BWCA Permits

Read this page and then go to this site:

This link goes right to the BWCA permit part.  There’s a lot of other baloney in that site that nobody really cares about.  This is safe to conclude since you are here at a BWCA outfitter site looking how to get a permit to go to the BWCA.  That’s the ONLY place worth going, I figure…. 😛 landing page for BWCA permits landing page for BWCA permits

On this page, to the left, you’ll see the same time scheduling boxes that you’d see at an Orbitz, or Travelocity site for booking a plane flight.  Only difference here  is that taking a BWCA trip with a canoe rented from us costs less for your entire group than one plane ticket for one adult going to Disneyland.   Plus, our Souris River Quetico 17’s have FAR more leg room than the “cattle class” seats in an airliner.   Also, to take a BWCA canoe trip, the Forest Service (unlike the TSA) does not feel you up or fondle your intimate parts before you get in the canoe….YET!   Heck – they don’t even search your packs for bombs or too much shampoo!   You can bring in a mega-bottle of shampoo and nobody but you will care, particularity on the portages.   You don’t need a mandatory zip lock bag for your toothpaste and toothbrushes, either;  although zip locks are really handy in the BWCA.  Oh, you can also leave your cell phone on during the entire paddle without causing the canoe to sink.  Why, you would take a cell phone, is beyond me, but if you want extra junk to carry with spotty coverage and the possibility that your wife is going to call you home early to go to her niece’s shotgun wedding, bring it along and stay tuned in.

Select your entry point and indicate your date ranges for your trip and hit the “search” button.  You’ll see a window appear like this:

Making a BWCA Permit Reservation
Making a BWCA Permit Reservation

See all those blue “A’s” with the number?  In their attempt to make everything subject to massive interpretation as the government ALWAYS does (I’m pretty sure government scribes wrote the Bible), they could simply say “27 sites available”  or ” all booked up” .    But no that would be too easy!  They used the letter A apparently for “available”  and and L for “Lottery” which means absolutely nothing to somebody who has not done this before.  “R” stands for “reserved” and the little yellow A marker is where my cursor was sitting when I made a copy of this.

So, when you see the A and a number below and hover your cursor over it, you’ll see a referenc to “quota”  to maintain that aire of nonsensical official business.  This is  because saying “14 still open”  is TOO friggin’ common.  These are government officials in charge and this is a top-tier governmental site that your tax dollars are paying for, so “simple” just won’t cut it, by gosh!

I feel better now with that off my chest.

For the rest of you, the number below the A is what is remaining open and you can reserve that date.   Make the reservation for the entry point you are seeking.  If you need help with selecting an entry point and will be renting a canoe from us, email us here .   Just let us know how many are going, the level of flatwater canoe paddling experience –  paddling down rivers doesn’t count for much.  Anybody can be a gravity slave and steer a canoe for 20 miles.  You won’t be doing any of that in the Boundary Waters.  If we’re going to help plan a route for you, we need to know your flat water experience level.  If you don’t have a lot, no worries, we do this all the time and have done so for 30+ years.

So, make your permit reservation and have your credit card ready.  They will charge a deposit.  Then call us and reserve your canoe for those dates.  Then, show up either the day prior to or the day of your permit start day and pick up  your actual permit from the government workers at the USFS building on the eastern edge of Ely.  It’s a big, fancy-schmancy building that you and I built with more space than they know what to do with while the BWCA usage is in decline.  Yeah, that government project made a lot of sense for about one second during the planning phase of that project.   But, hey, they have money to burn!    (Are you seeing a pattern here?)

Here is their address and a map I whipped up.  Forget using your smartphone and GPS.  Just look a the dang picture below and figure it out.  It’s not difficult:

Kawishiwi Ranger District

District Ranger: Mark Pentecost

1393 Highway 169, Ely, MN 55731
(218) 365-7600; (218) 365-7602 TTY

Pick Up your BWCA canoe trip permit here.
Pick Up your BWCA canoe trip permit here.

Pick up your permit and head out to us to do the quick paperwork on your canoe rental and down the road we’ll go.  We can haul your canoe or you can haul your canoe with foam blocks that we provide for no charge use your own roof rack.   In most cases, it is cost and time effective to simply pay us to haul and pick up your rental canoe because we are experts and have the right gear laying on the floor here at all times.  No head-scratching about if your tie-job is going to blow off the car at 50 mph with you becoming the proud owner of a $3300 kevlar canoe with severe road rash.   We can talk about that when doing your trip routing when you reserve your canoe.

So, if you’ve never been to the BWCA, you’re missing out.  Reserving a permit is not very hard.  Picking it up is easy.  And renting a canoe from us is easier still.  Give us a call!  218-365-4512

NEED to KNOW:  You must enter the BWCA on the date you’ve reserved.  If you miss that entry date, your permit is void and you can’t go in without getting a whole, new permit.  Entering the BWCA with your permit means that you CANNOT come and go freely in and out of the BWCA.  If you come out of the woods, get in your car and go into Ely for shopping or to check your email as people of today do, you are done with your canoe trip.  This is considered a wilderness canoe trip not a stay at a federal campground with an RV.  The rules are simple but strict and if you get caught going back and forth like you are overnighting in a Walmart parking lot, you will be made to leave and you could be fined.  I can’t lay this out any clearer.

Want to stay in a nice cabin and take BWCA day trips all over the place?   No permits required, come and go freely.   Come stay at our wilderness resort!  Click Here


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