Listen Now
Pledge Now


 
 

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: August 19

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.

Listen: 

 

Superior National Forest Update: August 12

Hi.  This is Tom McCann, resource information specialist 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 12th, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
We’d like to remind people who are camping about the fact that they are sharing the woods with bears.  Black bears normally are not an animal to worry about, and tend to shy away from human contact. But once a bear learns that people, dumpsters, or portage packs are sources of food, bears can cause problems.  The best way to prevent these problems is to make sure bears don’t learn to associate people with food.  That means campers need to follow some simple guidelines of bear etiquette.  To begin with, when you are camping at a campground, store your food out of sight in a hard sided vehicle.  Some bears can break through screens on RVs, and can recognize coolers sitting on back seats.  Put your food in the car’s trunk, or cover it with a blanket in vehicles without trunks.  Garbage equals food for bears, so treat garbage like food.  Don’t store either food or garbage in your tent, ever.  Take your garbage directly to the dumpster after meals - don’t keep the garbage bag at your campsite during your visit.    After putting your garbage in the dumpster, be sure to secure the lid with bars, or use whatever system is provided.  This can be inconvenient, but it is better than letting bears get into the dumpster.  Don’t leave bags of garbage sitting outside the dumpster.  If it is full, temporarily store your garbage as you would your food, and contact the campground host or concessionaire.
Camping in backcountry or Boundary Waters sites takes some different skills.  Hang food and garbage in a pack twelve feet off the ground, six feet out from tree trunks, and four feet down from branches.  There are several different ways to rig a system to hang your pack, the best ones use a pulley to make it easier on the tree and on the person hauling up the food pack.  You can see diagrams of food hanging methods on our website in the camping section.  There are many campsites with no good tree for food hanging, particularly in post fire areas.  Campers in those spots should use a bear resistant food container.  The popular blue plastic barrels used for packing food are not bear resistant, they need to be hung just like a pack.  Bear resistant containers with food in them should be stored at night away from the campsite. 
Taking all these precautions might take a little extra effort, but will help keep our bears wild and not dependent on human food.  This will help prevent bear problems while camping, and make it less likely problem bears will have to be destroyed.
Getting to some of the campgrounds may be a little easier this week.  Paving on the Sawbill Trail and Temperance River Road has been completed.  Only a short section of the Temperance River Road was paved, primarily to eliminate the deep washboarding which happened as vehicles went up the steep hill, and to keep gravel off the bike trail. 
While the Sawbill to the Temperance River Campground is now paved, you will find some logging trucks in that area.  There are timber harvests going on near the site of the Sawbill CCC camp, and on the Grade between Sawbill and Baker Lake.  There will also be trucks in the Sawbill Landing area near Silver Island Lake and on County Road 7 near Harriet Lake.   On Gunflint, harvest is taking place off of Greenwood Road, Firebox Road, and Powers Lake Road.  Log hauling will be taking place in all these areas, so please drive carefully.
So, enjoy the new roadways on your way to the campground, and respect the bears when you arrive.  Have a great weekend, and until next week, this has been Tom McCann with the National Forest Update.
 

Listen: 

 

Superior National Forest Update: August 5

Hi there my name is Cathy Jasperson, Customer Service Representative for the Tofte Ranger District. On behalf of your Superior National Forest here is the current Update for information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the east end of the Forest. For the week of August 5th, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
August is really the height of summer in Minnesota.  Hot muggy days and the sound of locusts jumping up as you walk in the forest may bring thoughts of swimming in a lake or stream or relaxing in a hammock in the shade with a good book just enjoying the forest.  As you travel into the forest in search of those trees, just the right distance apart for your hammock, or for the perfect swimming hole, here is some information to keep in mind.
If you travel plan to travel on the Sawbill Trail please be aware that Paving of the road is still in process but it is coming closer to being finished.  Expect some flaggers and one lane road in spots as they add layers of asphalt to the roadway.  The culvert replacement project on the 170 Grade will be shifting locations from west of the Sawbill to east of the Sawbill, between the Sawbill Trail and Crescent Lake Campground.  There may be times where this road is closed entirely for periods up to an entire day.  If you are headed for Crescent Lake, you may want to take an alternate route using the Caribou Trail County road #4 to save time.
Logging traffic On the Superior National Forest is much the same as it has been.  You may encounter trucks using the 170 Grade, near the Sawbill Landing area off the Wanless Road.  On the Gunflint District, haulers are using the Greenwood Road, Firebox Road, and Powers Lake Road, so watch for trucks in those areas also.
In addition to relaxing in a hammock and some swimming, many people are headed out to pick blueberries.  If you are planning to berry pick berries in a location using minimum maintenance roads, only drive in as far as you are capable of walking out.  Many of these old roads increase the potential for getting stuck or having vehicle problems and there is usually little to no room to turn a vehicle around on these roads and you may have to back out the way you came.  If you are parking off a main roadway such as the Gunflint Trail, be sure you are parked in a safe location, completely off the road and where there is good visibility.
 Blueberries are often found in past fire areas, full of new growth, but with little in the way of landmarks, and it is easy to suddenly look up and have no clue where you left your car.
Remember that Cell phone reception in these areas can be very poor so you should always have an emergency plan.
Remember too that it is easy to get turned around when picking those blueberries.   Your focus is usually on the ground where the berries are and not on your surroundings, you may lose track of where you have been.
 
 The following are some helpful tips when picking berries:

  • Try to stay in a group and in sight of your vehicle
  • Have plenty of water on hand
  • You may want to wear a colorful hat to be noticed and to shade your head
  • Make sure someone back home or at camp knows the location you plan to pick in, and an approximate return time.
  • Bring a whistle for emergency signaling and a compass to track your location

If you head to the south side of the road, the compass will help you head back north and hit the road at some point along its length, even if it isn’t exactly at your car.
A GPS is a good tool as well, but make sure you have enough charge or spare batteries, and don’t rely on it.  Just like most computers, they’ve been known to suddenly refuse to work.  Look up frequently, and look back the way you came to learn what landmarks you can.  
So, take some time in these dog days of summer to relax in the warmth with a nice piece of blueberry pie and a scoop of ice cream. 
Last but not least be sure to stop by the Superior National forest booth in Grand Marais the weekend of August 6th to chat with forest personnel during the Fishermans Picnic and be sure to shake Smokey Bear's hand if you see him in town.  Until next week, this has been Cathy Jasperson with the Superior National Forest Update.  Be safe and LEAVE NO TRACE!
 

Listen: 

 

Superior National Forest Update: July 29

Hi. This is, Paulette Anholm, information assistant on the Tofte and Gunflint Ranger Districts, with the Superior National Forest Update - information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the east end of the Forest. For the week of July 29, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.

It is the end of July and the beginning of August, and the fireweed has begun its countdown to the end of summer. Fireweed is the tall lavender flower with narrow leaves found in open areas after fires, but also in openings along roads and trails. The flowers are in a single spike, and begin blooming from the bottom at the end of July. They slowly creep up the stalk, and when the flowers reach the top, summer has ended. We still have a few weeks though to enjoy some summer activities out in the woods, so here’s some information to help you on your journey.

The paving project continues on the Sawbill Trail, usually not too bad, but allow time for the occasional long wait. There is also construction on The Grade near Toohey and Fourmile Lakes. That stretch was closed completely earlier this week for culvert replacement, but is now open. You may encounter logging trucks in some places on the Forest. On the Gunflint District, harvest is taking place off of Greenwood Road and Firebox Road. On the Tofte District, there will be trucks in the area around Sawbill Landing near Isabella.

Back roads may still have signs of the recent storms in the form of branches and other debris on the road. There may be some deadfalls blocking the road, but most have been cleared. Be aware that the storm activity has bent or loosened some trees, and some trees are still falling and may block previously cleared roadways. These same conditions are true for trails and portages. Give yourself extra time, and if carrying a canoe on your shoulders, you may want to scout the route before you start out.

Campers in the Boundary Waters or at backcountry sites should always look for possible hazard trees when making camp, but especially after storms which may have left broken branches dangling in trees, or caused other trees to be weakened.

This is a great time of year to get out and look for late summer wildflowers. Spring may be famous for flowers, but right now isn’t bad either. Along with the fireweed, we’ve spotted many other flowers not seen in the spring, such as a ragged fringed orchid. The advantage of looking for flowers now is that you can also be looking for blueberries and raspberries. If you are in search of berries, make sure to park well off the roadway. We also don’t recommend picking berries right on the road right of way due to road chemicals that may be in the area, and possible invasive species control spraying that takes place on some roads.

Enjoy our warm summer days, and see if you can get enough berries to make a pie! Until next week, this has been Paulette Anholm with the National Forest Update.

Listen: 

 

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.
 
 

Listen: 

 

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.
 

Listen: 

 

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.

Listen: 

 

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.
 

Listen: 

 

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.
 

Listen: 

 

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.
 

Listen: