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Public Comment Sought on Day Use Motor Quotas in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Superior National Forest News Release
8901 Grand Avenue Place
Duluth, MN 55808

June 20, 2000 Contact: Bob Kari, Team Leader (218)365-7600

The Superior National Forest invites public comment on day use motor quotas for Moose, Saganaga, and South Farm lakes in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

 The Forest Service has initiated an analysis to determine if quotas on these lakes should change in response to an Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling.  The ruling changed the Forest Service's interpretation of Section 4(f) of the 1978 BWCAW Act, which states "the quota established for any one year shall not exceed the average annual motorboat use of the Calendar Years 1976, 1977, and 1978 for each lake" andprovided further, that on each lake, homeowners and their guests and resort owners and their quests on that particular lake shall have access to the particular lake and their entry shall not be counted in determining such use." The Forest Service interpreted "that particular lake" to include 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 Lakes.

Homeowners/resorts and their guests were considered exempt on these chains.  They did not need a day use motor permit to access the wilderness lakes in the chain; and their use was not counted when the total amount of public use was calculated to determine what the upper limit of the quota would be.

The court ruled that "that particular lake" meant individual lakes and not lake chains which means that the homeowners/resorts and their guests are exempt from needing a day use motor permit to access ONLY the specific lake on which they live; they must obtain a day use motor permit for use of the other wilderness lakes in a particular chain.

The Forest Service has recalculated the average annual use from 1976-78 by including the use from homeowners/resort owners and their guests who are no longer considered exempt under the court ruling. This changes the upper limit or "cap" of day use motor permit quotas allowed by law. The analysis considers whether the existing quotas, which are no longer at the "cap", should be changed. An information package, including maps of the affected areas and a comment sheet, are available on the Forest web site at: or at any Superior National Forest office. Comments are due by August 18, 2000 and should be sent to District Ranger, ATTN: Chain of Lakes, Kawishiwi District, 118 South 4th Avenue East, Ely, MN 55731.

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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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Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness