Starting today, reservations for all Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness entry points during the 2016 permit season are available. Reservations are available online at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777.
All visitors or groups of visitors taking an overnight paddle, motor or hiking trip, or a motorized day use trip into the BWCAW between May 1 and September 30 are required to have a permit. The permits are available on a quota system meant to ensure solitude, campsite availability, and minimal impact on natural resources.
Permit costs include a six dollar non-refundable reservation fee, as well as fees for each member of a party ($16 for adults, $8 for youth). Overnight fees provide funding for management of the Boundary Waters. The entry point, entry date, group leader, and alternates cannot be changed after the reservation is made. The exit date, issuing station, and group size may be changed.
In a recent Forest Service study, 95 percent of wilderness visitors reserved their permit ahead of time. Seventy-eight percent of permits were picked up at Superior National Forest ranger stations, with the remaining 22 percent were provided through cooperating businesses like outfitters. Ninety-three percent of people who reserved a permit thought it was not too difficult.