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Superior National Forest Update - August 23

Superior National Forest Update
Superior National Forest Update

National Forest Update – August 22, 2019

Hi.  I’m Renee Frahm, visitor information specialist with the Superior National Forest.  It is already August 23rd, and time for the National Forest Update with information for people traveling, hiking, camping, or otherwise visiting the Superior National Forest.
Summer is winding to a close and thoughts of mini donuts and Pronto Pups at the Minnesota State Fair are replacing those of s’mores and campfires.  There is actually a lot of good outdoor time though before the snow flies.  This is one of the best times of year to get out in the woods as the biting insect numbers are decreasing and the trees are full of southward migrating birds.  There are even a few berries left to pick out there.  You’ll also see a lot of mushrooms right now.  Our sporadic rain has made conditions great for mushrooms and there are lots of them popping up.  The mushroom you see is just the tip of the iceberg.  It is the fruiting body of a much larger organism consisting of thin fungal strands weaving their way through the soil or fallen tree.  If you are interesting in harvesting wild mushrooms to eat, don’t do it unless you are, or are with, an expert.  Our woods is home to several kinds of mushrooms that will make you very sick.  Don’t end the summer with the trip to the ER.

If you get out to pick anything, a few bears may be picking out there with you.  In the past few forest updates, we’ve talked about bears a lot, so this time we are just going have a gentle reminder:  bears like your food and garbage; please keep them locked up when you are camping.  It’s not hard to do, and if we all do it, we won’t have any bear problems.

Some of our crew out in the woods had an experience from which we can all learn.  Let’s just say – you should remember to check your spare tire before you head out into the less visited parts of the Forest.  Don’t just check to see if it is there, check that you have a jack and lug nut wrench and that you know how to use them.  On a pickup truck and some SUVs, make sure you can actually lower the spare down from its position under the vehicle.  The mechanism that lowers the spare is generally very prone to rusting up.  While you are checking things, it’s a good time of year too to check the tread on the rest of your tires.  It doesn’t pay to head into fall and winter with bad tires, plus bad tires are that much easier to puncture.  Some newer cars don’t even come with a spare anymore; they just have spray can of ‘stop leak’.  This may work for a nail or screw in your tire, but the hole left by the three inch sharp rock you ran over isn’t going to go away with a spray can.  It’s not a bad idea to get a spare to throw in the back if you are headed off on lesser used roads, especially if you travel gravel roads often.  You might wait awhile until help comes along.
Before you head out, you should also know that Forest Road 166, known as The 600 Road, will be closed to through traffic at Two Island River, just east of the intersection with the Two Island River Road.  The closure will start today, Friday August 23rd, and it will last for approximately one week during culvert replacement.

Other than that, roads on the Tofte District are in good shape.  We’re between logging sales right now, so there isn’t any anticipated log hauling on Tofte this week.  Gunflint, however, will have trucks on the Lima Grade, South Brule Road, Cascade River Road, Pike Lake Road, Cook County 7, Cook County 6, and Forest Road 1319.

Have some fun out there before Labor Day and the start of school!  Go fishing or boating, get in that last camping trip you have talked about all summer or take a hike and have a picnic.  This is it!  Older students are heading back to college next week and regular school starts soon, so get out there and do something fun with the family that you have been meaning to do all summer.  Until next week, this has been Renee Frahm with the National Forest Update.