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Superior National Forest Update - August 31, 2018

National Forest Update – August 30, 2018.
Hi.  I’m Jasmine Ingersoll, recreation technician on the Tofte District, with the National Forest Update.  I help maintain and care for recreation sites on the Forest, and with miles of trail and dozens of sites, I’m a very busy person!  If your plan this weekend is to visit the State Fair, I’m not much help, but if your plan is to get away from the hordes of people on the Midway and enjoy some peace and quiet, our National Forest is for you.

It is the end of summer and the beginning of fall, and this transition time is great for people looking to get away.  We actually do have fewer visitors during the state fair, and as yet, there is no one here coming to look for fall colors.  That makes late summer/early fall a peaceful time on the Forest.  Plus, we also have fewer bugs right now and that alone makes it a perfect time to visit!

We’ve had plenty of rain recently, so right now fire danger is low.  As the forest dries out and prepares for winter though, fire danger can rise rapidly even after a good soaking rain.  Whether fire danger is high or low, you should always control campfires and put fires dead out when you are done.  It’s a big part of leave no trace outdoor ethics.

Fall migration is happening in a big way.  Hard to identify fall warblers are hopping around the trees frustrating birders, but other, easy to identify birds are migrating as well.  Large flocks of hundreds of nighthawks, an insect eater related to whippoorwills, are moving down the shore.  Loons are rafting up in lakes, ready to head south, as are other waterfowl.

Deer are preparing for fall too.  They may not migrate, but antlers are growing, and soon bucks will be rubbing the velvet off so they can both fight and show off a bit.  Bears have been active, and have gotten into dumpsters at some campgrounds.  Make sure to secure the dumpster with the bear bars when you’re camping – the bears are really looking for anything to fatten up on for winter and leftover beans and hamburger buns look pretty good to them.

If you are planning on using an OHV or ATV, make sure you have the current version of the Motor Vehicle Use Map, available for download on our website or for purchase at a ranger station.  The digital version is a georeferenced pdf file, so you can use a phone app such as Avenza to locate yourself on the map.  This can be really handy, but we suggest you have a hard copy as well in case your battery dies.  Riding on a road or trail which is not open to ATVs is a ticketable offense, so make sure you know where to ride.

Bigger things than ATVs are on the roads too.  There is some logging traffic on the Forest.  On Gunflint roads, you can find trucks using the Caribou Trail, the Pike Lake Road, and Cook County 7.  On the Tofte side, trucks will be using the Dumbell River Road, Wanless Road, Trappers Lake or Sawbill Landing Road, the 4 Mile Grade, and Lake County Road 7. 

Enjoy the next week in the woods; this is truly one of the best times of the year.  Until next time, this has been Jasmine Ingersoll with the National Forest Update.