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West End News: May 18

The Forest Service took advantage of the recent wet weather and completed a couple of prescribed burns that have been on their to-do list for a little while. One burn was in our neck of the woods, just off The Grade road, otherwise known as Forest Road 170. This fire was used in timber harvest units where logging activities have been taking place. The prescribed fire was used as the method to consume residual slash from the timber sale and to remove hazardous fuels. It also served to prepare the area for seeding and planting, and restored fire to the ecosystem. This particular area hasn’t seen a wildfire in modern history, so what the agency is doing to help manage our Forest ecosystem is much, much needed. We drove by the burn while it was in progress, and the many firefighters on site appeared relaxed, which we were glad to see.

Coming up this weekend on May 20 is the Superior Trail Races in Lutsen. These races are for the foolhardy who enjoy running 25 or 50 kilometers through extremely hilly, rugged and technical out and back trails traversing the Sawtooth Mountain Range on the Superior Hiking Trail. The course parallels Lake Superior, climbs up to nearly 2000 foot heights, crosses rivers and streams - all while meandering through our boreal forest. The races start 7 and 8 a.m. on Saturday, and will be finished by 4 p.m. Which seems impossible. But I guess if you are familiar with the ultra-running world this doesn’t surprise you.

Spectators are welcome to visit the Oberg and Sawbill aid stations in Tofte. Please though, no parking in the trailhead parking lots. There will be signs and volunteers to direct you to safe parking areas at both locations. The races will begin and end at Caribou Highlands in Lutsen. There is a 4 p.m. finish cutoff time, after which is a free post-race event with food served. So come on down to cheer on some crazy runners.

If you’re one of the lucky few who gets some time off during Memorial Day weekend, be sure to check out the Art Along the Lake event. Various galleries and businesses along the North Shore from Schroeder to Grand Portage will be hosting demonstrations and events next weekend, Friday, May 26 through Sunday, May 28. Of particular interest in the West End, the Cross River Heritage Center in Schroeder will be hosting demonstrations by Mary Jane Huggins, Kathy West, Orlene Fisher and many more starting at 10 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Kah Nee Tah Gallery in Lutsen will have demonstrations in precious metal clay and silver and raku with Judy Christensen and Maggie Anderson at 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Kah Nee Tah has also recently had an update to the interior of their second gallery so if you haven’t been in a while, now is a great time to stop in. Other participating west end art stops worth a visit are the Last Chance Studio and Gallery in Lutsen and the Thompsonite Beach Jewelry Shop between Lutsen and Grand Marais.

If like me you don't get the holiday weekends off, I hope you will take some time for your own trail run or art. Maybe don't play with fire, though.

For WTIP, I’m Clare Shirley with the West End News.

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