Group Camping Lottery

Learn and Explore

The group camping lottery is a program to ensure greater opportunity for campers to have a group experience at the limited sites within Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. A party of 8 to 21 people is considered a group. All groups must use designated group campsites. There are 9 group sites available on 5 islands (Sand, Oak, Basswood, Stockton, & Rocky). Group sites provide more space for the larger group size and basic camping amenities (picnic table, fire ring, bear resistant food locker, & nearby privy). The Lottery allows an equal opportunity for groups to experience the park.

The lottery takes place each year for that calendar year. Private Groups, Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) holders, and Special Use Permit (SUP) holders are eligible to participate in the lottery. After the Group Camping Lottery has been completed, the remaining group campsites are available for reservation for the rest of the calendar year. 


Key Dates

Lottery registration: December 1 through the second Monday in January @ 4:00 pm CST.
Lottery drawing: Lottery call list will be listed here by 12:00 pm CST on the Tuesday prior to the Lottery.
Lottery reservations made: Second Wednesday in January.

Please read through the lottery process on this page before calling. This is only for groups of 8-21 people wishing to use group campsites on the islands.

2021 Lottery Dates and Information

Due to the continued COVID-19 pandemic, the Group Camping Lottery will be delayed for 2021. In keeping with guidance from the CDC and state and local public health authorities, size limits for group camping will be 8-10 people. We encourage groups to be made up of family units to help control the spread of COVID-19.

Lottery registration: February 1, 2021 through Monday, March 8, 2021 @ 4:00 pm CST.
Lottery drawing: After 4pm on Monday, March 8, 2021. Lottery call list will be listed here by 12:00 pm CST on Tuesday, March 9, 2021.
Lottery reservations made: Wednesday, March 10, 2021.
**Note: should the Park office be closed due to inclement weather, we will hold the lottery on the next available business day.**


The Lottery Process:

Definition of key terms:

A lottery is defined as: the process used to generate a list of random names determining the order in which phone calls will be made by park staff to those wishing to obtain group camping permits.

A round is defined as: the attempt to contact each of the participants registered for the lottery. Progressing through the entire list of names constitutes one round.

A group is defined as any party of 8 to 21 individuals that wish to camp within the park. Groups are required to use a single group camp site for each night of camping.

CUA is defined as Commercial Use Authorization. A CUA is required of all businesses, groups, organizations or individuals that provide guided trips and/or services for hire, compensation or reimbursement within the national lakeshore. It is the obligation of the person, business or organization providing guided services to contact the Commercial Services Manager at 715-779-9101 or e-mail us to obtain application materials for this permit. If you are uncertain of your status, call for clarification.

To learn more about the Commercial Use Authorization program or to download an application please go to our Commercial Use Authorization page.

There are two types of lottery participants. When registering for the lottery, each user type has a slightly different requirement. Follow the instructions per user type.

Commercial Services: An outfitter or business that provides guided services for hire or compensation in the park. Such outfitter or business must make camping reservations for the groups they lead.

  • Your business must have a CUA permit for the upcoming season or must have a submitted CUA application upon registering for the lottery. It is your obligation to contact the park for materials needed to apply for a CUA permit. If you are not sure if you need this permit, call for clarification. Contact the Commercial Services Manager at 715-779-9101 or by email. A CUA permit must be obtained before utilizing a camping permit.
  • Important: Once it is confirmed that you are approved for a CUA permit, you will need a commercial account on the camping permit system. Please fill out this form and a camping staff member will set up an account for you. The form may also be used for any changes you need to make to an existing commercial account. Using your own personal account is not permitted. Please contact the visitor center at 715-779-3398, extension 2, with any questions on your commercial account.
  • Group camping reservations must be made by a representative of your business. Customers of your business must not submit name(s) to the lottery. If both your business and your customer(s) hold a CUA permit, only the party providing the guided services will register their name in the lottery. It is prohibited and considered a violation that customers of your business, utilizing your guide services, obtain a camping permit for your business. Violations will be closely monitored and repeat offenders may endure a revocation of their CUA permit.

Private Groups: A nonaffiliated group that does not use the services of a paid/professional guide while in the park. Such groups must make their own camping reservations. Such groups may still use controlled services from outfitters including equipment rental and shuttle opportunities. Accompaniment of a paid/professional guide is prohibited when in the park.

  • An individual or group paying an outfitter to guide them in the park must not register for the lottery. Your guide service will do that for you.

Important Information to Know

  • The fees for group camping is $30 per night as well as a $10 reservation fee for each permit made. Payment by credit card must be made when the reservations are made.

  • Your space in the lottery is not transferable

  • You must talk with staff on the telephone in order to make reservations. If they are unable to reach you after calling twice, your name will be bypassed until the next round. Reservations will NOT be done through email.

  • Those who participate in the lottery must have 8-21 campers when they use the site

  • Change fees apply even if you give the staff member the wrong dates when making the reservation

  • You may obtain up to three permits during each round

  • It is very important for you to know that the responsibility for compliance with permit conditions applies to the applicant, group, organization, and commercial entity that utilizes each permit

  • If you no longer need a permit, please cancel your permit as soon as possible either online through or by calling park staff at 715-779-3397, extension 2. Those sites will then be available for others. Cancellation policy does apply.
  • All remaining Group Campsites are available for reservation after the lottery.

Lottery Registration

Registrations for the Group Camping Lottery will be accepted during regular business hours (8 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday), from December 1 through 4:00 pm CST of the second Monday in January before the lottery. See Key Dates for each year's specific dates.
To register, call 715-779-3397, extension 2.

While calling the park to register for the lottery, participants will need to:

  • Provide only one individual's name that will be available to make the reservations

  • Provide your business name, if applicable

  • Provide an email address that will be used to make reservations (if you are a business and do not recall your email used, ask the staff member to look it up)

  • Provide up to two telephone numbers of where the individual can be contacted at

  • Provide a unique identifier so you can easily, but confidentially, locate your position in the lottery. Such as Red3397, BWH, etc.


Reservation Day

  • Park staff will begin contacting lottery participants on lottery day (see Key Dates) at 8:30 am CST until the 12:00 pm, then from 12:30 pm until 4:00 pm CST. If the lottery is not completed by 4:00 pm then it will continue the following day at the same times.
    • If the park office is closed due to inclement weather, reservation calls will be made on the next business day the office is open.
  • Lottery participants will need to have the dates, sites, and estimated group size ready when the staff calls to make reservations. It is best to have a second itinerary in case the sites are not available. This will help speed up the process of making reservations. **Make sure to have the correct dates of your trip**
  • If your telephone is busy when you are called, or if there is no answer, we will either call a second telephone number (if one is provided) or wait five minutes and try again. If, at that time your telephone is busy or unanswered, your name will be bypassed until the next round.

  • When staff calls you, you may make up to three group camping reservations. If you wish to make additional reservations, tell the staff member and you will be called again in the next round. The order determined by the drawing will apply for each round.

After the Lottery - Getting Your Permit

  • You must either print your permit yourself or pick up your permit in person at the Bayfield Visitor Center or Little Sand Bay Visitor Center when they are open. In order to print your permit online, you will need to sign into your account profile at It is recommended to print the permit closer to the start of your trip.

  • Each camping party in the park must have the camping permit in their possession. The confirmation email is NOT your permit. All campers are responsible for knowing, following, and adhering to all park rules and regulations. The common rules and regulations for camping are printed with the permit.

  • If you no longer need a permit, please cancel your permit as soon as possible either online through or by calling park staff at 715-779-3397, extension 2. Those sites will then be available for others. Cancellation policy does apply.

2021 Lottery Call List

Lottery Call List will be posted by 12:00 pm CST on Tuesday, March 9, 2021.

Look for your identifier (initials, number, etc.). We will call participants in this order starting at 8:30 am CST Wednesday, March 10, 2021. Please have a trip plan(s) ready, with alternate sites, as you will be selecting your sites when we call. Payment is due in full at the time of the reservation. You may reserve up to three permits in one call. We will then circle through the lottery numbers again if you wish to reserve more permits. Any remaining group sites for 2021 will be released after the completion of the lottery.

**Note: should the Park office be closed due to inclement weather, we will hold the lottery on the next available business day.**

2021 Group Lottery Call List

  1. Sam102


  1. Barn0661

  1. Billkayak

  1. KRAB

  1. AO715

  1. Benjamin

  1. RSOP

  1. AltemusJB

  1. 3148

  1. Mojo

  1. Adrian

  1. SOEI

  1. 1130

  1. Cat

  1. Peter

  1. WI1978

  1. audreysmith33

  1. AURI

  1. Zuma

  1. DANM

  1. 1998

  1. POCK

  1. Scho

  1. Hike with Mike

  1. Shuffs

  1. Stockton

  1. LCA

  1. Fox8

  1. Ashreg

  1. Liquid Adventuring

  1. Reedster

  1. Kkayaker

  1. VOBS

  1. TNT


  1. B-RYE

  1. Whit

  1. Sunrise Superior

Last updated: March 8, 2021

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Mailing Address:

415 Washington Avenue
Bayfield, WI 54814


(715) 779-3397

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