Crossing the border...a lesson learned. - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 08-21-2013, 11:23 PM   #1
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Crossing the border...a lesson learned.

What started out as a seemingly straightforward trip to Chilliwack to get Egbert’s water pump replaced turned into the day trip from hell. The pump was replaced (about 30 minutes) and I was on my way home again. There was a 45-minute wait at Sumas. I pulled up to the U.S. side and went through the usual rigamarole. The guy asked me a lot of questions about my trailer (including the price) and how I liked it, etc. Then: “Do you have any firewood?” Yes, in the back of the truck. Wrong answer. Had I been planning to camp in Canada I might have given thought to what I had in my truck but the only thing on my mind was getting the pump replaced…no thought to anything else and, besides, there’s always firewood in my truck. After pulling over and waiting an hour, I filled out a declaration (no, I don’t have any food with me). The guy went out to inspect the wood, my truck and the trailer. He came back with a potato (obviously having rolled behind some dishes). To make a very long story short, I had to go back into Canada to dump my firewood and re-enter the U.S. This whole nightmare cost me well over two hours and a splitting headache as it was 410 degrees outside (C or F, your choice), it was way, way past my lunchtime, and the only food to be had was that potato which was confiscated. I’ll laugh about this some day. Maybe.
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Old 08-21-2013, 11:41 PM   #2
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Karen:

Sorry about this! I guess those of us who frequently travel across the borders know that firewood is one of the many things you should not try to bring into the US.

There are also many types of fruit and vegetables that can't be brought into the US.

Dogfood also can't be brought across the border unless it is in an original unopened container and made in the USA.

Perhaps someone has a complete list and can post it.

Here is one reference I could find: http://www.ezbordercrossing.com/the-...hibited-items/

You will notice is says: Firewood cannot be brought into the U.S. from Canada.
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Old 08-21-2013, 11:54 PM   #3
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Although I couldn't prove that the wood was from the US as I didn't have a receipt, the customs guy knew that it was as we discussed where it had been cut. But now that I'm a known potato smuggler, my credibility is shot. He pointed out that the wood was diseased and I said that, yes, that's why I had the tree cut down. But when I asked about the leaving diseased firewood in Canada, he said that it was their problem. I understand and fully appreciate the reasoning about transporting items like this and I'm not trying to excuse my ignorance and lack of thinking. But here's a salute to the death of common sense.
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Old 08-22-2013, 12:14 AM   #4
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Could be worse. You could have sent it U.P.S.
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Old 08-22-2013, 12:22 AM   #5
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We experienced a similar nightmare when we declared a tomato as we crossed into Washington at the same crossing. The tomato had been grown in Washington, but that did not matter. We were detained with a Cuban without a passport and a fellow with kids in pajamas, and no ID. Three hours later we were free to go. We probably started the whole thing by giving Escape owners a bad name. Yup, we're BAD!
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Old 08-22-2013, 12:49 AM   #6
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I have crossed the border a zillion times on business (in a former life) and pleasure and have not had a problem. Thank you, Brian, for posting that link. I hope this thread will make others more aware of issues that can present a problem to cross-border campers.
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Old 08-22-2013, 12:51 AM   #7
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Ahhh our lovely country, making border crossings fun since forever!

We were so tired going through back in June, not to mention basically brain dead from sitting waiting in traffic, and I totally threw the guy off by not having read the giant signs posted in front of our vehicle at all ("Signs? There were so many signs before we got to the booth, I didn't even see the ones here!". Luckily he just thought I was an idiot and wasn't nasty! We had dog food, oranges and apples (brought from the US and back again). We got through with everything but the lone orange that didn't have a sticker.
The funny part was the 6'5" border agent going in our trailer. I almost felt bad for him.
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Old 08-22-2013, 01:30 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by KarenH View Post
I have crossed the border a zillion times on business (in a former life) and pleasure and have not had a problem. Thank you, Brian, for posting that link. I hope this thread will make others more aware of issues that can present a problem to cross-border campers.
Hi: KarenH... You are now a charter member of the ESSoA's(Escape Smugglers Society of America) You are on file now!!!
We made the mistake of not eating the last 1/4 of a red pepper, bought in Rochester N.Y., and giving it a ride into Atlantic Canada then trying to smuggle it back into the U.S.
LSS... The fine for failing to declare is $300. SHEESH!!! We too...are marked. Alf
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie
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Old 08-22-2013, 04:27 AM   #9
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Firewood

Here is more information on bringing firewood into the US from Canada:

https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/det...firewood/sno/1

Can I bring my own firewood from Canada to the United States?

Individuals may not enter the United States with untreated wood products, such as firewood. Certain pests of hardwood, including the Asian longhorned beetle and emerald ash borer, exist in Canada and can travel in firewood and other untreated wood products. The larvae of wood boring insects are not immediately visible to the eye, but could mature, emerge, and move to other trees before the wood is burned. These insects pose a serious threat to our forests. These pests have the potential to destroy millions of acres of America's hardwoods, including national forests and backyard trees.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) regulates the importation of firewood from Canada. In order to enter the United States, all hardwood (such as oak, maple, hickory, etc) firewood entering from Canada must be heat treated in accordance with Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations, 319.40-7(c), which is a heat treatment requirement of 71.1 degrees Centigrade for 75 minutes. All hardwood firewood must be accompanied by a treatment certificate or an attached commercial treatment label declaring that the firewood was heat treated at 60 C (minimal core temperature) for 60 minutes and an inspection free from pest.

Softwood (such as spruce, pine, fir, etc.) firewood (non-commercial) must be accompanied by a treatment certificate or attached commercial treatment label declaring that the firewood was heat treated at 56 C (minimal core temperature) for 30 minutes and an inspection free from pest.

For more information about firewood and invasive species, visit Don't Move Firewood | Trees and forests are threatened by invasive foreign insects and diseases
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Old 08-22-2013, 04:40 AM   #10
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Bringing food into the US for personal use

Here is a link:

https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/det...nto%20the%20US

Note that potatoes from Canada are currently restricted:

Potatoes from western regions of Canada are currently restricted because of a disease outbreak. While commercial imports are permitted under stringent guidelines, travelers from Canada should avoid bringing raw potatoes with them into the U.S.
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Old 08-22-2013, 08:26 AM   #11
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I have to take a bit of adifferent view on the firewood. New York has a 50 mile limit on moving firewood and I fully support it. My entire property in upstate NY is covered with ash trees. The Emerald Ash Borer is moving throughout the east, a major vector - firewood. I am going to have to deal with 50 trees or so that will die due to the borer. Most states in the east limit the moving of firewod which slows the advance.

If they gave you a problem moving diseased firewood, I'm afraid I'd have to support them.
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Old 08-22-2013, 09:57 AM   #12
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I don't think many camp sites allow outside fire wood to enter their campgrounds.
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Old 08-22-2013, 10:07 AM   #13
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I don't think many camp sites allow outside fire wood to enter their campgrounds.
Most I have seen that don't supply it, yet allow the burning, say to bring your own or you can purchase if you wish too.

I have mostly stayed in provincial/state/federal sites though, and almost never in private ones.

Those border guards on both sides sure do have a great supply of firewood.
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Old 08-22-2013, 10:56 AM   #14
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When you reserve a provincial site here in Ontario, as part of the reservation you enter your postal code. Then, at least if you're me, you get a page that says something like "Your home vicinity has an emerald ash borer infestation. Before you can proceed with the reservation, you must acknowledge that you know you are not allowed to bring firewood with you."

I took down about 20 trees last year, and have another 20 or so to go (and these are just the trees close enough to the house and driveway that I can't just let them fall) so I'm understanding...
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Old 08-22-2013, 11:37 AM   #15
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Last year we had just picked up our trailer and were heading directly accross into Washington at the Sumas crossing, We had no food what so ever other than our Salt and Pepper and Steak Spice. So the border Guard asked us if we had any food, I told him about the three items we had which were still in the back of the truck and not in the trailer. His answer was " seriously you have no food ? " I answered we just bouht the trailer and are going to hit a Grocery store after we cross the border. We were " selected" for agriculteral inspection, which wasted about a hour and a half of everyones time for hime to come back in and say " wow there is nothing in there ".
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Old 08-22-2013, 12:59 PM   #16
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Anyone know about shredded lettuce and shredded carrots in sealed packaging you buy hanging from Hooks bought in grocery stores? Would this be declared as plant material of any type or a prepared food?

"prepared foods for personal consumption or for family/friend gatherings is allowed. However, all fruits, vegetables, plants and plant material of any type must be declared"
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Old 08-22-2013, 02:19 PM   #17
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Anyone know about shredded lettuce and shredded carrots in sealed packaging you buy hanging from Hooks bought in grocery stores? Would this be declared as plant material of any type or a prepared food?

"prepared foods for personal consumption or for family/friend gatherings is allowed. However, all fruits, vegetables, plants and plant material of any type must be declared"
GoCamp

Have a look at
https://epermits.aphis.usda.gov/manu...ED_ID=10577256

You will see that lettuce grown in Canada must be inspected before it can be brought into the US. If the lettuce was grown in the US you will likely need to prove it was grown in the US. (I don't know how you do that!)

The simple solution that we use is that we don't bring any fruit and vegetables into the US from Canada. We buy it in the US.
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Old 08-22-2013, 04:26 PM   #18
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Unfortunately on a special diet here is the reason for asking, thanks for the help.
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Old 08-22-2013, 05:18 PM   #19
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Unfortunately on a special diet here is the reason for asking, thanks for the help.
GoCamp

I suggest you post a question on CBP's website: https://help.cbp.gov/app/home/search/1

They seem to be trying hard to answer questions like yours.
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Old 08-22-2013, 09:59 PM   #20
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I too had a similar experience in early June at Sumas getting back into the U.S. They did not like my U.S. bought tangerines, even though I had been in Canada only two nights. I got the full vehicle/trailer inspection, interrupted by a half-hour office BS meeting. Lesson learned -- next time I will have NOTHING of interest to those freaking fruit nazis, and will politely tell them so.

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