Latest BWCA lawsuit fails to recognize past failures
Any means possible is the first thought that comes to mind while reading the latest lawsuit involving the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Getting motors out of the BWCA has been a goal for groups like the Friends of the Boundary Waters and now Wilderness Watch.
Yet this latest salvo makes no sense when you look at the big picture. Going after towboats will have a direct impact on canoeists who are trying to get further into the park during their trip.
Eliminate the towboats and areas like Moose Lake will look like I-35 going north out of the Twin Cities on a Friday afternoon. Towboats help to disburse people throughout the BWCA and the Quetico.
So if you don’t want towboats, there must be two things you do want: a paddling traffic jam at several entry points and/or the elimination of all motors, which is not what the 1978 Wilderness Act called for.
So where did this come from? And who is Wilderness Watch?
Wilderness Watch has Kevin Proescholdt on the payroll so they could just as well be known as Friends West. Proescholdt has been anti-motor from his days with the Friends and apparently he’s looking for some free flights to Minnesota out of this lawsuit.
With lawsuits there are lawyers wearing suits and they will need to be paid to pay for those fancy suits.
“Wilderness Watch seeks the award of costs of suit, including attorney and any expert witness fees pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act, and such other relief as this Court deems just and proper.”
Anyone want to place a bet on Proescholdt planning to be called as an expert witness? If you’re not getting attorney’s fees, you can go after “expert witness fees.”
The real problem with this lawsuit is that it’s built on a house of cards. The numbers used to determine motor boat usage are fatally flawed. The Forest Service was the one to point this out in 2011 when after 12 years of legal wrangling the agency admitted they could not come up with the numbers the court requested.
Without a good base number, the rest of the numbers mean nothing. The lawsuit claims motorboat usage is too high and above the quotas. But the quotas have to be questioned by anyone and everyone who travelled into the BWCA during the key years of 1976 to 1978.
Back then outfitters and people who lived on the affected lakes were issued stickers for boats so they could come and go as they pleased. There are no records of how many boats there really were or how many times they went in the BWCA. And that number is the key for determining all others.
No matter the outcome, the only sure thing to come out of this will be our tax dollars being spent on another frivolous lawsuit. Forest Service employees will spend time generating paperwork for this lawsuit instead of clearing portages or educating BWCA users. In our opinion, that’s the real crime here.
And you don’t even have to pay us an expert witness fee.