October 6, 2000
It is the opinion of Conservationists with Common Sense (CWCS) that the Voyageurs National Park Management Plan does not go far enough towards increasing or maintaining access, and promoting multiple use of the park. There are many areas of concern that raise red alert flags for us. Many details are vague and nondescript.
One point that we are in agreement with is the increase in available campsites. We should be doing all that we can to increase tourism to the area. Having more campsites available is a step in the right direction.
CWCS agrees, that before any entry/user fee system should be implemented, a feasibility study should be completed. At this time, we are opposed to the installation of a permit system. Traffic is not high enough to warrant such a system of limitation.
The definitions of a houseboat are not clear. Pontoon boats, sailboats and cuddy boats could qualify as a houseboat under your plan. We also oppose the limitation of houseboats. We do not see any exemption for them.
In your listing of allowable motorized uses, the current effort to overturn the jetski ban in all National Parks must be addressed. Like the proposed snowmobile ban, this ban was pushed through without any environmental impact studies completed or input from the public. Of all our National Parks, Voyageurs is the most appropriate for jetski use.
In your listing of allowable non-motorized uses, there is no mention of bikes or sled dogs. Why is there no allowance for sled dogs in Voyageurs plan when they are an allowable use in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness right next door?
In the proposed plan, you seem to be trying to correct a problem where no problem exists. There is no clear and present danger. There is no public outcry of overuse in the Park.
We oppose the plan as presented and appreciate the extension of public comment period to October 23, giving more people and organizations adequate time to review the management plan and submit their comments.