Hi. This is Myra Theimer, silviculturalist, with this week’s National Forest Update - information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the east end of the Forest. For the week of September 30th, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
It is the turning of the season, and of the leaves! This weekend could well be the peak of the fall colors, so you owe it to yourself to take a drive or walk, or both, out in the woods this weekend. Be aware that there will be plenty of others doing the same thing though, so drive carefully on our one lane back roads, and show respect for others in how you park and where you stand to take pictures.
September 29, Friday, was the end of our winter office hours, so Ranger Stations in Grand Marais and Tofte will now be closed on weekends. It is also the end of the quota permit season in the Boundary Waters. Starting October 1st, you no longer need the reservable permit picked up at the ranger stations for an overnight wilderness trip. You still need a permit, but you can use the self-issued permit available at most entry points. Bring a pen in your car though - the pencils seem to disappear from our permit boxes!
The fee camping season is almost over as well. Starting around October 15th, we will be shutting down water systems and taking out docks at campgrounds. When the water is shut down, garbage service will end as well, and it will be the end of fee collection for the year. The campgrounds will remain open for use, but you will have to bring water and pack out all your garbage.
Hunting seasons are underway for grouse, bear, and archery deer. That means that you should be wearing your orange on you fall hikes, and try not to interfere with hunters. Last year, we redid some of our maps and signs on Tofte and Gunflint’s hunter walking trails, and we invite people to make use of those areas. Maps and locations can be found on the Superior National Forest website under ‘Recreation, Hunting’.
If you are using an ATV for hunting or just to get outside, be sure to get a copy of the newest motor vehicle use map at a district office. These maps show which roads are open to ATV use. There are slight changes from year to year, so don’t trust someone else’s advice on where to ride. Check the map for yourself, or you could end up with a ticket.
You may have noticed - it’s been raining a lot! There were plans to do some prescribed burning this fall, but it may be that we won’t be able to do that due to the wet conditions. Fire crews are going to be burning some piles the next few weeks while things dry out. The piles are a result of cutting undergrowth in some areas to reduce fuel build up.
There is some autumn timber harvest taking place that will have log trucks out on the roads. On Gunflint, harvest is taking place off of Greenwood Road, Firebox Road, and Powers Lake Road. Please use caution when driving or recreating in these areas. In addition, road work will be taking place on the Blueberry Road. On Tofte, logging activity is the same as last week: The Grade between the Sawbill Trail and Baker Lake, Sawbill Landing Road near Silver Island and Sawbill Landing, the Dumbell River Road, and the Wanless Road. There is also still culvert work being done on the Grade between Sawbill Trail and Crescent Lake Campground.
Whether you are hunting grouse or hunting fall colors, have a great weekend! It should be a good one. Until next week, this has been Myra Theimer with the Superior National Forest Update.