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Superior National Forest Update October 13

National Forest Update – October 12, 2017.
Hi.  I’m Cathy Peterson, administrative support assistant, with this week’s National Forest Update - information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the east end of the Superior. Here’s what’s happening for the week of October 13th.

With frost on the ground, it is not only time to find the ice scraper you stored in the garage all summer, but it is time for us to shut down the water supply at the fee campgrounds before the pipes freeze.  Since there are many campgrounds on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts, it usually takes us a week or so to shut them all off.  We will try to update our website on which campgrounds will have water, but just to be safe, plan on bringing water with you if you are camping.  Camping fees will still be collected if the water system is still on, but if the system is shut down, there will be no fee for camping.  It is also the end of garbage service at the campgrounds, so plan to pack out your garbage.  If the dumpster is locked, please don’t pile garbage bags next to it for the bears to get into.  The locked dumpster just means that garbage service won’t be available until next spring and you will have to bring your garbage home for disposal.

If you do head out to the campground, you’ll find that this is a pretty good time of year for camping.  You have to make sure to pack warm enough gear to deal with cold nights, but there are no mosquitoes, and the early sunsets mean you don’t have to stay up late to enjoy the starlit skies and a campfire.  For Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness trips, remember to fill out a self-issued permit at the entry point for both day use and overnight trips.

You could smell smoke in the air which is not from a campfire in a few places.  Our fire crew will be conducting pile burning in several areas on the Forest over the next two weeks.  These burn piles are being attended to and are checked daily until they are out, please don’t disturb them. 

The Forest is a busy place in the fall.  There are still leaf watchers cruising the forest, though many of the leaves are now down.  Grouse hunting continues, so wear orange whether you are hunting or not.  We are also seeing lots of ATV use right now.  Our Motor Vehicle Use Map is available at all Forest Service offices as well as online and this map is the authority on which roads and trails are available for ATV use.  Signs on the ground may be incorrect; when they don’t agree with the map, assume the map is correct.  With our rainy fall, trails and roads can be soft.  ATVs should make sure to follow Tread Lightly guidelines and avoid creating ruts, holes, or otherwise digging up the surface of the trail or road.

There is also a lot of logging traffic out there.  Be careful and watch for logging trucks if you are on an ATV, pick up, or car.   On the Gunflint District, expect hauling on Firebox Road, Blueberry Road, Greenwood Road, Shoe Lake Road, Forest Road 1385, the Gunflint Trail, South Brule Road, the Lima Grade, Trestle Pine Road, Ball Club Road, Devil Track Road, and CC14.  On the Tofte District, look for trucks on the Pancore Road, the Sawbill Trail, Dumbell River Road, the Wanless Road, Lake County 705, the 4 Mile Grade, The Grade, the Perent Lake Road, the Trappers Lake Road, and the road south of Windy Lake.  Also over the next two weeks, there will be trucks hauling gravel along Forest Road 170, the Grade, west of the Sawbill Trail as crews work to resurface 3.6 miles of the road. 

However you decide to enjoy the fall - camping, canoeing, hunting, driving, or hiking - it’s time to get outside and take advantage of the last few weeks before the snow flies.  Until next time, this has been Cathy Peterson with the National Forest Update.