Accidental border crossing

What if, when canoeing the BWCA, you accidentally cross the Canada border and dont have a permit?

I’m sure if you paddle back across the border, the canada mounties cant come after you can they?

You are taken into custody by ICE
and subjected to anal probing by The Oompah Loompahs

as long as Willy Wonka doesnt watch…

Webster/Ashburton Treaty
In the 1800’s, it was decided that traditional portage routes along the US/Canadian border would allow citizens of either country to tread on the other along the international border. Many portages are partially in Canada and partially in the US where I traditionally go (Gunflint Trail area). If you blatantly cross into Canada, however, you might be received differently should you run across a Canadian Customs official? I have trod portages on the Canadian side and lunched on Canadian soil on the border without a problem for many decades.

Did it twice
Once, we couldn’t find the portage trail on the US side and ended up lugging through Canada. Another time we took a wrong turn on a lake and realized we had intruded into Canada, but we never set foot. Honest.

We didn’t run into any people during these escapades, so nobody complained about our invasive behavior.


Years ago
I was on Lake Memphremagog years ago with my family. At the time we all were used to going in and out of Canada with no fuss - it was almost as if we lived there. Same with Canadians coming into Vermont. It still is that way pretty much. Anyway, I was blasting up the lake with my wife and little kids and all of a sudden out of nowhere a border patrol boat stopped us. They let us go on our way after a brief detention at the Canadian border patrol dock and a few questions. But, it took me a long while to live that one down with my kids!

Now there are remote cameras on the
St John and the St Croix. I did as you did… I didn’t think about the country and we pulled off in whatever eddy was convenient.

I hear it is a big hassle now with wildlife cams.

St. Croix

– Last Updated: Nov-11-14 9:27 PM EST –

When we paddled the St. Croix (a whitewater river along the Maine/Canada border) a couple of years ago, we were advised by a local outfitter that, even if we capsized, we should avoid setting foot on the Canadian side of the river -- as that could lead to being stopped and brought in for questioning.

We didn't test to see if the warning was legit. The thing about capsizing and not being able to go ashore to regroup seemed a bit extreme.

The (mostly empty) campsites on the Canadian site were generally much nicer than the ones on the U.S. side -- which only added to the sense of inconvenience.

Here You Go:

Going into canada
There are only 2 things that will really get you into deep trouble coming into Canada:

  1. firearms

  2. narcotics

    Unless you stray into canada with either of these two items you really have nothing to fear.

    I have heard many horror stories of canadians who have strayed across the border being mistreated by overzealous US border officials.