Publish date:

Forest Service going back to in-person permit issuance, 'Leave No Trace' education for BWCAW

The agency had been requiring permit seekers to watch educational videos.

Most visitors to the Boundary Waters will soon no longer be able to do their "Leave No Trace" training virtually.

The U.S. Forest Service announced Wednesday it is "phasing out" virtual permit issuance and the required educational videos that come with it. Instead, most everyone planning a Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) trip will need to pick up a permit in-person, at a district office or from a cooperator, during which they will also receive an in-person "Leave No Trace & Tread Lightly" education session.

"Leave No Trace education is always part of the permit pick-up process, so yes, all permit holders who enter the BWCAW will receive an overview of Leave No Trace principles before entering the Wilderness," a spokesperson told Bring Me The News.

The return to in-person permitting and education starts July 12, with a couple small exceptions: Those who choose a Sunday pickup at the LaCroix or Tofte district offices will still do virtual permit issuance and education, since those officers are closed on Sundays.

Anyone with an upcoming reservation who has received a virtual issuance and education email this week will still go that route.

"For all other reservations, the forest asks visitors to plan to pick up permits in-person," the Forest Service said, Permit shave to be issued either the day of or the day before entry into the BWCAW. Those who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are asked to wear a mask and practice social distancing while at district offices.

The virtual option was only ever meant to be temporary, in response to the pandemic.

Unprecedented human-caused damage due to an incredibly busy 2020 summer season prompted the U.S. Forest Service to take action. It began requiring permit seekers to watch three educational videos about how to respect nature, before being able to obtain a permit.

The Forest Service said misbehavior last year including the cutting of live trees, human waste not being properly disposed of, trash left in campfire rings, disruptive and oversized groups and campfires left unattended.

“Again, we want to thank our visitors for being flexible as we transition back to offering in-person services on the Forest," said Shannon Rische, deputy forest supervisor for the Superior National Forest, in the announcement, "This is one of the last steps in the process and we are looking forward to in-person interactions with guests regarding their trip plans and Leave No Trace ethics."

The latest forecast from Sven Sundgaard

Next Up

moose minnesota usfws - flickr

MN homeowner mistakes large tent for dead moose

They spotted two people on a security camera dragging the "moose" across a driveway.

Flickr - minneapolis police officer close-up belt camera - Tony Webster

What happens if Mpls. public safety question passes? City memo provides answers

The memo was sent to the mayor and council members Tuesday morning.


COVID-19 hits Minnesota Wild coaching staff

The Wild will be shorthanded for Tuesday night's game in Vancouver.

Anthony Edwards

Ant takes alpha role after bad loss: 'We need to lock the f*** in'

The Timberwolves' rising star was not happy after Monday's loss to the Pelicans.

parker eisinger

Lakeville football player diagnosed with cancer week before playoffs

The tenth-grader was diagnosed with a form of cancer most commonly found in people aged 65 and older.

University of Minnesota peeping tom suspect

Someone keeps trying to film showering women at U of M

The university has received three reports in the past two weeks.

john Fluevog shoes 1

John Fluevog Shoes closes its Uptown Minneapolis store

The brand could return to the Twin Cities one day.

sidecar drink

Sidecar — Town Hall's new cocktail lounge — is officially open in Minneapolis

It's the fifth Town Hall location, but the first to focus on cocktails.

Screen Shot 2019-07-18 at 9.10.30 AM

Here's where DFLers stand on Minneapolis' public safety ballot question

The question would create a Department of Public Safety and remove some requirements.

Arthur Kollie

Man pleads guilty to brutal murder of 14-year-old girl in Fargo

The 14-year-old girl was the victim of a random attack outside a Fargo strip mall.

Minneapolis Mayoral Candidates 2021 - jacob frey sheila nezhad kate knuth

Here's who has endorsed the frontrunners for Minneapolis mayor

Politicians and community groups are voicing their opinions.


Flickr - campfire

No campfires allowed in BWCAW or Superior National Forest

The campfire ban applies to all campsites in the forest, including those in the BWCAW.

Pixabay - camp food fire

Bear sightings prompt food storage mandate up north

Visitors to the forest and BWCAW will be required to 'properly' store their food.

MNICS - John Ek Fire - Aug 20

BWCAW closure extended into September amid wildfire danger

Existing fires grew and more fires have popped up.

black bear

Bear briefly becomes armed after stealing gun in Boundary Waters

The main motivation for the theft was snacks, rather than weaponry.

Flickr - Superior National Forest Boundary Waters

White House begins process to ban new mining near BWCAW

The stated goal is to protect the "unique natural wonder" of the BWCAW.

Facebook Bezhik Fire crop

Wildfire begins pushing out of Boundary Waters, toward private property

The fire is estimated to be more than 900 acres in size.

Flickr - camping tent William O'Brien State Park - Tony Webster

After a year indoors, people are flocking to MN state parks and campgrounds

Campsite occupancy rates and annual state park permit sales are up.

Flickr - Superior National Forest Boundary Waters

Forest Service closes off more of BWCA due to nearby wildfires

Officials are worried the Canadian fires could spread to the U.S.