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schweady
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01/13/2022 09:29PM  
The USFS has released its Summary of Quota Changes By Entry Point for 2022.

The number of available permits will be cut from about 285 per day to 248. That's a reduction of 37 permits per day, or approximately 13%.

Actually, those daily permits include 16 overnight hiking permits. The 37 permits being reduced are all for overnight paddling (now 232 vs the previous 269), so a more accurate percentage reduction in the paddling permit quota would be 13.75%.

Notice the elimination of Lake One Only, Brule Lake Only, Seagull Lake Only, and Saganaga Lake Only permits.

The New Quota notation for Little Gabbro Lake is somewhat confusing; what they hoped to communicate was: "Alternating between 2 permits one day, 1 permit the next day." And, the 'Difference' column should read "-.5"

A couple of interesting hiking permit restrictions of note: Brule Lake Trail and Eagle Mountain Trail, previously unlimited, will now be limited to 1 per day.

Also, another table is available which lists all overnight quotas going forward: Water Access Entry Points and Overnight Quota.
 
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TuscaroraBorealis
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01/13/2022 09:57PM  
Thanks for staying on top of this schweady!
01/13/2022 10:10PM  
Thanks for posting this.

Lake One gaining 6 is interesting. I saw a story in the Duluth tribune incorrectly stating it went down by 6. I’ve yet to enter there but always heard it was already one of the busiest areas.
schweady
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01/13/2022 10:18PM  
AceAceAce: "Thanks for posting this.


Lake One gaining 6 is interesting. I saw a story in the Duluth tribune incorrectly stating it went down by 6. I’ve yet to enter there but always heard it was already one of the busiest areas. "

"Lake One" increased by 6 to 13. "Lake One Only" dropped by 7, to zero. So, there was a net daily decrease of one group entering at that point. (It was 14 daily between the two combined; it's now down to 13 in a single permit designation).

This was basically an elimination of the "Lake One RESTRICTED" permit which was initiated immediately following the Pagami Creek Fire of 2011.
01/13/2022 10:33PM  
schweady: "AceAceAce: "Thanks for posting this.



Lake One gaining 6 is interesting. I saw a story in the Duluth tribune incorrectly stating it went down by 6. I’ve yet to enter there but always heard it was already one of the busiest areas. "

"Lake One" increased by 6 to 13. "Lake One Only" dropped by 7, to zero. So, there was a net daily decrease of one group entering at that point. (It was 14 daily between the two combined; it's now down to 13 in a single permit designation).

This was basically an elimination of the "Lake One RESTRICTED" permit which was initiated immediately following the Pagami Creek Fire of 2011.
"


Excellent point that I hadn’t realized. Thank you.
schweady
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01/13/2022 11:06PM  
TuscaroraBorealis: "Thanks for staying on top of this schweady!"
:-)
Turns out, previous clues already provided helped form estimates posted in Listening Point on 12/06/2021 that weren't too far off...
mpswid0
member (43)member
 
01/14/2022 07:48AM  
It’s interesting that they say that they can change other requirements as needed, when needed. Such as ‘length of stay on lakes.’ That would really but a damper on some peoples trips if they limited base camping. But I can also see where it would help reduce congestion at some of the lakes that are only one, or even none, portages in, such as Birch lake.

Matt
PeaceFrog
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01/14/2022 08:03AM  
Thank you schweady for posting this. I am going to be curious to see how this pans out for the season. To be continued......
schweady
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01/14/2022 08:51AM  
mpswid0: "It’s interesting that they say that they can change other requirements as needed, when needed. Such as ‘length of stay on lakes.’..."
The entire Land and Resource Management Plan from 2004 is an incredibly interesting read, with everything from ecosystem maps to recreation management direction. The 2022 quota modifications are just another in a long line of edits made to the Plan.
Savage Voyageur
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01/14/2022 09:22AM  
Thanks for posting this. It’s a start but not enough reductions in numbers to help out in my opinion. A couple of the busy points increase???
schweady
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01/14/2022 09:42AM  
Savage Voyageur: "...A couple of the busy points increase??? "
Well, Island River increased from 1 to 2. I believe that is in response to the recovery of sites on the southern edge of the area once closed by the Pagami Creek Fire of 2011.

All other EPs saw a decrease. (The +6 for Lake One is offset by the -7 for Lake One ONLY.)
straighthairedcurly
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01/14/2022 10:23AM  
Thanks for posting this! Interesting that Moose Lake didn't decrease. Seems like most of the other big quota entry points dropped.
MikeinMpls
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01/14/2022 10:44AM  
Schweady- as usual, you have the info. Greatly appreciated.

Mike
johndraws
 
01/14/2022 11:11AM  
Maybe they're hoping Quetico will open up again, being Moose is a gateway?
Dreamer
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01/14/2022 12:39PM  
Between Mudro, Moose River North, and South Hegman, there was a total of 17 per day entries. (That gets you to Iron, Crooked, Basswood Falls area without a tow.) Now there are 13.5. That's a 20.5 % reduction. That's significant and will have an impact on traffic in one of the more heavily used areas.

(Yes, you can get to Basswood Falls from Fall Lake, which still has 14 entry points per day, or you could tow over to Iron from Vermilion as always.)
andym
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01/14/2022 01:38PM  
Thanks for the link and analysis. Really helpful.

Just want to make sure I remember correctly… Lake One only meant you could not camp west of the entry point down the Kawishiwi River. So the change could potentially provide more people in that direction and around the Kawishiwi triangle. Works for me because I can now set up trips that start there and have a wide variety of routes to pick from later.
schweady
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01/14/2022 08:19PM  
andym: "Thanks for the link and analysis. Really helpful.


Just want to make sure I remember correctly… Lake One only meant you could not camp west of the entry point down the Kawishiwi River. So the change could potentially provide more people in that direction and around the Kawishiwi triangle. Works for me because I can now set up trips that start there and have a wide variety of routes to pick from later. "

Right. Since it was previously divided evenly (7 and 7), I don't see this modification bringing any huge influx of visitors from Lake One to the Triangle. However, any group entering at Lake One may now travel as far (or as little) as they wish, and in either direction. This could possibly reduce the number of groups filling up the sites on Lake One.
andym
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01/14/2022 09:55PM  
Thanks. Our cabin is on White Iron. So a Lake One entry and wandering toward home would be a relaxing trip.
01/14/2022 11:16PM  
Top notch work, Schweady. Thank you for posting.
Iowa
Guest Paddler
 
01/15/2022 04:37AM  
I need to clarify the USFS entry point changes regarding Seagull and Saganaga lake. I'm planning a 3 day trip canoe trip on Seagull or Saganaga with my son and two kids this summer. We would camp only on Seagull or Saganaga and not paddle into other lakes. Under the new rule this trip would be eliminated and the permit would not be granted. Correct?
01/15/2022 06:31AM  
Iowa: "I need to clarify the USFS entry point changes regarding Seagull and Saganaga lake. I'm planning a 3 day trip canoe trip on Seagull or Saganaga with my son and two kids this summer. We would camp only on Seagull or Saganaga and not paddle into other lakes. Under the new rule this trip would be eliminated and the permit would not be granted. Correct?"

Incorrect. You would do your trip on a Seagull permit, which allows you entry at Seagull without limitations.
tumblehome
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01/15/2022 06:49AM  
I am grateful for such a thoughtful and intelligent forum with a great group of fellow campers.
This is a great thread!
Tom
mike13
member (12)member
 
01/15/2022 07:38AM  
Not sure if this fits perfectly with this post but there seems to be some very knowledgeable people here.
In several other posts, people have referenced looking back at previous years and were able to see the most popular,or in my case, least popular entry days for a particular entry point. I've been to Rec.gov but can't seem to find it. Do any of you know where I can find such information? Might be helpful for securing a permit for the upcoming season on more popular entry points.
Thanks.
01/15/2022 08:57AM  
Schweady rocks! Thank you.
OldTripper
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01/15/2022 09:00AM  
Thanks for posting this.
I always appreciate this type of data.

schweady
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01/15/2022 09:49AM  
mike13: "Not sure if this fits perfectly with this post but there seems to be some very knowledgeable people here.
In several other posts, people have referenced looking back at previous years and were able to see the most popular,or in my case, least popular entry days for a particular entry point. I've been to Rec.gov but can't seem to find it. Do any of you know where I can find such information? Might be helpful for securing a permit for the upcoming season on more popular entry points.
Thanks."

I didn't collect the data in 2021, but my Permit Use Study from 2020 (and a link to the 2019 findings) is still accessible on this site.

2021 turned out to be every bit as much a grab-fest for permits as was 2020, with closures due to multiple wildfires adding to the limited availability.
TreeBear
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01/15/2022 09:52AM  
Though I still fear the issues with traffic stacking near entry points may come to a head in the next few years, I think a lot of what they did makes sense. Removing a good chunk of the "only" permits removes a notion that forces people to congest near an entry. They still have the freedom to but not the obligation which can only help.

Some entry reductions seemed less necessary: Moose River South was a very strange entry point to slash since Big Moose Lake is the only "conceivable" destination for most people (though, yes, you can get out.) Now that entry doesn't truly fill up for 10 days of permits. Little Gabbro's "pulsing" numbers is kinda strange. That area is pretty busy and can handle the numbers (at least by the campsite numbers). We'll see what the pulse does. And Eagle MT/ Brule Lake trail seems to be outlining a foregone conclusion. There are only three campsites available to those two entry points, but they get used so little by overnight campers in comparison, it seems like a technicality to outline it.

In any case, the one that makes the least sense to me is no reduction of Fall, Moose, or Snowbank? Not touching Mudro seems odd since that is often one of the main offenders when people talk about portage congestion. So you're saying the five busiest entries on the Ely side (Lake One, Moose, Snowbank, Mudro, Fall) lose a grand total of one permit? Something doesn't add up. Also, not a single reduction in the Round Lake entry points?!? I would have predicted a 1 permit drop for each of them. In my 16 or so overnight canoe trips last year, that consistently proved to be one of the toughest areas for congestion. But truly, all this does its hurts the outfitters on some of the major entry points (Sag, Seagull, Sawbill) while strangely avoiding others completely. That said, though I am wary of reducing permits too much (constricted access), I would have assumed a more balanced reduction of the biggest entry points, not a change in a bunch of the smaller ones.
schweady
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01/15/2022 11:52AM  
TreeBear - One correction: Mudro did lose 1 daily permit. Otherwise, I agree with what you're saying. A reduction of 13 daily permits combined for Sag, Seagull, and Sawbill while leaving Moose, Fall, and Snowbank untouched is just odd.

We can only hope that the elimination of '_____ ONLY' permits will reduce what you identify as "traffic stacking near entry points."

And, your comment on the Round Lake area permits and congestion in that area is timely as that is an area I am researching for an upcoming trip... :-(
Brian H
Guest Paddler
 
01/15/2022 12:22PM  
Asking for some clarification from the group .... I am planning to take a group into John Lake (#69) on a specific Saturday in July and base camp on East Pike. We will be traveling with another group that is planning to enter John on the same day and base camp on West Pike or beyond. Is that permitted under these regulations? My interpretation is that its not -- only 1 permit would be issued for John Lake for a day.

Thanks for the knowledge.
thistlekicker
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01/15/2022 12:26PM  
Not reducing permits entering at Snowbank is crazy. The area from Snowbank through Disappointment into Ima and Jordan is incredibly busy, all the time.

Maybe they should just designate the Moose-Snowbank loop "scouts only". /s
TreeBear
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01/15/2022 01:06PM  
schweady: "TreeBear - One correction: Mudro did lose 1 daily permit. Otherwise, I agree with what you're saying. A reduction of 13 daily permits combined for Sag, Seagull, and Sawbill while leaving Moose, Fall, and Snowbank untouched is just odd.

We can only hope that the elimination of '_____ ONLY' permits will reduce what you identify as "traffic stacking near entry points."

And, your comment on the Round Lake area permits and congestion in that area is timely as that is an area I am researching for an upcoming trip... :-(
"


Yep, my bad. But yes, it is definitely odd. Though I hardly took any trips out of Ely this year, I remember trips in the past couple where we had 6 groups stacked up on the portages out of Mudro. And one memorable trip saw encounters with 29 other groups on a single day of travel out of Moose. To me, that's the definition of the problem. Yes Sag is busy, yes Seagull can get crowded, but I have always thought of Ely as the "busy side". The worst on the Gunflint for me is Alpine/Jasper/Red Rock area just because it feeds from both Seagull and Sag with towboat drop offs on the Sag end. And yah, permit reductions probably will help some of that problem, but I also know I saw 7 groups at Eddy at one time this summer(with a lot of that being Northern Tier.) I'm happy they can get out, but those are Moose permits and, if the decision is that the BW is getting too much traffic, wouldn't it stand to reason that the busiest entry points get some reduction? And, yes, Snowbank dumps a crazy amount of groups into Ensign and Disappointment while Fall keeps Basswood busy. The numbers also only lost one permit while those first two portages going into Lake Two always turn into a bottle neck.

As for the round lake, I took a few trips in and out of there this year as did my co-guides. It seemed to pulse some (it wasn't always busy.) But that restrictions of the routes and the scarcity of campsites close to the entries congest things. I personally saw days this summer with Gabi completely full and Gillis completely full all the way through to Brant (also full.) I had a friend guiding a trip when Tuscarora completely filled. She got her group up early the next morning to cross the long portage only to find one group camping on the portage and 5 groups trying to cross one way or another (and a bunch of groups competing for the three sites on missing link.) That's not an entry problem as much as an exit problem, but those groups came from somewhere and I bet it wasn't Seagull for most of them.

It's all a little strange to me.
01/15/2022 04:22PM  
Brian H: "Asking for some clarification from the group .... I am planning to take a group into John Lake (#69) on a specific Saturday in July and base camp on East Pike. We will be traveling with another group that is planning to enter John on the same day and base camp on West Pike or beyond. Is that permitted under these regulations? My interpretation is that its not -- only 1 permit would be issued for John Lake for a day.


Thanks for the knowledge."


You are correct - both groups can not enter at John Lake on the same day. There is only one overnight paddle permit available per day. The changes being discussed on this thread do affect this - there was only one permit per day there before. One of your groups will either have to enter John on a different day, or on the same day at a different entry point. Having the second group get a Pine Lake permit looks like it would solve the issue, but send them on a bit different route.
Brian H
Guest Paddler
 
01/15/2022 05:16PM  
Jaywalker: "Brian H: "Asking for some clarification from the group .... I am planning to take a group into John Lake (#69) on a specific Saturday in July and base camp on East Pike. We will be traveling with another group that is planning to enter John on the same day and base camp on West Pike or beyond. Is that permitted under these regulations? My interpretation is that its not -- only 1 permit would be issued for John Lake for a day.



Thanks for the knowledge."



You are correct - both groups can not enter at John Lake on the same day. There is only one overnight paddle permit available per day. The changes being discussed on this thread do affect this - there was only one permit per day there before. One of your groups will either have to enter John on a different day, or on the same day at a different entry point. Having the second group get a Pine Lake permit looks like it would solve the issue, but send them on a bit different route. "


Makes perfect sense, thanks.
tumblehome
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01/16/2022 01:33PM  
Regarding John Lake, your two groups can paddle together so long as you never exceed four canoes and nine people whether at camp, a portage, or on the water.

As an editorial, part of things running amok the past few years were flotillas of canoes on the water. Beside illegal, it gets noisy. Thankfully 99% of Minnesota waters have no restrictions so there are plenty of places for those wishing to paddle in large groups outside of the BWCA.
Tom
Seagull
 
01/17/2022 06:20PM  
What is your thought on why Moose Lake had no reduction in permits?
Gaidin53
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01/17/2022 08:50PM  
I was surprised that Moose Lake didn’t get a reduction. Snowbank should have as well. So much of Moose lake entries feed into Knife lake, and Ensign. All big lakes with plenty of water and campsites but it does force the get through into Knife Lake and find a camping spot mentality on day one. Also issues with staging to get out and the competition for campsites on the west end of knife. I personally think Moose and Snowbank should have reduced similar to the Gunflint trail big lakes. I’d have thought a 2 permit reduction for Moose would have been acceptable. Not sure what Snowbank base number is or Fall lake. In fairness though I think Fall lake is less busy and feeds into Basswoodwhich is huge! With the motor boats on Basswood I’m moving through not so much tripping on Basswood.

I watched some people start through the portages camped on Birch our last night last year as we were exiting. I couldn’t believe how late some crews started portaging towards Knife lake that clearly didn’t have a clue and had piles of gear to prove it. I would just about bet money one of the crews camped in the Quetico that night on Carp lake.

Ryan
Paddle4Hike
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01/22/2022 08:53AM  
Schweady,
Thank you for the great information. I also went back at look at your work from 2020. I appreciate that you are willing to share the output from all your labors!
I have been entering from Snowbank the last several years and varying my route and duration. However the last 2 years it has been really busy and challenging near the EP, even finding groups camping on the portages.

I appreciate whatever and be done to reduce the impact on this amazing place and preserve it for my grandkids to enjoy!
dkraker
member (5)member
 
01/24/2022 09:26AM  
Hi all,
I'm a reporter with Minnesota Public Radio News based in Duluth - I'm doing a story that's going to air Wednesday morning (in advance of reservations becoming available), with more reaction to the permit reductions. I'm talking to outfitters, and the FS, but I'm also hoping to get a few perspectives from paddlers for the story.
If you'd be interested in sharing your perspective on the permit reductions, let me know at dkraker@mpr.org, or 218-343-3178. I'd need to do this Monday evening or Tuesday morning.
Thanks!
Dan Kraker
01/25/2022 04:14PM  
It will be interesting to see if this has the desire impact or not. I think that in addition to more usage, people are staying for longer trips which is also impacting the crowding situation. I think there would need to be a bit of a reduction for busier entries like Moose, and maybe a change to the fee structure to have a really large impact, but this is a good first step!
schweady
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01/26/2022 08:46AM  
Dan, as I sit here waiting for reservations to open, I need to take a minute to say that it was a pleasure to chat with you about the pros and cons of this year's permit quota reductions. A well-balanced story.
Forest Service slashes BWCA permits - MPR's Dan Kraker
schweady
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01/26/2022 08:53AM  
...the dreaded double-post seems rather common this morning...
 
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