An anonymous Reddit tale told by a first-time visitor to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area this week has sparked conversation online about proper campsite etiquette.
The consensus? It's intrusive and a bit odd to roll up to a campsite where a group is already settled and set-up camp less than 10 feet away without a word.
Four women in their late 20s head up to the BWCA. They're enjoying their campsite when two women (presumably a mother and daughter) paddle up.
"We say hello, with silence as a response," the Reddit writer tells.
As the duo pulls into the campsite, they inquire about how many people are in the group and ask directions to the latrine. Upon returning from the latrine, they begin unloading and set up camp within 10 feet of the other site, the writer explains.
"In the most Midwest way possible, one of the girls confronted them about their proximity to our campsite," the post reads. "They say that the site holds 9 (which is true) and they 'don’t care if we smoke weed or drink'. And that was that, they set up and stayed the night right next to us."
Now, most BWCA campers agree severe weather, looming darkness and no availability to other campsites might be reasons to break social norms and settle in next to other campers.
The Reddit author, however, said none of those conditions were present. It was a "perfect day", she writes, and tons of spots were available not more than two miles away.
The post ends with a question: "Are we crazy for being upset? Is this totally cool behavior where in BWCA?"
The top-voted reply offers this simple response: "Nope. Not cool. No No No."
Further discussion ensued when the Reddit post made its way over to Twitter.
Some Twitter users said the two women's behavior actually violated the permit rules — others said that wasn't exactly true. We reached out to the Superior National Forest for comment and here's what they said.
"Camping in the BWCAW is first come first serve, there is no requirement for the number of parties per site as long as they don’t exceed the 9-person/4 watercraft per site," wrote Caroline Torkildson, a public affairs specialist. "We encourage all visitors to follow Leave No Trace principles, including 'be considerate of other visitors.'"
So, after all, the fine print doesn't appear to speak directly to a situation like the Reddit story. But, pretty much everyone who replied online said it wasn't cool.
"Next time I see a canoe go by with only 2 people, I’m gonna hop in the middle without a word," one Twitter reply stated. "When asked, I’ll be sure to let them know that their canoe technically holds 3 and that I don’t mind their rowing."
Empowered by the internet's response, the original Reddit writer shared another update:
"Had we had the knowledge this thread provided, on that day, we most certainly would have told them to keep paddling," the post reads. "I’m glad to know how to react next time, but by the sounds of it there won’t be a next time. All in all it was a fabulous trip, one of the best times of my life. We’ve already planned for this to be an annual trip. Not even camp intruders can ruin that."