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Superior National Forest Update



Contributor(s): 
USDA Forest Service

The Superior National Forest Update helps you keep up to date with Forest activities that you might encounter while driving, boating, or hiking in the Superior National Forest’s Tofte and Gunflint Ranger Districts.  It includes road and fire conditions, logging and other truck activities, as well as naturalist programs and special events.  

The USDA Forest Service has more information on the Superior National Forest website.


What's On:

Superior National Forest Update: July 22

Hi.  This is Steve Robertsen with 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 July 23rd, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
Storms continue to roll through the area, resulting in new debris blocking trails and roadways every time.  Our crews are clearing routes as fast as possible, but less frequently used roads, trails, and portages are likely to have some degree of blockage.  On those roads, slow down.  Expect that there could be something in the roadway around every corner.  When you do encounter a fallen tree, get out of your vehicle and check where you hope to drive.  Skirting a deadfall only to end up on a soft shoulder and then in a ditch isn’t something anyone wants to happen on their trip to the lake.
I got a chance to assist Forest wildlife biologists the other night.  They are working on a bat project, hoping to learn more about bats to help them in the fight against white nose syndrome.  The project involves netting bats, and fixing radio tags to females to find out where they are raising their pups.  Unlike many small mammals, bats only have one or two pups per litter, so it is important to find out the habitat used for raising young, and the radio tag can track the bat back to its home.  Another high tech tool being used is a device called an Anabat.  This phone sized computer can hear the ultrasonic chirps made by a flying bat, and then use that information to help identify the species of the bat.  Field identification of bats has never really been possible before, so it is hoped that this will bring better understanding of these important insect eaters.
We all wish they’d be eating more insects right now.  It’s pretty buggy out there.  The rain has kept many little pools of water available for mosquitoes to breed in, and it seems they have been taking advantage of that.  Ticks are out as well, so make sure to use repellent to avoid tick borne diseases.
There is some construction to plan around when you head out.  Culverts are being replaced on Forest Road 170, The Grade.  It is closed between Toohey and Fourmile Lakes for a few more days, but additional construction in that general area will reduce the road to one lane, and may cause intermittent additional closures.  The Sawbill Trail paving project is continuing as well, so be prepared for flaggers and additional time as you head up the Sawbill between Britton Peak and the Honeymoon Trail.
Logging trucks can be expected on the Sawbill Landing road, Wanless road, Lake County 7 and 705, Cook County 33, and The Grade on the Tofte District.
There is a volunteer effort to pull spotted knapweed this Saturday, at the site of the old Environmental Learning Center in Isabella.  Please contact Laurel Wilson with the Minnesota Northwoods Volunteer Connection to register.  She is at 663-8608, or available through the MN NVC website at MNNVC.org. 
After pulling knapweed, you may want some natural “air conditioning” and jump in a lake to cool off.  Whichever lake you end up in, enjoy your time outdoors!  Until next week, this has been Steve Robertsen for the National Forest Update.
 
 

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Superior National Forest Update: July 15

Hello.  I’m Mike Krussow, seasonal naturalist, with 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 July 15th, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
 

We’re halfway through July already and summer is in full swing here on the North Shore! In the forest we notice many wildflowers emerging, waters warming up, and our trails are nothing short of beautiful. We encourage you to get out and enjoy the season, but be aware that the forest can be a very busy place. When preparing for a day in the forest plan ahead and account for possible traffic on the way. Additionally, we ask that you respect others while driving, and also on trails or portages where foot traffic can be heavy this time of year.

 
Additional info you may need to be aware of is ongoing logging traffic in a few areas. On the Gunflint District, harvest is occurring off of Greenwood Road, Shoe Lake Road, and Fire Box Road.  Log hauling will be taking place on these Roads, so please use caution when driving and recreating in these areas. Tofte will continue having traffic on Wanless Road, Lake County 7, Cook County 3, 4 Mile Grade, The Grade, and Sawbill Landing Road.
 
This past week, we led a short wildflower hike where we identified more than 50 types of wildflowers in less than half a mile! Every week we are finding new flowers and berries on our hikes, which keeps things interesting. This time of year is great for wildflowers and with so many different habitats on the forest, it’s easy to continue finding new flowers or berries daily. Burn Scars and forest trails further to the West often have different flowers from trails closer to Lake Superior, so get out and explore!
 
Naturalist Programs will continue being offered in coming weeks Tuesday through Saturday and we would love to see everyone out at the campfire! With something for everyone, program topics range from wolves, moose and other wildlife, astronomy, or tours of Hedstrom Lumber Mill. Further information on these programs can be found in our brochures at any of our sign boards throughout the week, or at visitcookcounty.com.
 
We’d like to remind people to check out our Facebook page and Twitter feed.  Both have great pictures and information about the forest, and has interesting links and facts all the time, whether you are a visitor to the area or a permanent resident.   Have a great weekend in the woods, and until next week, this has been Mike Krussow with the Superior National Forest Update.
 

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Superior National Forest Update: July 8

Hello.  I’m Mike Krussow, seasonal naturalist, with 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 July 8th, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
Now that July 4th is in the rearview mirror, summer is truly here. With summer in full swing, we will start to see a change in the wildlife within the forest. Many animals will start to travel with their young and one animal that we are likely to start seeing and hearing would be the loon. Loon chicks will typically hatch around the end of June or beginning of July. Even though the chicks are small, they will leave their nests within a day or two of birth to explore the waters surrounding them. It may be exciting to see a loon chick out on the water, but make sure to give plenty of space to the birds. If you happen to be out in the water this weekend, avoid closely approaching the loons. These close encounters may trigger a defensive or even aggressive response from the parents, which is no help to us or the animal.
One other animal that we would like to remind people about would be the black bear. Whether you are camping, backpacking, or out for a day hike, we want to remind you about some safe bear practices to keep in mind. Bears have an acute sense of smell and can be quite curios towards an unknown scents. At night, be sure to store all scented items in a bear proof container or hang them at least 10 feet off of the ground and at least 5 feet from the nearest large tree branch. This will help to reduce the chance of a bear encounter. If you do happen to encounter a bear in the forest, slowly back away from the animal and do your best not to disturb it.
If the animals just mentioned or the forest as a whole are something you would like to learn more about, we invite you to join us during our naturalist programs. The naturalist programs are free and open to the public and include topics such as wildlife, cultural history, geology, and more. All ages are welcome to attend these programs. For more information you can check online at visitcookcounty.com for a full list of programs.
We will see some logging traffic this week in the forest. Most of the traffic will be located in the same areas as the last few weeks and will include Greenwood Road, Shoe Lake Road, and Firebox Road. Some new areas to watch for include Trestle Pine Road and Ball Club Road. Please make sure to use extra caution when driving or recreating in these areas, as the logging truck are not as nimble on the roads as our personal vehicles.
We would like to remind people to check out our Facebook page and twitter feed for current photos and information regarding the forest. I want to wish you all an excellent weekend in the woods and until next week, this has been Mike Krussow with the Superior National Forest Update.

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Superior National Forest Update: July 1

Hi.  This is Andrew Gale, seasonal interpreter, with 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 July 1st, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
It is the week of July 4th already!  Many people enjoy hiking, camping, fishing, or just driving through the Forest over the Independence Day holiday.  We’d like to remind people of one thing they cannot do.  Shooting off fireworks is illegal everywhere on the Forest.  That’s all kinds of fireworks, including those that are legal in other parts of the state.  If your celebration of the Fourth has a few things that go boom in the night, you’ll have to set them off outside of the national forest, and we encourage you to pay extra attention to safety when using fireworks.  Recently, fire balloons have become a common sight on the Fourth as well.  These are the large plastic bags with a candle at the base that work as small hot air balloons.  They act both as a source of ignition for wildfires, and as a source of litter, and are also not allowed on the Superior.  There will be great fireworks in Tofte and Grand Marais, and that really is the best and safest way to enjoy them.
You may also want to take in the Fourth of July parade in Tofte, and while you are there, you can watch or run in the Tofte Trek, an annual trail race.  Watch out for runners and spectators around the Tofte area on trails and near the base of Sawbill Trail.  The start and finish is at the Birch Grove Community Center, and the race route uses snowmobile trails, ski trails, and the Superior Hiking Trail.
Besides fireworks, one of the other sights at night this time of year are the large silkworm moths.  Silkworm moths include the cecropia, polyphemus, and luna moths.  They are all spectacularly big, and are fun to find roosting during the day.  Lunas are the pretty light green moths with the tails on their wings.  The caterpillars eat birch leaves, so our forest along the North Shore is perfect for them.  The tails on the wings are thought to be useful in confusing bat sonar and making them harder for bats to catch.  Cecropias and polyphemus both have large eyespots on the wings to confuse predatory birds.  None of these moths eat as adults, and are only around for a short time in the summer, so look for them while you can.
If you are interested in moths or any other kind of biology, you may want to be a part of the July 7th Bioblitz.  Superior National Forest, Sugarloaf Cove, Tettegouche State Park, and Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center are cooperating on this one day event to identify as many species as possible in a specific location within a short time.  Contact the Tofte District Office, or any of the participating organizations for more information. 
There is some logging traffic this week, mostly in the same areas as the last few weeks.  On Gunflint, harvest is taking place off of Greenwood Road, Shoe Lake Road, and Firebox Road.  Log hauling will be taking place on these roads, as well as Trestle Pine Road and Ball Club Road, so please use caution when driving or recreating in these areas.  Tofte logging activity continues on FR369 with multiple logging operations.  In addition, expect truck traffic on the Wanless Rd., Lake County 7, Cook County 3, and The Grade.
Speaking of logging and lumber, the Forest Service is cooperating again this year with Hedstrom’s Lumber Mill outside of Grand Marais to provide tours of the mill.  The start of the tour season was delayed this year due to a fire in the mill, but will be starting this next week on Tuesdays and Fridays.  Please call Hedstrom’s ahead of time for a reservation.  For details on this and on other naturalist programs this summer, go to the Superior National Forest website and click on the naturalist program link from the homepage.
Enjoy your Fourth, good luck to the Tofte Trekkers, and until next week, this has been Andrew Gale with the National Forest Update.
 

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Superior National Forest Update: June 24

Hi.  I’m Debi Lamusga, information aide, with 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 24th, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
Travel in the Forest may be a little tricky in some spots over the next week.  If you haven’t already discovered it, road crews are working on paving the Sawbill Trail from Hwy 61 to the Honeymoon Trail.  There can be slowdowns anywhere along this stretch, and people need to follow the posted construction speed limits.  While this is normally an easy road to travel, it is possible to come over a rise and find the road restricted to one lane.  Additionally, there is heavy truck traffic associated with the construction which extends beyond the construction site itself.  These large trucks can create a dust cloud behind them that is worse than a thick fog.  Turn on your lights, just as you would in a fog, and drive slowly.  In the same area, the Grade from the Sawbill Trail to Crescent Lake is having gravel spread on it.  Expect loose gravel, as well as slow moving graders.  Grading is taking place in other areas of the Forest as well.
Construction trucks aren’t the only heavy trucks out there.  You can expect logging truck traffic in pretty much the same places as last week.  On the Tofte District, there will be logging trucks on the Trappers Lake Road from operations near Sawbill Landing.  There will also be traffic on the Wanless Road, the Cramer Road, the Sawbill Trail, and The Grade.  On Gunflint, harvest is taking place off of Greenwood Road, Shoe Lake Road, Firebox Road, and Trestle Pine Road. 
You can expect bicycles, not trucks, in the area around Lutsen on Saturday.  The annual 99-er mountain bike race is taking place this weekend, along with other shorter races.  While the races are taking place on specific routes, participants may be doing recreational cycling on roads throughout the Forest, as well as throughout the weekend.  For specific information on routes, as well as spectator locations if you would like to watch the races, visit the race website at Lutsen99er.com.
A powerful thunderstorm swept through northern Minnesota this past Sunday which included high winds and large amounts of rain across the eastern half of the Superior National Forest.  Wilderness and Recreation personnel are currently working to assess the impacts of that storm, but visitors should expect to see storm damaged vegetation across the Superior National Forest.  Early assessments have shown that the area most impacted by the storm is north of the Gunflint Trail near the Canadian border.  This storm resulted in many large trees blowing over or snapping off around campsites and portages.  We have not been able to visit every area that was impacted by storms, so visitors should take extra time to ensure that there are no overhead hazards in their campsites and be especially mindful of trees that were damaged during the storm.  Visitors should plan to look for campsites early in the day as these storms have resulted in several closed campsites.
Plan Ahead and Prepare is the first principle of Leave No Trace camping, so visitors should be sure to include preparation for summer storms as they plan their trip into the Boundary Waters, or any camping trip. 
If you are interested in wildlife, plants, or any form of biology, make sure to mark July 7th on your calendar.  Superior National Forest, Sugarloaf Cove, Tettegouche State Park, and Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center are cooperating on a one day Bioblitz, an event to identify as many species as possible in a specific location within a short time.  Contact the Tofte District Office, or any of the participating organizations for more information. 
Enjoy the weekend and the next week, good luck to the cyclists, and until next week, this has been Debi Lamusga with the National Forest Update.
 

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Superior National Forest Update: June 17

Hi.  I’m Becky Bartol, assistant ranger in planning, with 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 17th, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
With Grandma’s Marathon happening in Duluth, this may be the weekend for us who aren’t involved in the race to stay well north of Duluth.  Luckily, there are always lots of things for us to do in the Forest.  Wildflowers and birds are abundant right now, and it is a wonderful time to take a hike and enjoy this part of our late spring and early summer.  Pack a camera, or just bring your phone and try your hand and capturing some images of what you see.  The nice thing about flowers is that unlike animals, they do stand still for photographs.
If you plan on spending part of Father’s Day weekend fishing, keep an eye on the weather.  Possible thunderstorms are predicted for both Saturday and Sunday.  This past week, three fishermen were hospitalized in Minnesota due to a lightning strike, and no fish is worth that.  Boaters should be aware that most lightning occurs on the leading edge of a storm, often in front of the rain.  To be safe, you need to get off the water before the storm arrives.  You are within striking distance if you can hear thunder, and you need to seek shelter.
While driving out in the woods on the way to your hiking spot or fishing hole, you still may encounter some winter damage.  There are still sinkholes at some culverts in particular.  Many are marked by orange flags or flagging, but some are not.  Drive carefully.  Thanks to help from fire crews that were in the area during the last month, almost all of our high standard gravel roads are cleared from winter storm debris.  There is still clean up needed in a few places such as the Trappers Lake and Clara Lake roads.  Unlike the high standard roads, many of the low maintenance, high clearance roads still have trees or brush blocking them.  Some may not be cleared until there is activity in the area, such as timber harvest or fire access.  Roads which double as winter snowmobile trails have mostly been cleared.  Grading operations have also started for the summer, so keep your eyes open for slow moving graders and loose gravel in those areas, as well as for washboarding in areas which need grading.
There is some timber traffic to contend with out there as well.  Expect logging trucks on the Trappers Lake Road from operations near Sawbill Landing.  There will also be traffic on the Wanless Road, the Cramer Road, the Sawbill Trail, and The Grade.  In the Gunflint District, expect trucks on the Greenwood Lake Road, Gunflint Trail, Cook County 27, and Cook County 8.
All that makes it sound like it may be hard to get out in the Forest, but in reality, the roads are good shape, and travel should be easy if you pay attention to road conditions.  Enjoy the weekend, and until next week, this has been Becky Bartol with the National Forest Update.
 

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Superior National Forest Update: June 10

Hi.  I’m Mike Krussow, seasonal naturalist, with 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 10th, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
This weekend is another busy one in the Forest, a sure sign of summer’s arrival.  The Boundary Waters Expo is taking place at the end of the Gunflint Trail at the Seagull Lake public access at Blankenburg Road.  There are programs and events both Saturday and Sunday, enough that you should take a look at the full schedule on Visit Cook County.com. In addition to the Boundary Waters Expo, there is a Take A Kid Fishing event which will be happening at the Kimball Lake Campground on Sunday from 9 to noon.  This is for kids 5 to 12, accompanied by an adult.  There will be fly fishing and angling both, there are some poles available, but bring your own if you have one.  Reservations are required, and space is limited, so please call 218-387-1750 to reserve a spot. 
While traveling to these events, keep an eye open for animals.  There are a lot of youngsters out on the roads right now that might not be acting very carefully.  We’ve seen several fawns out in the middle of the road, as well as fox kits.  Sadly, there was also a bull moose in its prime that was struck and killed on Hwy 1 this past week.  The Minnesota DNR is collecting information from moose kills to better understand why the population is decreasing, and they were able to harvest organs from this moose for study.  If you are unfortunate enough to hit a moose, please contact the DNR as soon as possible so that they can make some good out of the accident.  Better still, drive slowly with caution on roads at night and try to avoid the moose altogether.  Moose love to use roadways for travel, and a dark moose on a dark night is nearly invisible.
As usual, there are log trucks out there in addition to the moose.  Hauling will be happening on the Wanless Road especially near Elixer Lake, the Dumbbell River Road, the Trappers Lake Road, also known as the Sawbill Landing Road or Forest Road 369, Lake County 705, and the Grade. The Trapper’s Lake Road will be especially active between Sawbill Landing and Forest Road 373.  On the Gunflint District, trucks are on the Greenwood Road, Shoe Lake Road, Firebox Road, Trestle Pine Road, and Ball Club Lake Road.  Tofte’s Timber Sale Administrator, Matt Riederer, warns people to drive defensively, and watch out for log trucks, which take up more of the road, are not as maneuverable as passenger cars.  Sadly for us, Matt is taking a new Forest Service position in Wyoming, and this will be his last contribution to our updates.  We’ve all benefitted from his truck information, and he’s also helped with reading the report on the air several times.  Thank you, Matt, and have fun out west!
Out in the Boundary Waters, crews are still clearing portage and latrine trails from the winter’s storms.  This will probably be going on the entire summer, so be prepared for some more difficult travel on your wilderness adventure, but don’t let it stop you from getting out in your canoe.
We’d like to remind people to check out our Facebook page and Twitter feed.  Both have some great pictures and information during the recent fires on the west side of the Forest, along with interesting links and facts all the time whether you are a visitor to the area, or a permanent resident.   Have a great weekend in the woods, and until next week, this has been Mike Krussow with the Superior National Forest Update.
 

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Superior National Forest Update: June 3

Hi.  I’m Andrew Gale, seasonal naturalist, with 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 3rd, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
There are several events happening on the Forest this weekend.  The first is on Friday night at North House Folk School as part of the Northern Landscapes Festival.  Forest Service biologist Chris Beal will be talking about his previous position working with penguins at a penguin colony in South America.  This should be a really fun presentation, though it is about as far from a northern landscape as you can get!
Also, as part of that same festival, we will be having a bat house build at North House on Saturday morning.  There will be two sessions, one starting at 9 am and one at 10:30.  There are a limited number of kits, so you’ll need to sign up ahead of time.  Families and young builders accompanied by an adult are welcome, but one house per family, please. 
A new event will be taking place in the area between Lutsen Mountain, Barker Lake, and the Onion River Road.  23 to Zero is a 23 hour trail and road run/walk that will be raising money to help reduce suicide in currently serving military and veteran.  There will be lots of people on the some of the trails and roadways in the Lutsen Mountain to Onion River Road area throughout the day and night starting on Saturday.
There, of course, will be logging trucks in the Forest as well.  Visitors to the Tofte District should expect log truck traffic on the Wanless Road (172), Dumbbell River Road (174), Trappers Lake Road (369), Lake County 705, and The Grade (170).  There is also an active state sale near Green Wing Lake.  On the Gunflint, hauling will be going on the Greenwood Road, Shoe Lake Road, Firebox Road, Trestle Pine Road, as well as on Ball Club Road.
Rain has really made the leaves pop out over the last week, and has also helped reduce fire danger.  While we are thankful for that, we want to remind people that this doesn’t mean you should quit paying attention to your campfires!  Smoldering fires in duff layers can persist through wet times, and then spring to life when the forest dries out.  Make sure all your fires are dead out when you leave a campsite or picnic area.
All of our campgrounds are now open and into the fee season.  This means water is turned on, and garbage is being collected.  When you are using campground dumpsters, be sure to replace the bar to lock the dumpster against bears.  It only takes one experience of getting into a dumpster to train a bear to regard a campground as a restaurant, and the best way to stop a bear problem is to not let it start. 
Those dumpsters, by the way, do cost money to have emptied.  They are not free dumping areas for household waste.  It is a federal crime to dispose of household or construction waste in a campground dumpster, punishable by fines of up to $500 or even six months imprisonment.  The campground dumpster is only for the use of campers at the campground.  Also, if you are on a Boundary Waters trip or at one of the rustic campgrounds without garbage pick-up, please don’t use garbage cans and dumpsters at area businesses for your camping trash either.
The wilderness ranger crew would like to remind visitors to the wilderness that the latrine trail at many campsites may be obscured by fallen branches from our winter snows.  It is a good idea to find the latrine during the day, before there is an emergency in the middle of the night.  If you are up in the middle of the night, make sure to look up in the sky.  The Boundary Waters is listed as ‘black sky’ area, and one of the few spots in the lower 48 where you can truly see the night sky.  There are several planets visible right now, including a spectacularly bright Mars.  It’s well worth staying up a bit longer to see the show. 
Enjoy the stars and the rest of the Forest, and until next week, this has been Andrew Gale with the Superior National Forest Update.
 

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Superior National Forest Update: May 27

Hi.  I’m Steve Robertsen, Forest interpretation and education specialist, with 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 May 27th, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
On Saturday, we have the premier running of Le Grande du Nord gravel cycling event.  There are both 50 and 100 mile routes, starting from the Point in Grand Marais.  Beyond that, we can’t tell you where the cyclists will be.  Part of the race’s challenge is to be able to navigate using a cue card which lists turns and mileage, so the route is a secret.  If you are driving in the area, just be aware that there could be bikers on the roads.  Since it is a gravel cycling event, they will be using some one lane Forest roads.  Be extra cautious on blind corners and hills if you are driving these back roads.  Good luck to all the cyclists!  Enjoy the Forest!
Those cyclists might be fighting some muddy and wet conditions.  We’ve received between a quarter and an inch of rain over the last three days.  That has really sped along the green up of the woods.  With the rain and the return of foliage on the trees, we have been given a break from the fire danger of the last couple of weeks.  Since the rain was fairly spotty, areas could dry out again fairly rapidly, so the Forest is keeping firefighting resources staged locally. 
In the event of a fire, you should know that rumors spread like, well, wildfire.  Superior National Forest will put out regular updates during a fire through the national website InciWeb.  Links to that site can be found on our website, on our Facebook page, and through our Twitter feed.  This and other official information should help you dispel any rumors that take root during a fire.
There are still prescribed burns planned on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts, but due to the rain, it will be at least five days before they occur.  The same information sources listed for wildfires will keep you in the loop for these planned burns as well.
Our wilderness crews are back in the Boundary Waters.  They report that there are still plenty of fallen branches and trees across portage trails, so be prepared for some extra work and time crossing portages.  There are also plenty of black flies, and people have been finding deer ticks, so make sure to pack your insect repellent.
In addition to the bikes on Saturday, there will be a fair amount of logging traffic.  Weight restrictions are off of most county roads now, so haulers are making up for the weeks when they couldn’t haul.  There are two sales off of the Wanless Road (FR 172), one near Elixir Lake, the other east of Section Eight Lake, so visitors should expect to see log truck traffic on the Wanless.  The Wanless is winding and narrow; be sure to drive defensively. There are also a couple of sales in the Sawbill Landing area.  Log trucks will be hauling on the Dumbbell River Road and the Trappers Lake Road (FR 369). 
On Gunflint District, timber harvests off of Greenwood Road, Shoe Lake Road, Firebox Road, and Trestle Pine Road will result in heavy log truck traffic on Greenwood Road and Shoe Lake Road during the next couple of weeks.  This will be happening during the Le Grand Du Nord cycling event this weekend, so cyclists and spectators need to be very aware and expect to encounter trucks.  A last note on roads – the frost heave that closed the 600 road near Tofte has been repaired, and that road is now fully open again.
Whether on the 600 road or up the Gunflint Trail, this is a lovely time to go for a drive, or a bike ride, in the Forest.  Our Juneberry trees are blooming, and in my mind rival the famous cherry trees in Washington.  Despite the predicted rain this weekend, take some time to get out and enjoy the flowers because they don’t last long.  Until next week, this has been Steve Robertsen with the Superior National Forest Update.
 

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Superior National Forest Update: May 20

Hi. I’m Cathy Peterson, business management on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts, with the National Forest Update - information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest. For the week of May 20th, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.

 It’s spring, and there are a lot of things happening outside. Hummingbirds and rose-breasted grosbeaks have made their way back to the north country. While the grosbeaks can find seeds fairly easily this time of year, flowers are a bit harder to find. If you have a hummingbird feeder, now’s the time to fill it. A simple solution of four parts water to one part sugar works as well or better than commercial nectar. You don’t need to boil the water, but if you do heat the water to dissolve the sugar, make sure it is back to room temperature before you put it out for the birds. Most feeders hold a lot of nectar, and it often goes bad before it runs out. Usually, you only need to fill feeders halfway. You should be replacing nectar every few days, or sooner if it gets cloudy.

Along with the birds returning, baby animals are starting to show up. Cute as they are, remember they are wild creatures. Don’t crowd even tame appearing animals, you don’t want them to get too used to humans. Watch out too for little ones on the road, they really don’t have any ‘car smarts’ yet.

There are some big ones on the road, too -- big in the sense of logging trucks. More weight restrictions have been lifted, and there is a fair amount of timber work going on right now. Log trucks are hauling on the Trappers Lake Road (FR 369), Dumbbell River Road (FR 174), the Wanless Road (FR 172), Lake County 705, Cook County 33 (the Perent Lake Road), and The Grade (FR 170) in the Tofte District. On Gunflint, there will be heavy log truck traffic on the Greenwood and Shoe Lake roads during the next couple of weeks. Harvest is currently taking place off of Greenwood Road, Shoe Lake Road, and Firebox Road, with operations scheduled to begin off of the Trestle Pine Road (FR1365) soon. With the dry weather, clouds of dust coming down the road means either a log truck or a Tasmanian Devil is approaching. Either way, you’ll need to pull over and give them room.

Most, if not all, of our docks will be in the water this weekend, which is great news as it is supposed to be fantastic weather. If, instead of boating, you are planning a hike, or are planning on going into the wilderness, be aware that footpaths in many places are still very brushy from the winter storms. Portage trails and latrine trails in the wilderness, and hiking trails both inside and outside the wilderness, all may take a bit more effort to hike. There will be fallen branches and brush across the trail in some places. We are working on clearing these trails, but it may be a couple of months before they are totally cleared.

As weather conditions allow, fire crews will be working on prescription burning. These preemptive actions clear out the fuels at ground level which could cause hazardous conditions in the event of a wildfire. Details can be found on our website and at our offices. The area where the burn is occurring will be marked with signs on the roadway.

May 27, next Friday, is the deadline for registering for the June 11 “Take a Kid Fishing” event. It is possible that we may be filling open spots after that date, but it would help with our planning to have registration done by next Friday. There is only a limited number of spots, so register early to make sure your child can come fishing with us. “Take a Kid Fishing” is open to children 5 through 12. Call the Gunflint Office at 387-1750 to register or for more information.

Try taking a kid fishing this weekend, too, or just go out yourself. It looks like a great weekend to get out on the water!

Until next week, this has been Cathy Peterson with the Superior National Forest Update.

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