Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

BWCA will open for overnight use May 18, campfire ban also set to expire

On Monday, May 18, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) will open for both day and overnight use.

This move by the U.S. Forest Service is in step with Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, who announced earlier this week that he will let his current stay-at-home order expire May 18.

In related outdoor news, the U.S. Forest Service will lift a campfire ban starting Monday as well. Campfires will be allowed starting in unison with allowing overnight use, according to Tofte District Ranger Ellen Bogardus-Szymania.

The news of the reopening comes ahead of the busy Memorial Day weekend in the BWCA.

“We are happy to be fully allowing visitors into the BWCAW,” says Connie Cummins, Superior National Forest supervisor. “We ask that visitors please continue to follow local, state and federal guidelines on staying safe and practice good hygiene and social distancing wherever they choose to visit.”

Paddlers traveling near the border lakes in the BWCA need to be mindful that the US-Canada border remains closed to non-essential travel, including canoeing. Furthermore, Quetico Provincial Park remains closed for overnight use at this time.

During his press briefing Wednesday night, Walz specifically addressed the topic of camping in Minnesota when the stay-at-home order is lifted. Walz said both public and private campgrounds will largely remain closed, while dispersed or remote camping will be allowed after May 18.