BWCA, what would you do?

-- Last Updated: Jul-30-05 8:29 PM EST --

As everyone who has been to the BW knows, August can get quite busy, with all permits filled. So the rule is paddle early and camp early. What would you do in this situation.

You put on the water at 6:30 AM and cover 9 lakes and 350 rods of portage, you arive at your destination lake at 1:30, there are 4 sites, all full. You know back the way you came that you haven't seen an open site for hours. You talked with a traveller that came from the north, he told you the lake they came from (60r portage) with 3 sites was also full and there were 3 more lakes and 2 long portages to the next possible, available site to the north. To the south you learn at the portage trail (via traveler) that the next available site is 4 lakes and 500 rods away, and that was a few hours ago.

So what do you do?


no campsites
I’d keep on paddling. If it is 1:30, I still have at least 4 hours more where I can keep paddling and look for a site.

It’s been pretty tight a couple times, but I’ve always managed to find a site sooner or later.

The only time I think I’d change that way is if I had small kids, bad weather and it was too dangerous to keep on going. Then I’d set up a tent somewhere, eat ready to munch on food and get up early the next day and start again.

The main reason I stopped going to BW is the crowds. It is no longer a “wilderness” but a managed park. If I have stop early afternoon or fight for a site it just isn’t worth it.

Head a little further north to Woodland Caribou Provincial Park. It’s like Bw was 25 years ago.

In your case I’d keep paddling, till dusk if need be. If nothing showed up I’d either ask to share a site or stealth camp with no fire, then headout early next AM.

Sleep in the canoe
I’ve never been in the situation, but I’d probably paddle on until I found a place, and if it started to get dark, I’d ask to share a site.

Never been to the BW myself
The way I avoid the crouds is to go at a time of year when theres not so many people and second, go in when the weekenders are coming out and you’ll have your pick of the camp sites