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Superior National Forest Update - March 13

Superior National Forest Update
Superior National Forest Update

National Forest Update – March 12, 2020.
Greetings Superior National Forest Community.  I’m Jon Benson with this week’s edition of the National Forest Update including information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Superior National Forest. For the week of March 13, here’s what’s going on.

As temperatures start to climb and the days are getting longer, it seems like a good time to talk about the changing season and the different types of recreation that are starting to take place on the Forest.

The ski and snowmobile trails are still in great shape thanks to the efforts of our many trail partners.  Now that the daylight is persisting into the early evening hours it is a great chance to get out on the skis after work to enjoy those winter activities before the snow melts and the rivers start running.  Current trail conditions are updated regularly on the Visit Cook County Website.

For folks who are more interested in venturing out onto the lakes, there are still a couple of weeks left to get out on the ice for some ice fishing, but remember that any fish houses must be off the ice no later than midnight on March 16 for all northern inland waters in Minnesota.  As the temperature continues to warm I would like to ask folks to be especially cautious in areas with moving water or current under the ice.  Remember that no ice is ever 100% safe and it is always good to fish in groups or at least make sure that someone knows where you are going.

As winter fades away and the open water season draws near, now is the time to start planning your Boundary Waters trips.  Reservations can be made at for Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness trips as well as some National Forest Campgrounds.  There is some excellent Boundary Waters trip planning info that can be found on the Superior National Forest website as well and folks can find that site at

Another topic that always comes up this time of year is the roads.  As the temperatures climb and the snow on the roads starts to disappear it is good to think about whether you really need to be on some of these roads.  Seasonal road restrictions for Cook County will go into effect at 12:01 am on Friday, March 13.  Not only will the roads be icy and slick this time of year, but the shoulders can often be very soft which can lead to cars and trucks winding up in the ditch.  These situations are certainly no fun for the occupants of the vehicle, but they also result in substantial road damage which cannot be repaired until the snow is gone and the roads have thawed.  I encourage all of you to think about whether it is necessary to travel down some of the lower use roads during this month until after road restrictions are lifted.

Speaking of roads, we’ve got some logging truck activity this week.  Once road restrictions go into effect Friday morning there will be hauling on the Gunflint Trail, the Sunfish Lake Road, and the Greenwood Road on the Gunflint Ranger District.  On Tofte there will be trucks hauling on the Dumbbell River Road, the Wanless Road, and the Trappers Lake Road.  All of these locations are dependent on the road conditions being suitable for hauling activity. 

That’s all for this week!  Let’s hope for good weather so we can all stay warm and safe out in the Forest.  Please have an elite weekend, and until next time, this has been Jon Benson with the Superior National Forest Update.