It’s been said a dog is a man’s best friend and is obviously becoming a more important part of many of today’s families. Like a child or sometimes man himself a dog is not able to pick up after itself. Most pet owners these days are accustomed to using the plastic bags provided in local parks or on city streets to pick up after their dog goes poo in an inappropriate place. In the Boundary Waters there are no plastic bags for pet poo and sometimes even dog’s masters forget what is appropriate in the way of relieving oneself.
I’ve spied with my little eyes men peeing in my parking lot just two steps from a flush toilet in broad daylight. Maybe they are trying to save on my septic system but it is more likely a case of I’m in the woods now and I can do what I want where I want. This attitude must spill over to their furry friends who also go wherever they want. While I can pick up after man and his best friend on my property I am not able to go out into the wilderness to pick up after them and there are no signs or bags provided in the wilderness.
Currently dogs are allowed in the Boundary Waters as long as they are leashed on portages but that could quickly change if people are not responsible pet owners. Like cans and bottles being left in the woods inspired the ruling of no cans or bottles in the BWCA pet poo in the BWCA could lead to no pets in the BWCA. That would be really crappy especially for those of us who pick up after our pets.
I for one like to bring my dog Rugby along on my canoe trips and I clean up after him if need be. If he dares to squat in the middle of the campsite or on a trail then it’s very easy to pick up his poo with toilet paper and place it into a plastic bag or dispose of it in a latrine. On portages it is a little more difficult but I can easily take a large leaf, scoop up the poo and bring it into the woods to bury.
The USFS has received complaints of pet excrement in the Boundary Waters. If we want to continue to be able to bring our dogs into the Boundary Waters then we need to clean up after them just as we clean up after ourselves and our children. No one wants a crappy Boundary Waters campsite so pick up your pet’s poo!