The statistics for the 2011 permit lottery have come from the Forest Service and they're interesting! There were 9,189 applications for permits this year - that's for the whole BWCA, not just the Gunflint side - 132 more than last year. A lot of them - almost half - were for day use motor permits, and about half of them didn't get their permits. There were 3099 overnight paddle permits awarded and only 28 didn't get permits.
We also got a list from the Forest Service showing where and when permits were used in 2010 on the Gunflint Trail entry points. August is definitely the busiest month. In May there were 456 permits, June 901, July 1142, August 1619, and September 326. One of our most popular entry points, Lizz Lake, breaks down with 21 permits in May, 87 June, 102 July, 114 in August and 43 September. If you want to avoid the crowds - I guess September is the perfect time!
We enjoyed the thaw this week but did not enjoy the brisk winds that ended it. The National Weather Service has a new symbol for days like Thursday and Friday - a whole row of wind turbines with the word "Blustery" under them. That about covers it - there was a LOT of wind and a little snow just to polish the ice. We still have a couple feet of snow on the ground - wet snow during the thaw, crusty hard snow now. Plenty of winter left ahead, I guess!