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Pere Marquette River Permit Policy

  • Each reservation is limited to a maximum of 8 watercraft.
  • A maximum of four reserved trip dates, made one at a time, including a holiday weekend, per person, will be allowed.
  • Watercraft permits are required for all watercraft, including tubes, from the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend through the Monday of Labor Day Weekend for a fee of $2.
  • Watercraft hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Much of the river corridor is privately owned. Use only public sites for rest stops. Respect private property.
  • Each watercraft occupant must have a personal flotation device (PFD), children 6 and under must wear a PFD at all times.
  • Camping and campfires at designated sites only.
  • Fireworks, nudity, glass bottles and styrofoam are not permitted.

Make a Reservation: Combination of Watercraft

For a permit including a combination of watercraft on the Pere Marquette, please review the new watercraft values below.
After selecting "Combination of Watercraft" from the drop-down menu at the left (under "Find Permits"), the system will prompt you to enter the number of "Watercraft." The new reservation system has assigned a value to each type of watercraft. You will need to total your watercraft according to the following new values:
  • 1 kayak equals 1 kayak
  • 1 canoe equals 2 canoes
  • 1 raft equals 4 rafts
  • 1 driftboat equals 2 driftboats
  • 1 tandem kayak equals 2 tandem kayaks
  • 1 tube equals 1 tube
In order to deplete the permit quota accurately, each watercraft must be represented by these new values. Remember, each reservation is limited to a maximum of 8 watercraft. Your fee will be calculated using the actual number of watercraft.

Examples of Combination Watercraft Trips

Example A: I have 1 kayak and 2 canoes. What should I enter when asked how many watercraft I have?
Answer: You have 5 watercraft. One kayak is equal to 1 kayak in the quota system; you do not need to make adjustments to the one kayak. However, because you want to bring 2 canoes, this is equal to 4 canoes in the quota system. The total is 1 kayak plus 4 canoes, which equals 5 total watercraft.

Example B: We have family coming this summer and want to float the Pere Marquette with 1 tube, 1 driftboat and 1 raft. What is our total of watercraft?
Answer: You have 7 watercraft. The 1 tube you have will continue to be equal to 1 tube in the quota. The 1 drift boat will equal 2 driftboats in the quota. Finally, the 1 raft will equal 4 rafts in the quota. Your total watercraft will be 1 tube, plus 2 driftboats, plus 4 rafts, totaling 7 watercraft.

Example C: My friends and I want to tandem kayak and canoe the Pere Marquette. We have 3 tandem kayaks and 1 canoe. What should we enter for our total watercraft?
Answer: You have 8 watercraft. Three tandem kayaks is equal to 6 tandem kayaks in the quota. The 1 canoe is equal to 2 canoes in the quota system. Therefore, you will enter 6 tandem kayaks plus 2 canoes for 8 total watercraft.

If you have questions or need assistance determining how many total watercraft you have using the values above, please call Recreation.gov at 877-444-6777, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern Time.

Make a Reservation: One Type of Watercraft

For a permit with a single-type of watercraft such as canoes, kayaks, tandem kayaks, rafts, driftboats or tubes, please begin the reservation process at the left under "Find Permits" by selecting the appropriate amount of watercraft you wish to bring. Remember, each reservation is limited to a maximum of 8 watercraft.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get help if I am confused with the new reservation system?
Answer: If you have questions or need assistance in making a reservation, please call Recreation.gov at 877-444-6777, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern Time.

Why are there different values for certain watercraft on the Pere Marquette (e.g., 1 canoe equals 2 canoes)?
Answer: The quota for watercraft had to be artificially doubled in the new reservation system. In order to accommodate this, we had to assign new values to each watercraft. For those visitors reserving only one type of watercraft (e.g., you are only reserving a permit for kayaks), the system will calculate your watercraft and deplete the quota for you. For those visitors reserving a combination of watercraft (e.g., you are reserving a permit for 1 kayak and 1 raft), you must calculate your total watercraft first using the new values and enter the total number of watercraft in order for the quota to deplete properly.

Why has the permit quota increased this year? When I look at the calendar view, it appears there are many more permits available than in the past.
Answer: In order to accommodate the new reservation system, the quota had to be artificially doubled. As you progress through the reservation process and arrive at the calendar view, each available day marked with an "A" has the total quota below it. These numbers have been increased artificially in order for the system to calculate watercraft totals. The Huron-Manistee National Forest remains committed to our policies, including the quota. In reality, the quota remains as it has to ensure protection of the river's outstanding and remarkable values while providing high-quality recreational experiences.

permit quota

I am trying to make a reservation for 8 canoes and my selected date and river segment shows 12 in the quota. Why can't I make a reservation?
Answer: The quota for watercraft had to be artificially doubled in the new reservation system. In order to accommodate this, we had to assign new values to each watercraft. For example, each canoe now uses two in the quota. Therefore, you would need 16 in the quota (8 canoes x 2) to be available for your group.

In the past I was able to go to the District office and get a permit for that day if there was quota available. Can I still do that?
Answer: Yes, you can go to the District office in Baldwin, Manistee or the Supervisor's Office in Cadillac and get a permit for a trip if there is quota. You will still be required to pay the $6 transaction fee and $2 for each watercraft.

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