DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — The Superior National Forest partly backed off plans to eliminate the lottery system for issuing Boundary Waters Canoe Area entry permits and said Friday it will keep the lottery for the popular entry points on two lakes near Ely.
The U.S. Forest Service had planned to eliminate the lottery system entirely and take reservations only on a first come, first served basis. But officials said they decided, after receiving comments, to keep the lottery for the Fall Lake and Moose Lake entry points where most of the entry permits historically had been reserved by lottery.
The lottery will be used for overnight paddle and motor permits for both lakes, for all day-use motor permits for the Moose Lake chain, and for day motor permits for Fall Lake and beyond. Day motor permits for visitors using Fall Lake only will become first come, first served.
The Forest Service will take lottery applications from Dec. 19 to Jan. 19 and run the lottery Jan. 20.
The remaining permits for those entry points, as well as permits for all other BWCA entry points, can be reserved first-come, first-served, starting Jan. 25 at 9 a.m. central time at http://www.recreation.gov or by phone. Forest Service officials said historical data show that a lottery is not needed for other entry points because permits for them are generally available through the season.
About 250,000 people visit the wilderness area each year, and about 9,000 parties entered the last lottery. The Forest Service sets daily quotas for each entry point to keep visitors spread out and to ensure enough campsites are available.
Superior National Forest: http://www.fs.usda.gov/superior
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.