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Superior National Forest Update - Oct 11

Superior National Forest Update
Superior National Forest Update

National Forest Update – October 10, 2019
Hi.  I’m Jake Todd, information assistant at the Tofte Ranger District, with our October 11th edition of the National Forest Update.  Right now, we are in fall changing to winter – this past week, there’s been days where you can wear shorts and days with frost and snow.  It’s a time when you have to take advantage of those nice days to get some fall projects done, and take advantage of those not-so-nice days to make bread and pumpkin soup.  We’re hoping that between the putting the boat away and getting the snowblower out, you’ll find some time to go explore the Forest – it’s beautiful out there.

Biking is becoming more popular all the time.  Superior National Forest is responding to this with some excellent single track mountain bike trails, maintained and developed in cooperation with the Superior Cycling Association.  What we have not had cooperation from is the weather.  Our rainy fall has softened the tread of these bike trails to the point that riding them will damage the trail and deep ruts may take extensive trail work to repair.  The Sawtooth Mountain Challenge bike race, planned for this weekend on the Pincushion Mountain trails, has been called off because of wet trail conditions.  The almost completed connector trails between Britton Peak and Lutsen Mountains are paused in their ‘almost completed’ state, and are not open for use also because of wet trail conditions.  Please respect these trails by not using them if you will cause rutting and erosion.  Use during these times will just delay the opening of the trail further.  If you’re looking for a good ride, there are plenty of gravel roads open to exploration by mountain bike, and we’ve seen several bikepackers out on the roadways this fall. 

One bikepacker we talked with had run out of water because they didn’t realize that the water had been shut off in several of our campgrounds.  Our website will give you up to the minute information on which campgrounds have had the water system put to bed for the winter, and which still have water available, so check before you leave on any outdoor adventure where you are counting on drinking water.  It’s probably a good idea to start bringing a filter pump with you as well, just in case you need it.  Currently, the water is off at McDougal, Divide, Little Isabella, and Baker Campground.

If you’re biking, or driving, you’ll notice that our roads are a bit crowded right now.  Not “I-35 going to Minneapolis on a Sunday” crowded, but for us, they’re busy.  It is still the peak of fall color, plus grouse season, and that means that there are people out in the woods.  The deer are also getting active as rut approaches, and there seem to be more of them crossing the roads every day. 

So, whether you are biking, driving, or walking, use some extra caution on the roads.
You’ll find truck traffic on some of the roads.  On the Tofte District, there’s hauling on the Dumbbell River Road, Trappers Lake Road, the east side of the Timber-Frear Loop, the 4 Mile Grade, Sawbill Trail, and Caribou Trail.  On the Gunflint District, you’ll find trucks using the Lima Grade, South Brule Road, Pike Lake Road, Cook County 7, Cascade Bluffs Road, Greenwood Road, and the Blueberry Road.

Despite all those words of warning, it is well worth getting out into the Forest.  Fall really is nature putting on a show with leaves and active wildlife.  Have a great week, and until next time, this has been Jake Todd with the National Forest Update.