BWCA Permits Information

BWCAW Permits Information

Permits are required for all visitors of the BWCA. Permits do not reserve a campsite, but rather grant access to a particular entry point. CBO is happy to assist you in securing a Boundary Waters permit for your BWCA canoe trip. If you would like more information or you are ready to make a reservation, please use our on-line forms, send us an email or call (800) 247-7530.

  • An entry permit is required for each travel group; group size is 9 persons or less for each permit.
  • Permit quotas have been set to minimize impact on the area, so securing permits as early as possible is critical to getting your preferred date/entry point.
  • Each permit lists party leaders, a specific entry date and a specific entry point.
  • A permit is needed from May 1-September 30. BWCA permits are initially available to secure in mid-January of each year.

BWCAW PERMIT COSTS*: The reservation fee for each BWCAW permit is $6.00. The BWCA camping fee is $16.00 per adult and $8.00 for youth under 18; this is a flat fee; not a per night or per day. CBO collects the $6.00 USFS reservation fee and $32 camping fee deposit towards the total camping fees along with a $10 administration fee for each permit requested. The $6.00 reservation fee is non-refundable; the camping fee may be refunded if the cancellation is received on a timely basis.

Nonprofit Organizations

A group must have an official tax-exempt number to qualify as a non-profit organization. We will need this number in order to secure your permit(s) under your organizations name. All the people on the trip, with the exception of a guide, must be associated with the non-profit organization. Non-profit organizations may reserve as many permits as they like. However, there is a limit of no more than three (3) permits within a permit season to be reserved using the name of any one non-profit organization name as the trip leader instead of a specific person's name as the trip leader. Additional permits can only be reserved under a specific person's name as trip leader.

The only benefit to reserving a permit using a non-profit organization's name as the trip leader is that the permit may then be issued to anyone who can prove affiliation with the organization in the same location. For example, if a permit is reserved with the trip leader name of "Girl Scouts, Troop 16, Chicago" then anyone affiliated with that particular organization may have the permit issued to her/him. When reserving a permit using a non-profit name as the trip leader, the non-profit organization's name, address and a contact person for the organization is required. The representative of the non-profit organization that actually picks up the permit becomes the trip leader, must remain with the group for the duration of the trip, and will be responsible to see that the group follows BWCA regulations. Please contact CBO for additional information about reserving BWCA permits planning for non-profit organizations.

*BWCA fees quoted were accurate as of April 25, 2014, but are subject to change without notice.

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