Sunday, July 13, 2008

Okay, I get the message

I hiked the Superior Hiking Trail from the Stewart Creek area to the Castle Danger area today. For those like me who navigate the North Shore by pie shops, that's basically from Betty's Pies to the Rustic Inn.

It's a five to six mile hike through some nice rugged country, but virtually the entire hike has these signs along the way that say, in essence, "Stay on the trail, loser."

Some are official. Signed by the Encampment caretaker, this one made me know I should STAY ON THE TRAIL.





Some are specific. No camping, no fires...but how about a polka party...ON THE TRAIL?






And some appeal to your better nature. I couldn't quite figure out what the sensitive area the sign referred to as I walked carefully ON THE TRAIL.





There's about a full mile of the trail with no trespassing signs on both sides of the trail; the trail exactly follows a property line around the edge of the Encampment Forest Association. It's beautiful but a little creepy, hiking the gauntlet of these signs. When I finally got to a section without these signs, I stepped off the trail to sit on a nice rock with a view of the valley below. Then I lit a fire, put up my tent, and got all insensitive. No, no...I got back ON THE TRAIL.

31 comments:

Ovidia said...

Thought you might enjoy checking out another sign: http://moonbeans.blogspot.com/2008/01/nelson-rocks-preserve-is-outdoor.html!

Andrew Slade said...

Ovidia,

That's a kick...could they be any more specific??

Anonymous said...

I drive by the Encampment River everytime I head to the North Shore and always wonder about that area. Any idea who or what the Encampment Forest Assosication is?

Andrew Slade said...

Encampment Forest Association is a group of families that own a bunch of beautiful land on the North Shore together. Members have their own homes, but all the land is held in common. The land they own in common has some of the most ecologically intact forests and habitats on the North Shore. They are understandably protective of their privacy.

Anonymous said...

Andrew Slade is correct. Encampment is an absolute treasure found in Northern MN that most have never heard of. My family (we reside in suburban Mpls) has been going up there for close to 50 years-from my grandparents to my parents and now me (I'm in my mid 20's). The association is composed of cabin 'owning' members as well as 'renting' members. Most of the families have known each other for a long time, through generations.

Ever since I started using the internet, I've tried 'googling' for anything I could find on Encampment, just out of curiosity. Even a few years back, you'd be hard pressed to find anything on the WWW even mentioning Encampment...Unfortunately, as I found out a few minutes ago, more and more information on our secluded treasure (that no one knows about!) are showing up....booo!

Andrew Slade said...

I think there is a group of members at Encampment that sees the broader public interest in the land the Association has protected. The hard part is understanding that to address broader public interest in protecting scenic views, water quality, etc., the Association does not have to give up on the privacy or autonomy the members value.

Jennifer said...

Wow! Just retruned to Texas from a dreamy few days at one of the EFAs cabins. I am already plotting my next trip, hopefully to run Grandma's Marathon. I have to say that the grassy path up to the Quarry i severy runner's dream
(or nightmare) for hill training. Don't worry, I was invited to your very exclusive secret treasure by some of the natives. Love it!!

northshore guy said...

It is a frustrating subject... I'm happy for the preservation they've done, beautiful old growth. But I unhappy with the elitist hording of natural beauty that everyone could have access to... there is a gorgeous 30 ft water on their section of river. The same goes for the Manitou river... the most gorgeous waterfall on the N Shore on private property. If I had the means, I'd do like the rockafellers (like the grand tetons) and buy both and donate it to the state for public preservation and use!

Verne Wagner said...

I am interested in doing some research and a possible book or video on the Encampment Forrest Assoc. I would appreciate any contact info of residents or pictues of the area.

Contact me at Lwagsmn@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I too have wondered about the EFA for over 22 years since moving to northern Wisconsin. On trips up the North Shore I always look to catch a glimpse of the beautiful cabins on the rocky banks of the river and yearn to take a look around. I hope someone documents this area in video and photographs for all of us that are not fortunate enough to be born into this lucky group.

Anonymous said...

The EFA, or Encampment Forest Area, is a privately owned forest area that is operated by an association of members with various degrees of interest in the property. It dates back almost to the turn of the century, and was created by a number of wealthy families who carefully guard their anonymity and privacy. In general, the association is not open to new members, and interests are primarily acquired by heredity. It is indeed a lovely place, and for the most part, is off limits to the public. The SHT passes through the EFA property under the terms of a carefully negotiated license. Part of that agreement is to respect the interest of the EFA as a private property owner, and hence, the signs along the SHT clearly designate the trail boundary and travel conditions. Whether or not associations like EFA can, or should, control increasingly scarce public resources (such as wilderness areas) is another issue. Private property interests in this country have long trumped most public interests. This includes the right to strictly limit access to privately owned wilderness lands. Some other countries, notably England and Wales, permit access to many private lands under "the right to roam." There is no corollary to this in our law. There are a number of historical references about the EFA, but to my knowledge these are all privately published and are not for sale or public distribution.

Anonymous said...

Guys it i am a member and it really hurts when people see non members trespass so DONT AND THAT INCLUDES INCAMPMENT ISLAND...

Anonymous said...

In Minnesota, as long as you stay below the high water mark, people can hike up any MN river. This is the point where the water reaches during flood stage or spring runoff. You can see debris in the vegetation along the banks of the river. It's difficult to do on this river due to the falls and deep canyons. I think it is absolutely wrong to keep people from enjoying Minnesotas less than 1% of old growth.

Anonymous said...

Come on kiddo. You don't even know how to spell ENCAMPMENT. EFA should be ashamed of themselves.

Anonymous said...


There are plenty of places for the general population to visit. Check out Goosebury or better yet....stay in the cities and picnic at Powderhorn park. We do not need more people, more pollution, more problems. Leave EFA alone!

That other guy said...

Are you not the general population? Are you entitled because of your ancestors status?

Anonymous said...

I've been absolutely dismayed at the almost paranoid protection of this elitist retreat. I've encountered it hiking and while paddling and the signs are even on the shore for miles along its entire length of shore. You're not even allowed to land your kayak to take emergency shelter in a storm. Although, I knew about the Minnesota's rivers laws and paddled up the Encampment tenth of a mile or so before hitting rapids (totally plastered with more signs). This haughty and jealous love of their property is saddening. It assumes that everyone wants to destroy their land when almost all treasure it and want it protected as well. That is, if they knew it even existed.
Encampment River State Park has a nice ring to it in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

If you had your own private property that had been in your family for generations, I highly doubt that you would want the general public invading your privacy.

janice beck said...

Hi there, we have a cabin in Silver Bay and drive by the Encampment River and gates i assume lead to cabins. Are they an association or private home? Are they available for sale? Thank you

Anonymous said...

Please respect the privacy of the EFA folks. There are many other "public lands" throughout our beautiful state, and you would be welcome there.

Anonymous said...

I have lived on the North shore my whole life...My family also owns historical property in NW Wisc. What gives you the right and privilege to have you private property protected by the MAN state highway Patrol...Those are the people's tax dollars. Needs some explanation. !!!

Anonymous said...

I used to live rite by there and have snooped all over them woods never had a problem never ran into any one.

Colter Adams said...

I attend EFA every summer, and am a cabin owning member. How can I help?

Colter Adams said...

I attend Encampment on an annual basis and am a cabin owning member. How can I help? My email id coltsix@gmail.com

Colter Adams said...

I am an Encampment member and I am ashamed of that post lmao. I have no problem with people visiting EFA as it is a beautiful place and should be free to be utilized by all. But please don't trespass illegally for your own sake. If you would like to schedule a LEGAL visit, I may be able to help. Contact me at coltsix@gmail.com.

Colter Adams said...

The DO NOT ENTER signs are in place because if we don't have them, and you get injured in our property on one of the many secluded multi-mile trails or 30+ ft waterfalls, we could be sued. It's as simple as that. We want to avoid legal liability.

Colter Adams said...

It's impossible to Kayak up the Encampment more than say 200 ft before you hit the shallows.

Colter Adams said...

An association of cabin owners who shared hundreds of acres of 1st growth forested property and work to preserve and upkeep the near wild area.

Colter Adams said...

The government serves to enforce property rights though...

Colter Adams said...

Please don't. If you want to go on the trails at least have the courtesy to ask!

Colter Adams said...

The DO NOT ENTER signs are in place because if we don't have them, and you get injured in our property on one of the many secluded multi-mile trails or 30+ ft waterfalls, we could be sued. It's as simple as that. We want to avoid legal liability.