Welcome to the BWCAW blog of Ely Outfitting Company and Boundary Waters Guide Service!

See our websites at ElyOutfittingCompany.com and BoundaryWatersGuideService.com.

We are a Boundary Waters canoe trip outfitter, Quetico outfitter, and guide service in Ely, Minnesota. This Boundary Waters blog shares photos, stories, humor, skills, and naturalist insights from guiding in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).

Most entries are from our founder and head guide, Jason Zabokrtsky. He is the Boundary Waters Blogger.

Monday, February 28, 2011

New Phone Number and New Rates: Two of Several Changes in the BWCAW Reservation System

US Forest Service
Superior National Forest

Duluth, MN - As part of our ongoing service to the public, managers on the Superior National Forest have been working with a contractor over the past few years on several changes to increase efficiency of the wilderness permit reservation system.One of the outcomes is a reduction in the reservation fee charged by the contractor to process Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) permits.  Effective March 1, 2011, the fee to reserve a BWCAW permit will drop from $12.00 to $6.00. 

The reservation fee is separate from the user fee.  User fees are utilized by the Forest Service for improving and maintaining portages and campsites in the Wilderness as well as for educational activities.  There is no change in the BWCAW user fee.

Some of the changes that contribute to a more stream-lined service 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.

Another change merged the BWCAW call center and customer service numbers into the centralized National Recreation Reservation System number.  This actually extended the hours of operation significantly.  

National Recreation Reservation Service:  877- 444-6777
March 1 to October 31, from 9:00 am to 11:00 pm, Central time
November 1 to February 28, from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, Central time

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