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Join Jay Andersen and Gary Atwood for a program packed with news, music and some humor.  Listener favorites like For the Birds, The Environment Report, Morning Business Report, and The Predator Moment provide a regular foundation for this program that also covers politics, local news and issues, and, the funnier side to the news. DayBreak airs 7-8 a.m. on weekdays.

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Superior National Forest Update: August 21

Hi.  I’m Steve Robertsen, 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 August 21st, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
Where has the summer gone?  Despite the fact that I saw people in the grocery store putting up a Halloween candy display, there is still some time for a camping trip or picnic before fall arrives.  Halloween candy in August, in fact, I’d say is a bit ridiculous.  But not totally ridiculous: Birds are certainly feeling the fall in the air.  On still nights in the Boundary Waters last week, we could hear peeps and chirps in the midnight hours which belong to night migrating flocks of birds.  Some species of birds actually navigate by the stars and recognize bird constellations.  This has been shown using captive birds in a planetarium where the stars could be shifted, and the birds’ movements shifted to match the stars.  So, over the next few weeks, go out star gazing in a nice quiet spot and listen for the late night avian commuter traffic.  It is a lot more relaxing than the traffic on Highway 61.
Speaking of traffic, timber hauling is currently taking place on the 4 Mile Grade, the Wanless, The Grade, Honeymoon Trail, Bally Creek Rd., Caribou Trail, Greenwood Lake Rd. That doesn’t include State Operations so there may be Minnesota DNR operations with some trucks elsewhere in the woods.
Encountering a log truck is one thing, but a lot of campers in the forest have been encountering bears.  Bear activity seems high this year, and we have had many reports of bears, particularly at Trail’s End and McDougal Lake Campgrounds.  Seeing a bear at your campsite can be exciting, but a bit intimidating as well.  Keep in mind that black bears are generally not a very aggressive animal, but they are big and you don’t want your actions to cause the animal to become more aggressive.  The best thing to do is to avoid food based encounters.  Keep your food when not in use locked in the trunk of the car, or concealed and securely locked in the car if you have an SUV with no real trunk.  Bears that have tried human food usually like it, and soon learn to recognize coolers.  They will break windows to get to visible coolers in vehicles. Garbage, to a bear, is a great food source. Treat it like food, and lock it up the same way. Use the dumpsters at campgrounds, and use the bars provided to lock the lids down.  Keeping food away from bears and making it so humans and campgrounds are not seen as food sources is the number one best thing you can do to help yourself and the bears live together.  It is sad, but bears that learn to associate food with humans have a very hard time unlearning that, and will often need to be killed.
Heavy rains over the past week not only have been good for forest growth, but they have put a damper on our fire season.  Before the rain though, we did have one small 40 or so acre fire near Silver Island Lake.  It was a good example of fire caused by natural ignition.  Lightning struck a tree, which then smoldered internally for possibly several weeks until the wind and conditions were right for it to spread into a wildfire.  This is why it is so important to watch your own fire use, even in damp conditions.  Smoldering fires are good at waiting, sometimes much longer than you would think.  Make sure every fire you light is totally out when you leave it.
Have a great weekend, and enjoy the Forest.  Until next week, this has been Steve Robertsen with the Superior National Forest Update. 
 

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Superior National Forest Update: July 31

Hi, this is Mary Ann Atwood, Gunflint Ranger District Administrative Support Assistant, with this week’s edition of the Superior National Forest Update. For the week of July 31st, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
FIRE
Due to sporadic rain over the last few weeks, the Superior National Forest is beginning to transition from moderate fire danger to high fire danger.  Keep this in mind while recreating in the forest. 
District Offices
Before, or after, your superior recreation - stop by the Gunflint or Tofte District Offices.  Not only will you encounter a plethora of information but you’ll discover a variety of wilderness books, games, animals (that don’t need feeding) and maps in the Interpretative stores.
Let those truckers Roll 
Timber trucks continue to roll down many of the roads on the Gunflint and Tofte districts.  Drive cautiously and keep in mind; the gravel roads are very dry. A dusty cloud may indicate a vehicle is coming your way. Also, the washboard affect abounds on our gravel roads. 
Forest Facts
Did you know that the Superior National Forest: contains more than 2,000 lakes which total 440,000 acres of lake and 3,400 miles of stream?
With those facts in mind, it’s no wonder water plays such a vital role in Cook County.   This weekend is the 86th Annual Fisherman’s Picnic. The Grand Marais Fish Pic began in the days when the area's economy was based on logging and commercial fishing and the community would gather for a shoreline fish fry of fresh Lake Superior herring.  Which reminds me…How can you tell if a fisherman is going deaf?                                            * Give him a herring test.
Keep an eye out for Smokey Bear and his friend Murray the Moose over the weekend; they are bound to make an appearance in the parade Sunday, August 2nd at 1:00 in downtown Grand Marais.
2015 has been a busy year on the Superior.  Here’s just a sampling of accomplishments:
*      ¼ million trees were planted;
*      Wilderness rangers on the Gunflint Ranger District partnered up with a Conservation Corps of Minnesota & Iowa (CCMI) crew spending 3 ½ muddy days replacing a failing boardwalk on the Meeds to Swallow portage.   This project began last February when wilderness staff used snowmobiles to freight over 40 tamarack planks up to the Wilderness line on the Poplar to Meeds portage. 
Our Faces of Tomorrow crews are having an exceptional summer.  By the way, Faces of Tomorrow is an initiative to increase the diversity of our seasonal workforce.  Some of their achievements include:
*      Building a new 360 foot boardwalk on the South Lake Trail.
*      Rerouting Bower Trail Portage which includes a new boardwalk
*      Constructing stairs on the Northern Lights Trail
Summer brings countless visitors to the Superior’s trails and campgrounds.  When recreating keep in mind:
*               Your behavior has an impact on others.
*               Store food carefully, bears are starting to get active. 
*               Don’t leave campsites unattended for more than 24 hours.  Leaving your gear on a site as a way of “reserving” it - is not allowed.

Carve out some time to spend in the Superior National Forest - you won’t be disappointed - after all, the Superior has been listed as one of the 50 greatest places to visit in a lifetime!  
Keep hydrated throughout these warm summer days.  Until next week, this has been Mary Ann Atwood with the Superior National Forest Update. 
 
 
 

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Superior National Forest Update: July 24

Hi.  I’m Ali Bickford, Information Specialist at the Forest Supervisor’s Office in Duluth, 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.
The Superior National Forest is roughly the size of the state of Connecticut, and the Supervisor’s Office, or SO, is its capital city.  We at the SO provide support and forest level direction to the five ranger districts.  In addition to administrators, there are biologists, archeologists, computer specialists, and public relations people all working for the Forest in Duluth to help our field going people in places like Tofte and Grand Marais, as well as Ely, Cook, and Aurora. So Next time you’re in Duluth, feel free to stop in and say hi, we would love to see you!
This should be a good weekend for outdoor recreation, so you may want to postpone that trip to Duluth for a rainier day.  There are some logging operations going on that you might run into during your travels, so watch out for log trucks near Harriet and Wilson Lakes as things wind down on those timber sales. But a crew just started by Hogback Lake this week, so there will still be some traffic on the east end of the Wanless Road and on Lake County 7.  Another crew is on the Dumbbell River Road and log trucks will be hauling there for at least the next week.  Those trucks will be heading west on the Wanless Road, toward Hwy. 1. 
There may be the odd log truck on the Grade and Sawbill Trail, as well.   Be aware that the Fourmile Grade between Richey Lake Road (FR 346) and Lake County #7 was closed this week to replace a large culvert at Wanless Creek.  The plan is to have that open for this weekend, but there is always the possibility of a delay.
Our midsummer is marked by two of what you can call “55 mile per hour flowers”.  These are plants you can identify from your car window when cruising past at 55.  You’ll see the broad white umbrellas of small flowers that belong to a cow parsnip, significantly taller than the other plants along the roadway.  This giant plant can get up to 8 feet high in one season.  It is a native species, but is often confused with a non-native invasive species called giant hogweed.  Giant hogweed is a relative of cow parsnip, but hogweed makes cow parsnip look small.  Hogweed can easily be taller than a house, but its main problem is that touching it causes an awful rash and blisters that can last for a year.  Luckily for us, it isn’t found here yet. Like many invasives, it is brought into an area by people on their travels.  You can help keep plants like hogweed from coming into our area by cleaning your shoes and recreation equipment before you travel back to the Northwoods.  By the way, cow parsnip can also cause a rash for some people, so if you need to clear it, cut it by hand, and use gloves don’t use a weed whip as they spray the juices around.
Our other 55 mile per hour plant is a lot friendlier.  The purple magenta flowers of fireweed are seen along many roadsides from now until the end of summer.  In fact, this plant counts down the summer with flowers starting at the bottom of the spike, and progressing upward each week.  When the flowers reach the top, summer is over.  The plant is called fireweed because it grows in openings after a fire, but it is just as happy to grow in openings caused by roads. 
Also in those openings, you will find ripe blueberries.  That means that you will also find lots of cars parked along the sides of the roads where people are blueberry picking.  If you are parking, try to find a wider spot in the road so you don’t block the roadway, and pull off as far as you safely can.  You may want to have a passenger get out and help spot the edge of the roadway though, many of our roads have an abrupt drop off, and you want to avoid accidently parking in the ditch.
Many of our fire crews have been out west helping with wildfires in Washington and California.  This is possible because so far, this has been a year with low fire danger on the Forest.  Remember that even in low danger times, you need to make sure any fire you light is out when you leave it.  Don’t decide that it is ok to just let a campfire burn out just because it isn’t a high fire danger day - always put your fires out.
With that though, have a great weekend, and enjoy the Forest.  Until next week, this has been Ali Bickford with the Superior National Forest Update. 
 

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Superior National Forest Update: July 17

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 ambickford@fs.fed.us.  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. 
 

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Superior National Forest Update: July 10

Hi.  I’m Becky Bartol, environmental coordinator, 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 Superior National Forest. For the week of July 10th, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
It has been a week of beautiful weather on the Forest.  We hope that you’ve been able to get outside and enjoy some of the sun.  This past Tuesday was national “Father-Daughter Take a Walk Day”, so hopefully some fathers and daughters were out hiking in the woods.   If you somehow missed that holiday, you can cheer yourself up by celebrating National Blueberry Muffin Day this Sunday.
Camping can be a great way to get outdoors, but remember that if you are planning on camping, it is not allowed to ‘claim’ a spot by putting your gear at a campsite ahead of time.  Your campsite must be occupied the first night.  Camping gear left in an unoccupied site may be confiscated, and the owner can actually be cited for a violation.  If you are concerned about not having a site, many of the sites on our campgrounds are reservable online at Recreation.gov. 
Sites in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness are, of course, not reservable.  When planning your route, develop alternatives in case the site you are hoping for is occupied.  Creating your own campsite on islands or other places is not allowed, and you can be cited for camping outside of the designated sites.  The reason we have designated sites is to concentrate the impact of camping in only those spots, leaving the rest of the shoreline pristine.  Help us protect the Boundary Waters by following the rules and guidelines - they are there for good reasons.
Getting to your campground or entry point should be pretty easy.  Our roads are in good shape, and there are only a few timber sales creating truck traffic.  You may encounter logging trucks on the Dumbbell River Road, Wanless Road (heading to Hwy.1), Sawbill Landing Road, Lake County 7 near Harriet Lake, the Four Mile Grade near Wilson Lake, The Grade, and the Sawbill Trail.
While most of us are enjoying summer, some of us have been preparing for winter already.  The Forest Service, in partnership with the Arrowhead Coalition for Multiple Uses, has been working to develop the South Fowl Snowmobile Trail near South Fowl Lake.  This section of trail should be ready for snowmobile use this winter, so thanks to all the trail workers that are out there feeding the mosquitos and black flies this summer.
Smokey Bear would like to pass on a big thank you for the warm welcome he received at the Fourth of July parade in Tofte.  He was able to both give and receive a lot of bear hugs, and there’s nothing he likes better.  Being Smokey, he’d also wants us to remind you to be careful with fire and make sure all your campfires are dead out before you leave your campsite.
Have a great weekend, and enjoy the Forest.  Until next week, this has been Becky Bartol with the Superior National Forest Update. 
 

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Superior National Forest Update: July 3

Hi.  I’m Amber Humphrey, Information 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 3rd, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
It is Fourth of July weekend!  It looks like it will be a beautiful weekend out on the Forest to enjoy the holiday.  Remember that NO fireworks of any kind are permitted on the National Forest, not even fireworks that maybe legal within the state of Minnesota.  Fire danger is low due to recent rains and high humidity, but even in these conditions fires can get out of control.  We actually had to put one out last week.  A very small, room sized wildfire that had started from an unattended campfire.  One potential fire starter is a type of firework called a fire balloon.  These are small hot air balloons lifted with a candle, and seem to be getting more popular every year.  Normally, the candle burns out before the balloon lands, but they will sometimes crash while still burning, causing an obvious fire hazard.  In addition to possibly starting a fire, they become litter after landing.  Of course, like all fireworks, these are not legal on the Forest.
If you want fireworks, there are some great displays along the North Shore all the way from Two Harbors to Grand Marais.  The parade in Tofte this year will have a certain bear in attendance, making sure everyone knows that only you can prevent wildfires. 
While fire danger is low locally, it is high in the drought stricken west.  Sixteen of our fire crew will be spending their holiday assisting with wildfires that are burning in other states.  Keep them and all the other firefighters in your thoughts this weekend.
As we get into July, driving in the Forest may involve more encounters with large RVs.  Or, maybe you will be the person driving the RV.  Either way, be aware that these vehicles take a lot of space on our narrow Forest roads.  Be patient, and pass only in safe areas, and if you’re the RV driver, pull over and allow others to pass in safe places, especially if you are going slower than the traffic flow.  Don’t get frustrated.  Realize that there really isn’t any rush to get where you are going, and five miles an hour speed increase will not change your arrival time very much.
There may be more RVs, but there are going to be fewer logging trucks on the Tofte District this next week.  We have only two active timber sales right now, one on the Dumbbell River Road, and another off of The Grade near the Temperance River.  Visitors can expect to see trucks hauling on the Trappers Lake Road (FR 369), the Wanless Road (FR 172), the Dumbbell River Road (FR 174), Lake County road 7 near Harriet Lake, and the Four Mile Grade near Wilson Lake.
If your drive takes you up the Gunflint to Chik-Wauk, you could stop in at 2:00 pm on Tuesday for a Forest Service naturalist program about moose.  Check our website for all the other naturalist programs offered every week, or on the Fourth, stop by the Point where we always have a naturalist on location from 1:30 to 3:30 Saturdays.
Have a great weekend, and enjoy the Forest.  Until next week, this has been Amber Humphrey with the Superior National Forest Update. 
 

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Superior National Forest Update: June 26

Hi.  I’m Myra Theimer, Forest Service silviculturist, 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 June 26th, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
First, if you don’t know what a silviculturist is, you aren’t alone.  We are the people who look after the trees on the forest by controlling regeneration, composition, growth, and quality to meet diverse needs. The silviculture department is in charge of inventorying the forest stands, and managing plantations of young trees after harvest.  This spring a quarter of a million trees were planted on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts.  We also help take care of the forest in other ways to make sure that it is strong and healthy, so people can enjoy it and also make use of the timber growing on the Forest. 
Along those lines, if you are out enjoying the forest, be aware that there are two logging operations as well on this end of the Superior.  As in previous weeks, there will be log hauling on the Shoe Lake Road, Greenwood Road, and Gunflint Trail on the Gunflint District, and on the Four Mile Grade south of Wilson Lake, Lake County 7 south of Harriet Lake, and on FR 369, the Trappers Lake Road.  Over all, the road system is in great shape right now, and driving to your favorite lake or campground should be a breeze.
This Saturday (June 27), many people will be biking, not driving, the roads.  The Lutsen 99er mountain bike race will take place on the Tofte and Gunflint Ranger Districts. There may be heavier traffic at times, so please be cautious and respect bikers and spectators. Notable portions of the route include: Honeymoon Trail, Devil Track Road, Bally Creek Road, Mark Lake Road, and Caribou Trail.
If you were lucky enough to be out at night this past week, like I was, you may have seen one of the best displays of the Aurora Borealis in a long time.  They were visible as far south as Arkansas, and here in the north they filled the entire sky.  The lights appear in many forms from patches or scattered clouds of light to streamers, rippling curtains or shooting rays that light up the sky with an eerie glow.  Auroral displays appear in many colors although pale green and pink are the most common. Aurora Borealis is caused by charged particles emitted from the sun in solar storms, and can be somewhat predicted by monitoring the sun’s activity.  This information was once, only easily available to astronomers, but now there are several websites with graphic maps that help you decide whether you really need to set an alarm for three in the morning.  The people in the Boundary Waters, far from any artificial light, were really treated to a wonderful display.
Our biologists would like to remind people that this is the time when all sorts of baby animals are appearing.  Deer fawns and moose calves have been reported, but the most common sighting is of young birds.  Many species of birds have a stage of growth where the chicks are too big for the nest, but can’t fly well.  Parent birds feed them on the ground or in bushes.  You can help these little birds by not picking them up to rescue them.  They usually are just fine, and the parents are waiting for you to leave so they can feed their young.  Keeping cats indoors during this time of year when the chicks are most vulnerable to predators is also a good idea.
We gave an incorrect time last week for the naturalist program at Chik Wauk on Tuesdays during the summer. The correct time is 2 pm, and the program runs until 3:30.  This week, we will be talking butterflies… and some other ugly bugs as well.
Have a great weekend, and enjoy the Forest.  Until next week, this has been Myra Theimer with the Superior National Forest Update. 
 

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Superior National Forest Update: June 19

Hi.  I’m Cathy Peterson, administrative support assistant, 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 Superior National Forest. For the week of June 19th, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
There are two logging operations still proceeding on this end of the Forest.  As in previous weeks, there will be log hauling on the Shoe Lake Road, Greenwood Road, and Gunflint Trail on the Gunflint District, and on the Four Mile Grade south of Wilson Lake, Lake County 7 south of Harriet Lake, and on FR 369, the Trappers Lake Road.
You might encounter more log trucks this week than you have in past weeks.  Visitors to the Tofte District can still expect logging traffic on the Four Mile Grade and Lake County 7 near Wilson and Harriet Lakes, and on the Trappers Lake Road and Dumbell River Road near Sawbill Landing.  Starting this weekend, we also have operations near The Grade (FR 170), just a few miles east of the Sawbill Trail. 
On the Gunflint District, there are operations off of the Pine Mountain Road and Greenwood Lake Road.  Visitor could encounter logging traffic on these roads and the Gunflint Trail.  There have also been numerous trucks hauling gravel out of the pit near Thompson Lake, so visitors near the Devil Track Campground should be aware of that traffic.  
This weekend is Father’s Day, and the summer solstice.  It is a nice idea that all the fathers out there get the longest day of the year to enjoy the outdoors.  There will be over 15 hours of day this solstice, so lots of time for hiking, fishing, canoeing, and all the other activities that a fathers might want to do on the Forest.  It will probably be a busy weekend out there as well, so take it slow on those one lane Forest roads.  You have plenty of time.
Starting next week on June 23, we will be having naturalist programs on the North Shore Tuesdays through Saturdays.  This program is funded in cooperation with Visit Cook County, and provides Forest Service naturalist programs at area resorts and campgrounds, as well as at Hedstrom’s Lumber Mill and Artists Point.  There are usually two evening campfire programs each day, and a morning activity as well.  See the schedule of all seventeen weekly programs on the Forest website, or at the Visitor Information building in Grand Marais, Tofte or at any Forest Service office.  These programs are open to everyone, whether you are a guest at the hosting resort or not.
There will also be a Forest Service naturalist program at Chik Wauk Nature Center at the end of the Gunflint Trail on Tuesday afternoons at 2pm.  Topics will change every week, starting this week with a wildflower hike.
Fire conditions have been low to moderate through the Forest, and with rain expected, they should remain in that area.  Regardless of fire conditions, make sure to extinguish campfires completely before leaving them for any length of time.  A fire left to burn out may smolder instead and then break out when fire conditions worsen.
Have a great Father’s Day weekend, and enjoy the Forest.  Until next week, this has been Cathy Peterson with the Superior National Forest Update. 
 

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Superior National Forest Update: June 12

Hello, I’m Chelsey Coley, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Planner, for the Tofte and Gunflint Ranger Districts, with this week’s edition of the National Forest Update. This includes information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest. For the week of June 12, here’s what’s going on around the Forest.
For driving up the shore on HWY 61, there is a small section by the Cutface Creek rest area that is down to one lane. A traffic light directs travel flow and the waits are rarely more than one to two minutes. Also, please note that the old culvert is being replaced by a bridge.
Visitors could expect to see logging traffic on the Four Mile Grade near Wilson Lake, on Lake County 7 near Harriet Lake, on the Trappers Lake Road, and on the Dumbbell River Road. Visitors should drive defensively, and should be on the lookout for clouds of dust on the road that may indicate a log truck approaching.
According to Trent Wickman, our Air Quality Specialist in Duluth, the smoke we’re seeing appears to be coming from Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Please do not be alarmed, the transport of smoke from Canadian wildland fires is fairly common in Minnesota, especially northern Minnesota. Smoke is also commonly transported into Minnesota from the western U.S., particularly during active fire years.
We are now in full “green up”, which means fire danger has subsided substantially. We are still looking at some prescribed burning if we dry out enough. The next two burns we are looking at is Honeymoon which is south of the Honeymoon Trail near White Pine Lake and Koski which is off the Sawbill Trail north of the intersection of the grade and the Sawbill Trail. There will be more to come on the prescribed fire front as we see how the weather shapes up later this week into next week.
Last week we started a forest inventory contract. In the very northwest corner of the Tofte district from Isabella to the north of the Tomahawk Road, contractors will begin to collect data on 15,000 acres this field season. Crews will measure and count mature trees as well as seedlings and saplings. Also, one of our Fuels Technicians will be assessing forest fuel hazards in the area and this data will be used in the future to develop forest management plans.
With the help of the Lake Conservation Corps of Minnesota Crew, our fisheries program was able to plant a mix of 3,025 White Pine, Red Pine, White Spruce and Northern White Cedar seedlings in the riparian areas of Kimball Lake, Thompson Lake, Kadunce River, Cascade River, Temperence River and Onion River. These tree species are classified as long-lived conifers and they will provide shade and structure to the lakes, streams and future nesting trees for eagles and osprey.
With all of that being said, I hope you that you all will enjoy your weekend and this has been Chelsey Coley with the National Forest Update.

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Superior National Forest Update: June 5

Hi.  I’m Mary Ann Atwood, administrative support assistant on the Gunflint Ranger District, with this week’s edition of the Superior National Forest Update - information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest. For the week of June 5, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
After several days of soaking rains, this weekend looks like an opportune time to get outdoors.  With the forest greening-up and the rain, the fire danger has been greatly reduced.
Fire crews completed the 130 acre Hungry burn June 1 & 2. If you are interested in taking a look at the burn area and watching the post fire environment, you’ll find it one mile past Devil Track Campground on the north side of the road.  You may be surprised at how fast the forest recovers.
Speaking of recovering forests, our silviculturists have completed their spring planting season.  275,000 trees were planted across the Tofte and Gunflint Districts.  Several of those trees were equipped with paper ‘bud caps’.  Now…they may look a bit silly, but these white pieces of paper stapled onto the tops of saplings protect them from hungry deer.
Two active logging operations continue on the Superior.  Continue to keep an eye out for logging trucks on the Shoe Lake and Greenwood Roads, as well as along the Gunflint Trail, the Four Mile Grade and on Forest Road 369.
 
The Boundary Waters Expo, organized by the Cook County Visitors Bureau, starts Friday June 12.   Forest Service participation includes presentations from Forest historian and archeologist Lee Johnson, recreation assistant ranger Suzanne Cable, and interpretive naturalist Steve Robertsen.  Details are available on the Visitors Bureau website “visit cook county dot com”.
Superior’s Wildlife biologists have been “Battling for the Bats”.  Bats are contending with the threat of white nose syndrome, a disease from Europe that kills 90% or more of the bats in an infected hibernating location.  This week, biologists have been staying up late!  They’re netting and banding bats along the Gunflint Trail in an effort to find out more about the Minnesota bat population before the disease strikes here.  Some of the bats are being equipped with tiny radio transmitters which enable biologists to track the bats to their roosting spots.  For those of us who may have a bit of a “problem” with bats… well, keep in mind their estimated value in pest control to agriculture is 3.7 to 53 billion dollars each year.   AND that’s in addition to their reducing the mosquito population.
Visiting the Grand Marais lighthouse this weekend?  Few people realize that Artist Point is actually part of the Superior National Forest.  There are two new information packed signs.   For instance, did you know that two large observation towers had once been located there?  We’d like to thank the Cook County Historical Society for providing historical photos and research help, as well as Paul Sundberg for the use of his photographs.
I’ll close with another bit of Forest trivia:
Did you know that the Superior has the highest and lowest elevation points in the state of Minnesota?  Think about it.
Have a great weekend, enjoy the Forest. 
Until next week, this has been Mary Ann Atwood with the Superior National Forest Update. 
 

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