Voyageurs National Park’s Tent Camping Reservations Start November 15 For The 2015 Summer Season

Park staff would like to remind all visitors that tent camping reservations are now required for all tent campsites within Voyageurs National Park. 10454354_10152676977635229_8279861148445019613_o

The park is currently in the Low Use Season: September 16 through May 14, where there is a $10 charge for the use of but no fee for the site. Visitors to Voyageurs National Park must have a reservation and permit, in hand, prior to entering and tent camping in the park.

The park’s High Use Season - May 15, 2015 through September 15, 2015 requires a tent camping reservation and permit, in hand, for any tent campsite within the park. Fees apply.  Visitors may go to to make a reservation starting Saturday, November 15, 2014 at 10:00 am EST for the 2015 High Use Season.

If a visitor would like to tent camp the day they enter the park, a reservation must be made in advance. does not reserve same day reservations.  Questions may be asked at visitor centers but reservations are highly encouraged in advance.  The park is working on installing self-help kiosks at visitor centers for the summer season.

Visitors may make reservations by going online at or by calling the National Call Center at 877-444-6777. Reminder – Ask for Permits & Wilderness, not Camping.

Secrets of Voyageurs - The Night Sky

It's a good time of year for reflection, so our staff decided to share some of the things that we love about Voyageurs National Park with you. Please comment and share your favorite stories from visiting Voyageurs with us! Voyageurs National Park is well known for its pristine lakes and big fish! But after the sun has set for the evening, and you've eaten a few s'mores, it is definitely worth leaving the warmth of your tent to enjoy the beauty of the night sky. Grab a chair and a blanket, and spend some time enjoying the majesty of nature.


Unlike at home, where the night sky might be harder to see because of city lights, it's quite dark at the park at night, so the stars appear brilliantly lit. And as you marvel at them, just imagine how the light that you are seeing from distant stars can be thousands, or even millions, of years old.

Experts recommend that you use a red headlamp or flashlight, since it won't spoil your night vision. It's helpful to bring a star chart with you, and you may want to use binoculars, but with the naked eye, you can see the Milky Way stretching out above you. (Here's how to find it, if you're not sure.) Sometimes, you may see planets, or the craters of the moon. (There are also many great apps for learning about the night sky on your phone.)

As you relax and enjoy the stars, you might glimpse a shooting star, (a meteor) as it streaks across the sky. These are actually small amounts of matter from outer space. As they enter the atmosphere, friction heats them up, and they appear as a streak of light.

Meteors can frequently be seen in the park. In fact, tonight, October 22, is actually a great night for seeing them, as the Orionid Meteor Shower will be happening in the early morning hours.

Shawn Thompson

It's amazing what night sky photography has captured in the park, such as in the image above by Shawn Thompson. Here, you can see the stars as they appear to rotate in the sky over time (that's from the rotation of the earth). And if you look closely, you can just make out the colorful streaks of the Northern Lights (the aurora borealis) on the horizon.

Sometimes, at Voyageurs National Park, you can even see the Northern Lights in all their spectacular glory. We held a photo contest over the summer, and we were stunned by some of the images visitors had taken of these shimmering lights!

Bruce Bergeron

These lights, which appear to dance in the night sky, are caused by interactions between the Earth's magnetic field and disturbances on the surface of the sun. It's not possible to predict exactly when and where you might see the aurora borealis, but it is more likely when you are further north - and of course, the night sky needs to be dark and clear. Scientists also use the Kp index, which ranges from 0-9, to represent the level of solar activity that is happening at a given time. The higher the Kp index is, and the further north you are at the time, the more likely it is that you might see the aurora borealis in the night sky. The Geophysical Institute in Alaska provides an aurora forecast using this information.

Shawn Thompson

There's another sky phenomenon to keep an eye out for tomorrow, but this one will happen during the day. You can see the new moon partially eclipsing the sun during the afternoon hours on October 23, 2014. Remember, you must use proper eye protection when watching a partial eclipse to prevent blindness or eye injury. Here's how to safely watch a partial solar eclipse, and the time when the eclipse will happen where you live.

Lastly, sunsets, and the night sky, are even better when enjoyed with family and friends. If you're visiting the park with kids, be sure to check out the Junior Ranger Night Sky Activity Guide (PDF).

Have fun out there!

Jessica Fritz

P.S. If you love Voyageurs National Park as much as we do, please Save the Date for Give to the Max Day - which is November 13 this year.

Or, if you'd like to learn more about the park, and you live in the Twin Cities, come to our free event on November 6 - Antlers, Fangs & Fur. You'll enjoy Dr. Steve Windels' stories of studying moose, wolves, and beaver in Voyageurs National Park. The event begins at 5:30 at REI in Bloomington. We'll be serving hot cider and appetizers from Whole Foods Market until the presentation begins at 6 p.m.

Teen Ambassadors Return from Paddling Voyageurs

Our national parks are outstanding outdoor classrooms that allow students of all ages to make lasting connections to our natural world. DSCN0013This July, Voyageurs National Park Association worked with the National Park Service and Wilderness Inquiry to send 16 National Park Teen Ambassadors to Voyageurs for a five-day learning expedition.

Most of these young people, who are from the Twin Cities and communities near the park, had never had the opportunity to paddle, camp, or visit the park before.

They had so much fun, gained great confidence, and returned home excited to share their stories and their love of this incredible place. It’s amazing to see how the experience enriched their lives – and it’s our hope that among this group may be the park stewards of the future.

10550185_686425187615_586935509640826770_oVoyageurs is best experienced on the water, and these teens spent many days on or in it. Whether paddling to their campsite or to see a giant floating bog, the large Wilderness Inquiry canoes were their primary mode of transportation, not unlike the park's namesake Voyageur canoes hundreds of years ago.

And while their days were busy meeting park staff and exploring, back at camp, time was always left for a dip in Kabetogama Lake at the end of the day.

As Ranger Melissa Carlson observed, "I 10547870_686425482025_1038371927999178198_oenjoyed hearing about their evenings in camp. They heard loons and owls calling, went swimming, played games, star gazed, and even had a black bear visit camp. Watching this group of strangers come together over the week and see them head home with new friends and great memories was inspiring. The power of nature and being unplugged is undeniable."

Exploring the park was just part of the experience. The teens were able to connect with each other as well. "Some of the people I met, they were pretty extraordinary. And the things we did in camp, like the games and everything," said Angel Anderson.

10628639_686426185615_2640974334899507308_o"It's fun and you get to meet interesting people from all over the state and you get to watch the pretty view and scenery and you get to see animals," said Maly Lee.

To be successful for years to come, we know that it is crucial to engage young people in our National Parks. We want to be sure that young people from Minnesota who have never had the opportunity to paddle, camp, or explore our park have the chance to do so.

This program is made possible by the generosity of our program partners and supporters. You can help, by making a gift to support the Teen Ambassador program.

Thank you!

Click here to see more photos from the 2014 Teen Ambassador trip.

Contact our office to learn more about this program at or calling 612-333-5424 (or sign up for our email newsletter.) We'll let you know when we are recruiting students for next summer's program.

Voyageurs National Park’s Water Levels Receding; Reopening of Closed Campsites

The waters within Voyageurs National Park have receded in some areas of the park allowing park staff to repair and clean previously closed campsites and trails. The following areas will reopen starting Monday, July 21, 2014. Kabetogama Lake:

All campsites

Happy Landing (K11) continues to be closed through August 1, 2014 due to eagles nesting

Namakan Lake:

All campsites

Hammer Bay South closed through the 2014 season due to necessary long term repairs

Sand Point Lake:

All campsites


All campsites

All day use

All trails

The waters on Rainy Lake continue daily to recede. However, water levels are still two to three feet above park docks so campsites with docks remain closed until further notice.  Please note, there are over 130 small and large campsites and houseboat sites open and ready for visitors on Rainy Lake!

Visitors who wish to rebook reservations for campsites or backcountry boat rentals may do so starting July 21, 2014 at

For updates and or changes to this press release please visit the park’s website at

Photo of roasting marshmallow by Nina Hale, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Voyageurs National Park’s Campsite Reservation Program Is Underway

Voyageurs National Park’s new reservation/fee amenity program is up and running on The 51 campsites on the reservation system are filling fast. Don't miss your opportunity to reserve yours! Here's how to find and reserve a campsite using the new system:

  • Where it says "Search for places and activities" choose Voyageurs National Park.
  • Select "Permits and Wilderness."
  • Then, select the area you are interested in.

You may also make a reservation using the National Call Center at 877-444-6777. Just ask for "permits."