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Superior National Forest Update: September 12

usfs_update_20140912.mp33.2 MB

Hi.  I’m Jon Benson, Recreation Specialist on the Tofte and Gunflint Ranger Districts, with this week’s edition of the Superior National Forest Update. For the week of September 12th, here’s what’s going on around the Forest.

Recreation use on the Forest is starting to slow down; however, bear hunters are out right now and grouse season starts soon so folks may see some hunting activity going on.  Trail partner groups are also out on the trails either finishing up their summer work or preparing for the winter.  We are also nearing completion of the Little Isabella Campground ATV Trail Connector as well as the reroute of the Beaver Snowmobile Trail north of Caribou Lake.

Boundary Waters permits remain available through the end of September and then the self-issue permit season begins October 1st.  Concessionaire-run fee campgrounds on the Superior National Forest will remain open with fees being charged for just over a month.  Campers should continue to be considerate of other users especially with regard to noise levels, vehicle parking, and folks should respect the personal space of other campers. 

Fall colors are starting to show up around the Forest.  We have just finished putting up the signs designating the fall color routes.  The Superior National Forest does a weekly fall color blog on our website.  For folks that are interested in following the blog, they can start checking the Superior National Forest website and look on the right hand side of the screen for the Fall Colors link.  Conditions are updated daily and new photos are added on Thursdays and Fridays.

Fire danger is low this weekend, but that’s no reason to let your campfire get out of control.  Keep fires in grates and fire rings, and remember that it is illegal to burn trash in a campfire.  Don’t leave your fire until it is dead out and cool to the touch.  Superior National Forest Fire crews are working on some fall pile burning currently and they will continue as conditions allow.  Nationally the fire situation has quieted down in most places but southern Oregon and California are still fairly active.

On the road, you can expect delays on Highway 61 still.  With heavier traffic this weekend, your trip from Silver Bay to Grand Marais could easily be thirty to fifty minutes longer than usual.  Be sure to allow yourself extra time on the roads.

Logging traffic on the Gunflint District will be about the same as the last few weeks.  You might encounter log trucks on Bally Creek, Devil Track, Ball Club, Shoe Lake, Greenwood, Pine Mountain Road, The Grade, the Caribou Trail, the Gunflint Trail, and on the Swamp and Cascade River Roads and Cook County 7 and 45.  On the Tofte end, there is one active timber harvest right now.  Folks should be aware of logging traffic on Cook County 3, and vehicles may encounter logging trucks on Lake County 7, the 4 Mile Grade, and the Sawbill Trail.

The fisheries program is currently assisting the 1854 Treaty Authority with their fall walleye assessments on Elbow, Cascade, Devilfish, Ball Club, and Caribou Lakes.  The focus of the assessment is to capture 3-6 inch young of the year walleye in the shallows of the lakes and measure them for growth analysis.  The fish are then released.  The goal of the assessment is to develop an index of year class strength.  This assists fishery managers in better predicting what the future fishery of a lake may look like.  

I hope all the listeners have a wonderful weekend!  And remember, for up to minute information on topics such as fire restrictions, be sure to stop into a Ranger Station, check our website, or follow us on Twitter.

Until next week, this has been Jon Benson with the National Forest Update.