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.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Quetico Park Stops Accepting American Express

We received the following notice today:

Effective January 16, 2017 the Province of Ontario will no longer accept payments by AMERICAN EXPRESS CREDIT CARD.

The Province continues to accept payments by VISA CREDIT CARD and MASTERCARD CREDIT CARD when making a payment through the Ontario Parks reservation service. Payment by cheque or money order can also be made if you wish to make a reservation through the Ontario Parks call centre. Please ensure you have an applicable method of payment when making your 2017 Ontario Parks reservation through either our website or call centre.

Ontario Parks

Friday, January 13, 2017

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Permits FAQs

Do I need a permit to visit the BWCA? 
Yes. A permit is required whenever you enter the BWCA. For canoe trips starting from May 1 through Sept. 30, a quota entry permit is required and these permits are available to reserve on a first-come, first-served basis starting on January 25, 2017, at 9am CST.
How long can I wait to reserve my BWCA permit? 
For the best selection of quota entry permits, have us reserve your permit as soon as you've decided on an entry point and entry date. For the best selection of permits, we can reserve your permit as soon as all BWCA permits become available on January 25, 2017. While permits will still be available throughout the paddling season, you may need much more flexibility for your preferred entry point and entry date.
How much does a BWCA permit cost? 
BWCA permits are inexpensive. They cost $16 per adult per trip and $8 per youth (under 18 years) per trip, plus a $6 nonrefundable reservation fee per group, and a $10 nonrefundable permit acquisition fee per group when we reserve your permit. Thus, for example, the total BWCA permit fees for a group of four adults is $80.
What information is required to reserve a permit? 
Your exact entry date (the day you put on the water) and entry point are required and can not be changed. Other details of your trip, such as your group size, number of watercraft, trip end date, and exit point can be changed at any time. We reserve all BWCA entry permits for a group size of two adults with one watercraft and adjust to accurate numbers when we issue your permit at our shop either the day your trip launches or the day before it launches. Also, we recommend listing up to three Alternate Trip Leaders on your permit. If the listed Trip Leader is unable to do the trip, the permit may still be issued to an Alternate Trip Leader listed when the permit was originally reserved.
What is an "entry point"? 
The US Forest Service manages the BWCA and has designated about 70 different entry points. Entry points are specific locations where a group can enter the Wilderness. The Forest Service states how many permits are available at each entry point on a given day. Some entry points may have as many as a couple dozen permits available per day, and some may have as few as just one permit per day. One permit is good for a group size of up to nine people.
Is the permit price refundable if I cancel my trip? 
So long as your original permit is cancelled at least two days before the entry date, you will receive a refund of your original permit fee minus the $6 nonrefundable reservation fee and $10 nonrefundable permit acquisition fee. If your permit is cancelled within two days before your entry date, you will be refunded any permit fees paid less the price of two adult permits ($32) and the $6 nonrefundable reservation fee and $10 nonrefundable permit acquisition fee. There is no refund of permit fees for no shows.
What if I change my mind and want a different entry date or entry point? 
First, you must determine if an entry permit is available for the new entry date and entry point and reserve the new permit. So long as your original permit is cancelled at least two days before the entry date, you will receive a refund of your original permit fee minus the $6 nonrefundable reservation fee and $10 nonrefundable permit acquisition fee. If your permit is cancelled within two days before your entry date, you will be refunded any permit fees paid less the price of two adult permits ($32) and the $6 nonrefundable reservation fee and $10 nonrefundable permit acquisition fee.
How do I reserve a BWCA entry permit? 
We typically reserve the entry permit for our guests. Click here for our convenient online Trip Registration Form. When we receive your completed registration we will email you an invoice for the permit deposit and outfitting deposit. Once we receive your deposit we can reserve your entry permit. Alternatively, you may reserve your permit online at www.recreation.gov. If reserving your permit online, then list our guide service ("Boundary Waters Guide Service") as the issuing station so we may conveniently issue your permit when you pick up your outfitting.
Am I able to transfer my permit to someone else? 
No. They are not transferable. Permits can only be issued to either the Trip Leader or an Alternate Trip Leader listed when the permit was originally reserved.
We're experts at the Boundary Waters trip planning and permitting process and happy to help. Learn more at www.ElyOutfittingCompany.com.