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Disappearing Act: Paddling the Boundary Waters

Want to vanish into the quietest, wildest corners of the Boundary Waters? Say these magic words: Primitive Management Area.

In order to keep PMAs completely devoid of visual human impacts, BWCAW officials ask visitors to observe these special Leave No Trace rules.

>>Spread out Unlike other areas of the BWCAW, where paddlers are encouraged to stick to the network of maintained portage paths, PMA visitors should fan out to disperse the impact of their footsteps.

>>Hide out There are no campsites in the PMAs. Choose durable surfaces and pitch tents away from the lake and out of sight. Set canoes and packs on rocks or bare ground (instead of delicate vegetation).

>>Put out The USFS prefers camp stoves over fires. If you like fires, use a fire pan or roll back a patch of sod (replace it before you leave). Use wrist-size sticks (or smaller) to keep flames down.

>>Pack out all garbage and your TP. No matter how conscientious you are about catholes (150 feet back from the shore, six inches deep), animals will investigate–and any buried toilet paper will get strewn around the woods. Don’t burn it; throwing trash in fires is prohibited.

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