BWCA and QUETICO WILDERNESS RULES & REGULATIONS
A travel permit is required to enter either the BWCAW or Quetico Provincial Park. The travel permit locks the group into starting on a specific date and entering through a specific entry point.
Up to a group of nine people can travel together on a permit. In the BWCAW, there is an additional restriction allowing only four watercraft per permit. At no time can more than nine people camp, canoe or portage together. The group size restriction is in place to protect the fragile ecosystem and enhance the visitors wilderness experience.
Any food or beverage items packaged in a can or bottle is prohibited in either wilderness area. Food and beverages must be contained within a paper, plastic or foil pouch or carried in a plastic container. Empty plastic food or beverage containers must be packed back out with you. Non-food and beverage items, such as; insect repellent, fuel containers, and toiletry items can be contained with cans or bottles, but must be packed back out of the wilderness area.
Quetico campsites are clearings in the woods and require the traveler to carry a fire grate and latrine shovel with them as they travel. BWCAW campsites will have a cemented-in fire grate and wilderness box latrine located at each USFS approved campsite. The BWCAW approved campsites are the only sites that visitors can legally camp at overnight. Visitors can camp up to 14 consecutive days at one site before they must move on to another site. Leave the campsite cleaner than you found it. Pack out all garbage, fishing line and twist ties.
There are no restrictions regarding campfires on the Canadian side other than they need to be supervised and under control at all times. The BWCAW requires that campfires occur only within the steel fire grates. In the blow down area that affects several entry points, there can be additional campfire restrictions. During imposed fire bans, campfires can be partially or completely prohibited. Cooking during those times must be done over a camp stove using propane or liquid fuel. Campfires can only be made from dead and downed trees. Do not strip birch bark from live trees - this kills the tree. Collect firewood away from the campsite. Drown your campfire with plenty of water when you leave, go to bed, or plan to be away from the site. The coals should be cold to the touch when handled. Do not burn trash in the fire. Pack all garbage out.
Toilet Facilities and Water Quality
Each legal BWCA campsite will have a wilderness box latrine. This should be used as the only toilet facilities at BWCAW campsites. Quetico campsites will not have latrines, so the visitor should dig a small hole 6 to 8 inches deep and at least 150 feet from the shoreline. This method of burying human waste should also be used when hiking or portaging through the BWCAW (when campsite latrines are unavailable). Do not use soap products in or near the waters edge. Wash dishes and bathe at least 150 feet from the shoreline using biodegradable soaps whenever possible. Fish entrails must be buried in at least 6 inches of soil well away from the campsite. It is illegal to dump fish remains in the water.
Watercraft and equipment cannot be stored in the wilderness area unattended or between canoe trips. All boats, canoes and equipment must actively be in use and carried out after the end of each trip.
Motor boat use is allowed in certain areas of the wilderness. A special motor use permit is required to enter the wilderness in these limited areas.
Fishing & Watercraft Regulations
Fishing Licenses and Possession of Fish
Fishing licenses are required within either wilderness area. Anyone 16 or older, who chooses to fish in the BWCA, is required to have a license. Individuals 18 years or older choosing to fish are required to purchase a fishing license for the Quetico Park.
Limits and Possession of Fish
Daily and possession limits do apply within either wilderness. Fish eaten as shore lunch do count towards the total daily possession limits.
Canoe and Boat Registrations
All watercraft entering either wilderness must be licensed either in the owner's home state or in the state of Minnesota.
Those traveling by either boat or canoe must have a US Coast Guard approved life jacket in the watercraft. There must be one life jacket for each person in the watercraft. The life jacket must be readily accessible for use.
Special for Quetico Park
Additionally, for Quetico, you are required to bring a 50 foot floatable rope, a whistle, and a plastic baler.