Hi. I’m Steve Robertsen, Interpretation and Education Specialist, with this week’s edition of the National Forest Update - information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest. For the week of July 17th, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
I know there are a lot of photographers out there because I see wonderful photos posted every week online. You now have an excellent opportunity to share some of those photos nationally. You can participate in the “Share the Experience: Official Federal Recreation Lands 2015 Photo Contest”. Rules and information are available at district offices and on the Forest’s website at www.fs.usda.us/superior.gov. Your photo could be chosen to be featured on the national Federal Recreational Lands Pass… and there’s over $30,000 in prizes and cash to be awarded as well. While you’re at it, we are always looking for good photos to share on our Facebook page and Twitter feed. You can send photos to Ali Bickford at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put “Photos of Superior” and your name on the subject line, and retitle the image file with a descriptive name. You can also upload photos to the Superior National Forest Photo Club on Flicker. Note that this won’t enter you in the contest, you’ll have to do the entry separately, and submitted photos become part of the public domain, so cannot have a copyright watermark.
Getting to places to take photos should be pretty easy. Our sporadic rains have kept the dust down on roads, but haven’t been heavy enough to cause any damage. There is washboarding on some roads, but grading is taking place to smooth them down. If you are on a washboarded road, slow down. Washboarding can cause your tires to lose contact with the road at higher speeds, even if your suspension is keeping you nice and level in your seat. You may not notice the lack of contact on a straight, but when you get to a corner, you’ll suddenly be drifting off the roadway, so just slow down.
On your trip, you could also run into logging traffic on the Greenwood Lake Road and Gunflint Trail, as well as possibly on the Bally Creek Road, Pine Mountain Road, Caribou Trail, The Grade, Sawbill Trail, the Four Mile Grade, Lake County 7, Dumbbell River Road, and the Wanless Road.
This may be a good weekend to learn more about our namesake Lake Superior. It is Lake Superior Days in Duluth at the Maritime Museum, and the Forest Service will be present at a booth during the event. You may wonder what a three million acre forest has to do with a 20 million acre lake, but we are connected physically through our waterways, environmentally through animals such as lake trout that spawn in forest rivers and live in the lake, and historically through the use of the lake as a travel route and as a means of shipping forest resources such as timber and minerals.
Some of you might be headed away from the city into the wilderness instead. Remember that you always need an entry permit to enter the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. If you are day tripping, you can pick up a self-issued permit at the entry point. Just fill it out, put one copy in the box and keep the other copy with you. This helps us track wilderness use and make informed decisions on wilderness management. If you are staying overnight, you’ll need a permit issued by the Forest Service for the entry point and date on which you plan on entering the BWCAW. This helps spread visitors out over the area and time so everyone has a good wilderness experience.
Wherever your travels take you, have a great weekend, and enjoy the Forest. Until next week, this has been Steve Robertsen with the Superior National Forest Update.