Conservation advocates: Increased hikers and campers causing damage in Boundary Waters

As more people head towards the woods to find safe ways to enjoy the outdoors during a pandemic, wilderness advocates say.

According to the Quetico Superior Wilderness News, officials with the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness are seeing more ill effects from the increased visitation.

This includes burning or leaving trash, cutting green trees, removing vegetation to increase their site, and using chemicals like dish soap.

BWCAW Forest Program Manager Ann Schwaller tells the blog that she suspects it may come down to a policy change made because of the pandemic.

This year, the Superior National Forest has changed its process to allow campers to print permits from home. Typically, permits are issued at ranger stations or local outfitters -- where campers get in-person education.

Under the new program, campers are asked to watch educational videos at home, Quetico Superior Wilderness News says.

Rangers are asking anyone headed out for camping in Boundary Waters or elsewhere, to follow proper camping etiquette. The BWCAW offers a free guide online with tips.

More information from Quetico Superior Wilderness News is available here.