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The only way to reach the Hozomeen Campground in the Ross Lake National Recreation Area (Washington) by vehicle is from Canada, but there is no corresponding Port of Entry on the CBP list. This is curious. Both the NPS and this article from a Seattle-based magazine mention its remoteness, but don't mention border formalities, except for:

the border’s presence was recorded almost entirely by absence: no people, no walls, no gates, only a small sign, a tiny monument, and a mind-blowing work of art.

(...)

Canadian and American campers, boaters, kayakers, and hikers mingle freely across the open border. (Albeit carrying ID: “Just be prepared,” Kinsey Shilling warned. “Border Patrol is in the area and they do check people.”)

And the NPS just states:

Located 40 miles (64 km) south of Hope, B.C. on Silver/Skagit Rd. To reach Hozomeen take the Silver/Skagit Road from Highway #1, Exit 168, 2 mi (3 km) west of Hope, B.C. Travel south for 40 miles (64km) to reach the campground, Ranger Station, and boat launch. The Silver/Skagit Road is maintained but unpaved and often rough, carry a spare tire. For current road conditions refer to the road conditions report. Hozomeen Campground is not accessible by road from the U.S.

What are the formal requirements for crossing the US/Canada border at Hozomeen? Is it limited to citizens of US and Canada? Are there CBP officers to check and stamp passports? Or is this done by NPS staff? Is there a special permit?

What I was expecting is something similar to the Boquillas del Carmen border crossing information at Big Bend National Park, or information such as about the Pacific Crest Trail Canada entry permit around 20 km east of Hozomeen. The Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) also notes that Entering the US from Canada at the Pacific Crest Trail is illegal because there is no official port of entry. Surprisingly I can't find any formal border crossing information for the Hozomeen border crossing.

Edit: According to the Center for Land Use Interpretation, There is no Port of Entry to report to here. People who cross south of the boundary have to drive back through Canada, so they are not expected to report to US officials, even though they might have camped on US soil, for days or weeks. I don't know how official this information is, considering that the same page describes entering the USA on a nearby hiking trail as Hikers crossing the line are technically supposed to report to the nearest Port of Entry, but many do not., when other sources states this is illegal. On the other hand, Wikipedia claims that the Hyder-Steward border crossing is the only land border crossing where a person may legally enter the United States without reporting for inspection, implying entering at Hozomeen requires inspection (perhaps by NPS rangers?) or is illegal, but Wikipedia might be wrong here.

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I have been there in the off-season. There is NOBODY checking passports :) We were a large group of scouts camping on the Canadian side but used the field on the US side for some activities. There was a “wire gate” strung up at the “border” but that was it.

You can’t really get ANYWHERE from there. Ross lake is lowered so you’re not about to jet boat it down into Northern Washington...

For the record, the US park rangers were WAY friendlier than the Canadian ones, that weekend.

Further: NPS staff didn’t check anything, just said “Hi” and reminded us that archery (even in a LARGE empty area) was not permitted in the park and that if he were to come back in 4 hours and not see any bows or arrows then obviously we weren’t practicing archery... wink wink...

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  • One could start hiking the Pacific Crest Trail from there (there are trails connecting to it) and then "vanish" off the radar. I can easily see how an adventurous backpacker might get off the train at Hope, (hitch)hike to Hozomeen and then hike south into the USA for the next weeks/months. From Hyder, getting anywhere is very difficult, but from Hozomeen there are marked trails to civilisation on the US side. Did you see any aircraft patrolling the border? – gerrit Feb 3 at 14:14
  • No... we saw nobody and nothing other than two BC parks and one NPS ranger that weekend... and about 100 of us :) – dragonspeed Feb 3 at 14:16
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    It still seems like a strange backdoor (almost literally). – gerrit Feb 3 at 14:21
  • "and that if he were to come back in 4 hours and not see any bows or arrows then obviously we weren’t practicing archery... wink wink..." - I love rangers like that. So realistic and down to earth. – Doug S Mar 23 at 20:23

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