BWCA aggresive regulation enforcement

I lent equipment to a friend who was collecting gear for two groups who were going to the Boundry Waters. After the first night they canoed by the other group who had not been to the BWCA before to check and see if they had any needs. They did not get out of the canoes, but got a substantial fine. Since then I have heard other stories about petty enforcements. Have the rangers gone off the deep end like the Wisconsin DNR?

I’m not clear on what regulation was
supposedly violated. Haven’t been to BWCA/Quetico since '73, and I’m sure much has changed.

more than 9 to a group?

– Last Updated: Aug-27-09 2:58 PM EST –

Did they only have one permit? If the group was on one permit and over 9, even if they were camping separate, it would be fineable?

Just speculating. Need more details.

both groups had permits.

What was the fine for? NM

It’s to keep group sizes small
The fine was probably for have two groups together. It’s to prevent people from circumventing the group size limit by coming in on two permits, but camping together.

Technically, you can be fined for having two groups on the same portage trail at the same time.

A Ranger was seen?
I only been there twice but never seen a ranger except for one porking out in the Ely Subway shop. One guy has never seen one in 20 years. What lake was this?

Been Going Since '84
I’ve made 30 “Something” trips and have seen and had a ranger check my permit a total of once, and none seen this May. If anything, NOT ENOUGH rangers to police the area IMHO. WW

None to be found
We spent a week there this summer and never saw a ranger, we even stopped by another campsite to ask for directions one day as our map person was lost, we learned from that mistake.

That is excessive if that is the whole story. I suspect there was more to it than that. I have hardly ever seen a ranger. When I have the encounters have been brief and pleasant.

If there is a minor issue their approach is usually educational and friendly.

The only times I have heard of fines is when there have been complaints or the visitors have been belligerent or when the infraction was outrageous. My first guess is that this was not the first instance that the groups met up and they were either observed by the rangers previously or other campers complained about it. My second guess is that when the rangers approached them, they became aggressive and confrontational.

If it did go as you were told, then the fine is ridiculous. People exchange pleasntries in the BWCA all the time. The place is too crowded to not encounter another group.

I had a pleasant experice with a ranger this june. He gave us tips on the bears hanging trash ect. The first one that I seen in three trips.

There are only a handful of USDA/Forest Service LEO’s covering Superior NF and only 4 or so MN-DNR Conservation Officers. At any given time, these guys have a lot of additional territory to cover BESIDES the BWCA.

Also, motorized travel restrictions apply to them, too, so you get LEO’s who are unable to “get around” and police as many people as they might in other areas.

Probably the most obvious reasons why contacts are so few and far between.

do what you sre supposed to do
I have been to the BW many times. First time in 1969 and most years at least once since. I’ve been checked a few times (note “few”). If you abide by the rules you are fine. Apparently, the people you speak of didn’t do what is expected and acceptable. The people doing the checking and maintaining the quality of the wilderness aren’t out to get people.

a fine cruising boat couldn’t you just outrun the G-men?