Hi. I’m Steve Robertsen, interpretive naturalist, with this week’s edition of the Superior National Forest Update - information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest.
For the week of August 29th, here’s what’s going on around the Forest.
Labor Day weekend can be pretty busy as people try to fit in that last summer adventure. Campgrounds will probably be full, so make sure you’re respectful of other campers so everyone can enjoy the weekend. Park so as to not block others, keep the volume on electronic devices low, and don’t run generators unless you really need to – and not at all during quiet hours. You should probably just leave your tuba and bagpipes at home as well. But…Do get outside, have fun, go on hikes, and roast marshmallows… and try not to think about school starting on Tuesday.
Fire danger is low this weekend, but that’s no reason to let your campfire get out of control. Keep fires in grates and fire rings, and remember that it is illegal to burn trash in a campfire. Don’t leave your fire until it is dead out and cool to the touch.
On the road, you can expect delays on Highway 61 still. With heavier traffic this weekend, your trip from Silver Bay to Tofte could easily be thirty to fifty minutes longer than usual. Hills on the detour slow down heavy trucks and RVs, so watch out for impatient people passing in bad places.
Logging traffic on the Gunflint District will be about the same as the last few weeks. You might encounter log trucks on Bally Creek, Devil Track, Ball Club, Shoe Lake, Greenwood, Pine Mountain, The Grade, the Caribou Trail, the Gunflint Trail, and on the Swamp and Cascade River roads and Cook County 7 and 45. On the Tofte end, there are no active timber harvests right now. You still might see a few trucks on the 4 Mile Grade, and Mark Lake Road.
If fishing in the Boundary Waters is part of your plan, make sure to dispose of fish waste properly. Recommendations for this have changed through the years. The current best practice is to take your catch and paddle away from your campsite. Clean the fish away from the campsite and the lake, and leave the remains at least 150 feet from water. Don’t dig a big hole, but you can cover the pile with duff kicked over it. The idea is to minimize the attractive smell of fish guts in your campsite. While you might not think it is particularly attractive, there are plenty of animals that do. Dumping fish waste in the lake, or leaving it exposed on rocks for birds are no longer considered to be good ways of dealing with fish guts.
To go with your shore lunch, there are still blueberries out there to be picked, but if you are a novice picker, don’t be confused by the fruits of the blue bead lily. They are blue, and are berries, but they are not edible. Unlike our ground hugging blueberries, blue bead lily berries grow on a stalk up off the ground, so once you know the difference, they’re easy to tell apart.
Have a great Labor Day! And remember, for up to minute information on topics such as fire restrictions, be sure to check our website or at a Ranger Station.
Hope you enjoy another week in the Forest and on the water. Until next week, this has been Steve Robertsen with the National Forest Update.