In order to preserve the wilderness experience the BWCAW offers, please follow the following rules (more information available at the US Forest Service website):
Plan Ahead and Prepare
- Familiarize yourself with the unique regulations and special concerns for the BWCAW. Cans and glass bottles are not allowed, including soup cans. Package all food into re-usable containers to minimize waste.
- Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
- The BWCAW limits group size to nine people and four watercraft.
- Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
- Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
- Camping is allowed only on established campsites. Each campsite is equipped with a fire grate and a latrine.
- Stay on established portages.
Dispose of Waste Properly
- Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
- Latrines are for toilet use only, not for trash.
- When away from a latrine, deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
- Pack out hygiene products.
- To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
- Dispose of fish guts 200 feet from water’s edge.
Leave What You Find
- Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic artifacts.
- Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
- Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
- Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches in campsites.
Minimize Campfire Impacts
- Camp fires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
- When fires are permitted, use established fire grates located in each campsite.
- Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand. Only dead down wood may be burned. Nothing green or growing or driftwood.
- Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out camp res completely with water.
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely. Food should be hung at least 10 feet off the ground and at least 6 feet from adjacent trees.
- Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
- Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
Be Considerate of Other Visitors
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
- Let nature’s sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.