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Forest Service increases some BWCA motorboat permit limits

2/11/02

Superior National Forest Supervisor Jim Sanders announced his decision to
implement Alternative 2 as described in the Environmental Assessment for
the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Chain of Lakes. This alternative
amends the Forest Plan by increasing the day use motor quotas for Moose
Lake, Saganaga Lake, and Farm Lake entry points and replacing the entry
point at Moose Lake with two new entry points for the purposes of day use
motor quota implementation. The quotas are increased to reflect the quotas
that would have been developed for the 1993 Plan had the 1999 Eighth
Circuit Court's interpretation been used in the original calculation of
quotas.


The original calculations for the 1993 Forest Plan did not include use on
these lakes by residents and resorts and their overnight guests who resided
on these particular lakes since this use was considered to be exempt prior
to the Court's decision. The Court defined particular lake very narrowly,
and said the resident's exemption only applied to the lake where they
lived, not the entire chain of lakes. If the Forest Service's definition
had not been in error, the original day use motor quotas would have been
higher.


Even with this increase in day use motor quotas for these lakes, the total
day use motor levels remain at or below the levels analyzed for the Forest
Plan and well below the 1976-78 use as required by the 1978 BWCA Wilderness
Act. They also allow for less use than took place prior to the 1999 Court
decision when use by homeowners/resort owners and their overnight guests'
use was unlimited.


The increased quotas will be distributed throughout the season, reflecting
seasonal fluctuations that were recorded in 1976-78. All of the permits
will be available to anyone; permits will not be set-aside for the
residents on the lakes who's use was previously exempt. This is consistent
with the way quotas are implemented on BWCAW motor lakes not affected by
this decision.


To ensure the increased day use motor quotas do not lead to use which
exceeds that allowed by law, Forest Service personnel will be monitoring
overall use, checking permits and enforcing compliance with the BWCAW
regulations. If monitoring indicates that average use exceeds the 1976-78
levels, the day use motor quotas will be reevaluated.


A copy of the decision and environmental analysis is available on the web
at www.fs.fed.us/r9/superior or from any Superior National Forest Service
Office. This decision is subject to a 45 administrative appeal period.
Pending no appeals, the earliest this decision could be implemented is
early April.

 

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