Superior National Forest Update: August 15

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Hi.  I’m Inga Roen, National Forest Interpretive Naturalist, 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 August 15th, here’s what’s going on around the Forest.
Roads are clear and dry and great for travel right now.  Some washboarding is showing up on some roads, so be prepared for it.  Going too fast on washboards not only rattles your teeth, it makes your tires lose contact with the road and makes steering very difficult.  Still, if you’re coming into the Forest from the south on Highway 61, the worst road conditions are probably going to be the construction zones on Highway 61.  There is a detour through Finland via Highway 1 and County 6, and another section with single lane traffic a little farther north.  You can expect half hour delays or more on the road between Silver Bay and Tofte.  People on the Cramer Road might see some more vehicles than usual as frustrated travelers use back roads to avoid the waiting. 
There are still several timber operations on the Gunflint that will have logging trucks on the roads.  Bally Creek, Devil Track, Ball Club, Shoe Lake, Greenwood, Pine Mountain, The Grade, the Caribou Trail, and the Gunflint Trail itself all will have timber being hauled on them.  On the Tofte end, there are no active timber harvests right now.  You still might see a few trucks on the 4 Mile Grade, Sawbill Trail, and the 600 Road, but not many.
Many of our fire crews are supporting work being done on the multitude of fires in the West.  We wish them our best.  Crews here on the Superior though have been working as well.  There have been two small fires in the past week on the Gunflint District, and they’ve also been working on removing understory plants to reduce fuel on sites in the Mid Trail area. 
Speaking of fire, Smokey Bear would like to thank everyone that stopped by to show their support at his 70th birthday parties last weekend and he apologizes for accidently pouring that bucket of water on the candles on the cake.  It was a lot of flames, after all!  He says that he’s ready for another 70 years of protecting the forest, and hopes you continue to prevent wild fires with him!
These are some of the best days of summer for outdoor recreation.  Take advantage of it and get out there!  It can get busy though, so be aware that you aren’t alone.  Respect other people’s need for space and quiet so everyone can enjoy the Forest.  One reason to get out is that August can be a great time for wildlife viewing.  Many young animals are venturing farther away from their moms by this time of year, which sometimes makes them easy to see.  Unfortunately, it also means they sometimes end up in the road, so watch out for wandering wildlife.  Also, watch out for people stopped to watch the wandering wildlife.  If you stop, make sure you are off the roadway in a safe location and have your hazards on.
For up to the minute information on topics such as fire restrictions, be sure to check our website or at a Ranger Station.
Hope you enjoy another week in the Forest and on the water.  Until next week, this has been Inga Roen with the National Forest Update.


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