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Forest Service could save money, continue to educate BWCA users

The U.S. Forest Service is looking for ways to save money and we would endorse a solution that would have area outfitters and resorts issue all BWCA permits.
Currently the 20,000 or so permits issued in the Ely area are nearly divided equally between the Kawishiwi District office and the cooperators (a term for outfitters and resorts who issue BWCA permits).
If you’ve ever reserved a permit through the online system, you know that picking it up at the Kawishiwi District office may or may not be convenient.
The hours there have been reduced over the years in an effort to reduce the district’s budget. So how about eliminating writing out permits there altogether? We think it makes sense.
First, let’s do away with an idea to allow users to print their permits at home. This defeats the reason permits are to be picked up in the first place - to educate people on the rules, regulations and safety issues involved with a trip into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
As things stand today, before you take your first trip you need to watch the video “Leave No Trace.” Then either the cooperator or the USFS employee goes over rules you need to know and answers any questions. This information helps keep travellers safe and reduces the number of rescue trips into the BWCA.
All in all, it’s hard to argue against having people get first-hand information versus printing out a permit at home and going in blind to realities. For instance, they may not know...
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