Getting Your Permit
You Need to Know
- Permits can be obtained by individual groups or by a BWCA outfitter.
- The cost and procedure is the same no matter who gets the permit.
- A permit costs $16 per adult and $8 per youth for your entire time in the BWCA.
- There is a $6 processing fee per group.
- A permit is valid for up to 9 people.
- You need to select an entry point and specific date you want to enter the BWCA.
- Each entry point has a limited number of permits per day.
- To get your own permit go to www.recreation.gov to create an account and fill out the forms.
- If you’d prefer to have an outfitter get your permit, simply call (218) 260-2253 and they will get it for you.
- Your permit can be picked up at the lodge or outfitter base that reserved your permit or at a Forest Service Ranger Station.
A little background on BWCA Permit Availability
The Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW or BWCA) is a federally designated wilderness preserve. Joined by the Quetico Provincial Park, the boundary water area has 2.3 million acres and 1600 lakes of pristine non-motorized wilderness that is primarily accessed by canoes. On the U.S. side alone there are 2,200 designated campsites that are used by people that go on multiple day trips. The U.S. Forest Service regulates the number of people who enter the BWCA by issuing permits. There are designated entry points all around the edge of the BWCA and each day a designated amount of permits are allotted to each entry point. BWCA permit availability is based off of each individual area.
These permits must be gained in advance to guarantee availability. Getting a permit is a critical step in planning your BWCA canoe trip.