BWCA Permit hoarding is real Boundary Waters Listening Point - General Discussion
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      Permit hoarding is real     

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07/23/2022 11:19AM  
I know this has been talked about but was interesting to hear on the radio in the twin cities today, apparently there have been concerns and meetings within the FS about the significantly higher no shows and late cancels the last 5 years...but way worse this year. Apparently it isn't uncommon for an entry that was booked in January to go 50% or less unused this summer--in some cases they are all no shows. Huge concern this behavior is denying many the access to the BWCAW. FS is gathering info from outfitters and gathering data. No specific changes were talked about...but they know for sure permit hoarding is occurring...a couple of people even emailed/called into the show and admitted they cheated the system. The FS did not share much data but they said it was concerning...

Sorry I don't know the station I was in a store and didn't recognize just heard the conversation. There was a similar story on the radio last Thursday on KFAN outdoors, I am listening to now on a podcast. So it must be a big deal if it is being talked about on 2 different stations in just a few days.

I am betting if this continues you will see significantly higher cancellation fees like Quetico had to do many years ago due to this same problem but who knows. Some people have to ruin it for everyone.

T
 
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07/23/2022 01:20PM  
I could see a partial refund if permit is canceled 2 or 3 weeks out and no refund if less than 2 weeks. Stuff happens on short notice, but most people have their plans locked in at least a month out. On a positive note, maybe the EP for my late Aug. trip, which has been mostly "sold out " since early June will be less busy and I will find a campsite.
 
HowardSprague
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07/23/2022 01:21PM  
If it stays that bad, maybe they can go to overbooking (combined with increased fees?). EP__ has 5/day, let 6 actually get reserved and on that day 4-5 actually show up. But you'd really need a bunch of data to make that more predictable by day/EP.
 
07/23/2022 03:06PM  
HowardSprague: "If it stays that bad, maybe they can go to overbooking (combined with increased fees?). EP__ has 5/day, let 6 actually get reserved and on that day 4-5 actually show up. But you'd really need a bunch of data to make that more predictable by day/EP."

That could lead to real chaos, I think.
 
OMGitsKa
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07/23/2022 03:09PM  
If there is no refund people will just not cancel their permit and then no one gets to go at all. Will it stop people from booking extra permits? I don't think so if its only $40 bucks or whatever. I think this problem will go away a bit in coming years as it seems like a big effect of the pandemic when everyone wanted to get outside as it was the only thing to do. This is the first summer it seems that everything is back to full go.

Thanks to whoever just cancelled their Mudro permit next week! Throwing together a last minute trip and am pumped!
 
Kendis
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07/23/2022 04:21PM  
This is probably not a popular opinion, but... I make my reservations the day permits are available in January. The fewer people who actually show up, the better. Make the fees nonrefundable - at $40-ish per permit no behavior will change, but fewer people will go.
 
07/23/2022 04:22PM  
I'm assuming "no shows" means people who don't pick up a permit and don't cancel it either. Did the people who admitted cheating give any more specific info?

I had an unusual experience last fall and wonder if this might account for some of it. In 2 weeks I saw VERY few people in a normally busy area in an entry with 9 permits per day. Of course the entry was only opened a few days before due to the fires, but it was still surprising. In the days before leaving home, I checked permit availability and there was still none. I wondered if there was a glitch in the rec.gov system.

I met 2 rangers on the way in who told me it was very quiet in that area. They were obviously in there to check permits, food storage, etc. and seemed very surprised at how few people were in there.
 
KawnipiKid
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07/23/2022 04:25PM  
Thanks for relaying this. I wonder what percentage of all reserved but non-used permits is for no-shows (without cancelling) and what amount is hoarding (one party intentionally taking more than one permit for the same entry and day). It sounds like the radio admissions of hoarding mean people actually do the latter. I guess nothing is beyond belief but I hate to think this is really commonplace. Was this the gist of the discussion? That's it's common to hoard?

Every solution to either problem - no shows or hoarding - has potential unintended consequences. You could raise permit fees and have an almost full refund for cancelling as a potential way to reduce no-shows. That makes access more expensive and may make really late cancels more common (good for people not needing lead time; tough for folks farther away with less vacation flexibility). Not sure how you could police/reduce actual hoarding. So much of the canoe country experience depends on users' good faith, care and sense of community.
 
07/23/2022 06:07PM  
Bonnie: There were a few emails they read and a call in. On KFAN there was just one email. Varied from “my friends and I try to tie up as many permits as possible then cancel last second to ensure there aren’t many people entering that day, the cancellation fee’s are minimal so why not”

“Our group takes as many permits as we can and then we just pick up one of them, ensures it is less crowded”

“I just book as many permits as I can even though I know I can only make one trip, then I’ll figure which one I will use later” This one really got the FS upset as most of those cancelled permits go unused and is more common from their data. They weren’t concerned about the money but about the people who give up on doing a trip are often first timers, families, youth groups who can’t do last second trips…people who are familiar with the BWCAW know how to work around but without new people being introduced the long term viability could be in question…then their just is the overall nuisance, ethics and selfishness. If they cancel in March or April who cares, but most of the time the comment about data it was within a month of the entry which makes the permit unusable for most people. It’s not illeagal it just surprised them they would have to address this maybe.

The latter they know is prevalent because they can track it and see how far out people cancel and how many permits they reserve.

They started to crack down a little last year or early this year? People were booking multiple entry points on the same day or within days of each other…they obviously can’t use them so the FS/Recreation.gov would cancel all the permits except the first one and give the person a warning and they are flagging accounts. I think this is just a preliminary attempt at the issue?


T
 
OMGitsKa
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07/23/2022 06:54PM  
Thanks timatkn that actually makes more sense. That's just a dick move lol and some straight up bad karma. And you make a valid point on the people this really hurts.
 
HayRiverDrifter
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07/23/2022 08:31PM  
I have never canceled a permit. This year I booked in January and I have a job that allows me to keep my planned vacations so it works for me. Cancelations happen. I think some number of cancelations is good because it allows any of us to grab a permit on short notice like the Mudro permit acquired above.

The other crap the people are doing can and should be handled by the permit system by setting up some rules that are plainly stated and that have consequences up to and including termination of your privilege to book permits. Recreation.gov is a website. Websites are developed using software and you can build in logic to see who is screwing with the permit system. There is no need to change fees. A couple of examples:
1) Unused permit = Cancelled permit
2) Canceling a permit two weeks in advance is always allowed
2) Any one person is only allowed 1 or 2 cancelled (unused) permits per year. You cancel more that the limit, you cannot book any additional permits that year or next year or something.
3) The same person books two permits for different entry points as noted above. I love that the system automatically cancels all but the first permit with a warning.

It's not hard and it's a good use of our tax dollars to invest in good software with good rules and effective consequences.
 
07/23/2022 08:33PM  
Those are actual emails? Those piss me off. How did the FS get those emails. Only stupid people would actually admit to doing something like that.
 
07/23/2022 08:38PM  
Jack up the price of a permit. When you go to pick up your permit you get part of your money back.
 
HayRiverDrifter
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07/23/2022 09:03PM  
airmorse: "Jack up the price of a permit. When you go to pick up your permit you get part of your money back."

That's a great idea. $100 to book the permit and you get money back based on the number of people on the permit when you pick it up like when you book a solo permit. That's already built into the system.
 
Duckman
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07/23/2022 09:09PM  
Conditional refunds.

You cancel a permit, it becomes available again. You get your money back if it gets rebooked.
 
Maiingan
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07/24/2022 06:09AM  
Duckman: "Conditional refunds.


You cancel a permit, it becomes available again. You get your money back if it gets rebooked."
+1

If a permit goes unused maybe the group leader and alternate leader should be banned from the getting permits for a few years.

This has been happening with motor permits for years, maybe for different reasons.

This hurts the local economy.
 
carbon1
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07/24/2022 06:15AM  
No matter what system is used some one will try and scam it for their benefit.

 
missmolly
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07/24/2022 07:59AM  
carbon1: "No matter what system is used some one will try and scam it for their benefit.


"


Sigh. You're right. Sigh.
 
Savage Voyageur
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07/24/2022 08:02AM  
It’s crowded like crazy so people are reserving more than their needs then cancel at the last minute to assure a campsite for them. They need to up the cancellation fee big time, or not even offer a refund. This behavior will only get worse until they up the penalty. It is basically stealing from everyone else.
 
Michwall2
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07/24/2022 08:15AM  
Duckman: "Conditional refunds.


You cancel a permit, it becomes available again. You get your money back if it gets rebooked."


+1
 
cyclones30
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07/24/2022 11:06AM  
They are supposedly using a system this year that tries to make this harder to do. The same recreation.gov user cannot book more than one permit per day.

So if someone is trying to claim all the Mudro permits on the same day to make their trip easier....they'd need 8 buddies all with logins to each snag one for that day. No way the USFS can know they'll eventually trip together. But at least it's not the same user tying them all up which would be a joke
 
07/24/2022 12:46PM  
Agree 100% about increasing the financial penalty for cancellation. The hoarding is bunk…
 
MikeinMpls
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07/24/2022 04:43PM  
This kind of shit pisses me off.

I agree that the obvious solution is increase the reservation fee and refund it when the permit is picked up. An increase to $100 is a pittance. Make it $300, $400. and I will guarantee you the problem will reduce significantly. If it helps to graduate the refunds, I'm OK with that. For example: cancel two weeks out, full refund; one week out, half refund; inside of a week, one quarter refund. No show, obviously no refund, but ineligibe for permit for current or next year.

I know this is not going to be popular, but: every member of every group goes on the permit when it's picked up. In other words, the whole party shows up at the ranger station and the whole party shows ID, and is listed by name. Start a database of permit "cancelers" and he names can be cross-referenced in later months or years when people cancel.

The people that do this are stealing the wilderness from others. If it can be proven that one person, or a group of persons, secured permits for the purpose of preventing "crowding," it should be treated the same as poaching.

Mike

 
Northwoodsman
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07/24/2022 05:30PM  
As already mentioned, there is a loophole with no monetary losses. A group of 6 people wants solitude so they book 6 individual permits or up to the maximum available for that EP if less than 6. No rules broken. Just being jerks. Not the type of people I would associate with.
 
Kendis
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07/24/2022 05:41PM  
Perhaps the experiences of the last two or three years are showing us that a "comfortable" amount of people in the BWCA is associated with a much lower number of permits than the actual maximum available permits. If things felt "right" when half of the permits at an entry point were being used, perhaps the solution is lobbying for a drastic reduction in the number of daily permits rather than an argument about or change to reservation and/or cancellation fees or timelines.
 
Jasonf
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07/24/2022 07:16PM  
OMGitsKa:

Thanks to whoever just cancelled their Mudro permit next week! Throwing together a last minute trip and am pumped! "


If it was the August 5th Mudro permit, your welcome... haha
FWIW I had two permits booked, one for August 5th and one for a week later due to the fact back in Jan I didn't know which time I could get off work. To ensure I got a decent EP with permits being limited I had to do it this way. I feel the system works, sure there are a few people who won't go due to failure to plan ahead but for most who just put a little effort forth into planning, they will be successful.

 
07/24/2022 08:11PM  
A 201o study which is still relevant:

Timberjay Newspaper:
Motor permit data yields some surprises
Posted Saturday, December 19, 2009 11:00 am



Marshall Helmberger
Lottery reservations for 2010 permits for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness will remain open through mid-January, and few will be more highly sought-after this year than the limited supply of motor permits available for Basswood Lake (accessed through Prairie Portage) as well as the Moose Lake chain.

Those permits for motor access into the wilderness have been difficult to obtain for a long time, and it’s been a sore point with many in the Ely area, particularly since the quota on the Moose Lake chain was effectively reduced by a court ruling a few years ago.

Information recently obtained by the Forest Service provides some insight into just how hard it really is to obtain a motor permit on these two popular routes, and the information provides some surprises. “We got information through the reservation service,” said Mark Van Every, the US Forest Service’s Kawishiwi District ranger. “It paints a pretty good picture of what’s happening.

The reservation data demonstrates the high demand for the limited number of permits, and shows that many of those who request permits through the lottery don’t get them. In fact, nearly 60 percent of those parties requesting motor permits to Basswood were unsuccessful. Users had slightly better success reserving motor permits for the Moose-Newfound-Sucker lake chain. About 58 percent of those entering the lottery were able to obtain a permit for those lakes.

Local outfitters obtained the lion’s share of those permits. In fact, of 521 permits issued for the Moose Lake chain in 2009, 440 went to outfitters, and three-quarters of those went to just one outfitter. Motor permits to Basswood were more highly sought-after by the public in 2009, but even there, a large majority went to outfitters. Of 1,502 permits issued to Basswood, outfitters received 957, compared to 545 for members of the public.

Overall, said Van Every “roughly 80 percent of the permits are going to customers of outfitters.”

Bob Olson, with Canoe Country Outfitters, said access to permits has been particularly difficult in recent years, as a result of the change in the motor quotas. While outfitters might be tempted to reserve blocks of permits, to make sure they have them available for customers, Olson said he applies to the lottery based on actual customer requests for permits.

High demand creates additional problems

The high demand for motor permits not only makes it difficult to obtain a reservation, it appears to have increased the number of reserved permits that go unused.

Van Every notes that the “no-show” rate for permit reservations for both Moose and Basswood runs about 25 percent. That’s far higher than the rate experienced on Lake Saganaga, on the east side of the wilderness, where just four percent of reserved permits go unused.

Van Every noted that the Saganaga permits are typically obtained outside the lottery system and are reserved, on average, much closer to the date on which users plan to visit. By contrast, said Van Every, “virtually all of the permits for Moose Lake and Prairie Portage (Basswood) are reserved in January.” And that gives users more time to change their plans, said Van Every.

The high no-show rate has prompted local speculation that some opponents of motorized travel in the wilderness are reserving permits they don’t intend to use. But the reservation data shows that most of the no-shows are attributable to permits reserved by outfitters, rather than the general public. In fact, for permits on the Moose Lake chain, just three outfitters accounted for 81 percent of the no-show permits. Those same three outfitters accounted for 52 percent of the no-shows for Basswood Lake permits.

Van Every said the numbers suggest that the speculation about anti-motor conspiracies may need to be re-examined. “It certainly calls that theory into question,” he said.

While the high no-show rate is frustrating for those who want motor permits, Van Every said the Forest Service typically overbooks the quota, based on the average no-show rate on any particular route. Even so, the number of permits actually used falls short largely because of no-shows. A case in point is the Moose Lake chain, where the Forest Service issued 613 reservations for a total of 538 available permits. Despite overbooking, only 453 motor permits were actually used last year. “If we didn’t have as large a no-show rate, it would make more permits available,” said Van Every.

This was very interesting from above:
In fact, of 521 permits issued for the Moose Lake chain in 2009, 440 went to outfitters, and three-quarters of those went to just one outfitter.



 
07/24/2022 08:15PM  
If you don't cancel within 48 hours or 72 you should lose $ 100.00.

Quetico use to be $100.00 down and when you show up, they deduct the fees from that amount. If you're only going to do a one-nighter and two people, you actually got a refund.

I think a fair number of permits are picked up by people who have their own equipment. But very tough for Outfitters to get people to come on short notices.

The forest service and I also like it if we have some flexibility and not overdue any changes. Just fine tune it.
 
07/24/2022 09:11PM  
MikeinMpls: "This kind of shit pisses me off.


I agree that the obvious solution is increase the reservation fee and refund it when the permit is picked up. An increase to $100 is a pittance. Make it $300, $400. and I will guarantee you the problem will reduce significantly. If it helps to graduate the refunds, I'm OK with that. For example: cancel two weeks out, full refund; one week out, half refund; inside of a week, one quarter refund. No show, obviously no refund, but ineligibe for permit for current or next year.


I know this is not going to be popular, but: every member of every group goes on the permit when it's picked up. In other words, the whole party shows up at the ranger station and the whole party shows ID, and is listed by name. Start a database of permit "cancelers" and he names can be cross-referenced in later months or years when people cancel.


The people that do this are stealing the wilderness from others. If it can be proven that one person, or a group of persons, secured permits for the purpose of preventing "crowding," it should be treated the same as poaching.


Mike


"


I like the way you think.

We started going to the BW in 1993. We have always had everyone in the group go into the ranger station when we pick up our permit.

And yes this is akin to poaching what is going on.
 
OMGitsKa
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07/24/2022 09:23PM  
Seems a little suspicious that people would blatantly admit they are doing this though lol. Almost seems like someone feels like this is happening and is sending in some fake reports. I'm sure it does probably happen but even so you would have to block off a lot of entries and it still wouldn't promise you anything out there.
 
07/24/2022 09:35PM  
Quetico:
Cancellations:Backcountry reservations must be cancelled
at least 72 hours in advance of entry date. A cancellation fee
applies.
No-shows: A “no-show” fee of one night camping plus a
percentage of the $100.00 deposit applies to reservations not
cancelled at least 72 hours in advance.
Changes: Reservations cannot be changed or cancelled more
than four months in advance of your arrival date.
 
yellowhorse
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07/25/2022 06:28AM  
Beside's Boonie's comment on seeing less people than expected aren't we all seeing MORE people and crowds than we expected? The general pulse on this board doesn't suggests entry points are empty so I wonder how much of a "problem" it is. My impressions with the outfitters is they've never, ever ever been busier? More radio news click bait?

I'd rather have less people in BWCA.
 
billconner
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07/25/2022 06:29AM  
Unusual conondrum between too crowded and calls to reduce the number of permits versus calls to limit hoarding so more people can enter.
 
thegildedgopher
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07/25/2022 10:20AM  
yellowhorse: "Beside's Boonie's comment on seeing less people than expected aren't we all seeing MORE people and crowds than we expected? The general pulse on this board doesn't suggests entry points are empty so I wonder how much of a "problem" it is. My impressions with the outfitters is they've never, ever ever been busier? More radio news click bait?


I'd rather have less people in BWCA.
"


I agree it seems like a contradiction. Depending on who you ask, the BWCA is either over-crowded or a it's a ghost-town with bunches of permits going unused. The reality is probably somewhere in between?



Pinetree: "A 201o study which is still relevant:


Timberjay Newspaper:
Motor permit data yields some surprises
Posted Saturday, December 19, 2009 11:00 am



Marshall Helmberger
Lottery reservations for 2010 permits for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness will remain open through mid-January, and few will be more highly sought-after this year than the limited supply of motor permits available for Basswood Lake (accessed through Prairie Portage) as well as the Moose Lake chain.


Those permits for motor access into the wilderness have been difficult to obtain for a long time, and it’s been a sore point with many in the Ely area, particularly since the quota on the Moose Lake chain was effectively reduced by a court ruling a few years ago.


Information recently obtained by the Forest Service provides some insight into just how hard it really is to obtain a motor permit on these two popular routes, and the information provides some surprises. “We got information through the reservation service,” said Mark Van Every, the US Forest Service’s Kawishiwi District ranger. “It paints a pretty good picture of what’s happening.


The reservation data demonstrates the high demand for the limited number of permits, and shows that many of those who request permits through the lottery don’t get them. In fact, nearly 60 percent of those parties requesting motor permits to Basswood were unsuccessful. Users had slightly better success reserving motor permits for the Moose-Newfound-Sucker lake chain. About 58 percent of those entering the lottery were able to obtain a permit for those lakes.


Local outfitters obtained the lion’s share of those permits. In fact, of 521 permits issued for the Moose Lake chain in 2009, 440 went to outfitters, and three-quarters of those went to just one outfitter. Motor permits to Basswood were more highly sought-after by the public in 2009, but even there, a large majority went to outfitters. Of 1,502 permits issued to Basswood, outfitters received 957, compared to 545 for members of the public.


Overall, said Van Every “roughly 80 percent of the permits are going to customers of outfitters.”


Bob Olson, with Canoe Country Outfitters, said access to permits has been particularly difficult in recent years, as a result of the change in the motor quotas. While outfitters might be tempted to reserve blocks of permits, to make sure they have them available for customers, Olson said he applies to the lottery based on actual customer requests for permits.


High demand creates additional problems


The high demand for motor permits not only makes it difficult to obtain a reservation, it appears to have increased the number of reserved permits that go unused.


Van Every notes that the “no-show” rate for permit reservations for both Moose and Basswood runs about 25 percent. That’s far higher than the rate experienced on Lake Saganaga, on the east side of the wilderness, where just four percent of reserved permits go unused.


Van Every noted that the Saganaga permits are typically obtained outside the lottery system and are reserved, on average, much closer to the date on which users plan to visit. By contrast, said Van Every, “virtually all of the permits for Moose Lake and Prairie Portage (Basswood) are reserved in January.” And that gives users more time to change their plans, said Van Every.


The high no-show rate has prompted local speculation that some opponents of motorized travel in the wilderness are reserving permits they don’t intend to use. But the reservation data shows that most of the no-shows are attributable to permits reserved by outfitters, rather than the general public. In fact, for permits on the Moose Lake chain, just three outfitters accounted for 81 percent of the no-show permits. Those same three outfitters accounted for 52 percent of the no-shows for Basswood Lake permits.


Van Every said the numbers suggest that the speculation about anti-motor conspiracies may need to be re-examined. “It certainly calls that theory into question,” he said.


While the high no-show rate is frustrating for those who want motor permits, Van Every said the Forest Service typically overbooks the quota, based on the average no-show rate on any particular route. Even so, the number of permits actually used falls short largely because of no-shows. A case in point is the Moose Lake chain, where the Forest Service issued 613 reservations for a total of 538 available permits. Despite overbooking, only 453 motor permits were actually used last year. “If we didn’t have as large a no-show rate, it would make more permits available,” said Van Every.

This was very interesting from above:
In fact, of 521 permits issued for the Moose Lake chain in 2009, 440 went to outfitters, and three-quarters of those went to just one outfitter.




"


I would say this is only partially relevant to today's scenario. Since we got rid of the lottery, outfitters can only book a permit using an actual customer's name as the trip leader, and that can't be changed after booking. Since we went to a first-come-first-served online system I've gotten Basswood permits every time I've tried, it just required getting online right when permits become available. So I'd venture to guess that the percentage going to outfitters -vs- individuals has changed significantly since that article was written.
 
07/25/2022 10:41AM  
Agree the new system is an improvement, and I am sure no matter what system you have there will be someone trying to manipulate the system if they can for their advantage.
 
schweady
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07/25/2022 11:18AM  
I just canceled a #23 Mudro Lake for Sunday July 31st, and it hurts bad. Sorry to those who feel like it may resemble hoarding, but it was sudden illnesses that hit our group. We were SO looking forward to this one, as it was our third attempt in a row at this EP, all of which now have been thwarted by virus or fire closure... Trying again in 2023! Cancellations happen.
 
Porkeater
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07/25/2022 12:13PM  
schweady: "Sorry to those who feel like it may resemble hoarding, but it was sudden illnesses that hit our group.
"


I don't think anyone here would suggest that your situation resembles hoarding. Stuff happens. It sounds like the people who are doing it are doing it multiple times, and/or in concert with other people in their party.
 
07/25/2022 02:34PM  
Porkeater: "schweady: "Sorry to those who feel like it may resemble hoarding, but it was sudden illnesses that hit our group.
"



I don't think anyone here would suggest that your situation resembles hoarding. Stuff happens. It sounds like the people who are doing it are doing it multiple times, and/or in concert with other people in their party. "

agree 100%.
 
scramble4a5
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07/25/2022 07:08PM  
Did you not know which week you could get off until 7/24? Of course the job dictates what the job wants from us but still you booked two permits knowing you would not need one. Can’t say I agree with that but at least you cancelled one with some time still on the clock so someone else could grab it.
 
scramble4a5
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07/25/2022 08:13PM  
schweady: "I just canceled a #23 Mudro Lake for Sunday July 31st, and it hurts bad. Sorry to those who feel like it may resemble hoarding, but it was sudden illnesses that hit our group. We were SO looking forward to this one, as it was our third attempt in a row at this EP, all of which now have been thwarted by virus or fire closure... Trying again in 2023! Cancellations happen.
"


Schweady I’ve “known” you through this forum for years. I don’t doubt you only canceled because you had to. I hope everyone in your crew gets better.
 
MikeinMpls
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07/26/2022 08:46AM  
schweady: "I just canceled a #23 Mudro Lake for Sunday July 31st, and it hurts bad. Sorry to those who feel like it may resemble hoarding, but it was sudden illnesses that hit our group. We were SO looking forward to this one, as it was our third attempt in a row at this EP, all of which now have been thwarted by virus or fire closure... Trying again in 2023! Cancellations happen.
"


That's nothing near hoarding...it's called "life happens." You secured a permit with the intention of using it, but then unforseen circumstances occurred.

Mike
 
07/26/2022 09:11AM  
In my opinion: to deny one person the opportunity because of anothers selfishness is hardly excusable. If you can’t get solitude in even the more crowded situations your not trying. I’ve had to work a couple extra hours a few times securing a campsite. There are less then desirable situations that arise... you run across the occasional idiot groups... but we’ve long established you can’t fix stupid, so at that point it’s up to you to let it bother you or just enjoy what you have. I’m guessing if the system is followed honestly, it really wouldn’t be an issue. I’ve always been thankful for the foresight of such a system and a lot of things over the years.
 
07/26/2022 09:50AM  
nctry: "In my opinion: to deny one person the opportunity because of anothers selfishness is hardly excusable. If you can’t get solitude in even the more crowded situations your not trying. I’ve had to work a couple extra hours a few times securing a campsite. There are less then desirable situations that arise... you run across the occasional idiot groups... but we’ve long established you can’t fix stupid, so at that point it’s up to you to let it bother you or just enjoy what you have. I’m guessing if the system is followed honestly, it really wouldn’t be an issue. I’ve always been thankful for the foresight of such a system and a lot of things over the years. " agree
 
LaVirginienne
senior member (74)senior membersenior member
 
07/26/2022 05:53PM  
Really great reading what everyone has to say.

I agree with one poster that revoking privileges should be in the toolkit.

Of course it will be super important to communicate which aspects of our trip planning are considered privileges that can be revoked if we abuse them. And then equally good and very clear communication about what the abuse entails.

But combined with reliable IT and refund strategies, the FS should be able to put together a robust approach to this problem. And I hope that campsite littering will be another thing that could trigger a revocation of permit privileges.
 
07/26/2022 06:26PM  
LaVirginienne: "Really great reading what everyone has to say.


I agree with one poster that revoking privileges should be in the toolkit.


Of course, it will be super important to communicate which aspects of our trip planning are considered privileges that can be revoked if we abuse them. And then equally good and very clear communication about what the abuse entails.


But combined with reliable IT and refund strategies, the FS should be able to put together a robust approach to this problem. And I hope that campsite littering will be another thing that could trigger a revocation of permit privileges. "


They have over time worked on improving the system and have a good system and easy to use. Maybe if a certain person shows a trend of abusing the system in certain ways they can put you on probation with like only one permit in your name, then after that date you can apply again.

Let's not complicate things.

Trash and abuse of campsites is a much bigger and longer effect on the natural areas-campsites.
 
07/26/2022 06:43PM  
nctry: "In my opinion: to deny one person the opportunity because of anothers selfishness is hardly excusable. If you can’t get solitude in even the more crowded situations your not trying. I’ve had to work a couple extra hours a few times securing a campsite. There are less then desirable situations that arise... you run across the occasional idiot groups... but we’ve long established you can’t fix stupid, so at that point it’s up to you to let it bother you or just enjoy what you have. I’m guessing if the system is followed honestly, it really wouldn’t be an issue. I’ve always been thankful for the foresight of such a system and a lot of things over the years. "

Nicely said, Ben
 
eyestalker
distinguished member (115)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/27/2022 08:24AM  
People just reserved these permits back in Jan as a last resort I'd wager? With Canada and everything else open now they just scrapped their last resort BWCA trip. Not a huge deal had they turned permit in, but if they hadn't that does also impact cities economies like Ely and Grand Marais.
 
jtruts
member (7)member
 
07/28/2022 08:54AM  
Interesting thread. I recall my experience in January getting our Mudro permit for next week. Only our second BWCA trip so I wanted to be certain I got our 1st choice so I set a phone alarm for 5 minutes before permit release. Logged in, got my permit secured and paid for etc. Didn't think much of it but 5 minutes after the process was over (maybe 15-20 minutes after the alarm went off) I double checked the availability and was amazed how much was just gone. I remember thinking to myself that it was odd and wondered if bots were somehow involved but just figured it was due to this entry's popularity.
 
OMGitsKa
distinguished member (246)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/28/2022 09:08AM  
eyestalker: "People just reserved these permits back in Jan as a last resort I'd wager? With Canada and everything else open now they just scrapped their last resort BWCA trip. Not a huge deal had they turned permit in, but if they hadn't that does also impact cities economies like Ely and Grand Marais."

I agree. Lets see how the next year or two go following the Covid mess. I think a lot of people were reserving permits these last two years just to have something to do since a lot of things were cancelled. Now that everything is back open it will spread people back out more.
 
Hammertime
distinguished member (158)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/30/2022 12:11AM  
I hope they eventually release the data.

I’m out of my depth here but they’re a public agency so they may be obligated to if someone requests it through the proper channels?

I agree with the comments that a penalty somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 makes sense if you don’t cancel in enough time for it to be re-booked.
 
07/30/2022 05:38PM  
Sorry I was away at scout summer camp for a week so haven’t commented…good comments on here.

My observations since 2000 are that this type of behavior has always been present but way worse the last few years. The example I’d use is Quetico. This was an issue in the 90’s so they changed their refund system and it resulted in less permits being booked earlier, easier access or apparent more access to permits, but more permits being used. If it was an issue in the Q, why wouldn’t it of been an issue in the BWCAW as well? I doubt the paddlers are much different…

I guess I never understood the “me first” attitude. Unless I know I can make a trip work I don’t book it. Why? Because I am taking something away from someone else that does know they are going. You can justify it anyway you want…but it is still selfish. I’d also never book a trip I never intended to take. If the FS chooses to do nothing…oh well…people like me have options for other places to go that are probably better anyway. I’ll take my business to someone that cares or I’ll take advantage of it like I have done for 20 years and book later after the selfish people drop (I know that not everyone is selfish…but I can only comment on what I have been told and my personal observations) I’ll be fine either way.

My only purpose of posting is this has probably come up a 1/2 dozen times on this site over the years and this is the first time I’ve heard the FS acknowledge it.

T
 
schweady
distinguished member(7891)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/30/2022 08:45PM  
Hammertime: "I hope they eventually release the data..."
"That other paddling site" has historical usage that has been adjusted to show only the permits actually issued, so there must be a way to gather that type of information. You would only hope that Forest would be able to compile the number of permits reserved vs number actually used. And probably would also have data on lots of other interesting tidbits, such as number of days prior to permit date they were reserved, or number of days prior to permit date they were cancelled, or number of no-shows and when those were reserved, etc.

$$ for the manpower needed to do the compilation, tho...
 
Mesaba
distinguished member (222)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/31/2022 09:33AM  
I'd be okay with that, even though it would have cost me this year as we had to cancel 24 hours before due to Covid. Dem's da breaks for the greater good.

M
 
Basspro69
distinguished member(14080)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
07/31/2022 10:44AM  
airmorse: "Those are actual emails? Those piss me off. How did the FS get those emails. Only stupid people would actually admit to doing something like that." Stupid people like to brag about their stupidity sometimes. They don’t give a crap about anyone but themselves, it’s pretty sad !
 
07/31/2022 11:39AM  
Basspro69: "airmorse: "Those are actual emails? Those piss me off. How did the FS get those emails. Only stupid people would actually admit to doing something like that." Stupid people like to brag about their stupidity sometimes. They don’t give a crap about anyone but themselves, it’s pretty sad !"

The FS didn’t get the messages directly. It was 2 different radio interviews and as the interviews were occurring people messaged the inbox of the radio shows. I assume email. On KFAN the hosts basically called the one response an a##hole :) on the air. You can go to their podcast and listen—-that wasn’t the FS one though just second hand info from an outfitter who was in a FS meeting recently. KFAN outdoors 7/21.

It is certainly possible people were pranking or lying
but I don’t know why they would. Nothing that was done was technically illegal so they can’t get in trouble right now.

T
 
straighthairedcurly
distinguished member(1564)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/31/2022 05:16PM  
I will be curious to find out if some of the higher cancellation and "no-show" rate this year is due to weather issues. It has been really windy and stormy this year and if someone is inexperienced it could limit their ability to travel safely. I'm sure outfitters will be able to shed some light on the trends they have been seeing.
 
07/31/2022 09:37PM  
straighthairedcurly: "I will be curious to find out if some of the higher cancellation and "no-show" rate this year is due to weather issues. It has been really windy and stormy this year and if someone is inexperienced it could limit their ability to travel safely. I'm sure outfitters will be able to shed some light on the trends they have been seeing. "

Actually that was discussed by an outfitter on the KFAN show and was a factor…forgot about that and ya jogged my memory, but it was felt it didn’t explain the trend over time and wasn’t a significant factor. Outfitters of course feel this is a very serious issue and are lobbying the FS to do something. They have to turn away people only later to see the permits pop back and often go unused. Of course some of it is monetary but a lot of is frustration of not being able to accommodate customers and turning them away. The issue isn’t just this year…just worse this year.

T
 
08/01/2022 01:06AM  
Seems that if you have a certain number of no-shows or cancellations in a season, you should lose access for a certain number of years.


There are similar rules in a lot of outdoor groups.
 
Z4K
distinguished member (233)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/03/2022 10:41AM  
bradcrc: "Seems that if you have a certain number of no-shows or cancellations in a season, you should lose access for a certain number of years."

This ^ sounds like a winner. The idea of adding cancellation/reservation fees is something I strongly protest to as people with deep pockets would still be able to do what they're doing now. If you're already spending 2-3k on tows and rentals, what's another $500 to ensure there's a few less groups in your area? One thing that's not talked about much here is how affordable a trip to the BWCA can be if you're not renting all of your equipment or coming from thousands of miles away.

Let's all be thankful that group leaders need to be named at the time of reservation, and that those reservations are not transferable to prevent scalping.
 
MikeinMpls
distinguished member(1109)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/03/2022 11:05AM  
bradcrc: "Seems that if you have a certain number of no-shows or cancellations in a season, you should lose access for a certain number of years.



There are similar rules in a lot of outdoor groups."


I fully support this idea, but it only addresses part of the problem. What it doesn't help with is the group leader who reserves permit "A," and/but the other five or six guys in the group also reserve permits "B" through "F" for that day (or the day before) to insure their solitude. Then the other guys no-show for permits B through F, but instead join the group using the permit A reserved by the group leader.

As much as the Libertarian in me is against it, I'd support the USFS collecting the names (verifying with a government ID) of everyone in a paddling group. In this way, somebody would be caught being in a group using permit "A" though they had already reserved permit "B" themself. In fact, I'd go so far as to support the cancellation of a permit if someone in the group had no-showed. For example, if a person reserves permit A for July 1, but is also a member of a group with permit B, then permits A and B are cancelled.

Another advantage of this is that the USFS now has names they can cross-reference to identify serial permit-no-show offenders.

Mike
 
08/03/2022 11:28AM  
The system in itself is a good one and gives flexibility. The problem is people who take advantage of a program that tries to be user friendly. Just like many laws and restrictions that are needed because a few will find loopholes or use existing setups to their advantage. Some don't care about others.
 
thegildedgopher
distinguished member(1397)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/03/2022 12:28PM  
MikeinMpls: "I fully support this idea, but it only addresses part of the problem. What it doesn't help with is the group leader who reserves permit "A," and/but the other five or six guys in the group also reserve permits "B" through "F" for that day (or the day before) to insure their solitude. Then the other guys no-show for permits B through F, but instead join the group using the permit A reserved by the group leader.


As much as the Libertarian in me is against it, I'd support the USFS collecting the names (verifying with a government ID) of everyone in a paddling group. In this way, somebody would be caught being in a group using permit "A" though they had already reserved permit "B" themself. In fact, I'd go so far as to support the cancellation of a permit if someone in the group had no-showed. For example, if a person reserves permit A for July 1, but is also a member of a group with permit B, then permits A and B are cancelled. "


I think step 1 would be for the USFS to put it in writing that the above behavior is against the regulations -- if they've already spelled this out, I apologize for my ignorance. I think perhaps in the past they have been hesitant to spell out just HOW folks are gaming the system for fear of inspiring more dishonest folks to follow that behavior. But I think that ship has sailed, and they need to clearly define the behavior that they want to discourage and set up a system for discouraging or preventing it.

Maybe something like this was proposed already and I missed it -- but they could encourage adding the names of every group member when reserving the permit by making it cost more $$ to add them at a later date. Could be a sliding scale. $16/adult if added at the time of booking, increasing as time passes between permit reservation and getting those names added. I'd think a script could be run to cross-reference all names on permits -vs- all trip leader names in the system for a range of dates, and they could cancel permits for anyone showing up as both a trip leader and member of a different group's permit.
 
nooneuno
distinguished member(590)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/03/2022 04:22PM  
I have canceled three for this year myself, none of them were hoarding they were all trips that I planned to take and couldn't. The first was due to high water, the second was due to an emergency With my paddling partner's kid, the third was due to an injury I suffered that left me in bed for four weeks. I now have one overnight motor for fall lake at the end of August that I will have to cancel because I am not yet well enough to go.

Long story short when you are forced to reserve 6 to 8 months ahead of time things can't do go wrong that change peoples plans, that's not to say that some are just reserving everything they might use and canceling later
 
Kendis
distinguished member (159)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/03/2022 05:15PM  
I made three permit reservations this year, all on opening day in January.

I had to cancel the early-May permit because the lakes were still frozen.

My mid-September trip looks like it will work out (just barely) so I'll be using that permit.

I made a mid-July reservation in case something happened between January and May/September that prevented me from going in both May and September. I cancelled the July permit because I'll be going in September.

Anyone arguing for some kind of named-based prohibition due to cancelled permits or permits not used is tilting at windmills.
 
MikeinMpls
distinguished member(1109)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/03/2022 07:03PM  
nooneuno: "I have canceled three for this year myself, none of them were hoarding they were all trips that I planned to take and couldn't. The first was due to high water, the second was due to an emergency With my paddling partner's kid, the third was due to an injury I suffered that left me in bed for four weeks. I now have one overnight motor for fall lake at the end of August that I will have to cancel because I am not yet well enough to go.


Long story short when you are forced to reserve 6 to 8 months ahead of time things can't do go wrong that change peoples plans, that's not to say that some are just reserving everything they might use and canceling later"


I deleted my post.

Mike
 
tonecoughlin
member (46)member
 
08/04/2022 06:58AM  
I booked 5 permits in January all different EP's different dates spread out from May - Sept. I had something come up for my late July trip so I cancelled it more than 2 weeks in advance, partial refund NBD. $38 vs $32 (way too cheap).

I was lucky to get a permit recently for August at Moose River North probably due to a cancellation.

The only way someone could book several permits around their date is if they used someone's name who is not going and a different credit card. On your permit app you have to list everyone that is going. I'm not sure what the penalty is if someone listed in your group is not on the trip if the Rangers checked you in the field.

I'm all for raising the fee make it $25 per watercraft for the trip and $8-10 per night per adult $5 per child 12 and under. The people who want to go will still go and maybe we will have more FS staff on patrol and maintenance labor. It's so cheap RN it's crazy!

Just my two cents.
 
08/05/2022 05:50PM  
I think reading this thread a common issue with the system is how far out you need to book. It creates people getting “in case” permits, or extra permits, and makes it hard to plan since it is so far in advance so leads to cancellations.

I’d institute Rolling opening access for permit reservations. Each date becomes available 5 months in advance at the soonest. None of this first come first serve in January…that creates hoarding. I know this can be done because the Q does it with their system. It also wouldn’t overload the system causing crashes since it is rolling.

Since the fees are so cheap I’d institute full fee lost upon cancellation, maybe add an extra deposit fee like $50-100 you get back if you pick up your permit or cancel your permit within 2 weeks, but lose if you do nothing. That would stop those from booking a permit with no intent to pick it up or I am guessing some don’t bother to cancel because it is so cheap so why bother? I’d like to see the fee be $100 but since the permit fees are almost half that $50 is more realistic.

One more thing is looking for patterns. You booked 3 trips this year and actually used one. No big deal. You did this 5 years in a row??? Now you lose privileges as you wasted 10 permits. That’s a big deal IMO. Easy to track…to be honest, I guarantee they already track this! They just don’t act on it yet.

T
 
schweady
distinguished member(7891)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
08/05/2022 09:10PM  
timatkn: "...I’d institute Rolling opening access for permit reservations. Each date becomes available 5 months in advance at the soonest. ..."
I think I could support this. It would be like MN State Parks reservations, but without that system's biggest downfall: since there is a set period of time reserved with those daily fees, folks will book 2-week stays on the first day that their start date becomes available and effectively block out everyone for that site for extended periods of time. Since we're not dealing with that, I see rolling opening access for BWCAW canoe permits as a possible step forward.

Take it one more step and institute possible computer-driven dynamic price hikes or drops, depending on demand. Or... maybe not...
 
LaVirginienne
senior member (74)senior membersenior member
 
08/06/2022 12:05PM  
I’m not adding much to this great discussion, but for folks like me, there are many factors including week by week changed at work that make it impossible to foresee in January when I will be able to take time off in the summer. Lots of industries and sectors are like this. I have read a few comments in this forum from folks who seem to doubt that this is a real thing. It definitely is real for me. My schedule and plans are constantly changing. I’ve observed that many folks with my circumstances choose guided trips. So the outfitters will want to weigh in on this conversation as well.

Lots of legitimate why folks would need to cancel as well. This year, I only had seven weeks to cancel my Late August trip when my family member became suddenly ill and died in the space of three weeks. I was in the hospital the whole time making medical decisions. Hard to say what’s worse, the grief or losing the time and space to grieve in BWCA. Luckily I leave tomorrow on a 10-day solo. I did take care to cancel the Slim Lake trip same day I made my decision and alerted folks here. Is 7 weeks enough?

I guess I’d just like to emphasize that maybe principles should be set first, before the focus on administrative details. What is the leeway at USFS to adopt policies here that account for special considerations? What is responsible and courteous behavior that should be adopted as our community norms? What is irresponsible and discourteous behavior that should be actually punished? Should certain behavior be rewarded? Once those things are established and clearly communicated to USFS, and if adopted by USFS to the public, it becomes easier to decide what measures to consider.
 
yogi59weedr
distinguished member(2540)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/06/2022 09:05PM  
We're not buying Springsteen tickets here.lol.
I seen what that dynamic ticket pricing does. Not good
 
LesliesDad
distinguished member (185)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/08/2022 10:53AM  
Well . . . it would seem to me that the root cause of permit hoarding is the campsite to visitor ratio. I reserve my one (1) permit per year in the first 15 minutes that the website is open. I then suffer from campsite anxiety for the next 6 months, worrying if I'm going to find an unoccupied campsite within a reasonable distance from my EP. At our age, we don't want to be portaging from lake to lake to lake, into the dark of night, looking for an open campsite. Seems to me to be three possible solutions:
1. Establish more campsites, keeping the number of visitors the same.
2. Reduce the number of visitors, keeping the number of campsites the same.
3. Have shorter Minnesota winters, thus extending the canoeing season.
 
dustytrail
distinguished member (170)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/08/2022 02:35PM  
I guess it would look to the FS like I am hoarding this year. Unfortunately I had to cancel a permit a few days before the trip this year. I made the reservation a few days earlier and then had to cancel. I have another reservation in 2 weeks. Currently waiting on biopsy results and may have to cancel that one also. My point don't assume all cancellations are hoarders.
 
yellowhorse
distinguished member (125)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/09/2022 10:22AM  
We're trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist. I'd guess the real reason for floating these "problems" is for more funding to become palatable. If hoarding were an actual problem we wouldn't see record numbers of visitors.
 
08/09/2022 10:32AM  
yellowhorse: "We're trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist. I'd guess the real reason for floating these "problems" is for more funding to become palatable. If hoarding were an actual problem we wouldn't see record numbers of visitors."


I agree,just tweet or fine tune it. Leave it close to what it is.
 
08/10/2022 11:05AM  
Pinetree: "yellowhorse: "We're trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist. I'd guess the real reason for floating these "problems" is for more funding to become palatable. If hoarding were an actual problem we wouldn't see record numbers of visitors."



I agree,just tweet or fine tune it. Leave it close to what it is."


Record numbers??? Traditionally the BWCAW had up to 250,000 visitors…according to the FS the last few years has been around ~165,000. Hardly record breaking…it’s just that prior to the pandemic it had dipped as low as 145,000 visitors. Permit use is up, actual visitors are down…that’s what the statistics show…

T
 
08/10/2022 12:15PM  
Has cancellations really changed
Table 4
Quota Permit Status Trends
Quota Permits 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Cancellations 3085 3782 4611 4006 4699 4563 4284
No Shows 1369 1570 896 1859 1870 2029 1618
Issued Permits 27502 26651 26480 25966 24670 24305 26096
 
08/10/2022 12:16PM  
timatkn: "Pinetree: "yellowhorse: "We're trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist. I'd guess the real reason for floating these "problems" is for more funding to become palatable. If hoarding were an actual problem we wouldn't see record numbers of visitors."



I agree,just tweet or fine tune it. Leave it close to what it is."



Record numbers??? Traditionally the BWCAW had up to 250,000 visitors…according to the FS the last few years has been around ~165,000. Hardly record breaking…it’s just that prior to the pandemic it had dipped as low as 145,000 visitors. Permit use is up, actual visitors are down…that’s what the statistics show…


T"


I think some of the early use numbers had more estimates back than, true visitor use has dropped but much of that was by design.
 
08/10/2022 01:39PM  
I can only find stats back to 2016 to 2020. Looks like OP cancellations were pretty steady at 3-4 thousand/year. Then in 2020 it doubled, but permits for OP went up by about 5,000. No shows have been around 1K a year consistently. I assume 2021 and 2022 are worse? But I can’t see any data. Up until 2020 about 5% of all OP permits were no shows. That sounds like a lot?

Those numbers sound really big…so in 2016-2020 about 25% of all OP permits were affected by no shows and and cancellations. It’s allegedly worse now…2020 it was almost 28% of all permits were potentially affected by cancellations and no shows.

I just put those numbers in to show this isn’t a pandemic issue…1/4 of all permits affected is still a big issue. The pandemic has just highlighted it and maybe made it worse, but we’ll see if any statistics are released? I only looked at OP permits. Omitted daily motor and overnight motor as for our discussion I am not sure those numbers affect what we are talking about. If you add them in then the rate looks even worse.


T
 
08/10/2022 02:17PM  
Pinetree: "timatkn: "Pinetree: "yellowhorse: "We're trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist. I'd guess the real reason for floating these "problems" is for more funding to become palatable. If hoarding were an actual problem we wouldn't see record numbers of visitors."

I agree,just tweet or fine tune it. Leave it close to what it is."

T"


I think some of the early use numbers had more estimates back than, true visitor use has dropped but much of that was by design."


Fair point, and originally more lakes had campsites (now PMA’s), there were more permits available (permit numbers have changed since the creation) and the group limit used to be 21? Can’t remember for sure but it wasn’t capped at 9 people like it is now. Just saying there is a difference in more people than recent and record breaking.

T
 
08/10/2022 03:17PM  
Pinetree: "Has cancellations really changed
Table 4
Quota Permit Status Trends
Quota Permits 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Cancellations 3085 3782 4611 4006 4699 4563 4284
No Shows 1369 1570 896 1859 1870 2029 1618
Issued Permits 27502 26651 26480 25966 24670 24305 26096"


That was sort of my point. This isn’t a new issue. It looks like from 2009-2015 the cancellation/no show rate vs. permits varied from 16% to 27%. From 2016-2020 it was ~23-28%. My stats I only looked at OP (overnight paddle). If you look at all permits it inflates the no show/cancellation rate IMHO. Not sure what you included above. I am guessing 2021 and 2022 have just pushed this issue to the top…maybe not? This is the first time I have ever brought this issue up, but it has been debated on this site occasionally ever since I joined.

T
 
08/10/2022 03:39PM  
I think the summers of 20 and 21 may have lead to taking a closer look at the numbers. Thoughts were there may have been a fair number of unpermitted paddlers in the park those 2 covid summers which lead to overcrowding, noise, idiots etc, which in turn caused more scrutiny of the numbers. I think it needs to analyzed further, but seems like a lot of cancels/no shows. On a side note, I'm texting with Kip last few days on his Granite River trip. He saw only couple people on river, had Maraboeuf to himself and hardly anyone on Sag yesterday and nobody today. A quick search of permits shows zero left for Magnetic, Larch creek and a couple left for Sag. Where are all the people if zero permits left? I have read other trip reports and most people seem pleasantly surprised at lack of people....yet most permits gone off the board. Am I missing something?
 
08/10/2022 04:20PM  
cowdoc: "I think the summers of 20 and 21 may have lead to taking a closer look at the numbers. Thoughts were there may have been a fair number of unpermitted paddlers in the park those 2 covid summers which lead to overcrowding, noise, idiots etc, which in turn caused more scrutiny of the numbers. I think it needs to analyzed further, but seems like a lot of cancels/no shows. On a side note, I'm texting with Kip last few days on his Granite River trip. He saw only couple people on river, had Maraboeuf to himself and hardly anyone on Sag yesterday and nobody today. A quick search of permits shows zero left for Magnetic, Larch creek and a couple left for Sag. Where are all the people if zero permits left? I have read other trip reports and most people seem pleasantly surprised at lack of people....yet most permits gone off the board. Am I missing something?"
Lot of people going in stop at the first site and that is it.
 
08/10/2022 04:22PM  
timatkn: "Pinetree: "Has cancellations really changed
Table 4
Quota Permit Status Trends
Quota Permits 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Cancellations 3085 3782 4611 4006 4699 4563 4284
No Shows 1369 1570 896 1859 1870 2029 1618
Issued Permits 27502 26651 26480 25966 24670 24305 26096"



That was sort of my point. This isn’t a new issue. It looks like from 2009-2015 the cancellation/no show rate vs. permits varied from 16% to 27%. From 2016-2020 it was ~23-28%. My stats I only looked at OP (overnight paddle). If you look at all permits it inflates the no show/cancellation rate IMHO. Not sure what you included above. I am guessing 2021 and 2022 have just pushed this issue to the top…maybe not? This is the first time I have ever brought this issue up, but it has been debated on this site occasionally ever since I joined.

T"
I agree I think the cancellation rate is pretty consistent. I do think in 20 and 21 we had a rise of no permit entering. A I will do what I want attitude.
 
08/10/2022 04:25PM  
One of the highest no-show areas is Moose Lake, especially the motor people. There was very strong evidence one party would put in for maybe one entry point, but one party had 4 people, and all would put in for a permit hoping to get a permit in the party thru lottery. Well sometimes 3they got 3 permits for their same group.

Few years ago, by beating the system one outfitter got 75% of all motor permits by using methods like this. Also, he had the highest no-show rate.
 
08/10/2022 04:25PM  
One of the highest no-show areas is Moose Lake, especially the motor people. There was very strong evidence one party would put in for maybe one entry point, but one party had 4 people, and all would put in for a permit hoping to get a permit in the party thru lottery. Well sometimes 3they got 3 permits for their same group.

Few years ago, by beating the system one outfitter got 75% of all motor permits by using methods like this. Also, he had the highest no-show rate.
 
08/10/2022 06:32PM  
Pinetree: "One of the highest no-show areas is Moose Lake, especially the motor people. There was very strong evidence one party would put in for maybe one entry point, but one party had 4 people, and all would put in for a permit hoping to get a permit in the party thru lottery. Well sometimes 3they got 3 permits for their same group.


Few years ago, by beating the system one outfitter got 75% of all motor permits by using methods like this. Also, he had the highest no-show rate."


Agree, that’s why I took all the motor data out and only used OP data. I also think that rules changed a year or two ago so that even the motor permits have to have a group leader to combat that outfitter gaming the system. I don’t know how effective it was but there was an effort to stop it. Either way the motor numbers skew the data so I left it out.

T
 
TreeBear
distinguished member (242)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/19/2022 01:27PM  
timatkn: "Pinetree: "timatkn: "Pinetree: "yellowhorse: "We're trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist. I'd guess the real reason for floating these "problems" is for more funding to become palatable. If hoarding were an actual problem we wouldn't see record numbers of visitors."


I agree,just tweet or fine tune it. Leave it close to what it is."

T"



I think some of the early use numbers had more estimates back than, true visitor use has dropped but much of that was by design."



Fair point, and originally more lakes had campsites (now PMA’s), there were more permits available (permit numbers have changed since the creation) and the group limit used to be 21? Can’t remember for sure but it wasn’t capped at 9 people like it is now. Just saying there is a difference in more people than recent and record breaking.


T"


Thanks for all your stats. They are pretty cool. All of these visitor-based issues are interconnected and it makes everything really complicated to unravel. You mention more lakes having campsites (now PMA's) which (in theory) would spread out users. When that's been discussed before, the running theory was that the vast majority of people are going to stay on the easiest or most desirable routes. A lake with good fishing or great scenery will naturally attracted people. Many of the PMA lakes which used to be maintained routes had difficult portages, less scenic value, fewer fish, or whatever and thus were already quiet. The theory goes that the PMA system did little to dramatically increase traffic since, similarly to the entry point lakes, traffic is naturally higher in some areas than others and unless people are forced to disperse, they won't.

As for the group cap, it was 10 before it was 9 (and 10 was a reduction on whatever proceeded it.) I have a copy of the documents from the 90s when the forest service tabled conversations from all of the cooperators discussing overuse issues then. There were a variety of suggested plans which the cooperators were able to vote on and they ended up sticking fairly close to the status quo. The other options saw massive reductions in permits and even some massive reductions in entry points (closing a fair number of them). Closing entry points would have likely reduced dispersal, but it also would have made much larger parts of the wilderness which were remote and quiet. In any case, every entry point is important to one outfitter or another so, in the end, only one entry point closed: four mile portage. It was combined with Fall and little changed. That's part of the big mess that was this year's permit reduction. Though it reduced visitation, it did so without really any cooperator input which has plenty of folks fired up this season.

As for permit hoarding, it seems an issue we can't totally prove, but it is intriguing. I have enjoyed reading the discussion on here. I have also felt like I have seen more last minute cancellations this year than usual. I don't have the data for it, but entry points which have been bought out for the season are routinely reopening within a week of the permit date. Those of us who live up here and have the flexibility to head out on a weekend if we want have it made. A lot harder for those that need to plan. As with anything, good education/permit reductions/permits in general all do a great job of controlling the traffic for the rule followers. Personally, I don't think there are as many "bad eggs" as many of us would believe, and it's easy to try to look for someone to blame for things not being like we would want them to be. But there will always be those few who bend and break the rules that really ruin things for the rest of us.
 
08/19/2022 05:47PM  
Kind of agree with ya pinetree... I know a lot of people that gave up permits and I wouldn’t suspect any of them hoarding. Seems like pretty legit reasons for cancelling (if there is such a thing, haha). Course I’d skip my own funeral to fulfill any permit I ever had. Haha.
Seems though like family emergencies, personal injuries and stuff happened a bit more frequent this year. But like I say, not one person I know I’d consider was not telling the truth. It’s just a shit happens year in my book.
 
Maiingan
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08/19/2022 06:50PM  
Pinetree: "One of the highest no-show areas is Moose Lake, especially the motor people. There was very strong evidence one party would put in for maybe one entry point, but one party had 4 people, and all would put in for a permit hoping to get a permit in the party thru lottery. Well sometimes 3they got 3 permits for their same group.


Few years ago, by beating the system one outfitter got 75% of all motor permits by using methods like this. Also, he had the highest no-show rate."


This also hurt the local little gals and guys. No shows = no $ all the way from the DQ in town to LaTourell's Prairie Portage. These days I spend more at the DQ than Prairie Portage.
 
08/19/2022 10:33PM  
Maiingan: "DQ in town to LaTourell's Prairie Portage. These days I spend more at the DQ than Prairie Portage."

As an aside, having spent money at all three of these places yesterday, my children, having consumed said DQ, then declared: "The concept of DQ is so much better than the actuality of DQ".

So we drove home, slightly queasy.

And re: permits...there were a ton of canoes on moose, both ways.
 
Maiingan
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08/20/2022 10:11AM  
SNS Did you see many power boats? Not counting the tows.
 
08/20/2022 12:55PM  
Maiingan: "SNS Did you see many power boats? Not counting the tows."

A few on Moose/Newfound, and maybe 5 or 6 on Basswood within 2 miles of PP.
 
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