Is slow broadband hurting your chance for a BWCA permit?

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the U.S. Forest Service is changing our they issue permits for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA)….

The rule change by the U.S. Forest Service will put the scarce permits up for grabs on a first-come basis starting next January. Last year, 12,500 applications were made for 3,500 permits. The permits allow boats powered with 25-horsepower (or less) motors to enter two separate bays of Basswood Lake and a couple of neighboring lakes.

Some outfitters in the Ely area resent the change, saying it will hurt their businesses and disadvantage people who are not equipped with high-speed internet. On the annual “go live’’ date, prospective permit buyers will be poised at their personal electronic devices with credit cards in hand. Starting at 9 a.m. Central time they’ll try to make a reservation through

“If we hit a button at the same time, I lose,’’ said BWCA outfitter Bob LaTourelle, who works northeast of Ely in an area with undependable internet service.

Under the old system, motor lottery applications could be made via computer without deadline pressure throughout a four-week period. Winners would be notified by mid-February. Prospective visitors could submit as many applications as desired. Moreover, qualified outfitters could make applications on behalf of confirmed clients — an option no longer available in the first-come, first-served system.

Some of us know this tried and true method with TicketMaster sales.It’s just another example of the advantages of broadband!

This entry was posted in economic development, Government, MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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