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Superior National Forest Update: August 11

Hi.  I’m Frances Meger, seasonal naturalist with the Superior National Forest with the National Forest Update - information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the east end of the Superior. Here’s what’s happening for the week of August 11.

This weekend is the peak of the annual Perseid meteor shower. Meteor showers are caused when the Earth moves into the debris left behind in the path of a comet. The comet in this case is called Swift Tuttle, and it seems to leave a lot of debris behind it, making for lots of meteors as the bits and pieces of old comet burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere. How many?  It varies from year to year, but the Perseids can have as many as 100 meteors per hour. It’s usually best to watch for meteors after midnight, but the moon will be rising around 11:00, so the best viewing might be right before moonrise. Northern Minnesota and the Superior National Forest are known as areas with very little in the way of light pollution and spectacular views of the night sky, so, grab a lawn chair where you can lean back, put on plenty of bug dope, and get set to watch the show.

The frequent rains have kept fire danger low all season this year, a fact which Smokey Bear liked while he celebrated his 73rd birthday this past week. On the west end of the Forest, Smokey’s friends, our fire crews, are doing some prescribed burning, and there are a few burns planned for our east end as well. Keep an eye on our website, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and we’ll keep you informed as to when and where those burns will be taking place as we try to fit them in between rain showers. 
There are only a couple of weeks remaining of summer naturalist programs, sponsored by Visit Cook County. Mike Zemaitis and I would like to thank everyone who has come to our programs this year, and invite everyone to join us by the campfire for one of the remaining presentations. You can find the schedule online, at the visitor center in Grand Marais, at Forest Service offices, or at any of the participating resorts.

If you are out driving in the Forest this week, there’s a number of roads which will see logging traffic. On the Tofte District, watch for trucks on Lake County 705, Cook County 33, The Grade, and the Sawbill Trail. On the Gunflint District hauling is taking place on the Firebox Road, Blueberry Road, Greenwood Road, Shoe Lake Road, and Forest Road 1385. There will also be trucks on the Gunflint Trail, South Brule Road, Lima Grade, Trestle Pine Road, Ball Club Road, Devil Track Road, Cook County 6 and 7, and the Bally Creek Road.

Enjoy the meteor showers, or have a s’more at the campfire, or why not do both? Until next week, this has been Frances Meger with the National Forest Update.