BWCA online reservation system is doomed to fail

The U.S. Forest Service may end up being responsible for damaging several Ely area businesses and upsetting a large section of BWCA motorboat permit users.
A letter sent out last week from the Duluth office reaffirms the decision to do away with the permit lottery for motor entry points.
This includes:
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 Forest Service believes an online permit reservation system will work better. But for individual users and businesses who rely on the scarce motor permits, this is a recipe for disaster.
Instead of giving everyone a chance at a permit through a lottery system, this is going to be a race by computer or phone call. If you’re not sitting at your computer or phone at 9 a.m. on January 30, 2019 and ready to speed type or dial, you are going to be out of luck. The Forest Service either doesn’t care or is clueless on the hardship it is creating.
Businesses and residents up in northern Minnesota have less than reliable internet and phone service. Could it be that we have no internet on January 30, 2019 at 9 a.m.? This may not be a problem in Duluth or the Twin Cities, but in the Ely area, it’s nearly a regular occurrence.
We believe the Forest Service knows exactly what it is doing by discarding the lottery system. It is finding ways to keep people out of the BWCA. This could very well have severe detrimental effects on several Ely businesses. And the possibility for an anti-motor group to snap up a large number of permits could happen as well.
Apparently no one in the Forest Service has tried to buy tickets online for a popular concert. If you want to see Taylor Swift, Elton John or Bon Jovi, you better have fingers ablazing on the keyboard when tickets go on sale.
Or you’ll be just like BWCA motor boat users. Sitting at home with nowhere to go.