Boundary Waters Canoe Area quota permit season begins on May 1

Visitors should plan ahead for ice-covered lakes and snowy conditions

The Forest Service quota permit season for overnight paddle, hiking and motor trips, and motorized day trips begins on May 1 in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Wintery conditions are lingering in the Arrowhead Region with variable amounts of snow remaining and ice-covered lakes.
Visitors with permits in the early part of the permit season should check conditions ahead of time by calling the Forest Service local district office or their outfitter/guide and adjust trip plans accordingly.
Picking up your permit:
• Forest Service offices and BWCAW cooperators are open and issuing permits in-person; visit recreation.gov for hours and locations of “Issue Stations.”
• Permit holders or alternate group leaders must pick up permits on the entry date or one day prior and participate in a Leave No Trace & Tread Lightly session before entering the Wilderness. Watch parts 1 & 2 of the BWCAW Leave No Trace video series prior to departing for your trip. To receive credit for watching the videos, click the links in the emails sent to the permit holder to access the videos (use Chrome to avoid errors).
• Reserved permits must be picked up at the issue station specified on the permit.
• BWCAW cooperators cannot issue permits for any other issue station.
• If you need to change your issue station, please contact the Forest Service prior to your departure for assistance.
• Only the permit holder or alternate permit holder specified at the time of reservation can pick up the permit (photo ID required).
• You may cancel online anytime up to two days before the entry date for overnight permits and all recreation fees paid will be refunded. The $6.00 reservation fee is non-refundable except when an official Forest Service closure is in place.
Safety and bear-aware tips:
• While permit season is here, spring and summer temperatures are not. Lakes in northern Minnesota remain cold through spring, can be dangerous and even lethal if exposed for several minutes. Learn more about cold water safety and ice safety here.
• Bear Awareness: Bears are out of hibernation and in search of food. A fed bear is a dead bear! Whether you are on the Forest or in the Wilderness, take all precautions to discourage bears from visiting your site and keep your campsite clean. Here are some bear aware best practices.
Forest Service Office Hours:
Gunflint Ranger District: open 7 days a week, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Kawishiwi Ranger District: open 7 days a week, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
La Croix Ranger District: open 7 days a week, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Tofte Ranger District: open 7 days a week, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Laurentian Ranger District: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., closed holidays
Supervisor’s Office: Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., closed holidays