Boundary Waters 101

  • Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 27, 2010 - 9:52 PM

Do your homework before venturing north to enjoy a million acres of untouched land, water.

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tracerbulletApr. 27, 10 7:20 PM

I've been to the BWCA many times, so this info isn't new to me. But it's a good reminder, and I agree with all of it. I wish I knew this info the first time or two up there, some things are learned the hard way! I'd like to also add - "pack it in, pack it out". Aside from things like tp in the designated potties, please folks, don't litter. Bring back all plastic & etc. that you take with you and throw it away when you get back to your car. Don't count on burning anything either.

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futuricsApr. 27, 10 7:27 PM

I can't tell you how many folks I've met up there who have had woefully inadequate and sometimes wholly inappropriate preparation for a wilderness trek. Some folks seem ta think that the Boundary Waters is some kinda sappy-happy Disney "nature" attraction. With all the numskull nimrods swarming up there these days, its a wonder more people aren't getting severely injured or killed on some of these excursions. "Save The Boundary Waters Canoe Area - By Staying Home If Ya Don't Know What You're Doin!"

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KepmeisterApr. 27, 10 8:24 PM

Can't tell you how many first timers paddle up to me asking how to get back to their car. And no, a road map of Mn. is not a BWCAW map.

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ttwo67Apr. 27, 10 8:31 PM

Thanks for the article. Lot's of good information!

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d44332211Apr. 27, 10 9:06 PM

Darn right about the mosquitos! June can be terrible. I love going when late in the summer or even early fall.

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jitterjeppApr. 27, 10 9:21 PM

I've been up there many times. I love seeing these kinds of articles in the Strib. I totally agree with Kepmeister. You need a real BWCAW map like a McKenzie map and a compass.

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chsld1Apr. 27, 10 9:42 PM

It's funny, I've been going up there for over 30 years. Never met a single lost person. No one with a road map. I have no stories that make me feel superior...... and certainly I must be for all the time I spend in the woods. The people I meet (or am) are the people that push the limits by taking in less food, traveling too light, taking very early or very late trips where temperature can be an issue..... All very experienced paddlers.

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cuphamApr. 27, 10 9:43 PM

Bad example in that photo, Strib. Makes a nice picture but fires in the wilderness are to be kept in the USFS grates and kept small. Want a bonfire? Go to a county campground or your backyard. One of the reasons the quality of the experience is being diminished every year is that more and more people are coming in with less and less appreciation for the unique "out there" experience the BWCA wilderness offers. They bring the "let's party around the bonfire" attitude and can be heard from miles away. It's becoming more like a big state park than a wilderness. You have to go deep into the Quetico, now, for that - or go in early Spring or late Fall. Apart from my ranting - I appreciate the article. Get educated, learn from experienced wilderness campers, and go enjoy the magic that can be found on a canoe trip into the wilderness. You will never regret it!

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notheocrat12Apr. 27, 1010:28 PM

A buddy and I went up a few years ago through Tofte and proceeded to paddle like Lewis and Clark across the Great Unknown. That is until we met a lake named Tuscarora, and a stiff wind from the west. Learned to appreciate MOther Nature, lifejackets, the sidestroke, and to always have your trail mix securely sealed.

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smccl001Apr. 27, 1010:39 PM

Not only is the fire in that photo overkill, as cupham pointed out, but right now it would be quite illegal. Which brings up another important point, this year especially: check ahead to find out if there are any burning bans and come prepared to have a good time without a fire. This year the BWCA is experiencing some of the dryest conditions ever; odds are high that there won't be normal fire rules all this season. You can have a fantastic time without fire, as long as you plan ahead a little.

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