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Superior National Forest Update

Contributor(s): 
USDA Forest Service

The Superior National Forest Update helps you keep up to date with Forest activities that you might encounter while driving, boating, or hiking in the Superior National Forest’s Tofte and Gunflint Ranger Districts.  It includes road and fire conditions, logging and other truck activities, as well as naturalist programs and special events.  

The USDA Forest Service has more information on the Superior National Forest website.


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Superior National Forest Update

Superior National Forest Update - Dec.20

Superior National Forest Update with Steve Robertsen, Interpretation and Education Specialist.
December 20, 2019

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Superior National Forest Update

Superior National Forest Update - Dec. 07

Superior National Forest Update with Steve Robertsen, Interpretation and Education Specialist with the USDA Forest Service.
December 7, 2019

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Superior National Forest Update

Superior National Forest Update - November 22

Superior National Forest Update with Steve Robertsen.
November 22, 2019

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Superior National Forest Update

Superior National Forest Update - November 15

Superior National Forest Update with Jon Benson.
November 15, 2019

 

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Superior National Forest Update

Superior National Forest Update - November 1

Superior National Forest Update with Renee Frahm, visitor information specialist with the Superior National Forest.
November 1, 2019

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Superior National Forest Update

Superior National Forest Update - October 25

National Forest Update – October 23, 2019
 
Hi.  I’m Steve Robertsen, the education and interpretation specialist with the Superior National Forest with the National Forest Update for the week.  If you are planning on going out into the Forest, we try to keep you updated on everything that is going on out there – and this Halloween week, that includes possibly ghosts, zombies, and goblins.
 
Now, if you were to hit a ghost with your car, you’d probably get a chill up your spine and perhaps a bit of ectoplasm in the radiator.  Hitting a deer is another story.  Fall and spring are really prime time for vehicle/deer accidents.  Deer are moving around a lot and blend in well with the brown fall grasses by the roadsides.  Plus, the shortening days have pushed sunrise and sunset into prime commute time, so there are deer on the roads right when traffic is heaviest.  Take a moment to really be aware when driving right now – we don’t need to create any more ghost deer to haunt our highways.
 
Due to the heavy rain and high winds, roads are not in the best shape.  Mainline roads in the Forest are fine, but lower maintenance level roads may still have fallen branches on them, and may be too soft to travel.  Traveling on soft roads could get you stuck, but even if you get away, you will leave ruts behind.  This time of year, those ruts will freeze before being filled, and we will contend with frozen ruts all winter long, so please stay off soft roads. 
 
There are still some roadwork taking place on the Grade, Forest Road 170.  That work is mostly gravel placement east of the Sawbill Trail, but there is also some gravel and culvert work being done west of the Sawbill.  Large side dump gravel trucks are frequently using the Sawbill Trail as part of this operation.  Elsewhere in the Forest, logging operations have slowed a bit with log trucks using the Caribou Trail, Evergreen, and Bigsby Road on the Tofte District, and the Lima Grade, South Brule Road, Pike Lake Road, Cook County 7, Cascade Bluffs Road, Greenwood Road, and the Blueberry Road on the Gunflint District.
 
All the Forest fee campgrounds have gone into winter mode.  During winter, you do not have to pay a fee to stay at our campgrounds, but there is no water.  In winter mode, there’s no garbage service at campgrounds, so be sure to pack lightly going in and pack it all out when you leave.  By the way, take it all the way home – local gas stations and other businesses with dumpsters do not appreciate receiving everyone’s camping trash.  We are also winterizing the Forest by removing docks from the water.  There are an awful lot of docks out there, so we don’t post a list of which lakes have had their docks removed and which may still have a dock.  All the docks should be removed in the next two weeks, so at this point, you should just assume that there will be no dock for your boat.
 
Non-migratory bats are going into hibernation this time of year.  As many of us know, hibernating bats have been struck by an invasive fungal disease called white nose syndrome.  Last spring, Soudan Mine, where many of our local bats hibernate, reported a population decrease of 90% from 2015 before the disease struck.  To put that in human terms, if a disease like that struck Cook County’s 5400 people, only 540 of us would be left.  It has moved little brown bats from one of the state’s most common animals to one that is under threat of being wiped out.  This is national Bat Week, and while there is little that we as individuals can do about the disease, we can help the surviving bats.  Reducing your use of pesticides will help bats as well as insect eating birds and of course pollinating insects themselves.  Putting up bat houses provides roosting opportunities during the summer months.  And, if you need to evict a bat which has strayed into your house, do it in a way that won’t hurt the bat.  Bats, like people, are long lived and slow to reproduce, so every individual counts when rebuilding the decimated population.  Take some time this Bat Week to think about these marvelous night flyers and do what you can to help them.
 
About those ghouls and goblins – be on the lookout for them next Thursday night, and drive safely.  Until next week, this has been Steve Robertsen with the National Forest Update, and have a scary Halloween!
 

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Superior National Forest Update

Superior National Forest Update - October 18

Superior National Forest Update - with Steve Robertsen, Interpretation and Education Specialist.
October 18, 2019

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Superior National Forest Update

Superior National Forest Update - Oct 11

National Forest Update – October 10, 2019
 
Hi.  I’m Jake Todd, information assistant at the Tofte Ranger District, with our October 11th edition of the National Forest Update.  Right now, we are in fall changing to winter – this past week, there’s been days where you can wear shorts and days with frost and snow.  It’s a time when you have to take advantage of those nice days to get some fall projects done, and take advantage of those not-so-nice days to make bread and pumpkin soup.  We’re hoping that between the putting the boat away and getting the snowblower out, you’ll find some time to go explore the Forest – it’s beautiful out there.

Biking is becoming more popular all the time.  Superior National Forest is responding to this with some excellent single track mountain bike trails, maintained and developed in cooperation with the Superior Cycling Association.  What we have not had cooperation from is the weather.  Our rainy fall has softened the tread of these bike trails to the point that riding them will damage the trail and deep ruts may take extensive trail work to repair.  The Sawtooth Mountain Challenge bike race, planned for this weekend on the Pincushion Mountain trails, has been called off because of wet trail conditions.  The almost completed connector trails between Britton Peak and Lutsen Mountains are paused in their ‘almost completed’ state, and are not open for use also because of wet trail conditions.  Please respect these trails by not using them if you will cause rutting and erosion.  Use during these times will just delay the opening of the trail further.  If you’re looking for a good ride, there are plenty of gravel roads open to exploration by mountain bike, and we’ve seen several bikepackers out on the roadways this fall. 

One bikepacker we talked with had run out of water because they didn’t realize that the water had been shut off in several of our campgrounds.  Our website will give you up to the minute information on which campgrounds have had the water system put to bed for the winter, and which still have water available, so check before you leave on any outdoor adventure where you are counting on drinking water.  It’s probably a good idea to start bringing a filter pump with you as well, just in case you need it.  Currently, the water is off at McDougal, Divide, Little Isabella, and Baker Campground.

If you’re biking, or driving, you’ll notice that our roads are a bit crowded right now.  Not “I-35 going to Minneapolis on a Sunday” crowded, but for us, they’re busy.  It is still the peak of fall color, plus grouse season, and that means that there are people out in the woods.  The deer are also getting active as rut approaches, and there seem to be more of them crossing the roads every day. 

So, whether you are biking, driving, or walking, use some extra caution on the roads.
You’ll find truck traffic on some of the roads.  On the Tofte District, there’s hauling on the Dumbbell River Road, Trappers Lake Road, the east side of the Timber-Frear Loop, the 4 Mile Grade, Sawbill Trail, and Caribou Trail.  On the Gunflint District, you’ll find trucks using the Lima Grade, South Brule Road, Pike Lake Road, Cook County 7, Cascade Bluffs Road, Greenwood Road, and the Blueberry Road.

Despite all those words of warning, it is well worth getting out into the Forest.  Fall really is nature putting on a show with leaves and active wildlife.  Have a great week, and until next time, this has been Jake Todd with the National Forest Update.
 

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Superior National Forest Update

Superior National Forest Update - October 4

Superior National Forest Update with Steve Robertsen, Interpretation and Education Specialist for the USDA Superior National Forest.

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Superior National Forest Update

Superior National Forest Update - September 27

Superior National Forest Update for September 27, 2019
with Steve Robertsen, Interpretation & Education Specialist
with the USDA Forest Service, Superior National Forest.

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