USFS Makes a Smart Decision regarding BWCA Permits
The Fall Cooperator Meetings with the USFS centered around a couple of decisions. One not so important decision on the Gunflint Trail was the idea to do away with the Boundary Waters Lottery system. The lottery has never affected the Gunflint Trail because we always have plenty of BWCA permits available. It was a no-brainer to agree with the doing away of the lottery just as it was a no-brainer to not allow the public to be able to print out their own permits.
Allowing the general public to print out their own BWCA permits would have been a major step backwards in the protection of the Boundary Waters. Prior to user education and the BWCA video the wilderness was not as well taken care of.
Some people are not aware of Leave No Trace principles. Common sense comes in all sizes these days and in some instances only very small doses were handed out. Sometimes it takes hearing the same message over and over for it to click in one’s brain. The detrimental effects of washing dishes or using soap in the precious BWCA may not seem important one year but then after hearing it again and again it begins to make sense.
It is very important to continue to educate the users of the Boundary Waters and if individuals could print out their own permits this opportunity would be lost. The Cooperators on our side of the BWCA were adamant about not allowing people to print out their own permits and the USFS people at the meeting heard us.
Kudos to the USFS for making a smart decision to not allow individuals to print out their own permits and for continuing to educate them prior to their wilderness canoe camping trips.