Northern Wilds Magazine
Photo by Lisa Caffee.

BWCAW: Day Use Only Through May 17

Duluth, May 4, 2020 – On Tuesday, May 5, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) will reopen for day-use. Overnight use of the BWCAW will continue to be restricted through May 17, 2020, aligning with Minnesota Governor Tim Walz extended the State’s Stay at Home Emergency Order 20-48, in order to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Overnight reservations made through May 17, 2020, will receive a full refund, including reservations fees.

This change in the status of the BWCAW aligns with the Governor’s request that people recreate close to home and avoid engaging in unnecessary travel. By allowing only day-use of the BWCAW, the Superior National Forest is providing some additional opportunities for local recreation and businesses. Continuing to restrict overnight use, supports the Governor’s goal to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19 during the extended Stay at Home order.

“Continuing to restrict access to the Superior National Forest is a particularly difficult decision” explains Connie Cummins, the Forest Supervisor. “I want people to enjoy their public land and know that re-opening the BWCAW for day-use is a step in that direction. I’m looking forward to the day when we can safely re-open sites for overnight use.”

In alignment with current federal, state and local guidance for social distancing and to ensure the health and safety of its employees, partners and members of the public, the Superior National Forest will use temporary modifications to the permit pick-up requirements beginning May 5, 2020 for all BWCAW day-use motor quota permits and May 18, 2020 for all other over-night BWCAW quota permits. For additional information on this process, please visit the Superior National Forest’s website at:

Reminder that in response to the COVID-19 situation, support for will be provided via email until further notice. The quickest way to get help is to visit the online Help Center. Please remember that you can also call your local cooperator or the Forest Service if you cannot make changes online via

For current updates and other recreation closures, please visit “Alerts” on the Superior National Forest’s website. Members of the public should visit this section for important pre-trip information to protect public health and safety. In addition, the Forest offices are available by phone from 8-4:30 CST, seven days a week.

Keep in mind for travel plans to Quetico Provincial Park through the BWCAW, Ontario, Canada also has current closures in place, including shared portages. For more information on Canadian closures, please visit: and

The Superior National Forest acknowledges that Tribal members may fulfill their federal treaty rights within boundaries of the ceded territory in the 1854 treaty and are exempt from the restrictions and are subject to restrictions by applicable tribal authorities.

Everyone is urged to take the precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

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