What is our world coming to? In a day and time where respect (or more to the point, lack of) is a word used inappropriately. Now I’m sure that this is particularly an issue one notices as you get older. I see the youth of today using the word respect as something that’s owed to them, when nothing has been done to earn it. In my life, I may have abused this to some extent, but never when it came to the outdoors and preserving our natural world. I have been traveling through the BWCA extensively for more than 20 years, and over the course of the last 5, I have seen things that have grossly violated the “leave no trace” code and other ethical desecration. On every trip, I usually spend the first part of my setting up sequence, cleaning up bits of remnants from the prior visitors. Cigarette butts, aluminum foil, misc. tackle, etc. to get the campsite in good order. I understand that not everyone is meticulous as I am, but seriously, who likes to go to a site that is all jacked up with someone else’s garbage? Every second weekend in October, we take a trip into Moose, Newfound, and Sucker Lakes. On this outing, we visited a campsite on the West side of Horseshoe Island on Newfound Lake. We were awestruck by the damage and abuse incurred from the previous visitors to the site. Being the TRUE outdoors man and wildlife preservation advocate, we took it upon ourselves to stay at this abused site and clean it up as best as possible. The damage sustained was atrocious! Live trees hacked into. Garbage everywhere. Rope knots left cut from trees. Live tree limbs cut and mangled. Roots of trees cut from their exposed areas. Fish carcasses pitched in the water in front of the site. Food, including noodles and potatoes peels tossed in the water and campsite. Tons of aluminum foil and nonburnable material in the fire pit… oh yeah, they ripped that damn fire grate off the fire grate legs! The only thing remaining was two bent/destroyed legs sticking out of the ground. Also, all the rocks from the fire pit were thrown all over the site and in the water close to the site. It looked like a bomb went off at that location. After a day of cleaning and campsite care, we felt like the campsite was in at least a shadow of its former self. We stayed for 3 evenings and left the site in a much better condition in which we found it. To those of you who cannot respect the beauty and be an advocate for the preservation of nature, perhaps these are lessons you should learn prior to visiting these locations again. Respect is earned. The BWCA is a place that deserves your respect. Learn and practice it moving forward. Please don’t destroy our natural world.