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scotttimm
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04/16/2021 09:16AM  
I'm surprised this hasn't popped up here yet...I wonder how the new mandatory LNT meeting requirement via Adobe Connect will go? Leaders must attend the session within 48 hrs before the entry day, changes to group size must be done prior to the meeting, permits emailed day before entry. In-person still available, but there are some differences and requirements to take note of before getting the permit either way. I wonder at the effectiveness of the changes, whether it'll help or not. Hmm...

Superior National Forest offers two ways to get Leave No Trace/Tread Lightly education and Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) permits issued for 2021
 
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mschi772
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04/16/2021 10:19AM  
I'm not thrilled by it. Typical USFS plan with so many ways to fail or inconvenience.

Short window of time to actually attend and get one's permit.

Nothing about cooperating outfitters being able to administer this. I'm getting my permit at Sawbill, so do I have to go to a ranger station or attend the virtual thing separately? Then how will Sawbill know they're OK to give me my permit, or do I just get my permit at the ranger station or virtually in which case what is even the purpose of choosing Sawbill as my permit issuer?

Office hours that may not fit conveniently into all schedules.

Virtual restricted to 9:00a and dependent upon internet service which might not be the easiest to acquire--and 9:00a may as well be restricted to the day before entry for so many of us as on the day of entry, I'd imagine I'm not alone in planning to be on the water by 9:00a.
scotttimm
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04/16/2021 10:23AM  
mschi772: "I'm not thrilled by it. Typical USFS plan with so many ways to fail or inconvenience. Short window of time to actually attend and get one's permit. Nothing about cooperating outfitters being able to administer this. Office hours that may not fit conveniently into all schedules. Virtual restricted to 9:00a and dependent upon internet service which might not be the easiest to acquire--and 9:00a may as well be restricted to the day before entry for so many of us as on the day of entry, I'd imagine many of us already plan to be on the water by 9:00a."
Yup. I see headaches on the horizon, though I appreciate the effort to improve education around LNT.
04/16/2021 10:31AM  
So they say this:

"Permit holders that have selected an issuing station that is operating virtually must attend one virtual Leave No Trace/Tread Lightly education session to receive their permit via email from the Forest Service. "

But do we infer that those who have permits connected to an Operating issuing station must get their permits & watch the video in-person? Or will the virtual LNT video be for anyone and everyone who wants to go that route?

The way I read the "48 hours" part makes me think you could watch the video on a Wednesday or Thursday for a Friday entry...
mschi772
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04/16/2021 10:32AM  
I'm entering at Sawbill on a Monday, but Tofte station isn't open on Saturday or Sunday (nor is the station in Duluth). I'm sure as heck not going to wait to enter until after I've waited to visit the ranger station at 9:00a as that will eat-up a TON of morning on a day I plan to have already been on the water before 9. I guess I'm stuck with virtual then, and since I plan to be on the wilderness early on Monday, my ONLY chance is going to be the Sunday morning virtual thing which is going to be quite a trick since I will be in the middle of driving up at that time. Unless cooperating outfitters are allowed to handle this, but the announcement only mentions ranger stations and virtual--nothing about cooperating outfitters.

I really wish they had this plan announced back in January as I would have been able to plan around it. Dropping it now is really disruptive.
mschi772
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04/16/2021 10:41AM  
sns: The way I read the "48 hours" part makes me think you could watch the video on a Wednesday or Thursday for a Friday entry..."

But they also say, "Permits will be issued the day before or the day of Wilderness entry." It's never simple with bureaucracies.

sns: "But do we infer that those who have permits connected to an Operating issuing station must get their permits & watch the video in-person? Or will the virtual LNT video be for anyone and everyone who wants to go that route?"

Great question! Would be nice if they communicated clearly enough to have answered it. I'd like to know if Sawbill will have all my bases covered in-person as an operating issuer. I'd also like to know if checking the LNT session requirement off ahead of time the day before virtually is an option for me should I want to try that. I'd maybe change my issuing location as a means to adapt to this news, but they're not allowing that anymore, so there goes that option for everyone, too. Assuming cooperating outfitters can cover all the requirements, I'd love to switch from Sawbill to Sawtooth as I'll now already be at Sawtooth the evening before picking up a rental.

EDIT: This post on the USFS site is a little more clear with a bullet point not included in other publications of the announcement that reads, "Permit holders may also pick up their permits at an approved cooperator," which seems to imply that cooperating outfitters will indeed still be a one-stop-shop for permitting including this LNT session requirement. It's like the government has a rule against hiring anyone with good communications skills the way every announcement they ever make is about as clear as mud.
04/16/2021 11:11AM  
Superior National Forest news release

Includes a notation not in the Boreal. org release:

The forest will offer virtual and in-person services for permit issuance.
**Permit holders can also pick up their permits at an approved cooperator.

Banksiana
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04/16/2021 11:15AM  
mschi772: "I'm entering at Sawbill on a Monday, but Tofte station isn't open on Saturday or Sunday (nor is the station in Duluth). I'm sure as heck not going to wait to enter until after I've waited to visit the ranger station at 9:00a as that will eat-up a TON of morning on a day I plan to have already been on the water before 9. I guess I'm stuck with virtual then, and since I plan to be on the wilderness early on Monday, my ONLY chance is going to be the Sunday morning virtual thing which is going to be quite a trick since I will be in the middle of driving up at that time. Unless cooperating outfitters are allowed to handle this, but the announcement only mentions ranger stations and virtual--nothing about cooperating outfitters.

I really wish they had this plan announced back in January as I would have been able to plan around it. Dropping it now is really disruptive."


Prior to May 1 permits are self-issue. Available at entry point or ranger station.
mschi772
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04/16/2021 11:17AM  
Banksiana: "Prior to May 1 permits are self-issue. Available at entry point or ranger station. "

You misunderstood. I'm entering on *A* Monday, not next Monday. My trip is in June.
Porkeater
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04/16/2021 11:21AM  
boonie: " Superior National Forest news release


Includes a notation not in the Boreal. org release:


The forest will offer virtual and in-person services for permit issuance.
**Permit holders can also pick up their permits at an approved cooperator.


"


But it still sounds like if you've selected one of the ranger stations operating in person, you're limited to picking it up in person, during business hours. When I selected Gunflint ranger station back in January, it was clearly stated it would be virtual. I will be coming up later the night before, and will now have to wait in town until the ranger station opens, especially since you can no longer change the issuing station.

04/16/2021 11:41AM  
I didn't read it that way, Porkeater. I read as you could do either since they say: The forest will offer virtual and in-person services for permit issuance. I just see it as an expansion of opportunities that weren't available before.

All of the stations seem be open for it just different days and hours. If all of the stations are open and you're required to pick up at one, there'd be no reason to offer virtual . . . ?

But you should contact them at the number listed on the release to be sure. The first number listed is the Forest Supervisor's Office. Direct number (and email) to Gunflint is available by clicking "contact us" then "offices".

I hope that's right and you have the option.
dschult2
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04/16/2021 11:50AM  
I did notice that in the Superior National Forest news release it stated that you could either print your permit or be able to show an electronic copy. I'm guessing your good if you just download to your phone if you can't print it out. Also just got off the phone with the Gunflint ranger station and even though they are now offering in person pick up they will still be offering virtual, so your choice. Also if you choose in person they are not sure how they are going to do it yet, either curb-side or let people in.
04/16/2021 11:59AM  
I was told back in January that I didn't need to print it out - just make sure I had enough charge to show it . . .
PineKnot
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04/16/2021 12:07PM  
This sounds like quite the cluster.....I sure hope they get things ironed out fairly quickly.

Another thought is I'll be doing 3, maybe 4 trips this season....was kinda hoping I wouldn't have to watch the video again after the first trip or two....but it sure looks like they are planning to make you go thru the process for every trip....sigh....
straighthairedcurly
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04/16/2021 12:09PM  
Thanks for posting this info. I have been wondering about details., Good to know I have to update all group member names online before the virtual session. Hoping this goes okay. Our first trip we are driving up the day before so hopefully we receive the permit in time.

I think the narrow time window is really unfair to people coming from out of town. I know the assumption is everyone has a cell phone and data plan, but not all of us have that and it might not be good enough for a virtual meeting if you are driving 2 days to get to the BW.

The other thing that is a bit annoying is that in past years the ranger would ask if we had already been in the BW that season so we only had to answer the quiz questions, not rewatch the video on our 3rd or 4th trip. I have 4 trip planned this year. Doing 4 virtual sessions is going to be a pain.

straighthairedcurly
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04/16/2021 12:15PM  
OK, finished reading. Can anyone answer if we are required to go to an open ranger station (since now they seem to have open hours) or can we opt for the virtual if timing doesn't work? That wasn't clear.
Porkeater
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04/16/2021 12:23PM  
dschult2: "Also just got off the phone with the Gunflint ranger station and even though they are now offering in person pick up they will still be offering virtual, so your choice. Also if you choose in person they are not sure how they are going to do it yet, either curb-side or let people in."

That's good to know. Thanks for sharing that.

It's certainly not clear from the mish-mash of conflicting statements from the different FS pronouncements.
04/16/2021 12:57PM  
mschi772: "I'm entering at Sawbill on a Monday, but Tofte station isn't open on Saturday or Sunday (nor is the station in Duluth). I'm sure as heck not going to wait to enter until after I've waited to visit the ranger station at 9:00a as that will eat-up a TON of morning on a day I plan to have already been on the water before 9. I guess I'm stuck with virtual then, and since I plan to be on the wilderness early on Monday, my ONLY chance is going to be the Sunday morning virtual thing which is going to be quite a trick since I will be in the middle of driving up at that time. Unless cooperating outfitters are allowed to handle this, but the announcement only mentions ranger stations and virtual--nothing about cooperating outfitters.

I really wish they had this plan announced back in January as I would have been able to plan around it. Dropping it now is really disruptive."
My permit says pick up at Sawbill
MikeinMpls
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04/16/2021 04:07PM  
This is what I fear: the new procedure will actually have the opposite effect of what it is intended to do.

Here's why: clearly the process is confusing and more complicated as in the past or as last year, as evidenced by the questions discussed above. Many people will be driving (as noted above), or will already be in SNF but out of cell range, or otherwise be unable to gain a signal sufficient to watch a video or educational session via streaming.

Is the LNT session only done one time per day, at 9:00 AM CDT? As people will be, many will log in five, 10, 15 minutes late...I wonder how they plan on handling that.

What if the USFS has a technical glitch and the virtual session is late or rescheduled? What if my internet goes down during the session? Power is out?

How will they know if I attended the virtual session so they can email me my permit? Apparently if a permit is acquired virtually, one person in the party must carry in a cell phone or similar electronic device for proof of their permit. I don't bring my phone in with me, nor do I want to...but if I did, and it runs out of juice?

I am concerned that some (probably a small amount) of trippers will just skip the whole thing because they find it a pain. Those are probably the very people who need to watch the LNT video and abide by its message the most.

I understand that COVID has thrown a wrench into the in-person pick-up process. I also understand that many of my concerns expressed above are 1: nitpicky "what ifs" and 2. preventable if a permit is picked up in person at the ranger stations or a cooperator. But the USFS is a government bureaucracy, and bureaucracies are vulnerable to complication. Each step in the complication is another opening for problems, and ultimately this may very well create more problems than it solves.

Mike
straighthairedcurly
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04/16/2021 06:04PM  
Porkeater: "dschult2: "Also just got off the phone with the Gunflint ranger station and even though they are now offering in person pick up they will still be offering virtual, so your choice. Also if you choose in person they are not sure how they are going to do it yet, either curb-side or let people in."


That's good to know. Thanks for sharing that.


It's certainly not clear from the mish-mash of conflicting statements from the different FS pronouncements. "


Thank you for checking. The more I read, the more this seems to be the intention. But the wording was not very clear. I think I will do 2 permits in person since the office hours work for those and do 2 permits virtually.
schweady
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04/16/2021 07:50PM  
boonie: " Superior National Forest news release


Includes a notation not in the Boreal. org release:


The forest will offer virtual and in-person services for permit issuance.
**Permit holders can also pick up their permits at an approved cooperator.


"

Thank God. I am picking up 3 permits for my trips this year - two at VNO and one at Rockwood. I can only imagine the headache that this hullabaloo will cause for those who pick up at virtual USFS locations. Adobe Connect? at 9:00 am CDT only? Puh-lease...

MikeinMpls: "This is what I fear: the new procedure will actually have the opposite effect of what it is intended to do..."

Exactly. They need to make it as convenient as possible to show up for permits yet obtain a blood oath from these potential offenders that they swear to follow the LNT/Tread Lightly laws.
WIMike
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04/16/2021 09:19PM  
I have a certificate from passing an online LNT course this past winter. Will that suffice or will I be required to take another course before getting a permit?
04/16/2021 09:33PM  
At this point, Mike, no one really knows, so it's probably best to call the Forest Supervisor's office. The number is on the release I linked to. I assume you'll have to watch the videos like everyone else, but . . . that's just my guess. I doubt they've even considered your scenario.
VoyageurNorth
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04/26/2021 03:45AM  
If anyone has a permit with a Ranger Station (virtual) they can go to any issuing cooperator and pick up their permit.
""editted"" But only if they get the Ranger Station to move their permit to said cooperator.

But an outfitter will need to have you transfer your permit to them, because the permit must be in that outfitter's online account so they can get to it online, update anything that needs updating & they can show you the 3 minute last video.
""editted again"" Yes, it has to be moved into outfitter's account, but that must be done by Ranger Station.

So, make sure you know how to get into your online account (or change it yourself ahead of time). If an outfitter can't "get to" your permit, they cannot issue it.
""editted"" Not a "you go into your online account" any more, you must call the Ranger Station for them to move it.

Also, make sure that if you change your virtual permit to an outfitter, you check the hours they are open. Come in too late & the place is closed, you are sort of out of luck. Come in too early & place is not open yet, you must wait.


Porkeater
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04/26/2021 10:07AM  
VoyageurNorth: "So, make sure you know how to get into your online account (or change it yourself ahead of time). If an outfitter can't "get to" your permit, they cannot issue it.

"


Hi Lynn. This is one of the problems; they changed the Recreation.gov system so you can no longer change your permit issuing station once the reservation is made.
schweady
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04/26/2021 11:34AM  
VoyageurNorth: "...the permit must be in that outfitter's online account so they can get to it online, update anything that needs updating & they can show you the 3 minute last video..."
Thanks, Lynn. I guess I could have just called you at 3 AM :-)
Here's the question:
With VNO already chosen as our 'cooperator', are we able to come in and follow the same procedure as we have over past years? No Adobe Connect session? And no need to set our exact roster until we arrive? It would be really nice if folks here could relax if they have a permit reserved with an outfitter that is open for face-to-face business...
VoyageurNorth
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04/26/2021 04:41PM  
Well, found out there is another change on picking up your permit this year.

If you sent your permit to a Ranger Station and want to pick it up at an outfitter/other issuing station, you must contact that Ranger Station to change it & make sure you can call them during their open hours. They will change your permit issuing station to where you want it.

If you have chosen an outfitter/other issuing cooperator, you can not change it to anywhere else. You can only cancel that permit and reserve another one. The Forest Service will not change that for you except in "extreme circumstances".

I couldn't see a reason why that would be, but I'm sure they have some kind of reason, probably due to last year's mess.

I also see that the Kawishiwi Ranger Station will be an in person (with a mask necessary) issuer and have hours from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, 7 days a week.

Doesn't appear that you can call Rec.gov and get it changed that way or do it online like you used to be able to do.

I do see having problems with people coming into Ely later than 4:30 pm and wanting to get their permit at an outfitter when they used to be able to go into their online account and change their permit from a Ranger Station online.

I'm still reading this over & think there are other changes I'm not seeing, yet.
VoyageurNorth
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04/27/2021 02:36AM  
Schweady, correct if you pick up your permit with us or any other outfitter, you don't need to do the Adobe Connect. Just watch the videos here.

You can add the extra people and pay the extra camping fees when you arrive.

I have a feeling that more outfitters will be changing from last year's Virtual to face to face this year.

The Kawishiwi Ranger station was announced that it would be open, 7 days a week from 8 am to 4:30 pm. It was also announced the Gunflint Ranger station will be open too, but I'm not sure of the hours.

If anyone can't get here for those hours, change your permit pick up point as soon as you can so you don't run into problems later on. Did anyone here go up to a Virtual Ranger Station last year and get their permit changed then or was/is it possible to do it there?


schweady
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04/27/2021 08:56AM  
VoyageurNorth: "Schweady, correct if you pick up your permit with us or any other outfitter, you don't need to do the Adobe Connect. Just watch the videos here.


You can add the extra people and pay the extra camping fees when you arrive..."

Thanks, as always.
OMGitsKa
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04/27/2021 06:44PM  
So I see below on the permit to "Select Only One", but when and where do I choose that selection?

Two ways to get your 2021 permit, select only one:
1. Issuing permits IN-PERSON with social distancing,
--OR--
2. VIRTUAL - permit emailed by USFS upon completion of virtual Leave No Trace / Tread Lightly education session within 48 hours of entry date: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/superior/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD902016
schweady
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04/27/2021 07:15PM  
OMGitsKa: "So I see below on the permit to "Select Only One", but when and where do I choose that selection?...
"

When it is time to pick up the actual permit. (The reservation letter is not your permit.) If your chosen issuing station or cooperator is issuing permits in person (more and more are), lucky you: Skip all of the aforementioned info about Adobe Connect and show up during their hours of operation on the day of or day before your reserved entry date. (See comments by VoyageurNorth, above.)
05/06/2021 03:11PM  
Is that the same for picking up a permit at the Ranger Station? You can pick it up in person and watch the video there instead of doing an Adobe meeting? My selected ranger station is open the day I’d pick it up.



Savage Voyageur
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05/06/2021 04:15PM  
I have no idea what Adobe Connect is nor do I care to learn. As permit holder for our group I watched the two videos that was listed in my email. When I get to LaTourells in June I will watch the third video. If they can’t see that I watched the two other videos then I guess our group will have to waste our time and watch all the videos over again. Super frustrating.
VoyageurNorth
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05/06/2021 04:15PM  
You will be able to watch the video at the Ranger Station if it is not a virtual station. The Kawishiwi & Gunflint station have been announced to be NOT virtual so you can go inside with a mask. You must be there between 8 am and 4:30 pm at the Ely station, not sure about the Gunflint one.
VoyageurNorth
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05/06/2021 04:33PM  
Savage V, when they open your permit info online, if you have watched the videos (after clicking the link on your permit letter) it will show "Yes" instead of "no" for watching the first 2. You should only have to watch the last 3 minute one.
straighthairedcurly
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05/06/2021 06:13PM  
I have 4 different permits spread throughout the summer, so I received 4 different emails with links to the videos. Do I have to click on links in each email in order for it to show in their system that the videos have been watched for every permit?
scotttimm
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05/06/2021 06:43PM  
straighthairedcurly: "I have 4 different permits spread throughout the summer, so I received 4 different emails with links to the videos. Do I have to click on links in each email in order for it to show in their system that the videos have been watched for every permit?"
+1 to this question.
schweady
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05/06/2021 06:48PM  
straighthairedcurly: "I have 4 different permits spread throughout the summer, so I received 4 different emails with links to the videos. Do I have to click on links in each email in order for it to show in their system that the videos have been watched for every permit?"
I did just that for the 3 permit reservations that I have. Nothing wrong with watching them each once a year, but for the other clicks, I just started them up and then went back to bwca.com for a while. Covering my bases just seemed prudent, and simple, knowing that each of the 6 links contained unique imbedded code.

(I'm not advocating this behavior for a holder of a single permit, however. Nor a first-time visitor, of course.)
VoyageurNorth
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05/06/2021 06:56PM  
Each permit & confirmation letter has a link to video 1 & 2. If you permit is being issued, whether printed by you or at another facility, you have to watch it for each permit. Watching it does not transfer to each of the many permits you have.
foxfireniner
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05/07/2021 07:58AM  
"We'll email it to you the day before your travel day or your actual travel day. Plan to have a printed or digital copy."

This is basically what I took from it. Sounds like a goat rope.
05/07/2021 08:17AM  
Yes, it's been confusing and it's changed several times, but I think it's important to remember that last year was an exception . . . and a disaster. People who went for the first time last year may not know, but the rest of us do:

It has always been the rule that you could only pick up your permit the day of or the day before entry at a FS office or a cooperator. You always had to watch the video. You can still do this OR you can do it virtually.

FS news release

Contact information for the FS is on the left of the release or contact your cooperator if you have questions.
05/07/2021 08:26AM  
Sigh why does it seem to be getting harder to get permits. One time they tried telling me everyone in the group had to attend the sit down video. Like well they don't even live near here and are not here yet and I also don't know what their license plate is.
05/07/2021 08:55AM  
I called the FS yesterday and they told me that if you have multiple trips this year, after your first trip you can call them and tell them you’ve already done the virtual thing and they will mark it off on their system (I guess they will be able to see that) and issue your permit day of or day before - you do not need to do the virtual thing more than once a year.

Not sure about WIMike’s situation, since winter permits are self issued.
schweady
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05/07/2021 10:51AM  
boonie: "Yes, it's been confusing and it's changed several times, but I think it's important to remember that last year was an exception . . . and a disaster. People who went for the first time last year may not know, but the rest of us do:


It has always been the rule that you could only pick up your permit the day of or the day before entry at a FS office or a cooperator. You always had to watch the video. You can still do this OR you can do it virtually.


FS news release


Contact information for the FS is on the left of the release or contact your cooperator if you have questions. "

Perfect synopsis.

x2jmorris: "Sigh why does it seem to be getting harder to get permits. One time they tried telling me everyone in the group had to attend the sit down video. Like well they don't even live near here and are not here yet and I also don't know what their license plate is."
Send each group member the links for vid #1 and #2. Gather 'round at the permit issuing station and enjoy vid #3 together. Probably the way it should have been communicated all along for stations issuing in-person (whose numbers seem to be growing).
scotttimm
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05/07/2021 11:28AM  
Has anyone done the required virtual adobe connect session yet? Wondering what it was like.
05/07/2021 12:45PM  
Personally as a group leader responsible for my group's conduct and adherence to the rules and regs, I'd want them to watch all the videos. Then I'd discuss it with them.
05/07/2021 01:11PM  
Right schweady but we try to be on the lake at 6am so I get the permit the day before. It doesn't matter much as they let me do it. I wish there was some lifetime thing not to watch the videos though. We have all been in the bwca many many times.
tumblehome
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05/07/2021 02:34PM  
boonie: "Personally as a group leader responsible for my group's conduct and adherence to the rules and regs, I'd want them to watch all the videos. Then I'd discuss it with them. "

+1

We need more people to do this IMO
05/07/2021 03:07PM  
x2jmorris: "I wish there was some lifetime thing not to watch the videos though. We have all been in the bwca many many times."
I understand your sentiment, but if there were "lifetime passes" granted, we'd still be seeing an awful lot of people heading in burning all their trash, crushing their cans, sinking their bottles in the lakes and cutting pine boughs for their beds. For what we get, being asked to spend 30 minutes once a year is not a truly painful price of admission.
05/07/2021 03:10PM  
scotttimm: "Has anyone done the required virtual adobe connect session yet? Wondering what it was like."

I enter on Wednesday the 12th, and I've gotten my email invite to either of two sessions on Monday or Tuesday. Unless someone else does so before, I'll post screen shots and information on the process in hopes it will help others get through it easier.
schweady
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05/07/2021 05:07PM  
x2jmorris: "Right schweady but we try to be on the lake at 6am so I get the permit the day before. It doesn't matter much as they let me do it. I wish there was some lifetime thing not to watch the videos though. We have all been in the bwca many many times."
We get our permit the night before, also. But everyone in the group is there and they could easily take the 8-10 minutes to watch the presentation as a group. Your procedure might be different, I get that. I just feel that as derided as these procedures often are -- especially the enforced viewing of a canned video with rules and warnings and tips well known to many of us -- they are of utmost importance this year.
schweady
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05/07/2021 05:14PM  
Jaywalker: "scotttimm: "Has anyone done the required virtual adobe connect session yet? Wondering what it was like."


I enter on Wednesday the 12th, and I've gotten my email invite to either of two sessions on Monday or Tuesday. Unless someone else does so before, I'll post screen shots and information on the process in hopes it will help others get through it easier. "

Cool. Thanks.
OMGitsKa
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05/07/2021 05:44PM  
Jaywalker: "scotttimm: "Has anyone done the required virtual adobe connect session yet? Wondering what it was like."


I enter on Wednesday the 12th, and I've gotten my email invite to either of two sessions on Monday or Tuesday. Unless someone else does so before, I'll post screen shots and information on the process in hopes it will help others get through it easier. "


Would be greatly appreciated Jay.
05/07/2021 07:19PM  
I can share this much of the process already, provided I am typical:

1. A week before my entry on Wednesday 5/12, I got this email from the FS. It has two links for the two "virtual sessions" - both at 9:00AM. Since I can not make the first session and was worried about a technical problem on the second, I called the FS. They said if there are any issues, I can pick up at the FS Ranger Station just as always. NOTE: NOTE ALL RANGER STATIONS ARE OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK THIS YEAR. KAWISHAWI AND GRAND MARAIS ARE - OTHERS ARE MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY. DON'T TAKE MY WORD THOUGH - CHECK WITH YOUR RANGER STATION IF WANTING A WEEKEND ENTRY.

EDIT: I just noticed a howling error on their email! If you see it, stay cool for the weekend - I'll follow up with them Monday morning and post what I learn here.






2. Of course, I could not wait to click on one of the links to see what happened. I clicked on the first one and got the entry page for FS Adobe Connect. The directions did not make sense given the page below. I assumed they wanted my User Name and Password form my FS reservation system so I tried that, but it did not work. So I called again. I was told they essentially open up the Adobe Connect site 15 minutes before the session starts, and AT THAT TIME that page will allow me to select "Enter as Guest", type in my name, and I'll be in the session. They recommend having your reservation number with you at that time. I usually use Safari, but have Chrome so will probably use that. If anyone has questions about what that means - you can email me if you like.

So at this point, I have to wait until Tuesday. At the end of the session, we will have to fill out a form which is essentially the same questions we usually get - where to build a fire, where to poop, etc. Then they will email us our permit. You can then either carry a digital copy on your phone or print it out which is what I do for safety.

OMGitsKa
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05/08/2021 08:35AM  
Monday May 11th!? LMAO are these people literally just winging it last second? Yikes!
05/08/2021 10:04AM  
Makes me real glad I changed way back at the beginning to in-person instead of virtual. Now I'm just hoping there's no problem with that.
Porkeater
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05/10/2021 08:40AM  
I just received the following email from the FS in response to an email I had sent on 4/16:

"This information has since been updated. The Gunflint Ranger District is now issuing permits in-person. You have two choices. You can elect to pick up your permit in-person like normal. Or, if you would prefer to have your permit emailed to you by the USFS, you must complete the virtual leave no trace education session. You will receive an email invite approximately one week prior to your trip, click on the link in the email invite to join a virtual session on your entry date or one day prior at 9:00 AM CST. If that time does not work with your travel schedule, I would recommend picking up your permit in-person like normal. If you choose to pick up your permit in-person, you may ignore the email invitation for the virtual LNT education.

The Gunflint Ranger District office hours are 8 AM to 4:30 PM open seven days a week. You must contact a Forest Service office to change your permit issue station. This was a programming error that was recently corrected by Recreation.gov. The only way to change your issue station is to contact a Forest Service office. Thank you for contacting the Superior National Forest.

Visitor Services
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
Forest Service
Superior National Forest
p: 218-626-4300
SM.FS.R9BWCAW@usda.gov
8901 Grand Ave Place
Duluth, MN 55808
www.fs.fed.us"
05/10/2021 03:22PM  
OMGitsKa: "Monday May 11th!? LMAO are these people literally just winging it last second? Yikes!"
Yes, you spotted it. In 2021, May 11th is not a Monday - it's a Tuesday. I checked with the FS today. I thought I had either of two days BEFORE my entry date to try the virtual, but that is not what I heard today. It sounds like the process for sending out the invite emails is a pretty manual-cut-and-paste process, so this error was missed. Hopefully it did not happen often and will not happen again.

It does sound like the virtual sessions are for either day of or day before entry. I already gave the feedback that I suspect very few will do virtual on day of entry, because we'll either be driving or paddling at 9:00am.

I'll do the virtual session tomorrow AM and post my comments and any screen shots I can get after.

I know that the new virtual LNT system seems to have some imperfections that will frustrate some. Since I notice the error in my email I have thought about two things:
1 - if only they had hired professionals to make this new system, it would work so much better - but then they would have that much less money to send rangers on patrol to actually make sure the rules are being followed or punish wrong-doers, and
2 - if they had made no changes - just left it like last year - people would be grousing that the FS wasn't doing anything to try to stop all the damage done last year. They are trying....be patient...and change your permit issuer by phone if virtual doesn't seem to work.

Keep in mind you can still pick up your permit at a Ranger Station in Ely or Grand Marais 7 days a week - other Ranger Stations 5 days a week. Or you can call the FS and have your permit issue place changed to an outfitter/cooperator.
foxfireniner
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05/11/2021 07:10AM  
Here is the email:

The Forest is offering two ways to obtain your BWCAW permit in 2021, please select only one:



1) IN-PERSON ISSUANCE: All Forest Service offices are now open and issuing permits in-person. Covid19 mitigation will be in place. Kawishiwi and Gunflint Ranger District offices will provide in-person Leave No Trace & Tread Lightly education and issue BWCAW permits (7) days a week. Tofte, LaCroix and Laurentian Ranger Districts and the Supervisor’s Office will be operating Monday through Friday only. All office hours are 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. In accordance with federal policy, visitors must maintain social distancing and wear a mask. Permit holders will watch the third BWCAW Leave No Trace (LNT) video, review the BWCAW Regulations and Rules, hear the latest forest alerts and receive their permit in-person.



2) VIRTUAL ISSUANCE: As a mitigation for covid19, the Forest is also offering a “virtual option” to obtaining a permit. As the permit holder or alternate leading a group to the BWCAW, you are required to attend one 20-minute virtual Leave No Trace & Tread Lightly education session via Adobe Connect to receive your permit by email from the USFS. If the session times or dates do not work with your travel plans or you have technical difficulties logging in, please plan to pick up your permit in-person (or contact a Ranger District for further questions). All virtual LNT education sessions start at 9:00 am CT. You may log in as a guest any time after 8:45 am.



Click this link to join a virtual session on your ENTRY DATE or (1) DAY PRIOR at 9:00 am CT: https://usfs.adobeconnect.com/bwcaw/

View Parts 1 & 2 of the BWCAW video series.
Forward this email to your alternates and group members so they can attend the session and view Parts 1 & 2 of the video series.
Chrome is the recommended web browser for Adobe Connect. Consider installing Chrome prior to the session.
Viewing from a computer or laptop is preferable. You will be asked to fill out a form.
Be sure to have your reservation number available when you join the session to record attendance.
Please log on 5-10 minutes early to ensure your connection is working.
Alert the Forest 48 hours beforehand if you require closed captioning.
For a permit to be legal, all group members must be listed. Please update your reservation before attending:

Log in to your account at www.recreation.gov.
Click the arrow next to your name and select My Reservations from the drop-down.
Click on the Reservation Details button to update your permit.
In the cart summary, click Modify under View Receipt.
Add or delete group members and click Save.
Proceed to Checkout to pay for additional group members.
Once the virtual education requirement is met, the permit will be emailed to the group leader on the entry date or one day prior. No exceptions. If the weblink doesn’t open, press the ‘Control’ key while clicking on the link or simply paste this address in your browser: https://usfs.adobeconnect.com/bwcaw/ If a security prompt appears, close that window to be directed to the session.
05/11/2021 12:26PM  
OK, I did the Virtual LTN Training this morning and I now have my permit in hand. Overall it was pretty easy and I was done in 22 minutes, BUT IT TOOK ME ABOUT 90 MINUTES TO GET MY EMAIL WITH MY PERMIT. I call that out in case anyone is hoping to do the virtual session then print their permit and hit the road. It can take a little while before they get them out.

Logging in to the session was easy. As I was told, today the GUEST USER function was working, so you just type in your name (real name, not user name) and you are in.






First page


Once you are in, you basically just look at the first page and in a few minutes the 3rd video will start to play. I was expecting maybe something like Zoom, or to hear someone talking, but it was silent until the video played. At the very end of the video it froze up, but a minute later the Q and A session started. Its some of the standard questions and a few new ones tossed in. There is no "submit" button, so I just select my answer and hit the return key on my keyboard, though I really dont think that did anything. The quiz just sort of goes along and takes 5-10 minutes. After each question, they show you the answer as well as what everyone else answered. One word of warning - the font was really small so if you use reading glasses - have them handy.

One small problem I had in Chrome is that since I never use it to access my mail, I could not get to the email with my link to the virtual session (I usually use Safari so have my password saved there, and did not have my email password handy). I was able to go over to Safari, get the web address and copy/paste it into Chrome to get to the sign in page. I was told that other browsers would likely not work.

After the little Q and A session, they present a form and ask you to fill it out: Name, email, phone, reservation number, entry point and date, etc. They asked for car make/model and license plate which I did not have handy but that was ok. Submit the form and you are back on the first page. It could be a little clearer that you are done, but that is it. If you do want to, their is a section on the side where you can ask a question and get an answer.

Overall, it was easy and I am glad to have it done and my permit in hand. I'd say give the virtual session a try if you want to get it out of the way the day before, but do have a plan B in case you run into issues. You can get your permit issuer changed if you call the ranger stations. Good luck.


schweady
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05/11/2021 03:45PM  
Thanks for the details, Jaywalker. I do believe that a higher than originally anticipated number of visitors will now be able to get their permits in person, but you've helped a number of anxious others, I'm sure.
straighthairedcurly
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05/11/2021 09:41PM  
Super helpful, especially knowing the 90 minute lag. My son has to attend a college orientation the morning before we drive up to Sawbill campground and then we go in the next day. I don't think we will be able to leave in time to make the Tofte station so I will choose virtual for this first trip. Then in person for the others. Nice to have options.
05/13/2021 09:03AM  
The site appears to be down this morning - so I did not get the LNT video or my permit.

Got that initial login page on the first attempt 10 minutes prior, but the second page was "This site can’t be reached"...

On all subsequent attempts (fast and furious with increasing panic) the first page would not load either.

Internet working fine, all other sites loading normally.

Tad bit frustrating.
scotttimm
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05/13/2021 09:09AM  
sns: "The site appears to be down this morning - so I did not get the LNT video or my permit.


Got that initial login page on the first attempt 10 minutes prior, but the second page was "This site can’t be reached"...


On all subsequent attempts (fast and furious with increasing panic) the first page would not load either.


Internet working fine, all other sites loading normally.


Tad bit frustrating."


Were you using Chrome?
05/13/2021 09:13AM  
scotttimm: "Were you using Chrome?"

Yep. Even rebooted to see if that helped.
OMGitsKa
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05/21/2021 08:48AM  
Honestly this was pretty easy to do. I actually did the LNT like 5 days prior (even though it says 1 day before). I received the email a week before and did it 2 days after. Though I didn't receive my permit until the day before my trip in the morning!
05/21/2021 09:25AM  
OMGitsKa: "I actually did the LNT like 5 days prior (even though it says 1 day before). "

Wish I would have known that was a possibility! Next time...
seorman1973
 
05/21/2021 04:46PM  
Just clarifying: if you watch the virtual video and have your permit emailed to you, only one member of the group has to be present, correct? Or does every member of the group have to attend the session?
schweady
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05/24/2021 09:41AM  
Well, every member needs to know and follow the rules. No better way than to each watch the videos annually. Pretty painless.

Not sure about any tracking in place to ensure that each person actually logs in and views it if it's all done online.
05/24/2021 11:09AM  
Not sure about now; they didn't have to before. You can find contact info at the Superior National Forest site.

Given that the videos are readily available online and short, and that the leader (me) is responsible for the group, I've always had others do it.
Shuley
 
05/24/2021 06:41PM  
Sawbill is showing the video in person and you can pick up your permit there, not virtually.
06/09/2021 05:38PM  
So I'll revive this thread in the hopes that it may help someone with the accursed LNT Vid.

After not being able to get the virtual LNT thing to work a few weeks ago, I attempted again yesterday for an upcoming trip.
Initially got the first page to load in Chrome (on a Mac) but it never opened the second, and when I refreshed it was all over - "page not found" error messages.

Messages plural - I tried on safari and on Chrome, on both my macbook and on an iPad, and on my antrdoid phone. None worked. 9am came and went.

I decided that it might be by ISP/connection. It works fine and I do a ton of video meetings every day, but with multiple devices failing, it's either that or it's the USFS site.

So 24 hours later I got mobile and set up a hotspot in my car (no cell service at my house). This was somewhat successful.

It still did not work on Chrome. It loaded on Safari...but the video had no sound and then stalled. The Q&A worked at the end even though the video did not play.

However I also tried my android phone, and got it to work on Chrome on the phone (although again, with no sound). But it seemed to work & I filled out a form with my permit #. Huzzah!

At least, I think it worked. Almost 9 hours later and I do not have my permit...guess I may have to call the ranger station in the morning.
straighthairedcurly
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06/09/2021 06:09PM  
SNS, thanks for sharing your trials and tribulations. I am trying tomorrow morning. That gives me a few days to troubleshoot if necessary.
tumblehome
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06/10/2021 09:34AM  
Sheesh. I've been getting permits for 30 years and I dont know what the hell I'm doing. I'm picking up my permit in person so who knows. All I saw on my reservation page was that I have to watch a few YouTube videos. I'll go look again.
Tom
06/10/2021 09:37AM  
24 hours in and I called - helpful person had it emailed to me in just a few minutes.

Not having to arrive before they close and being able to get going early in the morning is a huge plus...
tumblehome
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06/10/2021 05:52PM  
Looks like if you pick up your permit at a cooperator then there is no online class to take.
Tom
06/10/2021 06:13PM  
tumblehome: "Looks like if you pick up your permit at a cooperator then there is no online class to take.
Tom"


Doing that tomorrow to avoid the intra-net thingy.
straighthairedcurly
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06/11/2021 12:33PM  
Note: you can do the online session earlier than the email indicates! I did my LNT online session the morning of June 10 and I go in on June 15th. They sent me an email saying they will send me my permit on June 14th, and they mentioned a discrepancy (# of youth vs. adult) between my permit and the form I filled out after the seminar that was quickly corrected. In my response, I mentioned that we were planning to drive up on June 14th so they emailed back they would make sure to send my permit first thing in the morning June 14.

Personally, this online requirement went flawlessly. No problem connecting to their webinar or downloading Adobe Connect on the fly. It was fun answering the questions and seeing how many people got them right or wrong. I think it is a reasonable compromise to only having in-person pick up.
 
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