BWCA boat registration

I see that MN requires canoes to be registered. Is this the case for folks coming from out of state, who’s home state does not require registration? If so, is there any way to do this before I arrive in MN?

Thanks in advance for the replies.


Here’s a link
to MN watercraft registration information:

I’m not sure it has an on-line registration (except for new boats), but there is a universal registration form pdf that can be filled out and mailed in.

Register at the ranger station

– Last Updated: Aug-16-06 1:17 PM EST –

MN requires out of state people to register the boat if the home state doesn't. You can usually register at the ranger station when you pick up your permit. But it probably is a good idea to call ahead.

For the replies

MN Registration
Call the MN DOT or DNR to find out, but I never heard of registering your canoe at the rangers’ station. I don’t believe that is accurate information.

Likewise, check about mailing in a registration. As far as I know, you must register a newly registered boat (canoe, kayak, etc.) in person at either the motor vehicle place (where you register your car) or the DNR License Center in St. Paul. Although, it certainly looks like you can do it by mail with that “Universal registration form”, so maybe I’m wrong.

You can RENEW online. They also send you a card that you can mail in to renew as well. BUT if it is a new registration you have to do it in person. The exception is if you buy the canoe from a retail dealer, then they can take care of that for you (just like buying a car).

Minnesota does honor other states registrations. If your state does not require canoe registration you may be able to do so voluntarily. Wisconsin is that way. Many folks figure they rather have the money going to their home state rather than MN. But then again, MN is cheaper than WI.

Check it out. I don’t want you to get burned by inaccurate internet info.

At Ely
At the Intl. Wolf Center - where you pick up permits there’s a sign on the kiosk that says you can register your boat there, but it may not be at all ranger stations. That’s why I said call ahead.

BWCA registration
You might also want to consider that Minnesota DNR staff do NOT patrol in the BWCA and that the feds could care less.

The truth is, although I live in Illinois, I register my boats in Minnesota bacause the money there actually goes toward canoe access and facilities.

Steve Baker

Another possibility…
My home state does not require canoes to be registered either, however, they do allow you to register them as a boat if you wish. $15.00 for 3 years registration and that covers you in MN… Check with your local Revenue Office and see if they will allow you to do the same. Otherwise you can contact the MN Dept. of Motor Vehicles and do it by mail. Cost is around $24.00.


Federal land
stevebaker makes an excellent point. Since the BWCAW is federal land, does the MN registration requirement apply?

never mind
I just called the Ranger station in Ely and they said that registration is required.

MN Registration
Always registered my boats in MN even though I live in MO because if you use a MN registration all you need is the sticker. If your boat is registered in your home state you’re supposed to also have the state abreviation and registration numbers. Easier to just get the MN sticker in Ely or Grand Marais. Haven’t been up there in two years, but I doubt things have changed. WW

Ely canoe regis.
Our canoes are registered in WI for the times we want to take them into a state like MN which requires registration. WI does not require it for canoes, but allows it - $9.00 for 3 years. No numbers, just a sticker and paper documentation. I don’t want the sticker attached, so I just carry it all with me. I’ve never had to take it out and show anybody…

Cheap compliance with the law, I guess.

cYa, Jim

I don’t feel compliant with MN law when
Minnesota paddlers come to Georgia and paddle our rivers for free. Minnesota has bought into a system of “reciprocal” boat registration that was designed for powerboats and then applied to canoes and kayaks to siphon money to the wrong uses.

I have been to Minnesota recently, and I have perused their websites, and I do not see any indication that registration from canoes and kayaks goes toward canoe and kayak access. Anyone from Minnesota want to provide evidence to the contrary?

siphon money to the wrong uses
Yeah, MN is a strange place. The largest chunk of the state motor vehicle sales tax goes to the general fund instead of transportation/highways.

Tell ya what - I won’t come down and paddle your lakes and rivers for free if you don’t come up here…

I’m going to come up there and poach!