Hitting the Water: Boundary Waters Preservation

3-Day Journey into the Boundary Waters

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With two main entryways into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, through Ely and Grand Marais, there is no denying the wilderness helps to generate big tourism dollars for nearby communities.

To continue that trend the Boundary Waters Area needs to be preserved.

Conservation of the rare gem begins with guests.

In our final report we take a look at how the forest takes cares of itself, but how some hikers are causing problems.

Living in the wild comes with the motto of ‘leaving no trace’ it is ethics 101 for people enjoying the outdoors.

“We always want to leave everything in better shape than we found it from a leave no trace standpoint,” said Owner of Ely Outfitting Company Jason Zabokrtsky

Kris Reichenbach Superior National Forest’s Public Affairs Officer, said people need to be reminded their actions can and do have a trickledown effect.

“I think it’s easy to think oh, one person, one time stepping off the trail or cutting a green small tree or hacking isn’t a lot, but when you start thinking we’ve got 200–thousand visitors in the wilderness than that (action) accumulates,” said Reichenbach.

In recent years park authorities said they have seen an increase in people leaving designated trails.

They have expanded the human footprint, caused erosion and spread non-native invasive species.

“It’s kind of important for people to think about what they’re doing out there. How they are behaving and how that what they’re doing can affect the wilderness character,” said Reichenbach.

Another concern as of lately are aquatic plants and the Spiney Water Flea, both have shown up in lakes bordering the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Reichenbach said sometimes the species have been brought in on people’s hiking boots or by dumping bait into lakes.

With exploration and freedom of being into the wild comes responsibility and an understanding of the eco-system.

“One of the really interesting things about the BWCAW is that it’s at the southern part of the Boreal Eco–System. So, what that means is that we have the pine trees, birch trees mixed in with some of the hard wood forest. We’re right at the transition area, so we’ve got a real richness,” explained Reichenbach.

It is a rich ness among vegetation, trees and animal’s, one that everyone can help ensure is sustained for future generations.

If you plan on exploring the wilderness through an outfitter you’ll watch a short video prior to your trip about leaving no trace.

For those of you looking to take a solo trip, you can learn more about Boundary Waters stewardship here: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/superior/specialplaces/?cid=stelprdb5202169

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