There has been a flurry of emails along with all of the snow flurries we have been experiencing in the northland. The emails are about what is going on with the permit reservation system for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness or maybe most importantly what isn’t happening.
The first thing not happening is the reserving of BWCA camping permits. After the system failed it was shut down and all permit reservations that had been made have since been cancelled. The other thing not happening is communication with outfitters located anywhere but in Ely, Minnesota. Some folks from the USFS, representatives from Senator Klobuchar’s office, Representative from Congressman Pete Stauber’s office, the contractors that run the permitting system and a large handful of outfitters in Ely had a meeting to work through issues with the reservation system. Apparently the opinions and ideas of outfitters located elsewhere including the Gunflint Trail are not needed nor wanted.
What is happening, besides secret meetings, is a public meeting everyone is invited to. It shouldn’t be a surprise the meeting will be held in Ely, MN. Congressman Pete Stauber will host a forum at the Grand Ely Lodge on Saturday, February 9th at 10am due to the large number of people who expressed their concern over the BWCA reservation system crash. Are other meetings happening? Most likely but none that we have been invited to. I guess we shouldn’t feel bad since it doesn’t sound like any of our local USFS people are involved in the meetings either. Here’s what they sent to Gunflint Ranger District outfitters…
Hello Gunflint Cooperators:
I greatly appreciate your patience as the issues with the Recreation.gov site are being worked out. That work still continues today. Below is an update that went to all the cooperators on the Ely side of the BW. Two main take-aways is this:
The Go-Live for Recreation.gov will happen sometime AFTER February 19; and
There will be trainings for cooperators coming soon. We do not know in what format that will happen, so stay tuned.
So, it looks like it will be awhile longer before we start reserving permits for Boundary Waters Canoe trips, we’ll do our best to keep you posted.