BWCA open to day use only through May 17

Forest Service cites Gov. Walz's Stay at Home order

The coronavirus has struck again, this time it’s the U.S. Forest Service that will only allow day use in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area through May 17.
For people with overnight BWCA permits, they are out of luck including those who planned to camp on Basswood for this weekend’s Minnesota fishing opener.
“All overnight reservations (motor, paddle, hiking) through May 17 are no longer valid and are cancelled. Permit holders will receive a full refund including reservation fee. If a visitor wants to go into the BWCAW with a motorboat for the day, they will need to reserve a day use motor permit. Self-issue day paddle permits are also available to fish for the day,” wrote Suzanne Hirsch, acting public affairs specialist for the Superior National Forest.
The Park Service has followed suit and will not allow tent camping and overnight houseboat mooring permits at Voyageurs National Park.
Both agencies cited the Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s extended Stay-At-Home order which stipulates that all private and public campgrounds and dispersed camping sites must remain closed to recreational camping.
There is also a fire ban in the BWCA, however, the use of gas stoves and gas grills is allowed.
The BWCA had been closed to day use prior to May 5. Now the Forest Service has announced day use only through May 17.

“Continuing to restrict access to the Superior National Forest is a particularly difficult decision” said forest supervisor Connie Cummins. “I want people to enjoy their public land and know that re-opening the BWCAW for day-use is a step in that direction. I’m looking forward to the day when we can safely re-open sites for overnight use.”
Camping is not allowed at the Birch Lake, Fall Lake, Fenske and South Kawishiwi River campgrounds will not be opening until Stay at Home order is lifted.
The group sites at those campgrounds are in limbo for 2020 and may be closed for the season. All of May campground reservations have been cancelled.
The Forest Service will also use temporary modifications to the permit pick-up requirements beginning May 5 for all BWCA day-use motor quota permits and May 18, 2020 for all other overnight BWCAW quota permits.
“Ideally, day use motor permit holders can select their desired entry day to enter the Wilderness prior to this seven day timeframe, receive and print the automatically generated confirmation email seven days out from the permit week and be set to enter the wilderness,” the Forest Service has stated.
Ontario Parks announced that Quetico Park will be closed through May 31.