BWCAW entry permit lottery ending, 2015 permits on sale soon

Horse Lake

Dreaming of blue skies and open water? – Photo: Cori Mattke

In the depths of winter, a beacon of hope shines – the annual opening of BWCAW permit reservations. The Boundary Waters has a simple and easy to use permit system. If you plan to camp overnight in the wilderness or utilize a limited number of entry points that permit boats with small motors for day use, you’ll need a permit. That permit entitles you to enter the wilderness area at that entry point on that day. You don’t need to reserve individual campsites, you just need a permit to enter.

To enter the BWCAW from May 1 to September 30, 2015 a permit must be acquired online, at a Forest Service office, or through a cooperating outfitter. Before May 1 or after September 30th, you can use a self-issued permit at the entry point.

The annual lottery for entry permits for Fall Lake (entry points 24 and D) and Moose Lake (entry points 25, F and G) closes on January 13th. These are two of the most popular lakes to enter the wilderness and these are the only five entry points that are in the lottery. In 2012, the Forest Service made significant changes and dropped the vast majority of entry points from the permit lottery due to improvements in technology (namely, the internet) and the fact that permits were available for nearly all entry points after a lottery process.

If you enter the lottery for these permits, you’ll get word back from the Forest Service by January 21st.

If you aren’t planning a Fall or Moose Lake entry in 2015, the date you need to mark on your calendar is Wednesday, January 28th. That’s the day that all 2015 entry permits go on sale. If you want to enter the BWCAW on a popular weekend (like Independence Day or Labor Day) you’d be well-served to get your reservation in early. Besides, there’s no better cure for the winter paddling itch than curling up by the fire with a map and planning your next big Boundary Waters adventure.

Lastly, if you’re a last-minute planner, don’t think that you can’t find an entry permit a bit later. There are almost always good options for spur of the moment BWCAW trips, but you may have to be flexible in where you put in.

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