The decision to discontinue the permit lottery affecting day use and overnight boat and motor permits, was made official September 20th when Forest Supervisor, Constance Cummins sent out an email to 2017 and 2018 permit holders reminding/informing them of the discontinuation. This decision to discontinue the permit lottery will affect entry points #25 Moose Lake and entry point #24 Fall Lake and areas leading into Basswood Lake. According to Cummins, “The new online reservation system enables real-time reservations for specific entry points and dates on a first come, first served basis allowing visitors and cooperators to instantly view availability, select and book the permit(s) desired, and receive swift confirmation. The online system also eliminates the waiting periods that were formerly required to award permits.”
This announcement does not come as good news to most of the past boat and motor permit holders as many speculate this may make obtaining permits even more difficult than they have been. Local resort owners, guide services and bait shops also fear that the loss of the permit lottery may equate to a loss of business if their customers are unable to fish Basswood Lake because of unavailable permits.
The decision to discontinue the permit lottery still comes as a mystery to the public as the Forest Service has stated the lottery is not needed in the Boundary Waters. This last spring, the Forest Service announced that over 90% of the permits for both entry points are reserved during the lottery. Many suggestions have been made to improve the lottery system but the Forest Service has decided to discontinue the lottery despite these suggestions.
Constance Cummins states in her email: “Discontinuing the lottery will create a reservation system that is less complicated, more consistent and fair for all BWCAW visitors and cooperators obtaining permit reservations through Recreation.gov.” Folks who live in rural areas with bad internet connections see this first come first serve system as a hinderance on their ability to reserve the permits they want if the internet is slow that day. And, since the first come, first serve reservation process “goes live” on Wednesday, January 30th at 9:00 am those with 9-5 jobs will also be put at a severe disadvantage.
The Forest Service has not yet made the new system available to cooperators, but as soon as we are informed of all of the changes, we will be passing that information along. I have included the email that was sent to permit holders yesterday below.
Date: September 18, 2018
Dear Boundary Waters User,
You are receiving this letter because an application was submitted in your name for the 2017 and 2018 Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) Permit Lottery. We are writing to remind you that the Superior National Forest has discontinued the BWCAW lottery for the following entry points:
Day Use Motor Entry Points:
D Fall Lake, Newton, Pipestone & Beyond
F Moose Lake to Newfound & Sucker Lakes
G Moose Lake to Prairie Portage to Basswood
Overnight Paddle & Overnight Motor Entry Points:
24 Fall Lake
25 Moose Lake
The new online reservation system enables real-time reservations for specific entry points and dates on a first come, first served basis allowing visitors and cooperators to instantly view availability, select and book the permit(s) desired, and receive swift confirmation. The online system also eliminates the waiting periods that were formerly required to award permits. Discontinuing the lottery will create a reservation system that is less complicated, more consistent and fair for all BWCAW visitors and cooperators obtaining permit reservations through Recreation.gov.
For the 2019 season, all permits for all entry points will “go live” and be available on Wednesday, January 30, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. CST. Permits may be reserved online at www.Recreation.gov or by calling the reservation line at (877) 444-6777.
If you have questions about making reservations for the 2019 season without a lottery, feel free to contact Ann Schwaller at (218) 626-4325. Thank you for your continued support and preservation of the BWCA Wilderness.
/s/ Constance Cummins