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Introduction to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area



"In wildness is the preservation of the world." -- Thoreau

The Sound of a paddle dipping into the water, the splash of a beaver tail, the echoing call of a loon. A northern sun sets on a glassy lake, tall pines whisper with the winds. Wilderness. The United States Congress established the Wilderness Act in 1964 to "secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefit of an enduring resource of Wilderness." Although we may each have our own definition, Congress defines wilderness as areas "where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain."

We Often think of wilderness as a place for people. Areas to renew and refresh the soul. Wilderness also protects watersheds, serves as critical habitat for threatened and endangered wildlife, improves air quality, maintains gene pools to provide diversity, and serves as a unique living laboratory for medical and scientific research.

Over One Million Acres in size, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) contains hundreds of lakes and rivers, has 1200 miles of canoe routes, is home to threatened and endangered species, and is visited by over 200,000 people a year. It is the most heavily used wilderness area in the country. There is a delicate balance here. As you ... plan your trip to the BWCAW, remember that those qualities which call you to this magnificent area are fragile. Steps you take today to preserve this area will benefit not only you, but future generations. Wallace Stegner, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, wrote: "Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed." Enjoy, and care for, this precious resource. Go to Canoe Trip Entry Points.

How much is a permit for the BWCA? A nonrefundable reservation fee of $6.00 is charged for each permit issued. There is a maximum of 9 persons / 4 canoes allowed on a permit traveling and camping together. There is a user fee of $16.00 (adult) and $8.00 (child 17 and under) per visit. The deposit paid for all groups will be $38.00 regardless of group size. Any adjustments for more or less will be initiated at the time the permit is picked up. More about fees.

Why do some call it the BWCA or BWCAW? This is just a matter of personal preference. Both refer to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

Canoe Outfitters are standing by to help you with your permit and entry points, all you need to do is complete our request form...Click Here, for a quick response.

For information about cabins and lodging Click Here, for a quick response.

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Web site
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Web site
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Published from the edge of the Boundary Waters
Canoe Area by Chad Jones

Updated Aug 26, 2016

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