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Superior National Forest Update - June 7

Superior National Forest Update – June 6, 2019
 
Hi, this is Renee Frahm.  Visitor information specialist on the Superior National Forest, and, very appropriately, this is the National Forest Update, information for visitors to the Forest.  We are turning the corner into summer, leaves are growing, wildflowers are blooming, birds are singing, and people are out hiking, camping, fishing, and paddling.

For getting out into the Forest, I’m happy to say that the road system is finally drying out and road restrictions are being lifted a little at a time.  As a result, travel in the Forest should be a little easier than it has been, but also as a result, log hauling has begun in a few spots.  On the Gunflint District, there will be hauling on the Greenwood Road and Blueberry Road with harvest operations beginning off of Cascade River Road.  On the Tofte District, expect trucks on the Trappers Lake Road and the Sawbill Landing area.  Despite the drying roads, we have still been unable to get into repair the washout on the Trout Lake access road, so that road is still closed to travel.

ATV trails are drying out as well.  This weekend is the annual ‘Ride Free’ weekend where the DNR waives the need for a recreational ATV registration, and is a great time for out of state riders to try the trails.  Be aware though that there are trails and sections of trails which are still closed.  Check the DNR website for trail closures, and follow posted closure notices.  When using an ATV in the national forest, be sure to have a copy of the latest Motor Vehicle Use Map.  It is the source of information on which roads are open for ATV use, with the map superseding all but temporary closure signage on the ground.  The easiest way to use the map is to download it onto your phone, and use a wayfinding app such as Avenza to track your way through the Forest.  Downloads are available on our website.

This weekend is “Take a kid fishing weekend”.   Together with the Minnesota DNR, the Soil and Water Conservation District and the Forest Service there is a free event at the Mink lake Beach this Saturday, June 8th beginning at 9:00 a.m. and goes until noon.  If you are interested in teaching your 5-12 year old how to fish, call the Gunflint Ranger District and sign up.  The number is 387-1750.  They will provide lunch and water and do have some poles and life jackets available.  There are limited supplies, so if you do have your own fishing pole, bring it along. 

Last week, fire crews were able to successfully complete several prescribed fires.  Prescribed fire helps to reduce the chances of wildfire in an area by using up fuel, and also controls undergrowth – which means that the 800 acres burned in our prescribed fires this spring should be great for blueberries in the coming years.  As the forest dries, the crews are shifting to doing fuels reduction with saws in the East Bearskin and Brule River area.  You may hear sawing in that area, but we are working with contractors to minimize noise impacts.  Unfortunately, with the drying forest, the potential for wildfire increases.  This is somewhat offset by the leafing out of deciduous trees and the growth of plants on the forest floor, but it is a good idea to keep an eye on the fire danger rating.  Both our district offices have big signs with Smokey Bear pointing to the fire danger rating.  You should always be careful with fire, but when the fire danger is above moderate, you should be extra careful.  It is Smokey’s 75th birthday this year, and I don’t think the bear wants to celebrate by having a wildfire.

Since it is his 75th, we are celebrating in other ways all year.  Stop by the Tofte or Gunflint ranger station and you can take a selfie with Smokey, pick up some coloring sheets for the kids, or even buy some Smokey items!  Remember, only you can prevent wild fires!

Until next time, enjoy the forest, catch a few fish, and watch a few birds.  This has been Renee Frahm with the National Forest Update.
 

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