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Last Minute Tips Before Monday's "Go Live"

Hello Packsack Friends,

I hope you are all having a great weekend, and I hope all of our upper Midwest friends have been able to dig out of all the snow we have been having! The Boundary Waters is currently buried under several feet of snow, this should mean high water for good fishing this spring!

Well, Monday is the day! Er ah, well it’s the day AGAIN! If you have not yet heard, Monday March 4th, at 9:00 am CST, Boundary Waters permits will become available for purchase on the “new” website

Since the website crashed on the first “Go Live” date on January 30th, we have had a couple of chances to “test” the cooperator side of the While testing we were able to complete mock reservations and provide feedback/suggestions to the website designers and the Forest Service. Unfortunately however, we were not given much of any insight as to the public side of BUT we still very much feel like reserving permits on the public side will be much easier/faster simply due to a lengthy payment process that we the cooperators are subject too.

Here is a recap of what we do know and some "tips and tricks":

  • Make sure you have gone onto and set up your account and add your personal information. When reserving a permit, you will need to add your address to the permit. This can be done ahead of time under the “My Account” tab. This will save you time, especially if you are reserving multiple permits. This way on March 4th you are ready to purchase permits at 9:00.

  • Even if we are reserving your permit for you, it is helpful if you go onto and set up an account with the same information you provided us with. This will make it easier and faster for us to link your information to your permits. **We will only be able to search with your email address (so, check for typos!).

  • Since the announcement of a change in website, we have been told that alternates will be required to verify their required email address. This has changed. Alternates will not be required to verify their email address this 2019 season.

  • Alternates are not mandatory on a permit. However, it is advised to have at least one listed. This way for example, if the leader of a party gets sick and can’t go (this does happen) the rest of the party can still use the permit.

  • Please note: this year only, if you add more than 1 alternate to your permit, you will have to pay an additional $16.00 when you check out. Normally the Forest Service only charges a $6.00 reservation fee and the camping fees of the first two adults ($16.00 each), now each person listed on a permit will be charged their appropriate camping fees.

  • Go onto and familiarize yourself with as much as the website as you can.

  • Unlike last time, the basket will not allow you to choose the number of permits in a drop-down menu. Now you will have to add each permit to your basket individually. If you are seeking multiple permits, be sure to add the permits to your cart before you go back and edit the information on each permit.

We hope that you are all as ready as we are to get these permits reserved and put this part of your planning behind us. Danielle and I will be reserving permits that morning but we will also be ready for any questions you have. has also promised to have more people staffed that morning, so if you are having troubles reserving your permit, it might be more helpful to try their number, (877) 444-6777. We are available all weekend if you have any questions.

Best of luck on Monday!

-Nick Ott

Packsack Canoe trips & Log Cabins


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