Voyageurs National Park Regulations

Frequently Asked Questions


Who needs an overnight permit?

Anyone staying in the park overnight.

Can I get a permit after hours? Where are the permit boxes?

Yes. Permit boxes are located at:

  • each NPS boat launch near the visitor centers and the Crane Lake Ranger station
  • the Minnesota DNR boat launch in Crane Lake
  • Woodenfrog State Forest Campground

Visitor can also get permits at each visitor center.

When do visitors need to get a permit?


Can I park my car at a visitor center overnight?

Yes. Visitors can park their cars overnight at a visitor center for the duration of their stay. Occupied RVs cannot park overnight in visitor center parking lots.

Are personal watercraft allowed in the park?

No. Personal watercraft were banned from Voyageurs National Park in 1999.

Are there any motor restrictions for boats in the park?

No. As long as your boat and motor comply with state and federal regulations. However, personal watercraft (e.g. jet skis) are prohibited in the park.

Where can visitors register boats?

The only facility nearby to obtain boat registration is the License Bureau in International Falls. It is open Monday through Friday.

Do all boats need to have a Minnesota registration?

All boats must display current MN registration except:

  • Watercraft currently registered in another state and not kept in MN for more than 90 consecutive days
  • Non-motorized boats nine feet in length or less
  • Rice boats during wild rice harvest season
  • US Government boats

Where is overnight docking allowed in the park?

Visitors may dock overnight at developed campsites and houseboat sites and/or 200 yards away from a developed site. Houseboats may overnight at Kettle Falls at the designated houseboat sites; there is one in each basin.
Visitors may not dock overnight at the visitor centers or day use sites.

Where is snowmobiling allowed?

Snowmobiling is allowed on the frozen lake surfaces and designated safety portages. Snowmobilers are encouraged to stay on the groomed trails to avoid slush.

Why is snowmobiling allowed in Voyageurs?

Snowmobiling is allowed in Voyageurs because it is a use designated in the park’s enabling legislation.

What is the speed limit on park snowmobile trails?

45 mph on trails and 25mph on safety portages

What is the speed limit outside the park?

The speed limit on State trails is 50mph.

Do I need a permit?

People planning to ride on any state or grant-in-aid snowmobile trail in Minnesota starting in 2006 are required to purchase a Minnesota Snowmobile State Trail sticker for their machine. State legislators passed the new sticker law during the 2005 legislative session. The law went into effect October 1. The trail sticker costs $16 for an annual permit and $31 for a three-year sticker; the price includes a $1 filing fee. The annual permit will only be valid from November 1 through April 30 of each year. Anyone caught without a valid trail sticker will be required to purchase an annual permit at the price of the three-year permit, which is $31. The annual Minnesota Snowmobile State Trail sticker can be purchased from a deputy registrar or any of the 1,800 electronic licensing agents throughout Minnesota, by telephone at 888-665-4236, or through the Department of Natural Resources web site at The three-year sticker may only be purchased during snowmobile registration at a deputy registrar office, through the mail to the DNR at 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155, or with an online renewal at A $3.50 convenience fee will be added to stickers purchased by telephone or online at

Do Out-of-State visitors need a State Trail Sticker?

Visitors do not need to register the snowmobile if it is currently registered in another state and not kept in Minnesota for more than 30 consecutive days.

Are dogs allowed in the park?

Dogs are only allowed at developed areas, such as visitor centers, and at overnight or day use sites. Dogs are not allowed on park trails or portages. Dogs must be on a leash and attended at all times. They cannot be tied up outside the Kettle Falls Hotel and left unattended.

Why aren't dogs allowed on trails?

Dogs are not allowed on park trails because they can disturb wildlife and could potentially spread disease. Dogs can also disturb other visitors.

Do we have to report to customs if we boat into Canada?

  • Yes. Customs requires visitors to report to a Canadian customs office before they go ashore in Canada.
  • Canadian Customs offices are located at Portage Bay on Sand Point Lake and Sand Bay on Rainy Lake.
  • When returning to the U.S. visitors must report to a U.S. Customs office.
  • U.S. Customs offices are located at the Crane Lake Public Landing or at the International Falls Bridge.
  • Visitors can get a remote border crossing permit (for Canada) and an I-68 card (United States) in advance that will allow them to cross the border without going through customs – see following question.

When on the water, can I enter into Canada without going through Customs?

Maybe. If visitors have a CANPASS (Remote Area Border Crossing (RABC) Permit) then they do not have to go through Customs. If they do not have a RABC then they must go through a Customs office when entering Canada and re-entering the United States. Visitors can obtain a RABC in person or by mail. Additional information (how, fees, etc.) and a mail-in form is at the end of the ‘R’ section. You can copy it for visitors.

What is required for a U.S. citizen to visit Canada and then return to the U.S.?

Beginning January 31, 2008, U.S. and Canadian citizens 19 years and older who enter the U.S. at land and sea ports of entry will need to present a government-issued passport OR a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license as proof of identity, along with proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or naturalization certificate. Starting in June 2009 everyone will need a passport to enter the United States. Verbal claims of citizenship and identity alone will not be sufficient to establish identity and citizenship for entry into the U.S.

Can we cut wood for campfires?

You can only use dead and downed wood for firewood. You may not cut down live trees or dead standing trees or any other type of live vegetation. Some sites are labeled No Wood Gathering. At these sites no wood – dead and downed included – may be gathered for firewood. Encourage campers to buy firewood locally and take it in with them.

Can we bring wood for a campfire?

No. In an attempt to avoid the spread of exotic forest pests, visitors can only bring in firewood from within a 50 mile radius of the park. There are approved firewood vendors in the park’s gateway communities.

What is the speed limit on the ice road?


Is ice fishing allowed in the park?

Yes. Anglers must have a Minnesota State fishing license and following Minnesota fishing regulations.

Are power augers allowed?


When a visitor is spear fishing, can he/she cut holes through the ice with a chainsaw?

Yes. (Please note: A chainsaw cannot be used to cut trees.)

What requires a fee in the park?

  • Boats on Interior Lakes (BOIL) - $10/boat/day
  • Tour boat programs & north canoe programs
  • Group Campsites - $35/night
  • Cross-country skis – Adults are $5.00 per day between the hours of 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Wednesday through Sundays. Children’s skis are free.

Where can I go fishing?

You can fish anywhere in the park. Anglers must possess a Minnesota State fishing license. If visitors want to fish in Canadian waters they must have a Canadian fishing license.

Which fishing regulations apply within the park?

Minnesota fishing regulations

When is opening day for Walleye?

Opening day is usually the second Saturday in May.

Do I need a fishing license to fish in the park?

Yes. Visitors planning to fish need a Minnesota State fishing license.

How much does a fishing license cost?

In 2007, Resident licenses range from $9.50 to $39.50. Non-resident licenses range from $9.50 to $47.00.

Where can I buy a fishing license?

The park newspaper, Rendezvous, lists area resorts that sell fishing licenses. In addition to the listings in the Rendezvous, visitors can buy fishing licenses at many local businesses:
Rainy – The Outdoorsman, Rainy Lake One Stop, Loon’s Nest

Kabetogama – Gateway Store
Ash River – Jim’s General Store
Crane Lake – seeking answer

Are horses allowed in the park?


Can I hunt in the park?

No. Hunting is not allowed in Voyageurs National Park or any other national park.