Wilderness Wisdom – Social Distancing, BWCA Style

Wilderness Wisdom – Social Distancing, BWCA Style

Social Distancing in the Boundary Waters

Social distancing is all the rage.  We hear the term daily right now.  But what is social distancing exactly.  According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, social distancing is the act of deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading a contagious illness, such as COVID-19.

Social Distancing in the Boundary Waters

Great, but what does that have to do with the Boundary Waters wilderness.  Well, it can be argued that there are few, if any, places in the United States (outside of Alaska) which offer the opportunity for social distancing like the Boundary Waters.

Think about it.  The Boundary Waters has all of these advantages for creating social distancing:

  • The Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) along with Canada’s adjacent Quetico Park is a massive wilderness area.
  • Access is limited to a set number of entry permits per day, keeping crowds low at the entry points and practically non-existent if you travel a few miles into the wilderness.
  • Campsites are separated by impenetrable forests and limited to 9 campers, generally all people you know and trust. Thus, plenty of social distancing.
  • Lots of open air and few surfaces that could have been previously contaminated by anyone.
bwca quiet
Escape the Path of the COVID-19 Virus

It’s funny.  We have always thought of the Boundary Waters wilderness as a place to escape the busy, connected world for a few days.  It is a place to regenerate.  We never thought of it as a place to escape from a virus that has turned the world upside down.  Yet, maybe these are the same thing.

Albert Einstein once said, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”  As we try to come to terms with the craziness that is surrounding us, with the loss of our wealth that is occurring, or most seriously, with a virus-related illness or death, find some solace in nature.  Nature allows us to tune out the world for a little bit and to think a little bit more clearly.  We can process and come to terms with what is happening.

Air is Medicine

Finally, consider a Boundary Waters canoe trip to replace your cancelled travel plans.  The Boundary Waters may not be fancy or exotic, but it is beautiful and peaceful.  It offers social distancing with little risk of a virus.  To quote a famous actor of old, “Let the clean air blow the cobwebs from your body. Air is medicine.”

Paddle On. Be Free.


ultimatefish and canoe trips BWCA Quetico