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      Overnight Permits Remaining After 11 Weeks, 2018     
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schweady
distinguished member(6681)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
04/25/2018 07:54PM
Last Wednesday, I took about an hour to click through every screen (700 or so) showing the overnight paddle permits remaining for the 63 entry points in the BWCAW. I made a QuickTime recording of the screen updates as I went so I could go back and fill in my calendar in Excel. Some work with formulas and conditional formatting highlighted some pretty interesting findings. I tweaked it for the past week, off and on, to get things properly formatted and posted, so these numbers are not current, rather a random snapshot in time — 11 weeks after reservations opened — that I thought some of you might enjoy. I actually did this same exercise after only one week in but those numbers (other than some dates for several EPs which were completely booked already) were rather insignificant.

I have done this on a bit smaller scale each year, never to this extent. I do it, mostly, to satisfy my curiosity about the need to jump in on the reservation at 9:00 am on Day One. Obviously, there is always going to be a day and entry point available somewhere, but if you have your heart set on a particular date at a particular entry, some of the spots might not be there for you after the first day. Or the first hour. Take a look. Perhaps you will find something that adjusts your thinking on the popularity and availability of a particular entry point, or day, or month.

A couple of caveats:

It is April, and dates earlier in the summer are the ones which will tend to be booked more heavily at first. A conclusion from this snapshot that “not many groups seem to go in September” can hardly be supported. To get an accurate picture, each day’s reservation would need to be tallied on the day immediately prior. Better yet, at the end of each season, the USFS would share details of filled permit numbers for each day. Knowing that will never be the case, I exercise my OCD here.

Also, this spring has seen some unusually cold weather — record-breaking, in some cases — and the numbers for early May permit reservations, including the weekend of the Fishing Opener, are down significantly. There were a large number of those permits which had been tallied on my Week One calendar which were canceled and put back into the system. In their place, Memorial Day Weekend permit reservations went way up and this became the busiest period of the summer by far.

Some interesting — and a few surprising — stats pop out at you when looking over the results, some of which might influence whether you feel that it’s important enough to get online and make your reservation as soon as possible: Which entry point has seen the most reservations made? (25-Moose Lake) Which entry point has the highest percentage of allotted permits taken? (Tie: 23-Mudro Lake, 30-Lake One, 33-Little Gabbro Lake) Which entry point has the most days which are completely booked? (33-Little Gabbro Lake) What is the most popular day all season? (Friday before Memorial Day) Most popular month? (June) Day of the week? (Thursday)

I hope you'll enjoy exploring the twenty-one pages of stats on the permits remaining at each of the 63 individual entry points and the two summary pages at the end:




















 
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Jaywalker
distinguished member(1410)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/25/2018 09:28PM
I love it. Takes me back to my early days doing market research. The last two summary pages are particularly interesting, as is the Boy Scout effect in June and July on Moose.
Northwoodsman
distinguished member(1005)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/25/2018 09:33PM
Thanks schweady! Good info to have.
airmorse
distinguished member(2426)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/25/2018 10:30PM
Wow.
cyclones30
distinguished member(1299)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/25/2018 10:37PM
Thanks! Great info
04/26/2018 05:34AM
Cool. Always fun to look at the numbers. It strikes me ( and I noticed it a year or so ago) how many Stuart River permits are reserved. There are a couple of other entries too (yeah a lot are only one permit) that have a moderately high percentage of them already reserved. Angleworm's still not one of them though.
TominMpls
distinguished member (309)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/26/2018 09:48AM
boonie: "Cool. Always fun to look at the numbers. It strikes me ( and I noticed it a year or so ago) how many Stuart River permits are reserved. There are a couple of other entries too (yeah a lot are only one permit) that have a moderately high percentage of them already reserved. Angleworm's still not one of them though. "

Since there's only one permit per day available for Stuart River it doesn't take much. But yeah, being somebody who's *hiked* Angleworm several times, I find it funny (and unsurprising) that nobody's paddling from Angleworm.

I was surprised how popular LIS North is. Moose River North too, though whenever I've gone in there it's been busy so that's not so surprising.
Atrain
member (42)member
 
04/26/2018 11:07AM
As an engineer, i love data. I was thinking about doing this myself, but no need! Very interesting, thanks for the compilation!
04/26/2018 03:49PM
Stuart River seems to have become a lot more popular in the last couple of years than it used to be, Tom. Or maybe it's just my imagination, but it doesn't seem like it used to get mentioned very often. I know it's not a lot of permits either, but Ram has a somewhat high percentage of permits taken.
schweady
distinguished member(6681)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
04/27/2018 10:08AM
One thing that popped out at me was the distribution of permits taken, west to east. Folks often mention here that many more visit the west side of the BWCAW than the east, and this data bears that out.

Although the EP numbering is *close* to being in order geographically, I still did a sort on location W to E and added a table. It's not much different in appearance than the list in permit number order, but it did allow for some straight-up number comparisons after dividing the location list in half.

Of the 41,049 permits offered for the 2018 season, 22,230 are on the west side and 18,819 are on the east side... only a slight imbalance. BTW: I divided between Isabella and Kawishiwi Lakes, which is not only a near-perfect division in number of EPs (thirty-one and thirty-two), but also what seemed like a natural split in the direction from which folks would travel to approach their entry point. What really shows up is in the much greater percentage taken of that slightly greater number of permits offered on the west side: 33% vs 17% of those in the east. Bottom line: more than twice as many permits for western EPs have been pulled so far when compared with those in the east (7,364 vs 3,269).


Rockwood
senior member (69)senior membersenior member
 
04/27/2018 11:22AM
schweady: "...many more visit the west side of the BWCAW than the east, and this data bears that out. "

Come on over to the Gunflint Trail, we have some awesome Entry Points still available--thanks Schweady for the great detail!
IowaGuy
senior member (70)senior membersenior member
 
04/29/2018 09:21AM
schweady: " Folks often mention here that many more visit the west side of the BWCAW than the east, and this data bears that out. "

Depending on the exact EP, about 1 to 1.5 hours less driving to launch from West Side than from East Side, for folks coming up from I-35.
schweady
distinguished member(6681)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
04/29/2018 07:41PM
IowaGuy: "schweady: " Folks often mention here that many more visit the west side of the BWCAW than the east, and this data bears that out. "

Depending on the exact EP, about 1 to 1.5 hours less driving to launch from West Side than from East Side, for folks coming up from I-35."

Exactly what keeps our men’s group going back to Ely from West Central MN. So, my wife and I have decided to turn our sights eastward as often as we can. We’re tripping off of the Gunflint for the second year in a row this July after years of westside outings, even though the bunkhouse is almost 2 hours farther down the road.
carmike
distinguished member(1391)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/30/2018 11:12AM
That's awesome. Thanks for sharing.
04/30/2018 02:01PM
interesting stuff thanks.
johnMN
senior member (89)senior membersenior member
 
05/03/2018 12:45PM
Thanks for taking the time to do all of this! This is great info.
CanoeingHarry
member (31)member
 
05/03/2018 08:06PM
What am I missing on Mudro accesses that they are so busy?
Bdubr
senior member (97)senior membersenior member
 
05/03/2018 08:18PM
CanoeingHarry: "What am I missing on Mudro accesses that they are so busy? "

Relatively “easy” access to numerous loops, incredible fishing lakes, historic border route lakes,good campsites, etc.
campcrafter
distinguished member (198)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/14/2018 10:22AM
Most Excellent - I like this kinda stuff but have neither skills nor patience to do it.

Thank you for sharing.

Blue Skies!
cc
 
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