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Superior National Forest Update: September 25

Hi.  I’m Suzanne Cable, assistant district ranger for recreation and Wilderness on the Tofte and Gunflint Ranger Districts, with this week’s edition of the National Forest Update  -  information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest. For the week of September 25th, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
Rain, rain is what has been going on in the Forest the last two days.  This is great as far as plants preparing for winter and for keeping fire danger low, but this much rain can be hard on roads. Keep an eye out for water across roads that may soften road surfaces or cause you to hydroplane.  There could even be washouts in some areas, though we’ve had no reports of any at this point.  The rain is also hard on the fall colors, knocking leaves down before colors really get a chance to start.  Some drier weather and some cooler nights are what is needed to kick start color change, and this weekend might be perfect.
There are a number of logging operations that will have trucks hauling timber this week.  On the Tofte District, you may encounter trucks on the Wanless Road near Elixer Lake, the Sawbill Landing Road near Sawbill Landing, both the Four Mile Grade and the Grade, and on the Honeymoon Trail near White Pine Lake.
On the Gunflint District, watch out for trucks on the Murmur Creek Road, Caribou Trail, Bally Creek Road, Greenwood and Old Greenwood Roads, Firebox Road, Shoebox Lake Road,  the South Brule River Road, the Lima Grade, and the Gunflint Trail.  That’s a lot of work being done!  In addition to work and trucks, you can expect to see more personal vehicles in the woods as well.  There are both fall color enthusiasts and hunters out driving, so watch for slow moving and parked vehicles.  If you are slow moving yourself, keep an eye behind you and pull over in safe places to let others pass if they want to drive faster.
Speaking of hunting, there are many hunters who will be using ATVs and OHVs.  The maps showing roads on which you can drive your ATV are reprinted each year with some revisions.  If you are using a 2014 map, you should stop at a Forest Service office and pick up a free copy of the current map.
The North Shore Drive on Highway 61 got some national attention recently as the National Forest Foundation listed it third in nation for fall colors.   So, it may be time to turn off the computer, phone, and television, and get outdoors for a drive, or a hike, or to go hunting, fishing, or camping.  Get out and enjoy the fall.  Until next week, this has been Suzanne Cable with the Superior National Forest Update.