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Superior National Forest Update: September 4

Hi.  I’m Steve Robertsen, interpretation and education specialist on the Superior National Forest, 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 4th, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
September and fall have arrived!  It may not seem so from our recent steamy days, but this marks the beginning of the fall color season.  Starting this week, we’ll be publishing fall color photos and essays on the web every week to capture the season and help people plan their leaf peeping expeditions.  One of the most interesting sections of the website is a photographic record of fall color in one spot off the Honeymoon Trail where we’ve taken a photo every week in the fall since 2007.   You can use this to try to predict for yourself when the elusive peak of fall color will be this year, and get yourself prepped for, eek, the first snowfall as well. 
Progress is being made on the replacement of the Pink Bridge on the 600 Road, just off the Sawbill Trail.  This was an old iron truss bridge with a long history, but had sadly deteriorated to the point where it was no longer safe.  The hope is that the new bridge will be open soon for fall color touring.
While people may be migrating north to see fall colors, many of our birds and other animals are migrating south.  Thousands of night hawks have been seen going south down the Hwy 61 corridor.  They aren’t really attracted by the road, it is the lake that causes the build-up of migrants on the shore.  The dense fog and other weather factors caused a bird ‘fall out’ this past week where all the migrants seemed to have decided it was time for a break.  Our yard was full of warblers of many species, as well as other birds, then the next day, they had vanished.
Birds don’t have to contend with log trucks while they are traveling, but we do.  In your migrations through the forest, be aware that there is logging traffic on the Wanless Road, Sawbill Landing Road, the Honeymoon Trail and the Caribou Trail.  Also watch for increased slow traffic over the next month or so caused by leaf watchers.  If you are one of the leaf watchers, be aware of people behind you, and pull over to let them pass if you need to.  If you stop, be sure it is in a safe place and that your vehicle doesn’t block the roadway.
A good place to stop for a view is at Pincushion Mountain.  Aspen growth on the hillside has been slowly blocking the view over the past several years, but last week a crew worked to open up the scenery again.  It’s worth the short drive up the hill to check it out if you haven’t been there for a while.
We’d like to mention again this week that bear activity has been high.  There are a lot of theories as to why this is so, but it does seem that the bears are all over the place.  We have been upgrading some of the garbage cans and dumpsters on the Forest to bear resistant versions of various styles.  One thing they all have in common though is that they are not bear resistant unless the person using them closes the lid, and in the case of the dumpsters, bars it as well.  Please help us keep our bears out of trouble by securing the garbage cans after use, and storing your food and garbage securely during camping trips.
Have a great weekend, and enjoy the Forest.  Until next week, this has been Steve Robertsen with the Superior National Forest Update. 
 

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