Huron-Manistee changes river permit reservations

CADILLAC — If you wish to float the Pere Marquette or Pine Wild and Scenic Rivers on the Huron-Manistee National Forests next year, you need to know about changes coming in the Forest Service permit system.

Beginning in 2014, permits may be reserved online or by phone through the National Recreation Reservation System (NRRS). The new process will begin when the 2014 watercraft permits go on sale in January 2014.

NRRS is a one-stop reservation resource for recreation facilities and activities offered by the USDA Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Reclamation. NRRS is currently used for other Forest Service river permits reservations systems across the country.

Currently, the cost to reserve a permit is $2 per watercraft per river segment (there are three different permitted segments on the Pere Marquette River). Under NRRS, the permit per watercraft will remain $2; however, a $6 fee will be charged for each reservation, regardless of the number of permits reserved. An individual may reserve up to 8 watercraft permits per day.

For example, if you wish to reserve four watercraft permits, the cost would be 4 X $2 = $8, plus the $6 reservation fee, for a total of $14.

Reservations will only be taken online or by phone through NRRS; however, the offices of the Huron-Manistee will still take walk-ins on that day if there are permits available. Reservations may be made online at or by phone at 1-877-444-6777.

A watercraft permit has been required since the late 1970s on the Pine and Pere Marquette Rivers from mid-May through mid-September. This helps control the number of vessels on the river each day to reduce overcrowding and protect the natural resources.

For more information, contact a Forest Service office:

Baldwin: 231-745-4631

Cadillac: 231-775-2421

Manistee: 231-723-2211