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Boundary Waters Canoe Area Rules

BWCAW Lake Travel Permits - You must enter the BWCAW at the entry point and on the entry date shown on your permit.

Group Size - Nine (9) people and four (4) watercraft are the maximum allowed together in the wilderness. You may not exceed this limit at any time or anywhere (on water, portages, campsites) in the BWCAW. Smaller groups increase your wilderness experience and decrease the impacts.

Containers - Cans and glass bottles are not allowed. Containers of fuel, insect repellent, medicines, personal toilet articles, and other items that are not foods or beverages are the only cans and bottles you may keep in their original containers. Food may be packaged in plastic containers which must be packed out with you.

Campsites - Camp only at Forest Service designated campsites that have steel firegrates and wilderness latrines. Make camp early in the day to ensure finding an available campsite. Keep dogs under control. It is illegal to cut live vegetation for any reason. You may camp up to fourteen (14) consecutive days on a specific site.

Campfires - Fires are allowed within the steel firegrates 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, 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.

Toilet Facilities and Water Quality - Use latrines at designated campsites. If you're not near a latrine, dig a small hole 6 to 8 inches deep 150-200 feet or more back from the water's edge. When finished, fill hole and cover with needles and leaves. Bathe and wash dishes at least 150-200 feet or more from lakes and streams. All soaps pollute water. This includes soaps labeled "biodegradable".

Fish Remains - To dispose of fish remains, travel far from any campsite or portage. Dispose of fish remains by traveling 150-200 feet or more away from campsites, trails, portages and shorelines. State law prohibits putting the remains into the water.

Storing Watercraft - Only watercraft and equipment used in connection with your current visit may be stored and left unattended. All equipment and personal property must be carried out with you at the end of each trip.

Cultural Heritage - Leave archaeological, historical, and rock painting sites undisturbed. The use of metal detectors is prohibited.


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