BWCA and Quetico Park Permit Regulations
To travel the waterways of the BWCAW (Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness) and the Quetico Park you will need a travel permit. We help you select the entry point that will best suit your trip goals. Then we go ahead and reserve the permit for you, which takes all the hassle out of it at your end. It is best to plan early to get the entry point that you wish.
The permits are set up to allow a certain number of parties to enter a specific entry point on a certain date, to enhance your wilderness experience. Then we go ahead and reserve your permit for you. We issue the permit to you when you arrive, so you do not have to stop at a USFS office to get it. We proceed to this step when you have firmed up your dates and made your reservation with us. We will need your credit card information to do this. Remember permits are date specific.
Under the regulations of the U.S. Forest Service, the Quetico Provincial Park and the La Verendrye Park, each group is limited in size to no more than 9 people, and no more than 4 watercraft. We will go over all the details with you at the time you make your reservation with us.
Permit costs for the BWCAW are a base of $6.00 per permit, plus $16.00 per adult and $8.00 per youth (17 or younger).
Quetico Park Permits
Permit costs for the Quetico Provincial Park are a $15.00 permit fee plus $100 deposit at the time of booking (camping fees are $21.47 per adult per night and $8.48 per youth per night (Canadian funds)).
Remote Area Border Crossing Permit (RABC)
If you want to visit and travel in Canada at any point during your trip (Quetico or LaVerendrye Parks) you will need an RABC permit since you are not reporting into Canada through a port of entry. The cost is $30.00 Canadian per adult or per family (spouse and dependent children). The easiest way to obtain the permit is online at: www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/forms-formulaires/bsf386-eng.pdf Please allow 4 weeks or longer for the Canadians to process this and send it back to you. You must carry this permit and your passport with you while you are in Canada on your trip.
RABC Permits for the Quetico
Since you do not go through a Canadian Customs clearance when you enter Canada from Saganaga Lake, the Canadians have come up with a process called the Remote Area Border Crossing Permit (RABC). This is a permit you get in advance which makes it very quick and easy to enter Canada when you start your canoe trip. With your permit in your possession, you just paddle into Canada, stopping at the Ranger Station to check in, and you are on your way.
The mail service between our countries is slow so you should apply for your RABC at least 4 weeks before your trip. You can get the form and instructions on line by typing in: http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/prog/canpass/rabc-pfre/menu-eng.html. Don't be overwhelmed—it is not as hard to fill out as it looks. The following are some of the rules and regulations from their site.
Who Is Eligible to Apply For a CANPASS - RABC Permit?
Canadian citizens, permanent residents of Canada, United States citizens and permanent residents of the United States are eligible to apply for a CANPASS - RABC permit. United States citizens and permanent residents must meet normal visitor legislative requirements, as described under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), that is, be in good health, be law abiding and have sufficient funds for their stay in Canada. For more information on Immigration requirements for visitors to Canada, please consult the CIC Web site at www.cic.gc.ca.
Applicants may not qualify for a permit if they have been previously charged with a contravention of Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) or Immigration legislation; have criminal convictions for which there has not been a pardon or, if they have provided false or incomplete information on the CANPASS - RABC permit application.
Canadian Fishing Licenses
You can now buy your Canadian fishing licenses on line. Just go to: http://www.ontario.ca/travel-and-recreation/fishing-licence-non-residents-canada and you will see all your choices. The difference between a full license and a conservation license is the number of fish you can have in your possession at any one time. You may find the conservation license will be all you need since that will allow you enough fish for your dinner. You can also check on how long a period you want your license to be valid for. If you are coming back to Ontario for another trip later this year you might like the full season license.
BSF386 E (08)
From Pigeon River through to and including Lake of the Woods
The Canadian shore of Lake Superior
Sault Ste. Marie (upper lock system)
CANPASS - RABC permits are valid only for the remote areas listed above and may not be used to cross the border in any other location. Individuals crossing at any other location in Canada should consult our Web site at www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca to learn about an alternate reporting program for your area.
Individuals must have their CANPASS - RABC permit in their possession when they cross the border into Canada at the remote areas identified above. Individuals who are not in possession of a CANPASS - RABC permit, or whose permit has expired must enter at a port of entry. Verifications will be conducted periodically.
CANPASS - RABC permit holders entering to work in Canada must be in possession of a valid work permit where applicable under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).
CANPASS - RABC permit holders entering at a CBSA office open for business will not be exempted from the normal examination process.
Dependents travelling separately must have a copy of the CANPASS - RABC permit in their possession.
All firearms must be registered and presented to the CBSA at a port of entry prior to being brought into Canada. Forms are available at
1-800-731-4000, at www.cfc-ccaf.gc.ca or at any CBSA office. If you have any questions about importing a firearm into Canada, please check our Web site at www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca or call the CBSA office nearest you.
CANPASS - RABC permit holders, who are importing goods that will remain in Canada, or who are importing goods over their personal exemption entitlement, must contact a CBSA office prior to departing from the United States and provide a full description and value of all such goods. A border services officer will issue a reference number to the CANPASS - RABC permit holders and will advise them of the steps they must follow when they arrive in Canada.
Where to apply for a CANPASS Remote Area Border Crossing (RABC) permit
By mail (preferred method)
At least 3-4 weeks in advance of your trip, mail the completed application and PHOTOCOPIES of the supporting documentation to:
Canada Border Services Agency
CANPASS - RABC Processing Centre
201 North May Street, 1st Floor
Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada P7C 3P4
You will receive a response by mail, unless an interview is deemed necessary.
You MUST have a copy of your CANPASS - RABC permit on your person when travelling.