BWCA Permit hoarding is real Boundary Waters Listening Point - General Discussion
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thegildedgopher
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06/10/2021 11:45PM  
After a week on the gunflint trail taking day trips with our boat I was actually quite shocked to find it less busy than last summer. Lots of open campsites. One day in Clearwater we saw only 1 other motorboat and not a single paddler. On Sag I found tons of empty sites and overall traffic was maybe 30% of same time last year. I was talking with my outfitter who told me TONS of day motor permits are going unused. Anecdotally she said locals will buy up day motor permits for every single week and just go when they feel like it. They outfitter has been reporting the worst violators and has seen some of them get ALL their remaining permits for the season get cancelled by the forest service. Super frustrating.
 
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06/11/2021 04:14AM  
I feel this has been happening in a lower level with overnight permits as well. I constantly see people asking which permits they should keep. I guess at least they do give the heads up and some the plans might have fell through but I'm guessing some just buy to have options.
 
06/11/2021 09:23AM  
I would hope they will implement quotas on permits if this trend continues.
 
06/11/2021 12:57PM  
I'm amazed when I see people announce on the facebook page that they cancelled two permits that are either on the same day or within days of each other. What was their plan? The hoarding is really lame and people should know better. I wish the system knew not to allow that activity from happening (ie. you cannot book two permits within a week from each other).
 
VoyageurNorth
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06/11/2021 07:57PM  
Aldy1: "I'm amazed when I see people announce on the facebook page that they cancelled two permits that are either on the same day or within days of each other. What was their plan? The hoarding is really lame and people should know better. I wish the system knew not to allow that activity from happening (ie. you cannot book two permits within a week from each other)."

Holding permits is not good. However, sometimes if they have 2 permits it is for a larger group like Scouts, Church or the like. Often they have 2 separate groups going but same day and same entry, they keep them apart.
 
24kGold
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06/11/2021 11:48PM  
Just returned from a camping trip to Colorado and found out that third parties are buying large amounts of camping sights and then reselling them online at a higher price.

Even though we know that camp sight reservations at parks are now managed by a vendor rather than the park system, I also found out that many parks are owned by companies that manage the camping areas also.

It's frustrating to pull into a camping area only to find that most, if not all, are reserved and then go unused. At one state camping area, we stayed at one of only four first-come-first-served sites. The rest were reserved. No one used them. The campground was almost empty.

I don't know how widespread this issue is, but it's almost impossible to reserve a campsite at so many places even 3 months before you travel. Even a lot of BLM overflow camping is being closed to camping.

So many things are messed up right now and the main explanation anyone gives is that it's because of Covid.

Okay. That was just a rant. It kind of fit this thread. Had to get it off my chest. Can hardly wait until Quetico is available again to us south of the border.

Terry
 
billconner
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06/12/2021 06:56AM  
If a BWCA permit is reserved but not picked up, does the permit become available to a walk in at some point?
 
Savage Voyageur
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06/12/2021 07:52AM  
billconner: "If a BWCA permit is reserved but not picked up, does the permit become available to a walk in at some point?
"



Even if an unused permit would become available, who can just pack up everything, drive hundreds of miles on a “maybe” there would be a permit available. Then there is the point that let’s say the cutoff is noon for permit pickup, by the time I got into a camp on the first lake it would be late. Then there is this year where it is totally packed on entry lakes.

Maybe an option is raise the permit fees sky high to let’s say a hundred dollars. Then if you arrived up and got your permit you would be credited back the $94. If you don’t show you loose your deposit money. The only thing people understand is money. That would certainly stop this nonsense. Not saying this is what needs to be done, just tossing out ideas. Something needs to change.
 
06/12/2021 09:09AM  
24kGold: "Just returned from a camping trip to Colorado and found out that third parties are buying large amounts of camping sights and then reselling them online at a higher price.


Even though we know that camp sight reservations at parks are now managed by a vendor rather than the park system, I also found out that many parks are owned by companies that manage the camping areas also.


It's frustrating to pull into a camping area only to find that most, if not all, are reserved and then go unused. At one state camping area, we stayed at one of only four first-come-first-served sites. The rest were reserved. No one used them. The campground was almost empty.


I don't know how widespread this issue is, but it's almost impossible to reserve a campsite at so many places even 3 months before you travel. Even a lot of BLM overflow camping is being closed to camping.


So many things are messed up right now and the main explanation anyone gives is that it's because of Covid.


Okay. That was just a rant. It kind of fit this thread. Had to get it off my chest. Can hardly wait until Quetico is available again to us south of the border.


Terry
"


This all goes back to what I said in a different thread. RESPECT. Or lack of it.

And as SV suggested, jack up the permit reservation fee's, but make part of the fee's refundable upon a actually picking up your permit at a ranger station or co-op.

And while I'm ranting issue a official USFS garbage bag for a refundable fee. Pack out your trash and get your cash refunded.
 
06/12/2021 09:15AM  
Savage Voyageur: "billconner: "If a BWCA permit is reserved but not picked up, does the permit become available to a walk in at some point?
"




Even if an unused permit would become available, who can just pack up everything, drive hundreds of miles on a “maybe” there would be a permit available. Then there is the point that let’s say the cutoff is noon for permit pickup, by the time I got into a camp on the first lake it would be late. Then there is this year where it is totally packed on entry lakes.


Maybe an option is raise the permit fees sky high to let’s say a hundred dollars. Then if you arrived up and got your permit you would be credited back the $94. If you don’t show you loose your deposit money. The only thing people understand is money. That would certainly stop this nonsense. Not saying this is what needs to be done, just tossing out ideas. Something needs to change. "


+1
 
mschi772
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06/12/2021 11:20AM  
Savage Voyageur: "Maybe an option is raise the permit fees sky high to let’s say a hundred dollars. Then if you arrived up and got your permit you would be credited back the $94. If you don’t show you loose your deposit money. "

Nice idea. It's fair, shouldn't be too difficult to implement, should cut-down on some of the undesirable permit-hoarding, and would provide a couple extra dollars for the USFS.

Problems I see are finding a fair way to account for honest, legitimate trip cancellations without punishing people who don't deserve to be punished and the potential for the increased up-front cost to unfairly exclude many tighter-budgeted and lower income visitors.
 
Savage Voyageur
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06/12/2021 01:48PM  
mschi772: "Savage Voyageur: "Maybe an option is raise the permit fees sky high to let’s say a hundred dollars. Then if you arrived up and got your permit you would be credited back the $94. If you don’t show you loose your deposit money. "


Nice idea. It's fair, shouldn't be too difficult to implement, should cut-down on some of the undesirable permit-hoarding, and would provide a couple extra dollars for the USFS.


Problems I see are finding a fair way to account for honest, legitimate trip cancellations without punishing people who don't deserve to be punished and the potential for the increased up-front cost to unfairly exclude many tighter-budgeted and lower income visitors."


Ok I see your point on legitimate cancellations. How about up until a week before you can cancel, after that you go or loose the money. If I we king up there things would be different. Hahaha
 
billconner
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06/12/2021 06:42PM  
Savage Voyageur: "billconner: "If a BWCA permit is reserved but not picked up, does the permit become available to a walk in at some point?
"




Even if an unused permit would become available, who can just pack up everything, drive hundreds of miles on a “maybe” there would be a permit available. Then there is the point that let’s say the cutoff is noon for permit pickup, by the time I got into a camp on the first lake it would be late. Then there is this year where it is totally packed on entry lakes.


Maybe an option is raise the permit fees sky high to let’s say a hundred dollars. Then if you arrived up and got your permit you would be credited back the $94. If you don’t show you loose your deposit money. The only thing people understand is money. That would certainly stop this nonsense. Not saying this is what needs to be done, just tossing out ideas. Something needs to change. "


While I was working until 2 years ago I could often not plan ahead so would pack and head up and always found an available permit. I usually knew the date a week in advance but chances more available entry day than a week before. I think even now there are some permits available every day, and even a less desirable entry is better than a day on the job.

 
06/12/2021 10:13PM  
The most unused permits in the past was out of the Ely area and the worse was Moose lake entry point by far.
 
06/13/2021 02:45PM  
billconner: "If a BWCA permit is reserved but not picked up, does the permit become available to a walk in at some point?
"


Not sure where you draw the line. I once picked my permit up at 2....was launching on Poplar at 3 and was setting up camp on Meeds at 5:30. The rangers were just about ready to call me a no show. Not sure how you could get that permit back in the system on time.
 
billconner
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06/13/2021 06:37PM  
cowdoc: "billconner: "If a BWCA permit is reserved but not picked up, does the permit become available to a walk in at some point?"
Not sure where you draw the line. I once picked my permit up at 2:00....was launching on Poplar at 3:00 and was setting up camp on Meeds at 5:30. The rangers were just about ready to call me a no show. Not sure how you could get that permit back in the system on time."

Perhaps not possible. So I wonder how those permits get counted. It seems the numbers presented on bwca.com reflect reservations -all that us available.

Do we have any idea how many no-shows? Significant?
 
eagle98mn
senior member (99)senior membersenior member
 
06/14/2021 12:30PM  
I’m quite confident this would be the least likely scenario, but if it happened to me it could happen again:

My 1st trip, I was along for the ride so to speak. Friends got the permits, etc. My 2nd trip one year later I organized it with one other friend. We picked up our canoe at sawbill outfitters and watched the video just like the previous year. Then we jumped in the canoe and took off. We never actually picked up our permit and I didn’t realize there even was a physical paper since I wasn’t responsible for this the previous year (and I clearly did a bad job of listening to the video)!

That night, I brought up the question of how would a ranger know we had a permit if we were stopped? Do they have satellite internet to check my reservation? My friend realized our error, but we were already up on Karl Lake with plans to loop back to Sawbill through Tuscarora, Zenith, etc. we decided to risk not having the permit and thankfully never were stopped. But on my account, it has always said I was a no-show. I was valid in everything except the documentation.

I imagine this isn’t all that common, but it is my story of contribution to the unused permit problems of 2014 :)
 
OMGitsKa
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06/22/2021 07:34PM  
The issue is with how crazy last summer was getting a spot anywhere I think everyone was just throwing options on the books. If you didn't get a permit, campsite, rental, etc... booked early they you didn't have a chance to go at all since it was so nuts. Now people are booking stuff that they may or may not use since if they wait and decide later they want to go they wont have that option.
 
Basspro69
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06/22/2021 11:42PM  
You need a permit to go into the BWCA ?
 
yogi59weedr
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06/23/2021 12:14AM  
That's new to me....
 
06/23/2021 07:18AM  
Basspro69: "You need a permit to go into the BWCA ?"

I now have some coffee in my sinuses, so thanks for that!
 
THEGrandRapids
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06/23/2021 08:19AM  
Basspro69: "You need a permit to go into the BWCA ?"

Yes, grab as many daily permits as days you want to be out. Take the entire self permitting box for good measure, can use as fire starter for days you won't use.
 
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