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Superior National Forest Update: May 26

Hi. I’m Brandee Wenzel, administrative assistant on the Superior National Forest, with the National Forest Update - information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest. For Memorial Day and the week of May 26, here’s what’s going on in the woods.

It looks like it could be a mostly nice Memorial Day weekend, which is a great change from the rains of the past few days. The plants really appreciated the rain though, the change in leaf out over the past week has been tremendous. We’re also seeing some of our flowering trees, the cherries and the juneberries, bursting into bloom. Bugs are still low in numbers, so it will be a great weekend to go for a hike or paddle out in the Forest. There seems to be a lot of animal activity as well with fox kits, fawns, and moose calves all being seen in the past week. There was even someone who reported a family of bobcats on their deck, so keep your eyes peeled and see what you can spot.

Weight restrictions were lifted on some additional county roads this past Wednesday. You can expect log hauling on the Firebox and Greenwood Roads, as well as Forest Road 1385. Since the restrictions were just lifted, there will be quite a lot of hauling to make up for the closed period. These roads feed into the Gunflint Trail, so there will be truck traffic on that road as well. For a complete list of restricted roads, visit our webpage and go to Current Conditions. A link there will take you to the Cook County Highway Department and full road information.

Speaking of traffic, Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer for many people, and the start of summer traffic on Highway 61. Remember that driving is a cooperative venture, not a competitive one. If you are going slower than most traffic, pull off and let people pass when you can. Don’t speed up beyond your average speed in passing areas; let others go around you if they are moving faster. If you are one of those motorists who is moving faster, be patient. Don’t tailgate and don’t pass in areas where it is not safe. The object is to make sure everyone arrives safely, not to see who gets there first.

The rain and green up have resulted in low fire danger this week, but still be careful with your fires. It’s possible for a poorly extinguished campfire to smolder for days, and then burst out when the fire danger climbs, so make sure any fire you light is completely out before you leave. Also, a reminder that all forms of fireworks are prohibited on the National Forest, so keep those at home when you head out camping.

Make sure to take some time this weekend to remember what Memorial Day is all about. Many people have given their lives in service to this country, so take the time to acknowledge their sacrifices remember the service members you have known. But, Memorial Day, like most memorial services, is a celebration of life as well, and celebrating it in a National Forest on public land belonging to all of us seems like a particularly appropriate thing to do. Our public lands are part of what makes America the special place that it is, and are part of why people were willing to make those sacrifices for our country.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend enjoying our National Forest, and until next week, this has been Brandee Wenzel with the National Forest Update.