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Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, October 11, 2001

The Forest Service has issued its Chain of Lakes Environmental Assessment (EA) regarding the effects of increasing the day use motor permit quotas for Moose, Saganaga and Farm Lakes entry points into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).

The EA applies to the following lake chains: the Moose Chain, consisting of Moose, Newfound and Sucker Lakes ; the South Farm Chain, consisting of White Iron, Farm Garden and South Farm Lakes ; and the Saganaga Chain, consisting of Saganaga Lake , Seagull River and Gull Lake .

In the EA, the Forest Service proposes significant increases in motor quotas. Of the four alternatives proposed, the Forest Service is recommending Alternative 2, which sets quotas at the maximum potential level.  The Friends opposes the proposed action and believes that Alernative 1 (No Action) best protects the wilderness. You are urged to send your comments to the Forest Service by tomorrow, October 12, 2001 .  Please draw upon your own experience in those lake chains and feel free to include some of the following points: 

1) Motorboats are not compatible with wilderness.  The Forest Service’s Alternative 2 (Proposed Action) will have the greatest negative impact on wilderness values by nearly tripling the number of boats allowed in the BWCAW, while Alternative 1 (No Action) will have the least impact.  Demand for motor permits should never compromise the quality of the wilderness.

2) Setting quotas at maximum levels is contrary to the intent of the BWCA Wilderness Act, which sought to protect the unique environment of the BWCAW by reducing motor use.

3) Increasing motor use on these chains will only further discourage canoeists from using them and make it more difficult for outfitters trying to transition from motors to canoes. 

A copy of the EA is available from any Superior National Forest Service office.  Comments may be submitted to: District Ranger, Kawishiwi District, 118 S. 4th Avenue East , Ely , MN 55731 or by e-mail to

Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness

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Motor Quota Archives:

June 20 2000

Moose Lake Chain

October 11, 2001

Chain of Lakes Motor Usage


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