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Brad Dokken: New border crossing system goes online in Northwest Angle

The new system is part of a pilot project U.S. Customs and Border Protection is offering up at the Northwest Angle, that unique chunk of Minnesota surrounded on three sides by Canada. Rather than checking into the U.S. using the outdated telephone technology at Jim’s Corner, visitors now can bypass the station and report at a number of other, more convenient locations, Lake of the Woods Tourism said.

The new system, which initially will allow visitors to check in at a half-dozen resorts on the Northwest Angle, will be especially convenient for visitors who touch land in Canada while fishing or sightseeing, and for Canadians wanting to visit the Angle.

Phase one of the new system features tablets loaded with a program allowing guests to check in at participating resorts rather than the nearest Outlying Area Reporting Site such as the OARS station at Jim’s Corner.

Eventually, phase two of the pilot project will allow visitors to access the program on their smartphones, and phase three will replace the OARS phones at Jim’s Corner, Young’s Bay and Carlson’s Landing on the Northwest Angle mainland with new buildings that will be heated and cooled, Lake of the Woods Tourism said. The new buildings will feature kiosks with the new border crossing program and technology.

The initial soft launch began Saturday, Aug. 12, with Jerry’s Bar and Restaurant at Young’s Bay being the first site to offer the new technology. Flag Island Resort, along with Sunset Lodge and Angle Inn Lodge on the Oak Island, are scheduled to be online today, and the new system will be available Monday, Aug. 14, at Angle Outpost and Jake’s Northwest Angle.

As Lake of the Woods Tourism reported, the soft launch is being done gradually to iron out any bugs with the software and equipment so it can be fixed while technicians with the necessary expertise are still in the area.

“If you are up at the Angle on or after Aug. 12, 2017, please try out the new system vs. the traditional OARS phones,” Lake of the…

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