We tell all of our guests to leave their axe behind when they are heading out into the BWCA. We say using one in the wilderness is inviting trouble and there is no need for an axe when there is plenty of down, dead wood along the shorelines of the wilderness lakes and at many of the Boundary Waters campsites. A saw is sufficient to handle all wood cutting needs while out canoe camping in the BWCA.
The next question that pops into my mind when reading this story about a man injured by his own hatchet in the Boundary Waters is the time when the injury occurred. Some time after midnight he was swinging his axe to chop more firewood. I don't know about you but as a general practice whether I'm in the BWCA or not I prefer to collect and chop firewood during daylight hours.
Lastly this flight by the USFS will not be paid for by the individual rescued from the Boundary Waters but by the USFS themselves. The USFS can't bill individuals and all rescues take money that is needed for the Boundary Waters out of their budget. It wouldn't be so bad if the USFS was responsible for putting the hatchet in the guy's leg but it was his lack of common sense in that moment that we as taxpayers had to pay for. Searches for missing people in the BWCA can't be billed out either so when planes fly over the Kek Trail for days looking for lost hikers again money is diverted from the Boundary Waters to pay for it.
I guess it isn't much different than what happens in the real world but it is more obvious when it happens in my neck of the woods. Maybe you can help by being extra cautious while in the Boundary Waters and please leave your hatchet at home.
The U.S. Forest Service sent a seaplane into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to rescue a camper who accidentally struck himself in the leg with a hatchet.
Daniel Stermac-Stein, 36, of Finland, Minn., was camping with two companions on Big Rice Lake when he hit his left leg with the hatchet just after midnight Saturday morning, according to the Mesabi Daily News.
His friends tried to help him out of the wilderness but he couldn't travel, so the two left for help. They eventually reached a phone and summoned rescuers.
The seaplane flew in at daylight and brought Stermac-Stein back to its base, where he was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Ely and treated.
— Associated Press