News

Forest Service changes BWCA permit lottery

Staff reports

Jim Sanders, forest supervisor for the Superior National Forest, has decided to implement changes to the lottery and reservation system for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). Local outfitters are “okay” with this change.

Forest managers originally planned to eliminate the lottery entirely in 2012 and only run the first-come, first-served system for reserving wilderness permits for all entry points. However, based on comments received and the results of a test of the first-come, first-served process, Sanders has decided to retain the lottery for five entry points where most or all of the permits have historically been reserved during the lottery.

For 2012, the lottery will be retained for Fall Lake entry points D and 24 and Moose Lake entry points F, G and 25. The lottery applications for these five entry points can be made from Dec. 19, 2011 to Jan. 19, 2012. The lottery will be run on Jan. 20.

Reservations for remaining permits for these five entry points along with all other BWCAW entry points can be made on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 9 a.m. Jan. 25.

The Forest Service is making this change based on several months of evaluation.

For all other entry points, historic data show there are permits available both after the lottery and throughout the season. Therefore, it is not necessary to run a lottery for all other BWCAW entry points

Cindy Hansen of Sawbill Canoe Outfitters in Tofte said the Forest Service had met with local BWCAW cooperators. She said she felt the change was good. “I can’t speak for all the cooperators, but we’re fine with it,” she said in a phone interview.

At the end of the Gunflint, at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters, Sue Prom agreed. “The lottery system really wasn’t necessary,” she said.

The Forest Service will continue to work with cooperators, visitors and Reserve America during the coming year to determine if there are other changes that could be made to improve the reservation system. The intent is to offer a permit reservation process that is easy to use, fair to all users, and consistent throughout the BWCAW.

BWCAW lottery applications and reservations can be made at www.recreation. gov.


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