Skip to main content

New booking system for Boundary Waters crashes on first day

The first-come, first-served reservation system was overwhelmed.

A new reservation system for booking entry to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness crashed in less than 2 hours on Wednesday.

The U.S. Forest Service has done away with the previous lottery system, and replaced it with a first-come, first-served reservation system at

By mid-morning, the website had stopped taking reservations, with a message posted on its site reading: "Due to technical difficulties, reservations for Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness are closed.

"We are diligently working to correct the problem. Please check back for status updates."

In a message sent to outfitters in northern Minnesota and shared on the What's Up Ely, MN? Facebook page, Ann Schwaller of the Superior National Forest Supervisor's Office said: "We don’t know why this happened ... we are sick over it as well."

"A ton of work has gone into this; including working through furlough. We’ve done all we can to prepare and follow national direction."

There was expected to be a flood of reservation attempts from individuals, groups and businesses looking to book permits for popular weekends, or at high-demand entry points into the BWCA.

Follow BMTN on Flipboard for the latest stories

The Star Tribune notes that the shift to the new system was opposed by many people and businesses near the BWCA, who said it could be a disadvantage to those in areas with spottier internet access.

What's more, there was concern among resorts and outfitters that they might not be able to get their hands on the highly-sought after permits for motorized parts of the wilderness, which previously was decided by a lottery following a 4-week application period

The Ely Echo reports that some business owners had traveled to the Twin Cities so they could get better internet access when the system went live, and many of those complaining of the system crash said they'd warned the Forest Service that this would happen.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-05-24 at 5.21.04 PM

Ex-South St. Paul coach dies by suicide 2 days before sentencing

Matthew McCollister was to be sentenced for fraud in federal court on Wednesday.


Minnesota 'glampground' named one of 10 best in U.S.

In Nevis, Minnesota, campers can stay in a refurbished 1905 train car.

Screen Shot 2022-01-28 at 9.04.12 AM

Two men charged over terrifying armed robbery at Newport apartment

They shot the woman who lives in the apartment in the abdomen, and put a gun to a man's head.

Minneapolis police

Minneapolis 2-year-old identified in suspicious death case

The cause of death has not yet been revealed due to an ongoing investigation.

Arianna Vos

Victim of wrong-way driver crash ID'd as Hutchinson 19-year-old

Three women, ages 19, 20 and 20, were in the vehicle struck by a wrong-way driver early Sunday morning.

Julissa Thaler

Eli Hart killing: Police investigating multiple crime scenes

An announcement Tuesday confirmed potential crime scenes in Mound and Minnetrista.

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota strike.

Twin Cities mental health workers gather for 1-day strike

More than 400 mental health workers are participating in the unionized strike on Tuesday.

Bloomington Fire

HAZMAT team at Bloomington hotel following chemical spill in pool

The fire department said two hotel employees are being evaluated by paramedics.

Screen Shot 2022-03-24 at 9.21.32 AM

Big Brothers Big Sisters Twin Cities gets $6M of Mackenzie Scott donation

The donation is the largest the organization has ever seen from a single individual.

Hennepin Avenue S.

Minneapolis accused of backtracking on 24/7 bus lanes for Hennepin Ave.

The Minneapolis City Council is set to vote on Thursday.

Pexels - face mask covid holding

Duluth brings back masking in city buildings amid COVID surge

Duluth, in one of the state's current COVID hotspots, has brought back a mask requirement in city buildings.


Mississippi, Boundary Waters named on 'most endangered' list

The American Rivers report highlights risk facing 2 prominent areas of Minnesota.

stars- edit

The Boundary Waters designated 13th Dark Sky Sanctuary in the world

It's the largest Dark Sky Sanctuary site and the first in Minnesota.

Moose licking car salt

Video: A close encounter with a Boundary Waters moose

The magnificent beast had a hankering for salt lick.

Tom Landwehr

Ex-DNR commissioner is new Save The Boundary Waters director

Tom Landwehr will continue the fight against the Twin Metals mining project.

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.

boundary waters

Parts of Boundary Waters closed near border due to wildfire threats

The closures will begin Saturday and last for at least seven days or until the situation is resolved.

eden the dog

Dog lost for 12 days in Boundary Waters is found safe, will be reunited with family

Her owners live in the state of Virginia and had to leave the BWCAW three days after their beloved dog went missing.