My first trips to the boundary waters were in the mid 50’s - no permits, no people, no attention paid to whether we were in Canada or the USA, and quite clueless. For example, no life preservers (did pfd’s exist then?). We teenagers would load our canoes or rent more in Ely, coming from way south in the Twin Cities. We were able to swamp our canoe and then restore order, but that was the extent of safety concerns. We were young, strong, stupid - yet we survived. Now I am very safety conscious as a kayaker - yet I still survive.
I, for one, find this interesting. Since your first trips, the population of the US has more than doubled. With increased population comes larger government. It’s a fact of life, a necessity to keep things under control. Now, fast forward 50 years from now when there will be 640 million Americans. What will the BWCA look like? What kind of management will there be? How will permits be allocated under burgeoning demand? Will someone ever dig a new toilet pit on the island campsite on Ester? Now, really boggle your mind, what happens in 100 years when there will be about 1.3 BILLION Americans? Higher population densities, fewer wildlands, and more demand for the ones that remain. It will be a world of science fiction for sure.
A great place. Good fishing. It is worth it to travel to the Northwoods just for the loons alone.
We went in 1985 and rented aluminum canoes at Moose Lake.
A friend of mine, Alvin RIP graduated from forestry school at the U of Michigan in the late 1930s. He did a 3 week trip in the what is now the BWCA. His outfitter was Sig Olsen.