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Superior National Forest Update: September 1

Hi. I’m Renee Frahm, Information Specialist for the Tofte and Gunflint Ranger Districts 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 August 28.

We are coming into the beginning of fall where some days still feel warm enough for a swim, and yet there have been a few frosty mornings already. With Labor Day weekend upon us, school starting for some students, and the Minnesota State Fair underway, we are noticing a slight dip in our use of recreation sites across the Forest although the tinge of yellow and orange starting to peak out throughout the woods is a sign that it won’t be long until leaf peepers will be out cruising the backroads.  

Even though rain has still been keeping fire danger to a minimum, it’s important to remember that whatever the conditions are, you need to be careful with fires and make sure every fire you light is totally out when you leave. Within the last week Forest Service fire fighters were dispatched from the Tofte and Gunflint Ranger Districts to extinguish two unattended campfires. Please, be careful with your campfires and make sure they are dead and out before leaving them unattended!
Speaking of fires, wildfires continue to be numerous in the western part of the United States. The Superior National Forest has been supporting suppression efforts for several weeks now. At the moment, there are over 50 employees from the Forest working on fires in several states including Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Yesterday our two offices had quite a few calls regarding the smell of smoke in the air. That smoke was actually coming from fires out west and in Canada.

If you are out driving in the Forest this week, there’s a number of roads which will see logging traffic. On the Tofte District, watch for trucks on Lake County 705, Cook County 33, the Dumbell Road, Perent Lake Road, the Wanless, Sawbill Trail, Fourmile Grade, Clara Lake Road and the Grade. On the Gunflint District hauling is taking place on the Firebox Road, Blueberry Road, Greenwood Road, Shoe Lake Road, and Forest Road 1385. There will also be trucks on the Gunflint Trail, South Brule Road, Lima Grade, Trestle Pine Road, Ball Club Road, Devil Track Road, Cook County 6 and 7, and the Bally Creek Road. With Labor Day weekend upon us, there is likely to be an increase in traffic on the back roads in general. Keep an eye out for bicyclists, hikers, OHVs and wildlife. 

If you venture off of the Forest roads you’re likely to notice some of the work being done by employees, volunteers and partners like the Conservation Corps of Minnesota who recently helped build a new fish barrier at Hogback Lake. The new and improved barrier aims to keep unwanted fish out while promoting the trout fishery. 

The Northwoods Volunteer Connection is coordinating an effort this Sunday, September 3, to install a new boardwalk on a popular section of the Superior Hiking Trail near LeVeaux Mountain. If you’re interested in helping out you can find out more online at 

The Superior Cycling Association has had a very busy and productive summer maintaining the single track mountain bike trails at Britton Peak and Pincushion Mountain. The group has installed several sections of new boardwalk and rock armoring to help protect the trails while also enhancing the ride. If you’re interested in helping out with mountain bike trails visit SCA’s website at 

Have a safe and wonderful Labor Day weekend, enjoy your family and friends, and get in on some outdoor family fun before your kids head back to school next Tuesday! Until next week, this has been Renee Frahm with the National Forest Update.