Stauber Legislation to Require Boundary Waters Canoe Area Reservation System to Move Back to the Lottery System
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Pete Stauber (MN-08) introduced legislation to return the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) reservation portal on recreation.gov for nonmotorized and motorized boats back to the effective lottery system in place prior to the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) changing it to a first-come, first-serve basis. The Letting Outdoor Tourism Thrive for Every Recreation Year (LOTTERY) Act would require the USFS to switch the current first-come, first-serve reservation system back to a lottery system by 2020. Originally set for a re-launch today, the USFS has delayed it for another week.
Of his legislation, Stauber stated, “Many people were concerned when the USFS made the ill-advised decision to forego the successful lottery system for a first-come, first-serve online system, and rightfully so. When the new reservation system crashed, my office was inundated with calls from constituents who were worried about the severe impact on their small business and the local economy, which is heavily dependent on tourism. The small businesses also expressed frustration that the USFS didn’t listen to their initial concerns and weren’t taking the users seriously.”
Stauber followed, stating, “The haphazard change to the BWCA reservation system is yet another example of unelected government bureaucrats making decisions that hinder rather than help small businesses and our way of life. Federal agencies should always put the needs of the people first. I am proud to introduce the LOTTERY Act to address this undue burden. This is what the people of Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District want, and I am happy to deliver.”
The USFS ignored public input from cooperators and visitors before recreation.gov crashed on January 30th, with only about 1,400 permits allocated. In response to this crisis, Congressman Stauber held a forum in Ely to give local business owners and outfitters the chance to express their concerns.
The USFS stated that the relaunch of the BWCA system would be February 27th. Citing continuation of “website testing and conducting training with cooperators,” the USFS announced that the relaunch date has been delayed again to March 4th.