Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Forest Service cuts access to BWCA to relieve crowding

Agency announces entry point reductions; some 23,000 fewer people will be granted permits this season


January 14, 2022

Dennis Anderson, Star Tribune

"We're using all the tools we have to manage the wilderness to keep it as the amazing place that people love to visit,'' said Forest Service spokeswoman Joanna Gilkeson.

Some 23,000 fewer people will be allowed to enter the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) this year under a 13% reduction in the availability of entry permits, the U.S. Forest Service announced Thursday.

The quota reduction - the first sizable change in access to the BWCA since 2011 - is intended to remedy complaints about crowding and resource damage that took off in 2020 and continued last year. The surge in visitation has coincided with the overall boom in outdoor recreation related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Forest Service first signaled its intent to cut entry quotas about a month ago. On Thursday, the agency released a slate of specific permit reductions at 23 launch sites. In all, the number of available permits will be cut from about 285 per day to 248. The average group size is four people to a permit.


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