2022 Boundary Waters permit information




The 2022 Boundary Waters permit reservation season is almost upon us! The planning part of a Boundary Waters adventure is some times almost as exciting as the trip its self. From choosing entry points and routes, to picking the right equipment to planning your menu, there is so much to do. But maybe the most important is reserving your permit.

This year’s reservation process will be the same as previous years, permits will be reserved on a first come, first serve basis. This year’s “Go Live” date will be on Wednesday, January 26th at 9:00 am CST. The website used to reserve permits will again be: www.recreation.gov, If you prefer to reserve permits by phone, the phone number will be: (877) 444-6777.


Due to the ever-growing popularity of the Boundary Waters, reserving your permit on the permit “Go Live Date” on the last Wednesday of January has never been more important. This year when folks log onto their recreation.gov account they might notice that there are even fewer permits to choose from. The Forest Service has chosen to reduce permits in some of the more popular areas because of natural resource damage, crowding and congestion, and what a spokesperson called the “overall degradation of the wilderness.”. A list of the entry points affected in our area can be found below.


  • Lake One #30: Lake one 30 and 30F permits have been combined and reduced by 1 permit per day. Lake One 30F permits have been eliminated, there is no longer a restriction. Total of 13 now available per day.

  • Mudro #23: reduced by 1 permit per day. Now 5 will be available per day.

  • Crab Lake#4: reduced by 1 permit per day. Now 3 will be available per day.

  • Little Indian Sioux #14: reduced by 2 permits per day. Now 4 will be available per day.

  • Moose River North #16: reduced by 2 permits per day. Total of 5 now available per day.

  • Little Gabbro #33: reduced by 1 permit every other day. Total of 1 permit available every other day.

The Gunflint and Tofte Districts also saw reductions, that list is currently unavailable.

Of course, this decision to reduce permits goes as a blow to our local economy, and for the general public, as this means less access to the Boundary Waters overall. The Forest Service has not reduced any of the Day Use or Overnight Motor permits, but did suggest those reductions are in the works for future seasons. If this is something you do not want to see, I suggest contacting your US Congressperson. Please contact us if you have any questions about the reductions, or obtaining a permit for these entry points.



Please find below some tips that will help you become successful on Wednesday, January 26th:

1. Log on to recreation.gov before the “Go Live” date and set up/verify/update your account. This way on the 26th at 9:00 am, you just need to be logged in and you will be ready to buy permits. Log on to the website, go to the top right of the page, and select the “Sign Up” tab. You will then be prompted to enter the information needed to create an account and reserve permits. Information needed will be: name, address, phone number, and email address.

2. Once signed up, look around recreation.gov and familiarize yourself on how to find BWCAW permits. Once logged in, scroll down and select the “permits” tab. This will take you to a page with many options for parks. Enter BWCAW into the search menu, and you are where you need to be. Note: Permit reservations will be closed until 9:00 am on January 26th.

3. Know what permit you are needing to buy. There are different options for BWCAW permits. If you are wanting a paddle permit, be sure to choose the correct entry point. If you are buying motor permits, then be sure it’s the correct permit. For example: Fall Lake Day Use Motor Permits are split into two categories, “Day Use Fall Lake and Beyond”, and “Day Use Fall Lake Only”. If you are wanting to portage into Basswood, then you need FALL Lake and BEYOND. Same goes for Moose Lake permits, if you are wanting to portage into Basswood, you need a Moose Lake Prairie Portage There is also a difference between Overnight Motor permits and the Day Use ones. Make sure that you have the correct permit selected before adding them to your shopping cart. If you are not sure what permit to buy, please contact us before the “Go Live” date to discuss your options.

4. Be signed in and ready at 9:00 am on that Wednesday, January 26th. Have your coffee brewed and all of your dates and payment information in front of you. As always, we expect permits to go fast!

5. Use your shopping cart! You may add multiple permits in your basket before checking out. This will save you time if needing multiple permits. Note: Last year, after adding a permit to your basket, the website would take you to the default screen of paddle permits. If purchasing multiple permits, make sure you are purchasing the correct permits.

6. Take your time and double check your work. Make sure the dates are correct, and that the permit is the one you want before checking out. If adding an alternate group leader, make sure to check the box that says alternate, not group member.

7. Alternates are not mandatory on a permit, but are strongly advised and you may add more than 1 alternate to a permit. If purchasing an Overnight permit paddle or motor, then you will be charged the $16.00 camping fees of each member of your party that you add. Again, be sure to check the box that indicates this person is an Alternate. *The Alternate cannot be added at a later date.

8. PLEASE Do Not buy more permits than you need! If, more than 1 person in your group is buying permits, and at the end of the day you have more than your group needs…PLEASE CANCEL YOUR EXTRAS! And, if the dates that you wanted are all gone, check back often with the website recreation.gov for any canceled permits. Permits are released back into the system randomly after 12 hours from the time of cancellation.

9. You are not allowed to have more than 1 permit reserved for the same date in your name. If your larger than 9 party needs more than 1 permit, be sure another member of your party is reserving the second permit. Simply listing an alternate on both permits will not be accepted. This is not a new rule, but this is the first year the Forest Service will enforce it. This does not apply for Day Use motor permits.


We are very excited to begin working with you on your 2022 Packsack adventure. We want to make sure everyone gets taken care of this summer. So please let us know if you are reserving them yourself, or having us reserve them for you. Be on the lookout for future emails or Facebook posts with more information/updates regarding the reservation process.

Let your 2022 planning begin!! packsackcanoetrips.com


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