Permits are required to visit the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) and Quetico Provincial Park. Any group planning to travel overnight from May through September will need to obtain a quota permit. The quota system regulates how many groups can begin a trip at each entry point each day. Early reservations are recommended since there are a limited number of permits available.
A maximum of 9 people and 4 watercraft are allowed for each permit. Larger groups will require multiple permits. Groups must begin their canoe trip on the entry date and through the entry point specified on their permit. Permits are non-transferable. Only the group leader or alternate group leaders specified when the reservation is made can pick up the permit. The person that picks up the permit must remain with the group for the duration of the trip.
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
We are a Cooperator with the USDA Forest Service under the Superior National Forest. We issue permits into the BWCAW, part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. As a Cooperator with the Forest Service, we are an equal opportunity service-provider.
The BWCAW permit reservation process begins with a lottery for Fall Lake (#24) and Moose Lake (#25) entry points. Lottery applications can be made starting December 14th through January 11th. All applications received during this time are processed equally when the lottery runs on January 18th. Beginning on the last Wednesday in January, all entry points (including Fall Lake and Moose Lake) become available for reservation on a first-come, first-served basis.
The U.S. Forest Service collects $38.00 for each permit reserved; a $6.00 non-refundable reservation fee and a minimum overnight user fee deposit of $32.00 for 2 adults. There is an overnight user fee of $16.00 per adult per trip and $8.00 per youth (17 years of age and under) per trip.
If a permit is canceled more than 2 days before the entry date, the U.S. Forest Service will issue a full refund. Any cancellations, or no shows, less than 2 days before the entry date will forfeit the $32 deposit.
Quetico Provincial Park
Quetico permits can be reserved up to 5 months in advance of the trip starting date. For instance, if you are planning to enter the Quetico Park on June 1st, your travel permit can be reserved as early as January 1st.
At the time of reservation, Ontario Parks collects $109.00 for each permit reserved; a $9.00 non-refundable reservation fee and $100.00 camping fee deposit. Camping fees are $21.50 per adult, per night and $8.50 per youth (ages 6-17), per night. (All fees are in Canadian funds)
Permits must be canceled at least 3 days before the entry date. A percentage (10-50%) of the camping fee deposit will be refunded by Ontario Parks based on how long the reservation has been held.
CANPASS-Remote Area Border Crossing (RABC) Permit: required to enter Canada at a remote location, such as Prairie Portage or Cache Bay. The cost is $30 per adult or per family (includes spouse and dependent children under the age of 18). You must arrange for border clearance well in advance of your canoe trip and should allow 4-6 weeks for processing. For more information, you may refer to: Canada Border Services Agency
U.S. Passport: all persons will be required to present a passport, or other WHTI-compliant document, when returning to the United States from Canada. Children under age 16 may present a copy of his or her birth certificate. If traveling with a school group, religious group, social or cultural organization, or sports team, children under age 19 may also present a copy of his or her birth certificate. For more information, you may refer to: U.S. Border and Customs Protection