It isn’t a big deal to those of us who prefer to canoe and camp in the Boundary Waters using entry points on the Gunflint Trail. There really hasn’t been a need to use the USFS lottery system to obtain permits on our side of the BWCA. I couldn’t even tell you if you could use the lottery system to reserve an overnight canoe camping permit or just for motor permits, that’s how little it affects us on the Gunflint Trail. It’s a different story for the popular BWCA entry points around Ely.
The large number of outfitters as well as locals who like to use motor boats on the lakes near Ely are the ones who are affected. There are some good fishing lakes accessed by motor use and those permits are highly sought after. There will still be a lottery for 2018 but after that it will be replaced by the first come first served permit reservation system like we currently use.
Kris Reichenbach, public affairs officer for Superior National Forest says, “We’re doing away with the lottery system because we no longer see there’s a benefit to the public to continue the lottery for these few entry points,” she said. “And now people can find out immediately if a permit is available. If not, they know it immediately rather than waiting for the results of the lottery.”
The change for the 2019 season and beyond applies only to people entering at Fall Lake and Moose Lake east of Ely at entry points D, F, G, 24 and 25. The change affects those seeking day-use motor permits for (D) Fall Lake, Newton Lake, Pipestone Bay of Basswood Lake and beyond; (F) Moose Lake to Newfound and Sucker lakes; and (G) Moose Lake to Prairie Portage to Basswood Lake. The change affects those seeking overnight motor and overnight paddle permits for Fall Lake (entry point 24) and and Moose Lake (entry point 25). The permits are required from May 1 through Sept. 30.