Canada to resume remote area border crossing permits, allow travel between Boundary Waters and Quetico

Cache Bay Ranger Station and RABC port of entry (Photo courtesy Quetico Provincial Park)

More than two years after the U.S.-Canada border was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the last restrictions on international travel has been lifted. The Canadian government recently announced it would resume offering Remote Area Border Crossing permits.

The RABC permits allow paddlers to easily cross the border by canoe, only requiring them to check in at ranger stations located at Cache Bay and Prairie Portage. Most of Quetico’s visitors arrive by canoe from the American side, making it an important access to the Canadian wilderness.

The program is also important for Americans who own cabins on the Canadian side of Lake Saganaga, and access their property by crossing the border on the water. It could also help relieve some of the overcrowding pressure seen in the Boundary Waters, and provide a boost to outfitters.

Mike Prom, co-owner of Voyageur Canoe Outfitters on Saganaga Lake at the end of the Gunflint Trail, told MPR News that, before the closure, 40 percent of their clients were headed for Canada.

Last week, Canadian officials said that permit applications would be accepted beginning as early as July 8. But as of July 13, the website is not accepting applications and still says the government anticipates reopening the program sometime this month.

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