Voyageuers National Park Officials Mulling Reservation and Fee System for Campsites

Voyageurs National Park officials are proposing a reservation and fee system for 17 campsites that lie within the interior of the Kabetogama Peninsula. NPS photo.

A reservation and fee system is being considered in Voyageurs National Park for 17 campsites on the interior of the Kabetogama Peninsula. Park officials are taking public comment on the proposal through May 1.

Of the 17 sites, 11 can handle muscle-powered vessels -- canoes and rowboats.

Park officials were given the authority to charge fees under the Federal Lands Recreational Enhancement Act. "Voyageurs National Park recognizes the present and future welfare of our park depends in large measure on the public's support of the way we manage it," park officials said in a release. "The public will have a greater appreciation of, and support for, our management if they recognize that we seek, and are receptive to, their involvement in the important decisions that are made."

Campsites on the peninsula with no boat facilities are on Agnes Lake, Jorgens Lake, Loiten Lake, Oslo Lake, Quarter Line Lake, and Ryan Lake. Those with boating facilities are Cranberry Creek, Peary Lake, Brown Lake, Cruiser Lake, Ek Lake, Little Shoepack Lake, Shoepack Lake, Locator Lake, War Club Lake, Quill Lake, and Beast Lake.

Under the proposal, fees would range from $14-$19 to reserve a campsite, with an additional $10 per day if you wanted to rent a canoe or rowboat to reach the sites open for boaters. To prevent the possible spread of the spiny waterflea in these waters, visitors cannot bring their own boats but must rent one from the park's boat livery.

Having the campsites and canoes/rowboats on a reservation system would allow visitors who reserve an interior campsite to be guaranteed a canoe and/or rowboat with that site or be able to plan in advance, park officials said.

If the fee and reservation system is approved, it would take effect early this coming summer and reservations would be taken by Reserve America online at http://reservations.nps.gov or by calling 800-365-CAMP (800-365-2267).

Reservation program highlights include:

* Sites can be reserved 365 days a year

* Visitors must check-in at the corresponding visitor center (Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center, Ash River Visitor center or the Rainy Lake Visitor Center) before going to the site

* Check-in at a visitor center by 2:00 p.m. required; check-out time from the site is 12:00 noon

* Reservations are for 14 consecutive days and no more than 30 in a calendar year

* Reservations must be made through the Internet or telephone number provided; advanced reservations will not be accepted by the park

* All interior campsites are small campsites and follow regular site size limits – overnight use with tents; designed for a maximum of nine people

* Visitors who wish to use the site but do not make a reservation may walk-in to the respective visitor center to check on the site’s availability for the current day. If the site is not reserved, walk-in campers can reserve the sites for the current day only.

Fees generated from the reservations would go towards maintaining the sites and boats on the interior lakes, and managing the system.

You may leave your comments regarding these proposed fees and the reservation system at 218-283-6708. Park officials ask that you be specific about your concerns or questions.

Comments

If the site is not reserved, walk-in campers can reserve the sites for the current day only.

Why is it that one can only make reservations for a multiple night stay through the internet or phone system and not in person?

A good point to raise in comments on this proposal!

Thank you for your question. You may walk into any visitor center and be assisted in reserving sites. We will not refuse this as we are a service agency. We are discouraging it for several reasons. One, you may not get a site by walking in. They may all be reserved. Two, one of the reasons we are moving to a reservation system is due to our limited staffing at the three visitor centers we have. Three, reserving in advance of walking in ensures you have an interior campsite and transportation to get there. Four, if a site is not reserved you may use it by walking in, but due to the system you will need to reserve any future nights past the walk in one.

Hope this helped,

Mike Ward