Park Regulations

To better serve visitors and protect the park, Federal and state laws and regulations have been put in place for everyone's enjoyment and safety. Below is a list of commonly asked regulation questions.

For more information please see the Superintendent's Compendium.


Do not destroy or collect natural or cultural resources in the park. For example, do not collect, damage, or destroy any plants, animals, rocks, artifacts, historic objects, driftwood, flowers, or pine cones.

You may harvest up to one gallon of berries for personal consumption.

Backcountry/Interior Lakes

To prevent the spread of invasive species that can be found in other areas of the park, please note the following:
  • Use artifical bait only
  • No privately-owned watercraft
  • No aircraft landings


Are allowed on a leash in developed areas (around visitor centers, boat launch ramps, picnic areas, campsites), on the four main lakes, and along park entrance roads.

Pets are NOT allowed on park trails (except the Rainy Lake Recreation Trail) or in the backcountry. This rule is in place to protect park wildlife and your pet.


Do not harass or feed wildlife. Observe wildlife quietly from a distance. Do not disturb wildlife, especially breeding or nesting birds, or adult animals with young.


Respect public use closures. Check at visitor centers and boat launch ramp bulletin boards for areas that have been closed to protect visitors, wildlife, and other sensitive resources. Closed areas are posted with signs. When in doubt, ask a park ranger.


Hunting is not allowed.


Know Canadian and U.S. Customs and fishing regulations before you cross the border.

Quiet Hours

10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m


Use a camp stove or build campfires in established metal fire rings only. Never leave a fire unattended. Drown and stir all campfires with water. If ashes are still warm to the touch, they may still start a fire. Collecting wood for campfires is allowed on if the wood is DEAD and DOWNED.

Do not cut down any tree in the park, living or dead, for firewood.

Chainsaws are prohibited except when being used to cut ice fishing holes.

Do not burn trash.

Day Use

Visitors may stop and enjoy Day Use sites throughout the park.

Visitors may not stay overnight at a Day Use site. These sites are marked with a picnic table icon on National Geographic Maps.

Amenities at these sites include a picnic table, fire ring, and privy.

Day Use is allowed at reservable tent sites between the hours of noon and 2:00 p.m. only if the site is not occupied.

Day Use is not allowed at Houseboat sites.


Firearms are typically allowed in the park with some exceptions. It is the visitor's responsibility to understand and comply with all applicable state, local, and Federal firearms laws.

Black Bears

Visitors are often surprised to discover bears will swim from place to place. While black bears are found throughout the park, by nature, they do not seek out people.

Always remember to keep your distance when encountering a bear. Here's how you can have a safe and enjoyable visit:
  • All food, garbage, scented items, and equipment used to cook, needs to be stored in a vehicle, metal bear-proof food locker, or hung 10-feet high and 4-feet out from a pole or tree.
Coolers wil not protect food from black bears. Bears are strong, and placing a rock or other heavy item atop your cooler will not keep them out.

Improperly stored food has drawn bears to campsites and houseboats, resulting in property damage and an increased risk to human safety.

Filleted Fish

When fishing in or traveling on Kabetogama, Namakan, Sand Point, and Rainy Lakes, you cannot possess filleted fish because these lakes are classified as experimental waters.

Minnesota fishing regulations state "when on or fishing experimental, special, border, or other waters with size restrictions different from the statewide regulations, all fish for which that regulation applies must have their heads, tails, fins, and skin intact."

If you are camping in the park and want to bring fish home, the fish must stay measurable until you reach the boat landing. There are two ways to do this:
  1. Gut and gill the fish to keep them measurable.
  2. Bring a live box to keep your fish until you plan to leave.
Live fish can be transported, and when you get off the water they can be filleted at that time.

Overnight Stays

All tent and Houseboat camping requires an advanced reservation prior to arrival at the park.

Visitors may make a reservation by going on-line at or by calling the National Call Center at (877) 444-6777.

Boating Guidelines

Minnesota state law requires all watercraft (including canoes and kayaks) to have one wearable United States Coast Guard (USCG) approved personal flotation device (PFD) on board and accessible for each person.

The State of Minnesota requires all children under 10 years of age to wear a life jacket when in a recreational boat.

When swimming around or behind boats, always make certain engines and generators are turned off to prevent toxic gas exposure.

When moving, passengers should be seated. Riding on the bow or gunwale is prohibited.

Boating Checklist:
  • A wearable life preserver readily accessible per person
  • Type IV throwable cushion
  • Navigation maps
  • Navigation lights at night
  • Whistle or horn
  • Anchor and paddles or oars
  • Spare propeller
  • Flashlight and first aid kit


Call 911, cellular phones may not work in the park, phones are located near all visitor centers, and park rangers monitor marine band 16 for emergencies during business hours.

For More Information

Contact the Chief of Visitor and Resource Protection or view the Superintendent's Compendium.

Last updated: January 19, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Voyageurs National Park Headquarters
360 Hwy 11 East

International Falls, MN 56649



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