User fees may go up at BWCA
Ely, Minn. — (AP) - Campers and canoeists may soon pay more to visit the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
The Superior National Forest, which manages the 1.1 million-acre wilderness in northeastern Minnesota, is proposing an increase in overnight user fees per trip from $10 to $16 for adults and from $5 to $8 for youths.
If approved by an advisory committee, the new fees would take effect next year, said Kris Reichenbach, a spokeswoman for the Superior National Forest. She said it would be the first fee increase for BWCA visitors in 10 years.
The fee increase would help cover maintenance costs for portages, trails, and campsites that have gradually increased over the past 10 years, Reichenbach said.
"Some portages or some campsites may be need a little more attention," Reichenbach said. "There wouldn't be any new development."
About 200,000 day-use and overnight visitors enter the BWCA annually and spend about 1.5 million "recreation visitor days" there, making it the most heavily used wilderness in the country, she said.
The overnight user fees are separate from a $12 group trip reservation fee.
The final decision will be made by an 11-member committee appointed by the U.S. Forest Service.
The committee, made up of government officials, recreation users, and special-interest groups, could reject or approve the increase or reduce its size, Reichenbach said.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)