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The Blancmange

BWCAW group size

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From the "self-imposed limits" thread:

 

>>>>My troop worked with them and both troops went together. BWCA - 2 permits, 6 canoes. During the day's paddle the canoes shuffled so that by the time the week was up, everyone had a chance to camp with everyone else.

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From a general view the point of a wilderness area is to explore on your own. This means minimizing your impact on the wilderness and others in the area. If you want to travel as a large group, that is fine, but a wilderness area is probably the wrong place.

 

There have been problems with unprepared units in the Boundary Waters that go on their own through an outfitter. (Note, there are also a lot of well prepared units.) They are simply not prepared as they are not educated in the purpose of a wilderness area or the regulations that must be followed. Keep in mind it's not really about the regulations -- it is more about being respectful of others where you travel.

 

As mentioned before, the Boundary Waters allows groups of 9 and 4 watercraft. You also cannot travel with another group. The ticket for either is quite expensive and it is very unlikely you will not be caught. This should be practiced everywhere, for example, only one group should be on a portage at a time. If another group is on a portage you should wait until they push off. In Quetico Provincial Park you can have a group up to 9 and travel with another group. This is not recommended and the problem is finding campsites on the same lake that can accommodate two large groups.

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>>>>This should be practiced everywhere, for example, only one group should be on a portage at a time. If another group is on a portage you should wait until they push off.

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We did not travel as two groups at the same time. 2 sites, two entry points but at the end of the day, different groups destined to two different sites. Arrivals varied so that no more than 3 canoes were present at any given time. We squared it up with BWCA authorities prior to the trip and they said there was no problem with 2 groups on 2 permits in 2 different sites at night even if they traveled the same route at differing times.

 

There were a couple of times we encountered the others during the travel time especially on the really long portages, 3+ miles and some of the boys did double portages.

 

The trip was planned out so that double sites within a mile of each other were targeted. Going by one site and dropping off one canoe crew and picking up another was acceptable to BWCA personnel. Once one got to the more remote areas, open sites were never a problem.

 

It takes a ton more scheduling, but it can be done.

 

Stosh

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We go ever two years and our group sizes have ranged from 5, on 1 permit, to 20 on 3 permits. I've talked to the FS folks quite abit about this, and the spirt of the regulations is to preserve the area and the experience for others to enjoy. Even if you cross each others paths during the day, you are being true to the regs, make sure your split up for portages and campsites as to leave a smaller impact, but a Scout Troop in canoes is alot different than a college group complete with beer and the shennigans that come with it.

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This is a wilderness area, and most of the campsites within in BWCAA are relatively small. In many sites you are hard pressed to find even four tent sites, let alone more for a larger group. We have normally split up into two groups. We see each other at the end of the trip and spend hours telling each other about our journey.

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We just returned from the NT Atikokan base. We took two crews of 8 plus interpreter. Two different entry points, the same exit. Only saw each other at the last portage out. I'll have to say I think it was a better experience for the youth than two groups travelling more or less together and even swaping out people. Each crew got to enjoy more solitude. Each crew got to truely integrate and become a single team. I'm not saying that the other doesn't work, but after experiencing larger groups, I liked seeing the results of a small group size.

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Agree with the above. Two summers ago, our troop had two crews of 6Y+2A plus a guide. We took opposite directions on the Bear Loop, and met up halfway for about 30 minutes.

 

Keeping crews intact meant that by the end of the second day, we had our portaging down to a science. Everyone knew what gear they had to take, and how to best get everything organized at the other end. We also figured out which boys couldn't manage the food pack or the canoes, who worked best in the front vs. back, etc...

 

Good thing, as we did ~12 portages if I recall on the third day.

 

If we'd have been mixing and matching, we could have wound up having to double portage a few times.

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