BWCA and Quetico Park Rules and Regulations
Both the Boundary Waters (BWCA) and Quetico Park have a 9-person limit on the number of people who may travel and camp together at one time. Groups exceeding the 9 person limit must break into subgroups. The subgroups may travel on the same general routes, but must remain separate at all times. Portaging, traveling and camping together in groups larger than 9 people is strickly prohibited.
Quetico Park and the BWCA promote no-trace camping. For this reason, no foods packaged in cans or bottles are allowed on your canoe trip. Fresh and freeze-dried foods packaged in plastic or foil pouches or carried in plastic containers are permitted. Campers are required to bring out all garbage. Do not burn plastic or foil packaging and always leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.
Any activities that require the use of soap products (bathing, washing dishes, etc.) must be done at least 100 feet from the shoreline.
It is recommended that you boil or treat your water before drinking. If you choose to drink directly from the lakes, avoid stagnant backwaters and areas where beavers are active.
Collect firewood away from the camp. Gather branches from dead and fallen trees along the shoreline. Never cut down or remove branches or bark from live trees. Please read this if you're thinking of bringing your own supply of firewood to Quetico Park.
In the BWCA, fires are allowed within the steel fire grates at designated campsites or as specifically approved on your visitor's permit. Bringing a small camp stove may be a better idea because it heats food more quickly, has less impact than a fire, and comes in handy during rainy weather. Due to the potential fire danger, BWCA fire restrictions may be put into effect. Check on current conditions just prior to your trip. You may be required to use a camp stove if there is a campfire ban. If you build a fire, burn only dead wood found lying on the ground. Collect firewood away from campsites by paddling down the shore and walking into the woods where it is more abundant. Wood easily broken by hand or cut with a small folding saw eliminates the need for an axe. Drown your fire with water any time you are going to be away from your camp or at bedtime. Stir the ashes until they are cold to the touch with a bare hand.
Both wilderness areas offer excellent opportunities for fishing. Clean fish away from camp and leave the remains on an exposed rock away from the campsite.
Traveling from lake to lake and around water hazards will require physically picking-up your canoe and equipment and traveling across a portage trail. Wherever you encounter a portage trail, please use it. They have been placed there for your safety. Don't run the rapids in your canoe - it's a long, difficult walk home.
Wilderness etiquette encourages minimal noise while traveling and camping. Responsible noise levels not only shows your respect for fellow campers and nature, but also offers you the opportunity to see various forms of wildlife. To fully experience the wilderness around you, consider leaving your radio, tape player, CD player and Ipod at home.
Travel permits are necessary to enter either of the wilderness areas. The travel permit system is designed to limit the number of visitors by day and area. For the optimum variety of entry points and dates, plan your trip early. The travel permits become available in December and January. Since we work directly with both wilderness permit offices, we are able to handle the paperwork and apply for travel permits for your trip.
All visitors entering Quetico Park through Prairie Portage or Sagnaga are required to obtain a Remote Area Border Cross (RABC) Pass. Each person must apply for a RABC at least six weeks (but 2-3 months is preferable) prior to their arrival date in order to obtain advanced customs clearance. Since there is no Canadian Customs station at Prairie Portage or Sagnaga, RABC forms will only be processed by mail, except in emergency situations.
Permits are required for all visitors of the BWCA, whether for a day or an overnight. Permits do not reserve a campsite, but rather grant access to a particular entry point. Reservations are not necessary from October 1 - May 1. During this time you may pick up a permit at designated issuing stations the day of or the day before entry. Similarly, during the summer season, day permits can be obtained in the same fashion
Fishing licenses for BWCA trips (Minnesota) are available at our base. Canadian fishing licenses may be obtained at a Canadian Ranger station the morning your trip begins. Camping fees apply to both wilderness areas. Remote Border Crossing Passes, which serve as customs clearance for certain Canadian trips, must be applied for in advance. For more details and specific rates, please feel free to contact us.