Hi. I’m Jon Benson, Recreation Specialist for the Tofte and Gunflint Ranger Districts. I’m here today to provide you with the Thanksgiving edition of the Superior National Forest Update. For the week of November 21st, here’s what’s going on around the Forest.
Turkey Day is just around the corner and the chill of winter is in the air. Hunting season is winding down, and many of you have been out looking for that trophy buck. Good hunting safety practices should remain a key focus as complacency can often be a contributing factor to hunting injuries. If you plan to be out in the woods during hunting season make sure you, your friends and your pets are wearing high visibility clothing and are taking more notice of your surroundings.
Trappers in the Finland, Grand Marais and Two Harbors areas can register furbearers on Friday, Dec. 5, between noon and 7 p.m. at area DNR registration stations. A typo in the 2014 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook incorrectly lists the date as Dec. 6.
Trappers may also call to make an appointment for registration during regular business hours prior to the close of any species trapping season. Trappers are reminded that all furbearers must be registered no more than 24 hours after the close of the season for fisher and marten, and no more than 48 after the close of the season for otters and bobcats. Registrations stations are not staffed on weekends so trappers should plan accordingly to meet registration requirements.
When the hunting and trapping seasons end, please remember to take down your hunting stands as permanent stands are illegal on National Forest lands. For any additional questions related to trapping or hunting licenses, rules, and regulations, listeners should contact the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources or visit their website.
For any information related to OHV use or access into different areas of the Superior National Forest, please stop into any District Office and request a free motor vehicle use map. Remember that ATV’s and OHV’s are only permitted on roads and trails designated for that use on the motor vehicle use map and cross-country travel is not permitted.
Recreation use on the Superior National Forest is pretty low right now, but we have heard reports of people starting to venture out onto the ice. Please use caution when walking on frozen lakes especially early in the season. It is recommended that anyone planning to travel on the ice not do so by themselves and if you do plan to head out on the ice, please use caution and sound judgment before doing so.
Another pretty cool program that I wanted to mention is that the Superior National Forest is in the midst of our 25th year of wilderness education programs. We have been providing these programs to 2nd, 4th, and 7th grade students in communities ranging from south of Duluth all the way to Grand Marais. If you have any 7th grade students, they should have recently been visited by our wilderness education team. Ask them if they learned anything new and interesting about the wilderness.
While driving, you could encounter some logging trucks on the Bally Creek Road, Devil Track, Ball Club, Shoe Lake, Greenwood, The Grade, Gunflint Trail, Swamp Lake Road, Cascade River Road and Cook County 7, Cook County 45, Cook County 3, Forest Road 369, Lake County 705, the Mark Lake Road and the Caribou Trail. There will also be some hauling and harvest activity starting soon along the Pine Mountain Road near the Gunflint Snowmobile Trail.
Speaking of roads, the bridge on the 600 Road in Tofte over the Temperance River is now closed to vehicle traffic and boulders have been placed to prevent vehicle traffic from crossing this bridge. Snowmobiles will be permitted on the bridge this winter, but the groomer will not be grooming this section of trail. This bridge has been closed for safety reasons and we are working to find opportunities to fund a new bridge in this location. The cost estimate for a replacement bridge is beyond what our budgets can currently support.
I hope you all have a happy and safe Thanksgiving and enjoy the start of the winter. Until next time, this has been Jon Benson with the Superior National Forest Update.