Permits & Quotas
When to go
Where to go
Storm damage


Reserve your permit well in advance of your visit in order to give yourself the most choices for the entry point and date you desire. Reservations can be made on the Internet, by phone, or by mail. You will be required to select an exact date and entry location for your permit, and neither the date or location can be changed without reserving a different permit. You may be asked to state how long you will be in the wilderness, but this number is not binding and you can stay longer than whatever time you estimate.

Internet and telephone reservations are preferred because they give you real-time confirmation of availability. Internet reservations are made at the web address www.BWCAW.org, and telephone reservations are made by calling toll free at 877-550-6777.

International reservations can be made by calling 518-885-9964. The mailing address for a reservation application is BWCAW Reservation Center, P.O. Box 462, Ballston Spa, NY 12020.

In recent years a lottery has been implemented each January to allow everyone an equal chance to get entry points that are in the greatest demand. Lottery rules change from time to time, so be sure to get up to date information from the BWCAW Permit Reservation Center at www.BWCAW.org or the toll free number given above. Currently, applications for the lottery can be submitted as early as November. Reservations for open lakes and dates can be made after the lottery drawing, normally in the second half of January. All permits after the lottery are reserved on a first-come basis. Most entry points will still have good availability throughout the winter, but favorites such as Moose Lake and Lake One can fill up early, as can popular weekend dates around the fishing opener in May and during peak travel in July and August.

The cost for reserving a permit is $12. The Forest Service also charges a user fee to generate revenue to help preserve the Boundary Waters and provide visitor services, such as portage maintenance. This fee is $10 per adult per trip. Youth under the age of 18 and Golden Passport and Golden Access cardholders are charged $5 per trip. You can buy a single person season pass for one person for $40 that allows unlimited numbers of visits over the year ($20 per season for youth and Golden Passport / Access card holders). Season pass owners must still obtain a permit for each visit, and the permit reservation charge still applies.

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