of the way of the fire truck as it's coming down the road....

IF the folks on the plane need me they can come find me....

If the folks on the plane need help....some kind of signal once the engine has stopped.....

I'll remember to stay clear and away if I ever have the opportunity....
 
Findian
member (41)member
  
05/23/2024 08:54PM  
 
schweady
distinguished member(8091)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
  
05/23/2024 09:19PM  
National Guard is shuttling in jet boats and other equipment by Chinook helicopter. When you hear of something like that happening, I'd say keep the lake clear for efficient operations.
 
Findian
member (41)member
  
05/24/2024 05:13AM  
Flying in a jet boat. I remember traveling by motorboat right there.
 
05/24/2024 07:10AM  
bwcamjh: "Float Planes attract boats???


Who would have thought???


I'd think people would stay away from a larger, louder, propeller wielding machine....


Kind of like getting out of the way of the fire truck as it's coming down the road....


IF the folks on the plane need me they can come find me....


If the folks on the plane need help....some kind of signal once the engine has stopped.....


I'll remember to stay clear and away if I ever have the opportunity...."


I think in this situation people were concerned about what was going on. You are in the middle of no where and then people and planes start arriving. Sounds stupid to approach them…it is if you understand the situation but I am sure it was out of good intentions…but also all it takes is one canoe to approach and then others watching decide it’s okay. I also assume once people found out what was happening many offered assistance…which as others stated wasn’t helpful, but intentions were good. Just a really tough situation for all involved.

T
 
adam
Moderator
distinguished member(3115)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
05/25/2024 09:52AM  

The closure order did expire on Wed. You can travel through this area and camp in the area restricted by the order.

Avoid the search team as they work. They do not require any assistance from volunteers.
 
CoachWalleye74
distinguished member (171)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
05/26/2024 08:53PM  
Planning on heading to this area in a week. Anyone been in there and know what to expect? Certainly want to be respectful and not in the way, but basecamp near falls and fish that area. Just trying to make plans.
 
Findian
member (41)member
  
05/27/2024 07:11AM  
It may be open, but just stay away. Don't go to Curtain Falls to fish or portage. You will be in the way. I did SAR in the Arrowhead area for years...tourist are a pain to deal with. FYI

 
Findian
member (41)member
  
05/27/2024 02:34PM  
swift jet boat dropped Cleared a big area to get that Chinook in with the Swift jet boat.
 
05/27/2024 07:34PM  
Findian: "It may be open, but just stay away. Don't go to Curtain Falls to fish or portage. You will be in the way. I did SAR in the Arrowhead area for years...tourist are a pain to deal with. FYI


"


Wow. Is that from this effort?
 
Findian
member (41)member
  
05/28/2024 05:26AM  
Yes
 
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next
Listening Point - General Discussion Sponsor:
Tuscarora Lodge & Canoe Outfitters