The Government Lowered Prices

     Yep, I bet you are just as shocked as I am.  Even though we are Forest Service Cooperators and are supposed to work with the US Forest Service I found out at the same time as Joe Public that the USFS is lowering prices on BWCA permits.

     Yep, it’s true.  From a $12 reservation fee to a $6 reservation fee after we’ve been reserving permits for 2 months now.  Never mind the fact we have brochures printed and websites updated they just drop the price in the middle of reservation season and don’t notify us(the permit issuers).

         Yep, since last year all of the cooperators(us included) have to print all of the permits and purchase printer cartridges to do so.  And we get no reimbursements for equipment or time spent doing this yet it was worth $6 each permit for the reservation service to do it. 

      Wouldn’t it be nice if the people with the actual expense of printing the permit got the $6 instead? Or if the money could be used like the User Fees to go back to the BWCA to maintain portages and campsites?    

     Gotta love life as a cooperator.

DULUTH, Minn. — Making a reservation for a permit to paddle or hike the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) will actually be cheaper this year, just one of the changes announced Monday by the US Forest Service.

The changes are based on several years of work that involved managers ot the Superior National Forest and an independent contractor to increase efficiency of the wilderness permit reservation system.

One of the results is a reduction in the reservation fee charged by the contractor to process Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) permits. Effective March 1, the fee to reserve a BWCAW permit will drop from $12.00 to $6.00.

The reservation fee paid to the independent contractor is separate from the actual user fee, which is paid to the US Forest Service. The money is used for improving and maintaining portages and campsites in the Wilderness, and for educational programming. There is no change in the user fee for the BWCAW.

Other changes include:

  • Merging the BWCAW reservation service with the National Recreation Reservation System, which is the one-stop on-line reservation service for all federal lands in the United States.
  • Reduced paper work by eliminating requirements for printing, mailing and carbon copies.
  • Increased efficiency in operating the annual BWCAW permit lottery. For example: It now takes about 30 minutes to run, versus an entire day previously, and confirmation letters are emailed instantly.
  • Ability of Forest Service staff to now enter information directly into the system rather than involve contract staff.
  • Eliminated "no pays" equaling thousands of dollars each season through instant credit card processing.
  • Cooperator access to issue walk-up permits (formerly "quick permits") via computer.
  • Customer ability to cancel reservations on-line, change group size, and make payments prior to permit pick-up.

The BWCAW call center and customer service numbers have also been merged into the centralized National Recreation Reservation System number. This change actually extends the hours of operation significantly.

The National Recreation Reservation Service can be reached at 1-877- 444-6777. The line is operational from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Central Standard time from March 1 to October 31.


(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)