Hi. This is Joe Mundell, timber sales administrator on the Gunflint Ranger District, with the Superior National Forest Update - information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the east end of the Forest. For the week of August 19, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
It has been a hot and stormy summer so far. A lot of people are turning to the lakes for relief from the heat, and nothing feels as good as the cold water of one of our northern lakes on a hot day. Many of our popular swimming holes have rocks that people like to jump from. If you choose to do this, please be extra careful this season. As water levels change with the recent rains, the depth of your landing area will change. Many people think that because the lake level is high, diving areas must be safe. In reality, high water levels may hide rocks that are otherwise visible. Always scout out the area you plan to jump into before you jump - in other words, look before you leap.
This time of year is good for cycling, and our back roads beckon to many mountain bikers. The paved roads often have cyclists who may be burdened with full packs and trailers. Either way, few of our roads have wide shoulders, and most bicycles are traveling in the same lanes as motor vehicles. Slow down and use caution when passing bicycles, and remember they have a right to occupy a lane. Cyclists should also remember that they share the road with motor vehicles, and use hand signals to show their intentions. When available, cyclists should always use bike lanes and bike trails instead of heavily traveled roads like Highway 61.
Moose viewing seems to be picking up, and with it come moose induced traffic jams. If you stop to watch or photograph a moose, make sure your car is off the roadway. In places where there are many people pulled off to watch, limit your time so others can pull in as well. Don’t approach moose. Getting too near a moose, particularly one with a calf, can cause it to become aggressive. Use a zoom lens and binoculars instead of walking closer.
Unlike out West, our fire situation is pretty calm. The forest is well watered, and there has been little fire activity out in the woods. Even in these conditions, you still need to make sure your campfires are dead out before you leave them, and you should stay aware of the fire danger level that Smokey points out at the ranger station and DNR office signs.
There is some logging activity, mostly in the same places as last week, and you’ll have to watch for trucks hauling in these areas. In the Tofte District, there is activity on The Grade between the Sawbill Trail and Baker Lake, Sawbill Landing road near Silver Island, and County Rd 7 near Harriet Lake. On Gunflint, harvest is taking place off of Greenwood Road, Firebox Road, and Powers Lake Road. Please use caution when driving or recreating in these areas.
Stay cool in the heat, and until next week, this has been Joe Mundell with the National Forest Update.