Saturday, December 22, 2012

Voyageurs Nat'l Park-the race for campsites

With the holiday chaos of travel, work crap, and a geometric progression of absolutely essential holiday errands, I have not been paying proper attention to essential kayak issues. It took an email from the UndergroundHippie, my paddle buddy in Omaha, NE to inform me that Voyageurs National Park is planning a campsite fee system similar to the Apostles and will be holding hearings.  The first one is in fact tonite, Saturday 22 December at the Maple Grove Parks & Rec Community Center, 6:30 to 7:30.  If you can't make it, and I can't since we are four hours away, there is a suggestion line, 218.283.6708.

I may be generalizing here, but I'm thinking that there may be more paddler support for this plan than motor boaters. There are a ton of campsites, some of them down narrow fingers, others on the far side of large islands, and many of them separated by a fair distance. Unless you are in an 18 foot deep V powerboat with a 115hp four stroke Honda.  Then it ain't far at all. It's possible to check out a dozen sites for vacancy in about 20 minutes. That is not the case when paddling a canoe or kayak.  When a specific destination is in mind and is reached after a 15 or 20 mile paddle, it ends to disappoint and/or piss off said paddlers when a houseboat is hauled up on the beach in the site.  What the hell do you need with a campsite if you have a houseboat anyhow?  The real aggravating scenario is when you see your desired tent free campsite a half mile in the distance.  As you close to within 400 yards, said 115hp Honda roars past you and grabs the site.

I know it's the holidays and it's busy but give the park a call. I think it's a fair and equitable plan and it has worked pretty decently in the Apostles.  It levels the playing field between outboard motor and Greenland stick and enables efficient trip planning.

Have a Merry Christmas and a lucid New Year.

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