REGIONAL— Careful planning is key to a successful visit to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area this summer, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Reservations for entry permits to the 1.1 …
REGIONAL— Careful planning is key to a successful visit to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area this summer, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Reservations for entry permits to the 1.1 million-acre federal wilderness area went on sale on Wednesday of this week, but many permits remain available, particularly if visitors are flexible on dates and entry points. Reservations are available at www.recreation.gov, or by calling 1-877-444-6777.
The quota season in the Boundary Waters begins May 1 and runs through Sept. 30.
Visitors planning to take an overnight trip, or a motorized day trip into the BWCAW will want to plan ahead and consider a number of factors that can enhance their wilderness experience and improve their chances of obtaining an overnight permit.
Tips from the Forest Service include:
• Have at least three travel options (dates and entry points) in mind before making a reservation in case your preferred option is unavailable. Reserve only permit(s) you can use. Reserving only what you can use allows others to experience the unique beauty of the BWCAW.
• Consider where you want to pick up your entry permit and its proximity to your entry point. Given the Boundary Waters’ vast size (stretching nearly 140 miles east to west), this can make a huge difference. You must pick up your permit from the issue station specified on your permit and you can only pick up your permit on your entry date or one day prior, so plan to use the ranger station closest to your entry point for convenience.
• Create or register for your recreation.gov account before you plan to make your reservation to ensure you don’t have problems once you’ve decided on your destination. The latest version of the web browser Chrome is recommended for best results on the website.
• Review the section of your permit that addresses fees and cancellations so you know how to cancel your permit if you can’t use it. That allows the permit to go back into the system for someone else to use.
The Forest Service reminds visitors that the maximum group size is nine people and no more than four watercraft. Smaller groups enhance the wilderness experience, reduce the impacts on the wilderness, and improve your chances of seeing wildlife.
The Forest Service also recommends that visitors consider whether a trip in the Boundary Waters is the best option for your group. There are more than two million acres of the Superior National Forest located outside the wilderness, with 254 backcountry campsites that require no fees or reservations. For more information on those sites, visit the Superior National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/main/superior/home.