Border Crossing Woes

If you’ve ever been turned away at the Canadian Border or haven’t been granted a Remote Area Border Crossing Permit there may be something you can do.

Q: I recently had a friend who was driving to a Canadian hunting trip. He was denied entry into Canada because he had a DWI on his MN driving record that was 10 years old. He lost his nonrefundable deposit on the trip. Is there a process to pre-check if you are banned from entering Canada before you plan a trip? Are passengers also excluded from entry if they have a record? What type of legal offenses get a person on the exclusion list? Does the United States have a similar exclusion list? If so how can Justin Bieber enter the U.S.?

A: The U.S. State Department’s web site notes that our neighbors to the north are very serious about driving while under the influence of alcohol.

“Penalties are heavy, and any prior conviction (no matter how old or how minor the infraction) is grounds for exclusion from Canada,” the State Department warns.

 That doesn’t mean, however, that Americans with a DUI on their record are forever deemed hosers by the Canadian authorities and can never visit The Great White North. It just takes some advance planning.

Getting across the border involves seeking advance approval for “rehabilitation” from Canadian authorities “which requires several weeks or months to process,” according to the State Department.

Any number of criminal offenses can put a foreigner on Canada’s unwelcome list. If it’s a crime that in Canada carries a sentence of less than 10 years, the person is deemed rehabilitated if 10 years have passed since the completion of the sentence and the person has been law-abiding during that time, according to the Canadian government’s website.

Five years after the completion of a criminal sentence (including probation), a would-be visitor can apply for rehabilitation. That’s true even for crimes that carry sentences of more than 10 years in Canada. Again, it’s about the right to APPLY for rehabilitation, and the Canadian authorities will determine if the person leads “a stable lifestyle” and is “unlikely to be involved in any further criminal activity.”

The reader wondered if “passengers” with a DUI are also prohibited from Canada. They are.

As to whether the United States has a similar inadmissible list, not exactly. Visitors with a single DUI aren’t excluded, although multiple misdemeanors of any type or even a single “recent” misdemeanor can keep someone out, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Drug crimes (including convictions for possession) and crimes of “moral turpitude” can also keep someone out of the U.S.A. A waiver can be sought from a U.S. consulate.

Tagged with:
Posted in News

Sensational Sunsets and Sunrises

We’re treated to so many gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, I thought I’d share a sunset from the other night.

Posted in News

Planning to fish in the Quetico Park this summer?

I love paddling and camping in the Quetico Park. It is more expensive than the Boundary waters but the lack of people paddling in the Quetico makes it worth it. Depending upon the time of the summer and the type of fish you are after the fishing can also be better.

One thing to remember when fishing in the Quetico Park is there are different regulations you must follow. Ontario bans live minnows and leeches, and any bait that requires water, from being imported into the province in an effort to keep out invasive species.  The Quetico Park doesn’t allow any bait alive or dead. You can’t use anything with lead in the Quetico and you can’t have barbed hooks. You either need to use barbless hooks or squeeze the hooks down with a needle nose to fish with it.

What happens if you get caught? According to a recent article, “Russell R. Sikkila Jr. of Chisholm was fined $800 (Canadian dollars) for trying to sneak a dozen leeches into Sand Point Lake, while Carl W. Brandt of Forest Lake was fined $1,500 for hiding bags of leeches in a worm cooler as he crossed the border at Fort Frances.” “In September, two Winnipeg men were found guilty and fined a combined $14,900 for multiple fishing offenses on Lake of the Woods, including obstructing a conservation officer, making false statements to a conservation officer, fishing lake trout out of season, using bait where banned and using barbed hooks where banned.”

It’s pretty easy to catch fish in the Quetico Park without barbs and real bait and it’s easier to release fish without the barbs too. Gulp type baits work almost  as good as live bait these days. It’s a good idea to look at the regulations each year just to make sure you’re following all of the rules and regulations.

fishing in canada

Quetico Park Fishing

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Quetico Park

U-turns allowed for a 1000 foot freighter

What happens when the lift bridge quits lifting? A fast u-turn!

Posted in News

Supermoon Coming Soon

The supermoon of December is the only full moon supermoon of the year and it will appear on December 3rd. A supermoon happens when the moon is full or new when it’s at it’s closest point to the Earth in its monthly orbit.

The term was coined by astrologer Richard Noelle and before that it was just referred to as perigree full moon or perigree new moon.

According to Spaceweather…

Perigee just means “near Earth.”  The moon is full, or opposite Earth from the sun, once each month. It’s new, or more or less between the Earth and sun, once each month. And, every month, as the moon orbits Earth, it comes closest to Earth. That point is called perigee. The moon always swings farthest away once each month; that point is called apogee.


Posted in News

DNR Warns about Ice

From the MN DNR

Early ice is not safe, wear life jackets on cold water
early ice
With daytime temperatures still climbing above freezing even in the northern parts of the state, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is reminding outdoor enthusiasts to stay clear of early ice and use extreme caution when recreating on dangerously cold water.

Although some locations in the northern and western regions of the state were reporting ice formation at the end of November, the recent fluctuations in weather have led to degraded ice conditions and warnings from public safety officials to stay off the ice until at least 4 inches of new, clear ice is present.

“No fish is worth the risk of going through thin ice,” said DNR conservation officer Lt. Adam Block. “At this point, it is going to take several consecutive days of below-freezing temperatures before enough solid ice has formed to support foot traffic, and even longer before ATVs  and snowmobiles should be on the ice.”

A recent tragedy occurred in northern Minnesota when two anglers lost their lives after breaking through thin ice on their ATV. Several emergency ice rescues have also taken place over the last few weeks. Last winter, two people died after breaking through the ice.

Block stressed that once ice formation picks up again, it will be important to stay vigilant about safety on the ice, since conditions can be unpredictable and vary greatly even on the same body of water.

“In addition to checking conditions locally and being prepared with an ice safety kit, anyone recreating on hard water should be wearing a life jacket,” Block said. “A life jacket is the one piece of equipment that exponentially increases your odds of not drowning from cold water shock, hypothermia or exhaustion should you fall through the ice.”

General ice safety guidelines
No ice can ever be considered “safe ice,” but following these guidelines can help minimize the risk:

Carry ice picks, rope, an ice chisel and tape measure.
Check ice thickness at regular intervals – conditions can change quickly.
Bring a cell phone or personal locator beacon.
Don’t go out alone; let someone know the plan and expected return time.
Always wear a life jacket on the ice (except when in a vehicle).
Before heading out, inquire about conditions and known hazards with local experts.
The minimum ice thickness guidelines for new, clear ice are:

4 inches for ice fishing or other activities on foot.
5-7 inches for a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle.
8-12 inches for a car or small pickup.
12-15 inches for a medium truck.
Double these minimums for white or snow-covered ice.
Open water danger
The lack of ice cover means many bodies of water in the state still have open water accessible to boaters. However, late season anglers, boaters and paddlers are cautioned that a life jacket is an absolute must on cold water.

“A fall into extremely cold water can incapacitate you within seconds,” said Lisa Dugan, DNR recreation safety outreach coordinator. “Air temperatures have been relatively mild, but don’t let that deceive you. Water temperatures are dangerously cold across the entire state, which means it’s more important than ever to wear that life jacket.”

State statistics show that one-third of boating fatalities typically occurred during the “cold water season,” and that in the vast majority of cases the cause of death is drowning due to not wearing a life jacket.

So far in 2017, three boaters have died on cold water, and 12 total boating fatalities have been reported.

“The last three years boaters have enjoyed extended seasons with mild fall temperatures and early ice out in the spring,” Dugan said. “With increased days on the water came higher fatality numbers and a dangerous trend, which should not be ignored. Ten of the 12 deaths involved male boaters who sadly drowned while not wearing a life jacket. This is a continuing and troubling trend that will only plateau or reverse if boaters in that high-risk demographic choose to put safety first by putting on their life jacket.”

For more information, visit and

Posted in News

BWCA Mining Opinion

I know you’re not supposed to believe everything you read but if only a small part of the information in the article is true…

Are Minnesota’s public lands up for sale?

The Superior National Forest, including the spectacular Boundary Waters, is owned by every American. The Superior is part of our national heritage — a priceless system of public lands managed by the U.S. government for the benefit of every citizen. 

But in a Nov. 14 hearing in federal court, Chilean mining company Antofagasta claimed the absolute right to mine copper on thousands of acres of land owned by the people of the United States. “They are ours,” said the lawyer representing Antofagasta. “We own these minerals.”

Antofagasta bases this outrageous claim — which is contrary to federal law — on its 2015 purchase of Twin Metals Minnesota. This was a cheap purchase of a struggling company with no economically viable mining plan. Part of the purchase included two federal mineral leases that had expired in 2013 and were not renewed by the Bureau of Land Management.

Respect for the law and fair dealing seem to be unfamiliar concepts to Antofagasta.

The company, which has mines in South America but none in the United States, has a history of water pollution and other environmental violations, labor strife, and a questionable coziness with politicians.

Despite an ongoing lawsuit demanding the right to mine public lands near the Boundary Waters, this is exactly how Antofagasta is behaving in the United States.

In December 2016 Andronico Luksic, of the family that owns the controlling interest in Antofagasta, purchased a $5.5 million mansion in Washington D.C. Within weeks, the mansion was rented to Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.

The conduct of Antofagasta’s Minnesota politicians is as outrageous as the conduct of Antofagasta itself.

Congressman Tom Emmer, R-6th District, has introduced legislation, H.R. 3905, that could appropriately be titled the “Minnesota Shall Henceforth Be a Banana Republic Act of 2017.”

Emmer’s bill would:

  • Grant mining leases to Antofagasta with an infinitesimal amount of environmental review and make any mining leases granted on Minnesota’s National Forests permanent and forever;
  • Dismiss the 126,000 people who weighed in during a 2017 environmental study scoping process;
  • Amend the Antiquities Act and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act to deprive Minnesota — only Minnesota — of the benefits of these statutes enjoyed by the other 49 states;
  • And block the Forest Service from complying with the mandate of the 1978 Boundary Waters Wilderness Act that it protect the water quality of the Boundary Waters.

If it gets its way, Antofagasta will devastate thousands of acres in the heart of the Superior National Forest, pollute Basswood Lake and other lakes of the Boundary Waters that provide one of the world’s great sport fisheries, and lay waste to the sustainable economy of the Minnesota Arrowhead—all to pad Antofagasta’s already extravagant wealth.

The question is, will we let that happen?

This is the opinion of Jason Zabokrtsky, chair of Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters. Also contributing were Steve Piragis of the Boundary Waters Business Coalition; Doug Niemela of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters; Erik Packard of Veterans for the Boundary Waters; and Ann McNally and Don Lee of Girl Scouts & Boy Scouts for the Boundary Waters.

Tagged with: ,
Posted in BWCA

Christmas Trees!

We have our Christmas Tree, do you have yours? Come up north and cut your own!

How to harvest the perfect Christmas tree in the Superior National Forest

Have you ever harvested your own Christmas tree from the forest? If you are someone who likes to choose your own adventure and drink hot chocolate from a thermos while wearing a festive flannel – Christmas tree hunting is for you! For as little as $5 you can embark on a memory filled adventure out into the forest to find the perfect Balsam fir tree.

Finding the perfect Christmas tree

What you’ll need to make your outing successful:

  1. Permit. You’ll need to obtain a Christmas tree permit from the US Forest Service. It is $5 and can be picked up from any forest service office. Pro tip: pick up a map of the Superior National Forest. It can be purchased at the same time as your permit or from a local outfitter. Not only will it guide you through the backroads and identify the US Forest Service boundaries but is also a handy companion for year round navigation and will help you identify public land you can harvest from.
  2. Balsam Fir Forest. The Superior National Forest is filled with perfect trees dreaming of brightening up your home this holiday but you’ll need to know what you are looking for. Only certain types of trees can be harvested for Christmas. Balsam fir trees are the preferred species because they smell wonderful, are ideal for displaying ornaments and grow back rapidly so it keeps the forest healthy. Pro tip: bring a tape measure. You cannot return the tree to the forest if it is too big for your living space so it is important to know what you can accommodate.
  3. Saw. A folding handsaw or a chainsaw are the ideal tools for the job but any kind of cutting device or axe will be sufficient.  Pro tip: look for tree of six inches or less in diameter and cut near the base of the tree at a slight angle. This will help determine the direction that the tree will fall.
  4. Rope. You’ll need something to secure your prized tree to the roof of your car. Similar to tying a canoe to the roof of your vehicle, you’ll need rope or locking straps to attach. Pro tip: bringing a blanket or tarp wrap the tree to protect it during travel will ensure the majority of needles stay intact as well as keep the roof of your vehicle scratch free.
  5. Winter clothing. It is not allowed to harvest a tree within 200 feet of a road or trail so you will have to venture into the woods to get your tree. Therefore, wearing appropriate winter clothing is a must. Besides you would never want to miss an opportunity for an impromptu snowball fight with your loved ones, would you?  Pro tip: bringing a sled along to help pull the carefully selected tree out of the woods.

Learn more about the types of trees you can harvest and the nitty gritty details from these resources:

Permit locations in Cook County MN:

  • Gunflint Ranger District -2020 W. Highway 61, Grand Marais, MN 55604 |  PHONE:

    (218) 387-1750  |


  • Tofte Ranger District – 7355 West Hwy 61, Tofte, MN 55615 | PHONE: (218) 663-8060 | Email:

Happy hunting!

Posted in News

Giving Green Gifts

DNR News Release
For Immediate Release:
Nov. 27, 2017
Questions? The DNR Information Center now answers your calls from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday and offers interpreter services. Call 888-646-6367 or email

Want to give green gifts this holiday?
Think wood from a Minnesota forest
This holiday season support Minnesota businesses that make and sell gifts made of wood from local forests. Thousands of items are made from wood harvested in Minnesota forests.

“Wooden toys, handcrafts and keepsakes are great green gift options,” said Kristen Bergstrand, DNR utilization and marketing program coordinator. “Plus, wood is a renewable resource that is natural, beautiful and durable.”

Wooden chests, rocking chairs or horses, children’s toys, picture frames and artisan bowls or wood crafts are one of a kind items that are often passed down to future generations as family mementos.

“Right now wooden signs with an inspirational saying are very popular,” Bergstrand said. “Many local artists use repurposed wood to create interior and exterior home decor.”

Making products from trees often requires less processing and energy than plastic or other products. Wood is also renewable and reusable. Most wood products can be recycled and wood waste can be converted into green energy as biomass.

Buying wood products also helps the environment. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that causes global climate change, and store carbon in their wood, keeping it out of the atmosphere. Locally made products from trees harvested in Minnesota use less fossil fuel for transportation than imported goods.

Supporting the wood products industry helps protect forests from development because woodland owners are able to generate income from a harvest. It also helps sustain local Minnesota economies and creates jobs and financial support for small and large retail business across the state.

So this year, give the gift that makes sense—wood—and help support Minnesota’s forests and local businesses.

Visit the DNR wood products webpage at to learn more about the benefits of buying and using wood products.


Posted in News

Not Skating on Thin Ice

I’ve been lucky so far because I have never fallen through ice. I’m pretty careful but I can’t say I love this time of the year. I’d prefer we had more snow for the cross-country ski trails or less snow for the hiking trails.  I know some folks who have ventured out onto the lakes for ice fishing or for recreation but I’ll wait a little longer.

Here’s a good reminder if you’re heading out onto the ice anytime soon.

What To Do If You Fall Through Thin Ice

Skating, fishing, hiking, fat-biking: Winter’s freeze offers up new areas to explore. But with it comes the danger of falling through thin ice.

As the mercury drops, some of us in the northern latitudes will be heading out onto the ice in search of winter activity. Should you fall in, here are some tips to extract yourself.

How to Identify Thin Ice

Not all thin ice can be easily spotted. But, in general, blue, clear ice is stronger than milky ice that has been through repeated freeze/thaw cycles.

Snow is an insulator. Ice covered by snow or slush can be thinner and should be presumed questionable early in the season.

Where Thin Ice is Found

In general, warm spells and spring are most dangerous times of year. The ice can be brittle and more likely to fracture. Early season can also be dangerous, when the ice hasn’t had a chance to freeze uniformly thick yet.

How to Avoid Falling Through

The best way to avoid falling through ice is to stay off the ice. But that doesn’t answer the question, does it?

Be aware of beaver dams, pressure cracks and depressions, running water, springs, or other areas that can prevent ice from freezing thick. Plus, the risk can be managed further. According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources:

  • 4 inches or less, stay off ice
  • 5–7 inches can support an ATV or snowmobile
  • 8–12 inches can support a car or small pickup
  • 13+ inches can support a midsize truck

But understand that ice rarely freezes at a uniform rate and can vary from safe to unsafe within mere feet.

For those who choose to travel on thin ice, emergency ice picks provide a little grip for pulling oneself from the water. They aren’t a guarantee, but they’re certainly better than nothing.

What to Do if You Fall Through Thin Ice

Don’t panic. It’s easier said than done, but the “cold shock phenomenon” will knock the air out of you and leave you gasping. Take a minute to calm down and catch your breath. The body will eventually get itself back in control.

Pitch heavy gear, like fishing or hunting gear or skis. No amount of gear is worth holding onto. It will weigh you down and make it hard to get out.

If you break through ice while on a snowmobile, let go of it. Try to roll off the machine and onto solid ice.

Leave your clothes on. Clothing can trap air, providing some buoyancy and warmth. Exposed arms and legs will quickly become clumsy in the cold and could easily get tangled up while trying to remove any clothing, potentially drowning the victim.

Turn around. Try to get out the way you came in. It’s the most stable ice you can be sure of.

Place both hands on the ice’s surface. Stretch out and reach over solid ice.

Wet ice is slick. If you have a knife or keys, use them as mechanical claws to clutch the ice and pull yourself out. Wool gloves can also provide some sticky traction.

Kick your legs. Kick your legs up, parallel to the ice. Use your hands and arms to pull up onto the ice. If you took in a lot of water, let it drain from your clothes. Continue to shimmy onto the ice.

Stay prone and roll away. Congratulations! You made it out. The last thing you need is to fall back in. Distribute your weight across the ice as much as possible.

Roll out the way you came in. This will continue to distribute your weight and get you out as quick and safely as possible.

“Gets.” Get inside, get out of your wet clothes, get warmed up, and get medical attention if you feel disoriented or are shivering uncontrollably. The body can slip into shock, or worse, cardiac arrest.

Can’t get out? Stay close to the lip of the hole and get as much of your body out of the water as possible. Your jacket and arms will freeze to the side of the ice and keep you from falling into the hole after you pass out. Hopefully a passerby will find you soon to help.

Worst-Case Scenario

Falling through thin ice can be fatal. But with your wits, you’ve got a good 15 minutes of exposure before the muscles can’t function. Bottom line, though, be cautious before heading out on questionable ice.

Share : What To Do If You Fall Through Thin Ice

Contributing Editor (and Gear Junkie Idaho Bureau Chief) Steve Graepel is allegedly a crook and a thief, conning his friends to steal away time from their families in pursuit of premeditated leisure, which typically involves a bike, a pack-raft, skis, running shoes, climbing rack, or all of the above.

Tagged with:
Posted in News
  • Northern lights in the forecast but with the full Supermoon and a winter storm on the way I doubt we'll get to...

Follow @bwcabloglady on twitter.

Pin It   

Receive this Blog via Email

Sign up for our online newsletter: