Skip to main content

Forest Service to drop BWCA lottery system in 2018

Sep 30, 2017 01:42PM ● Published by Editor

Connie Cummins U.S. Forest Service Supervisor.  Photo Tom Coombe

From The Ely Echo - September 29, 2017

The U.S. Forest Service plans to do away with a permit lottery system that has been in place for many years. After the 2018 season, lottery permits will become first come, first serve, creating a mad rush for BWCA users.

Lottery permits are only in place for the entry points with the highest demand. This includes the very popular day use motor entry permits at Fall Lake and Moose Lake to get to Basswood Lake. A lottery system is also used for overnight paddle and motor permits through Fall Lake and Moose Lake. The five entry points are listed as D, F, G, 24 and 25.

“People were submitting several applications for the same date to be sure they got one,” said Forest Supervisor Connie Cummins. “This way without the lottery you can make a reservation on a given date and if it’s not available you’ll know it right then rather than trying to get one through the lottery.”

This decision will create a logjam of people trying to get permits at the exact second they become available, whether it’s 10 a.m. or midnight some day likely in January.
Individuals and outfitters will again be lining up friends and family members on computers to hit the enter button as soon as the permits come on line.

“At least all the permits will have users with one permit who can go in and you apply for the date you want,” said Cummins. “There’s no foolproof system but permits will be used by people who are really out there.”

Area fishermen and outfitters are bound to be frustrated with the change.

“I don’t think this is going to solve the problem and I think they’re going to have more problems,” was the initial reaction from Ely outfitter Bob LaTourell.

At one point all BWCA overnight paddle and all motor permits were done through a lottery. The Forest Service changed that for the 2012 season and has made little changes since.
The other change going in to effect in 2018 is a fee of $4 when applying for a lottery permit. The Forest Service was being charged a fee from the company that handles the permits for every application submitted. That cost is now being passed on to the user, whether they get a permit or not.

“This is to discourage people to put in 10 applications for the same day,” said Cummins.
This year the Forest Service has already implemented an increase in reservation fees from $6 to $10.

In a letter sent out on Sept. 15, the Forest Service stated, “Eliminating the lottery will create a reservation system that is less complicated, consistent, fair and remove the need for a separate process for submitting lottery applications at the start of a season. This reservation model will also better serve those who want to make a reservation.” 


Outdoors
  • Terra Bella Floral fall hours

    10/21/2017
    12:00AM

    Monday and Tuesday Noon to 6 Wednesday through Friday 10 to 4 Saturday 10 to 2 Sunday Closed


  • Thanksgiving at Naniboujou

    10/21/2017
    12:00AM

    Bring your whole family to Naniboujou's first ever Thanksgiving Day Meal on Thursday, November 23...


  • Donut Shop fall hours

    10/21/2017
    06:30AM — 02:00PM

    World's Best Donuts will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the rest of the season. Last do...


  • Plein Air Grand Marais

    10/21/2017
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    September 8 - October 29, 2017 Plein Air Grand Marais is a great way to connect with the arti...


  • Fall into Art: Family Weekend

    10/21/2017
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    The Art Colony hosts family activities for all ages over the MEA weekend. Moose bucks from the Vi...


  • Blue Water Suite

    10/21/2017
    09:00AM

    Blue Water Suite is open for a one of a kind stay. Located above the Blue Water Café, lots of r...


  • Moose Madness Family Festival

    10/21/2017
    09:00AM

    Throughout Moose Madness weekend, there are events for everyone. Activities range from the athlet...


  • Empty Bowls Dinner and Silent Auction

    10/21/2017
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    12% of Cook County residents go hungry every month. To address this need, each year the Art Colon...


  • Woodcarving Demonstration with Harley Refsal

    10/21/2017
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    Harley is the Fall Resident Instructor at North House, and will be offering a variety of opportun...


  • M E A Quilting Retreat

    10/21/2017
    09:00AM — 05:00PM

    Join us for day 2 of quilting and fun. We will have a pot luck lunch and prizes and laughter.


  • The Muffin Man Hour

    10/21/2017
    11:00AM — 11:00AM

    Come hear the Muffin Man read to children and the young of heart during the Moose-a-Ram festiviti...


  • Join us at Harbor House Grille, featuring Chef prepared, handcrafted meals. Today's specials Chef...


  • Moose-o-rama Story Hour

    10/21/2017
    11:00AM — 12:00PM

    The Muffin Man AKA Kevin Kager returns to the bookstore for a moosey story hour during Moose Madn...


  • SQUARE DANCE LESSONS

    10/21/2017
    07:30PM — 09:00PM

    Modern Western Square Dance New season begins Thursday, September 28 Time: 7:30 to 9:00 Sept...


  • Terra Bella Floral fall hours

    10/22/2017
    12:00AM

    Monday and Tuesday Noon to 6 Wednesday through Friday 10 to 4 Saturday 10 to 2 Sunday Closed


  • To all our valued customers, Harbor House Grille will be closing for the season Sunday, October 2...


  • Thanksgiving at Naniboujou

    10/22/2017
    12:00AM

    Bring your whole family to Naniboujou's first ever Thanksgiving Day Meal on Thursday, November 23...


  • Naniboujou's Sunday Brunch - Last of 2017

    10/22/2017
    08:00AM — 02:00PM

    The brunch at Naniboujou consists of a bountiful array of freshly baked pastries, quiche, scrambl...


  • Plein Air Grand Marais

    10/22/2017
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    September 8 - October 29, 2017 Plein Air Grand Marais is a great way to connect with the arti...


  • Blue Water Suite

    10/22/2017
    09:00AM

    Blue Water Suite is open for a one of a kind stay. Located above the Blue Water Café, lots of r...


  • Fall into Art: Family Weekend

    10/22/2017
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    The Art Colony hosts family activities for all ages over the MEA weekend. Moose bucks from the Vi...


  • Empty Bowls Dinner and Silent Auction

    10/22/2017
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    12% of Cook County residents go hungry every month. To address this need, each year the Art Colon...


  • Moose Madness Family Festival

    10/22/2017
    09:00AM

    Throughout Moose Madness weekend, there are events for everyone. Activities range from the athlet...


  • Join us at Harbor House Grille, featuring Chef prepared, handcrafted meals. Today's specials Chef...


  • Shake It Up Renaissance Style

    10/22/2017
    02:00PM — 04:00PM

    Shake It Up Renaissance Style: What was it like to live in Elizabeth’s England? It was a party!! ...


  • Chili Golf Scramble

    10/22/2017
    03:00PM — 07:00PM

    Superior National at Lutsen is having it's "Chili Golf Scramble" Sunday October 22nd. It is a 9-...


  • Golf Scramble

    10/22/2017
    03:00PM — 07:00PM

    Superior National is having it's "Chili Golf Scramble" this Sunday 22nd. The 9-hole scramble star...


  • Alcoholics Anonymous

    10/22/2017
    06:30PM — 07:30PM

    Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and ho...


  • Terra Bella Floral fall hours

    10/23/2017
    12:00AM

    Monday and Tuesday Noon to 6 Wednesday through Friday 10 to 4 Saturday 10 to 2 Sunday Closed


  • To all our valued customers, Harbor House Grille will be closing for the season Sunday, October 2...


  • Thanksgiving at Naniboujou

    10/23/2017
    12:00AM

    Bring your whole family to Naniboujou's first ever Thanksgiving Day Meal on Thursday, November 23...


  • Plein Air Grand Marais

    10/23/2017
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    September 8 - October 29, 2017 Plein Air Grand Marais is a great way to connect with the arti...


  • Blue Water Suite

    10/23/2017
    09:00AM

    Blue Water Suite is open for a one of a kind stay. Located above the Blue Water Café, lots of r...


  • Empty Bowls Dinner and Silent Auction

    10/23/2017
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    12% of Cook County residents go hungry every month. To address this need, each year the Art Colon...


  • Woodcarving Demo with Harley Refsal

    10/23/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Harley is the Fall Resident Instructor at North House, and will be offering a variety of opportun...


  • Lunch at the Senior Center

    10/23/2017
    12:00PM — 12:30PM

    Autumn Chowder/Fruit/Bread Pudding/Milk


  • Co-Dependents Anonymous

    10/23/2017
    05:30PM

    Co-Dependents Anonymous is a Fellowship of men and women whose common purpose is to develop healt...


  • Open Mic Every Monday at 6PM!

    10/23/2017
    06:00PM — 11:55PM

    Grand Marais Music Collaborative presents "Open Mic Night", every Monday at Grandma Ray's! The s...


  • SQUARE DANCE LESSONS

    10/23/2017
    07:30PM — 09:00PM

    Modern Western Square Dance New season begins Thursday, September 28 Time: 7:30 to 9:00 Sept...


  • Terra Bella Floral fall hours

    10/25/2017
    12:00AM

    Monday and Tuesday Noon to 6 Wednesday through Friday 10 to 4 Saturday 10 to 2 Sunday Closed


  • To all our valued customers, Harbor House Grille will be closing for the season Sunday, October 2...


  • Thanksgiving at Naniboujou

    10/25/2017
    12:00AM

    Bring your whole family to Naniboujou's first ever Thanksgiving Day Meal on Thursday, November 23...


  • Plein Air Grand Marais

    10/25/2017
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    September 8 - October 29, 2017 Plein Air Grand Marais is a great way to connect with the arti...


  • Blue Water Suite

    10/25/2017
    09:00AM

    Blue Water Suite is open for a one of a kind stay. Located above the Blue Water Café, lots of r...


  • Empty Bowls Dinner and Silent Auction

    10/25/2017
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    12% of Cook County residents go hungry every month. To address this need, each year the Art Colon...


  • Anxiety/Depression Support Group for Women

    10/25/2017
    10:00AM — 11:00AM

    Weekly support group for women. $2.00 suggested donation. No registration required. Please joi...


  • Woodcarving Demo with Harley Refsal

    10/25/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Harley is the Fall Resident Instructor at North House, and will be offering a variety of opportun...


  • Gentle Yoga At Cobblestone Cabins

    10/25/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Slower pace for people with health concerns such as joint problems, high blood pressure, pregnanc...


  • Lunch at the Senior Center

    10/25/2017
    12:00PM — 12:30PM

    Stuffed Potato/3-Bean Salad/Dessert/Milk


  • Didgeridoo

    10/25/2017
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Grand Marais Public Library is pleased to present Johnna Morrow and Steve Sklar presenting Di...


  • Women's Yoga At Cobblestone Cabins

    10/25/2017
    06:30PM — 08:00PM

    Slightly advanced class for women who want to study Iyengar Yoga. Please register for the whole s...


  • October 4, 2017 7:00 p.m. Bethlehem Church Pastor Mark Ditmanson will lead a series of sessions ...


  • SQUARE DANCE LESSONS

    10/25/2017
    07:30PM — 09:00PM

    Modern Western Square Dance New season begins Thursday, September 28 Time: 7:30 to 9:00 Sept...


  • Terra Bella Floral fall hours

    10/26/2017
    12:00AM

    Monday and Tuesday Noon to 6 Wednesday through Friday 10 to 4 Saturday 10 to 2 Sunday Closed


  • To all our valued customers, Harbor House Grille will be closing for the season Sunday, October 2...


  • Thanksgiving at Naniboujou

    10/26/2017
    12:00AM

    Bring your whole family to Naniboujou's first ever Thanksgiving Day Meal on Thursday, November 23...


  • Plein Air Grand Marais

    10/26/2017
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    September 8 - October 29, 2017 Plein Air Grand Marais is a great way to connect with the arti...


  • Blue Water Suite

    10/26/2017
    09:00AM

    Blue Water Suite is open for a one of a kind stay. Located above the Blue Water Café, lots of r...


  • Empty Bowls Dinner and Silent Auction

    10/26/2017
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    12% of Cook County residents go hungry every month. To address this need, each year the Art Colon...


  • Woodcarving Demo with Harley Refsal

    10/26/2017
    10:00AM — 02:00PM

    Harley is the Fall Resident Instructor at North House, and will be offering a variety of opportun...


  • Lunch at the Senior Center

    10/26/2017
    12:00PM — 12:30PM

    Swedish Meatballs/Mashed Potato/Green Beans/Fruit/Milk


  • Informational Meeting

    10/26/2017
    06:15PM

    All are welcome at this meeting to learn about the Diabetes Prevention Program. The year-long pr...


  • Alcoholics Anonymous

    10/26/2017
    06:30PM

    Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and ho...


  • Get Whittling

    10/26/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    This skill share is part of the Fall Series Community Programs at North House Folk School. Oc...


  • October Guest Lecture: Historical Hwy 61

    10/26/2017
    07:00PM — 08:30PM

    Instructor:Phil Anderson Cost:$5 Recommended Donation Appreciated Registration:Call or Registe...


  • Terra Bella Floral fall hours

    10/27/2017
    12:00AM

    Monday and Tuesday Noon to 6 Wednesday through Friday 10 to 4 Saturday 10 to 2 Sunday Closed


  • To all our valued customers, Harbor House Grille will be closing for the season Sunday, October 2...


  • Thanksgiving at Naniboujou

    10/27/2017
    12:00AM

    Bring your whole family to Naniboujou's first ever Thanksgiving Day Meal on Thursday, November 23...


  • Plein Air Grand Marais

    10/27/2017
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    September 8 - October 29, 2017 Plein Air Grand Marais is a great way to connect with the arti...


  • Blue Water Suite

    10/27/2017
    09:00AM

    Blue Water Suite is open for a one of a kind stay. Located above the Blue Water Café, lots of r...


  • Empty Bowls Dinner and Silent Auction

    10/27/2017
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    12% of Cook County residents go hungry every month. To address this need, each year the Art Colon...


  • Lunch at the Senior Center

    10/27/2017
    12:00PM — 12:30PM

    Polish Sauerkraut/German Potato Salad/Dessert/Milk


Minnesota Fire Danger
Boreal Ship Spotter - larger view here