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Join Jay Andersen and Gary Atwood for a program packed with news, music and some humor.  Listener favorites like For the Birds, The Environment Report, Morning Business Report, and The Predator Moment provide a regular foundation for this program that also covers politics, local news and issues, and, the funnier side to the news. DayBreak airs 7-8 a.m. on weekdays.

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Superior National Forest Update: September 18

Hi.  I’m Tammy Cefalu, wilderness ranger in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, with this week’s edition of the National Forest Update  -  information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts. Here’s what’s going on in the Forest for the week of September 18th:
Fall continues to progress, in spite of the recent hot weather.  Birches and aspen along the shore are fading from a summery green to yellow green to full-out yellow in some cases.  There’s an occasional maple turning red, and several more as you head out over the hill into the Forest.  The signs are now out marking the Fall Color Tour routes in Tofte, so be sure to check out some of the best fall colors on our favorite roads.  Please be careful of other people on those routes who may be driving slowly, or stopping to take pictures.  You can also get a virtual trip into the woods by heading for the Forest website and checking the weekly fall color reports, photos, and essays. 
September 12th marked the fourth anniversary of the Pagami Creek Fire in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Tofte.  Hot and dry conditions that year allowed the fire to progress to over 90,000 acres.  If you visit the Pagami area this fall, you’ll find many 2-to-4 foot jack pine growing as the forest renews itself.  You’ll also find black-backed woodpeckers who like the insects in burned trees, and moose enjoying the heavy growth of shrubs and plants in the open areas.  Fire is part of our forest ecosystem, and the Pagami area in Tofte and the Ham Lake fire area up the Gunflint Trail are two places to explore post-fire forest regeneration.
When you are out driving, you will encounter a busy series of logging operations that’ll have trucks hauling.  On the Gunflint District, hauling is taking place on Forest Road 332 (a.k.a. Murmur Creek Road), the Caribou Trail, The Grade, the Bally Creek Road, Greenwood Road, Forest Road 141 (a.k.a. Firebox Road), Forest Road 309K (a.k.a. Sunfish Lake Road), Forest Road 325 (a.k.a. S. Brule River Road), the Lima Grade, and the Gunflint Trail.
On the Tofte end, there are two operations, near White Pine Lake and Finger Lake, which should be finishing soon.  But hauling can be expected on the east end of the Honeymoon Trail, down the Caribou Trail (CC4), and on the east side of the Timber/Frear Loop (FR 348) as well as on the Four Mile Grade and The Grade.  Full logging operations will be taking place near Sawbill Landing and Cold Spring Quarry, so log trucks will be traveling on the Wanless Road and the Sawbill Landing Road.  Some of the roads mentioned are narrow, winding, and full of washboard.  So please drive defensively! 
In addition to trucks, you should also be on the lookout for hunters, as the small game and archery deer hunting seasons begin on Saturday, the 19th.  You may see hunters’ vehicles pulled off to the side of roads.  If you’re hiking or running your dog, it is the time of year that wearing orange is fashionable for all (including pets).  If you’re hunting, make sure to park in a safe location, especially if you are on any of the roads that will be used by log trucks.  Remember that it is illegal to shoot from a roadway, over a roadway, or within 150 yards of any developed recreational site, such as a campground, dispersed campsite, trail, or portage.  You may want to check out any of the four freshly maintained Hunter Walking Trail areas.  Go to an office or our website for more information on these sites that are maintained for grouse habitat and hunting opportunities.  If you are engaged in hunting activities within the BWCAW, please be sure to obtain the proper wilderness permits.
Have a great weekend, and enjoy the Forest.  Until next week, this has been Tammy Cefalu with the Superior National Forest Update. 
 

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Superior National Forest Update: September 11

Hi. I’m Susan McGowan-Stinski, administrative support assistant on the Superior National Forest, Gunflint Ranger District, with this week’s edition of the National Forest Update - information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest. For the week of September 11, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.

As fall progresses, the natural world continues to get ready for winter. Leaves are turning as trees shut down for the cold season, birds are migrating in huge numbers along the shore, and bats and bears prepare for sleeping away the winter months. You can help with some of this preparation. Keep feeders full this time of year, including hummingbird feeders. It is a myth that you can keep migrating birds from flying south with feeders, all you can do is help fuel their flight. Cats should be kept inside during migration. The birds are exhausted enough without having to deal with a house-cat that doesn’t even need to hunt for its food. Even driving the speed limit helps - I’ll bet that almost everyone that drives Highway 61 has hit a bird at some point.

As far as bats are concerned, the Forest has put up five new bat houses. This doesn’t really help with hibernation or migration, but
fall is a good time of year to put up bat houses. This way, the house will be ready when the bats are waking up next year looking for places to roost.

Bears are really looking for food to get fat on right now, and it is very important that you keep your food and garbage locked up securely when you are camping. So, remember to put the locking bars back into dumpsters, and keep your food in your trunk.
Logging is still going strong in the Tofte District. You can expect to see a log truck or two as you drive through the Forest. The Honeymoon Trail (FR 164), near White Pine Lake, should still have hauling taking place this week. The east side of the Timber/Frear Loop (FR 348) is being used for hauling, as is the Four Mile Grade (FR 170). The heaviest log truck traffic should be on the western side of the district, though. The Sawbill Landing Road (FR 369), near Sawbill Landing, and the Wanless Road (FR 172), near Homestead Lake, will see multiple logging trucks every day.

There will be another kind of migration going on this Friday and Saturday that will affect people using the Superior Hiking Trail south of Lutsen Mountain, as well as people planning to park in the Oberg Mountain Trail parking lot on the Onion River Road or driving up the Sawbill Trail.  This migration is the Superior 100, an annual ultramarathon that routes runners from Gooseberry Falls State Park to Lutsen Mountain.  Runners, spectators, and support crews will be using the trail and parking in lots and along roads where the trails cross.  The most affected areas will be where there are aid stations set up on the Sawbill Trail at the Britten Peak trailhead parking lot and at the Oberg Mountain trailhead parking lot, and at the race finish at Lutsen Mountain.  Expect congestion in these areas.  Where the trail crosses other roads, people are advised to park on only one side of the road to maintain a clear throughway.  There are several different race lengths, so there will be multiples starts and finishes, both on Friday and Saturday.  This is always a pretty exciting event, attracting runners from across the country.  We’d like to say good luck to all the runners! 

Have a great weekend, and enjoy the Forest. Until next week, this has been Susan McGowan-Stinski with the Superior National Forest Update.
 
 
 

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Superior National Forest Update: September 4

Hi.  I’m Steve Robertsen, interpretation and education specialist on the Superior National Forest, with this week’s edition of the National Forest Update  -  information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest. For the week of September 4th, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
September and fall have arrived!  It may not seem so from our recent steamy days, but this marks the beginning of the fall color season.  Starting this week, we’ll be publishing fall color photos and essays on the web every week to capture the season and help people plan their leaf peeping expeditions.  One of the most interesting sections of the website is a photographic record of fall color in one spot off the Honeymoon Trail where we’ve taken a photo every week in the fall since 2007.   You can use this to try to predict for yourself when the elusive peak of fall color will be this year, and get yourself prepped for, eek, the first snowfall as well. 
Progress is being made on the replacement of the Pink Bridge on the 600 Road, just off the Sawbill Trail.  This was an old iron truss bridge with a long history, but had sadly deteriorated to the point where it was no longer safe.  The hope is that the new bridge will be open soon for fall color touring.
While people may be migrating north to see fall colors, many of our birds and other animals are migrating south.  Thousands of night hawks have been seen going south down the Hwy 61 corridor.  They aren’t really attracted by the road, it is the lake that causes the build-up of migrants on the shore.  The dense fog and other weather factors caused a bird ‘fall out’ this past week where all the migrants seemed to have decided it was time for a break.  Our yard was full of warblers of many species, as well as other birds, then the next day, they had vanished.
Birds don’t have to contend with log trucks while they are traveling, but we do.  In your migrations through the forest, be aware that there is logging traffic on the Wanless Road, Sawbill Landing Road, the Honeymoon Trail and the Caribou Trail.  Also watch for increased slow traffic over the next month or so caused by leaf watchers.  If you are one of the leaf watchers, be aware of people behind you, and pull over to let them pass if you need to.  If you stop, be sure it is in a safe place and that your vehicle doesn’t block the roadway.
A good place to stop for a view is at Pincushion Mountain.  Aspen growth on the hillside has been slowly blocking the view over the past several years, but last week a crew worked to open up the scenery again.  It’s worth the short drive up the hill to check it out if you haven’t been there for a while.
We’d like to mention again this week that bear activity has been high.  There are a lot of theories as to why this is so, but it does seem that the bears are all over the place.  We have been upgrading some of the garbage cans and dumpsters on the Forest to bear resistant versions of various styles.  One thing they all have in common though is that they are not bear resistant unless the person using them closes the lid, and in the case of the dumpsters, bars it as well.  Please help us keep our bears out of trouble by securing the garbage cans after use, and storing your food and garbage securely during camping trips.
Have a great weekend, and enjoy the Forest.  Until next week, this has been Steve Robertsen with the Superior National Forest Update. 
 

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Sawtooth Mountain Elementary School

Principal Gwen Carman resigns - and more news from ISD166

Principal Gwen Carman has resigned at Sawtooth Mountain Elementary, and the ISD166 school board is on hold regarding its operating levy referendum, waiting to if and when the Governor sets a special election.  WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Superintendent Beth Schwarz.
 

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Superior National Forest Update: August 21

Hi.  I’m Steve Robertsen, education specialist, with this week’s edition of the National Forest Update - information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest. For the week of August 21st, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
Where has the summer gone?  Despite the fact that I saw people in the grocery store putting up a Halloween candy display, there is still some time for a camping trip or picnic before fall arrives.  Halloween candy in August, in fact, I’d say is a bit ridiculous.  But not totally ridiculous: Birds are certainly feeling the fall in the air.  On still nights in the Boundary Waters last week, we could hear peeps and chirps in the midnight hours which belong to night migrating flocks of birds.  Some species of birds actually navigate by the stars and recognize bird constellations.  This has been shown using captive birds in a planetarium where the stars could be shifted, and the birds’ movements shifted to match the stars.  So, over the next few weeks, go out star gazing in a nice quiet spot and listen for the late night avian commuter traffic.  It is a lot more relaxing than the traffic on Highway 61.
Speaking of traffic, timber hauling is currently taking place on the 4 Mile Grade, the Wanless, The Grade, Honeymoon Trail, Bally Creek Rd., Caribou Trail, Greenwood Lake Rd. That doesn’t include State Operations so there may be Minnesota DNR operations with some trucks elsewhere in the woods.
Encountering a log truck is one thing, but a lot of campers in the forest have been encountering bears.  Bear activity seems high this year, and we have had many reports of bears, particularly at Trail’s End and McDougal Lake Campgrounds.  Seeing a bear at your campsite can be exciting, but a bit intimidating as well.  Keep in mind that black bears are generally not a very aggressive animal, but they are big and you don’t want your actions to cause the animal to become more aggressive.  The best thing to do is to avoid food based encounters.  Keep your food when not in use locked in the trunk of the car, or concealed and securely locked in the car if you have an SUV with no real trunk.  Bears that have tried human food usually like it, and soon learn to recognize coolers.  They will break windows to get to visible coolers in vehicles. Garbage, to a bear, is a great food source. Treat it like food, and lock it up the same way. Use the dumpsters at campgrounds, and use the bars provided to lock the lids down.  Keeping food away from bears and making it so humans and campgrounds are not seen as food sources is the number one best thing you can do to help yourself and the bears live together.  It is sad, but bears that learn to associate food with humans have a very hard time unlearning that, and will often need to be killed.
Heavy rains over the past week not only have been good for forest growth, but they have put a damper on our fire season.  Before the rain though, we did have one small 40 or so acre fire near Silver Island Lake.  It was a good example of fire caused by natural ignition.  Lightning struck a tree, which then smoldered internally for possibly several weeks until the wind and conditions were right for it to spread into a wildfire.  This is why it is so important to watch your own fire use, even in damp conditions.  Smoldering fires are good at waiting, sometimes much longer than you would think.  Make sure every fire you light is totally out when you leave it.
Have a great weekend, and enjoy the Forest.  Until next week, this has been Steve Robertsen with the Superior National Forest Update. 
 

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Superior National Forest Update: July 31

Hi, this is Mary Ann Atwood, Gunflint Ranger District Administrative Support Assistant, with this week’s edition of the Superior National Forest Update. For the week of July 31st, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
FIRE
Due to sporadic rain over the last few weeks, the Superior National Forest is beginning to transition from moderate fire danger to high fire danger.  Keep this in mind while recreating in the forest. 
District Offices
Before, or after, your superior recreation - stop by the Gunflint or Tofte District Offices.  Not only will you encounter a plethora of information but you’ll discover a variety of wilderness books, games, animals (that don’t need feeding) and maps in the Interpretative stores.
Let those truckers Roll 
Timber trucks continue to roll down many of the roads on the Gunflint and Tofte districts.  Drive cautiously and keep in mind; the gravel roads are very dry. A dusty cloud may indicate a vehicle is coming your way. Also, the washboard affect abounds on our gravel roads. 
Forest Facts
Did you know that the Superior National Forest: contains more than 2,000 lakes which total 440,000 acres of lake and 3,400 miles of stream?
With those facts in mind, it’s no wonder water plays such a vital role in Cook County.   This weekend is the 86th Annual Fisherman’s Picnic. The Grand Marais Fish Pic began in the days when the area's economy was based on logging and commercial fishing and the community would gather for a shoreline fish fry of fresh Lake Superior herring.  Which reminds me…How can you tell if a fisherman is going deaf?                                            * Give him a herring test.
Keep an eye out for Smokey Bear and his friend Murray the Moose over the weekend; they are bound to make an appearance in the parade Sunday, August 2nd at 1:00 in downtown Grand Marais.
2015 has been a busy year on the Superior.  Here’s just a sampling of accomplishments:
*      ¼ million trees were planted;
*      Wilderness rangers on the Gunflint Ranger District partnered up with a Conservation Corps of Minnesota & Iowa (CCMI) crew spending 3 ½ muddy days replacing a failing boardwalk on the Meeds to Swallow portage.   This project began last February when wilderness staff used snowmobiles to freight over 40 tamarack planks up to the Wilderness line on the Poplar to Meeds portage. 
Our Faces of Tomorrow crews are having an exceptional summer.  By the way, Faces of Tomorrow is an initiative to increase the diversity of our seasonal workforce.  Some of their achievements include:
*      Building a new 360 foot boardwalk on the South Lake Trail.
*      Rerouting Bower Trail Portage which includes a new boardwalk
*      Constructing stairs on the Northern Lights Trail
Summer brings countless visitors to the Superior’s trails and campgrounds.  When recreating keep in mind:
*               Your behavior has an impact on others.
*               Store food carefully, bears are starting to get active. 
*               Don’t leave campsites unattended for more than 24 hours.  Leaving your gear on a site as a way of “reserving” it - is not allowed.

Carve out some time to spend in the Superior National Forest - you won’t be disappointed - after all, the Superior has been listed as one of the 50 greatest places to visit in a lifetime!  
Keep hydrated throughout these warm summer days.  Until next week, this has been Mary Ann Atwood with the Superior National Forest Update. 
 
 
 

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Superior National Forest Update: July 24

Hi.  I’m Ali Bickford, Information Specialist at the Forest Supervisor’s Office in Duluth, with this week’s edition of the National Forest Update - information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest. For the week of July 17th, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
The Superior National Forest is roughly the size of the state of Connecticut, and the Supervisor’s Office, or SO, is its capital city.  We at the SO provide support and forest level direction to the five ranger districts.  In addition to administrators, there are biologists, archeologists, computer specialists, and public relations people all working for the Forest in Duluth to help our field going people in places like Tofte and Grand Marais, as well as Ely, Cook, and Aurora. So Next time you’re in Duluth, feel free to stop in and say hi, we would love to see you!
This should be a good weekend for outdoor recreation, so you may want to postpone that trip to Duluth for a rainier day.  There are some logging operations going on that you might run into during your travels, so watch out for log trucks near Harriet and Wilson Lakes as things wind down on those timber sales. But a crew just started by Hogback Lake this week, so there will still be some traffic on the east end of the Wanless Road and on Lake County 7.  Another crew is on the Dumbbell River Road and log trucks will be hauling there for at least the next week.  Those trucks will be heading west on the Wanless Road, toward Hwy. 1. 
There may be the odd log truck on the Grade and Sawbill Trail, as well.   Be aware that the Fourmile Grade between Richey Lake Road (FR 346) and Lake County #7 was closed this week to replace a large culvert at Wanless Creek.  The plan is to have that open for this weekend, but there is always the possibility of a delay.
Our midsummer is marked by two of what you can call “55 mile per hour flowers”.  These are plants you can identify from your car window when cruising past at 55.  You’ll see the broad white umbrellas of small flowers that belong to a cow parsnip, significantly taller than the other plants along the roadway.  This giant plant can get up to 8 feet high in one season.  It is a native species, but is often confused with a non-native invasive species called giant hogweed.  Giant hogweed is a relative of cow parsnip, but hogweed makes cow parsnip look small.  Hogweed can easily be taller than a house, but its main problem is that touching it causes an awful rash and blisters that can last for a year.  Luckily for us, it isn’t found here yet. Like many invasives, it is brought into an area by people on their travels.  You can help keep plants like hogweed from coming into our area by cleaning your shoes and recreation equipment before you travel back to the Northwoods.  By the way, cow parsnip can also cause a rash for some people, so if you need to clear it, cut it by hand, and use gloves don’t use a weed whip as they spray the juices around.
Our other 55 mile per hour plant is a lot friendlier.  The purple magenta flowers of fireweed are seen along many roadsides from now until the end of summer.  In fact, this plant counts down the summer with flowers starting at the bottom of the spike, and progressing upward each week.  When the flowers reach the top, summer is over.  The plant is called fireweed because it grows in openings after a fire, but it is just as happy to grow in openings caused by roads. 
Also in those openings, you will find ripe blueberries.  That means that you will also find lots of cars parked along the sides of the roads where people are blueberry picking.  If you are parking, try to find a wider spot in the road so you don’t block the roadway, and pull off as far as you safely can.  You may want to have a passenger get out and help spot the edge of the roadway though, many of our roads have an abrupt drop off, and you want to avoid accidently parking in the ditch.
Many of our fire crews have been out west helping with wildfires in Washington and California.  This is possible because so far, this has been a year with low fire danger on the Forest.  Remember that even in low danger times, you need to make sure any fire you light is out when you leave it.  Don’t decide that it is ok to just let a campfire burn out just because it isn’t a high fire danger day - always put your fires out.
With that though, have a great weekend, and enjoy the Forest.  Until next week, this has been Ali Bickford with the Superior National Forest Update. 
 

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Superior National Forest Update: July 17

Hi.  I’m Steve Robertsen, Interpretation and Education Specialist, with this week’s edition of the National Forest Update  -  information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest. For the week of July 17th, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
I know there are a lot of photographers out there because I see wonderful photos posted every week online.  You now have an excellent opportunity to share some of those photos nationally.  You can participate in the “Share the Experience:  Official Federal Recreation Lands 2015 Photo Contest”.  Rules and information are available at district offices and on the Forest’s website at www.fs.usda.us/superior.gov.  Your photo could be chosen to be featured on the national Federal Recreational Lands Pass… and there’s over $30,000 in prizes and cash to be awarded as well.  While you’re at it, we are always looking for good photos to share on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.  You can send photos to Ali Bickford at ambickford@fs.fed.us.  Please put “Photos of Superior” and your name on the subject line, and retitle the image file with a descriptive name.  You can also upload photos to the Superior National Forest Photo Club on Flicker.  Note that this won’t enter you in the contest, you’ll have to do the entry separately, and submitted photos become part of the public domain, so cannot have a copyright watermark.
Getting to places to take photos should be pretty easy.  Our sporadic rains have kept the dust down on roads, but haven’t been heavy enough to cause any damage.  There is washboarding on some roads, but grading is taking place to smooth them down.  If you are on a washboarded road, slow down.  Washboarding can cause your tires to lose contact with the road at higher speeds, even if your suspension is keeping you nice and level in your seat.  You may not notice the lack of contact on a straight, but when you get to a corner, you’ll suddenly be drifting off the roadway, so just slow down.
On your trip, you could also run into logging traffic on the Greenwood Lake Road and Gunflint Trail, as well as possibly on the Bally Creek Road, Pine Mountain Road, Caribou Trail, The Grade, Sawbill Trail, the Four Mile Grade, Lake County 7, Dumbbell River Road, and the Wanless Road. 
This may be a good weekend to learn more about our namesake Lake Superior.  It is Lake Superior Days in Duluth at the Maritime Museum, and the Forest Service will be present at a booth during the event.  You may wonder what a three million acre forest has to do with a 20 million acre lake, but we are connected physically through our waterways, environmentally through animals such as lake trout that spawn in forest rivers and live in the lake, and historically through the use of the lake as a travel route and as a means of shipping forest resources such as timber and minerals. 
Some of you might be headed away from the city into the wilderness instead.  Remember that you always need an entry permit to enter the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.  If you are day tripping, you can pick up a self-issued permit at the entry point.  Just fill it out, put one copy in the box and keep the other copy with you.  This helps us track wilderness use and make informed decisions on wilderness management.  If you are staying overnight, you’ll need a permit issued by the Forest Service for the entry point and date on which you plan on entering the BWCAW.  This helps spread visitors out over the area and time so everyone has a good wilderness experience.
Wherever your travels take you, have a great weekend, and enjoy the Forest.  Until next week, this has been Steve Robertsen with the Superior National Forest Update. 
 

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Superior National Forest Update: July 10

Hi.  I’m Becky Bartol, environmental coordinator, with this week’s edition of the National Forest Update -  information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Superior National Forest. For the week of July 10th, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
It has been a week of beautiful weather on the Forest.  We hope that you’ve been able to get outside and enjoy some of the sun.  This past Tuesday was national “Father-Daughter Take a Walk Day”, so hopefully some fathers and daughters were out hiking in the woods.   If you somehow missed that holiday, you can cheer yourself up by celebrating National Blueberry Muffin Day this Sunday.
Camping can be a great way to get outdoors, but remember that if you are planning on camping, it is not allowed to ‘claim’ a spot by putting your gear at a campsite ahead of time.  Your campsite must be occupied the first night.  Camping gear left in an unoccupied site may be confiscated, and the owner can actually be cited for a violation.  If you are concerned about not having a site, many of the sites on our campgrounds are reservable online at Recreation.gov. 
Sites in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness are, of course, not reservable.  When planning your route, develop alternatives in case the site you are hoping for is occupied.  Creating your own campsite on islands or other places is not allowed, and you can be cited for camping outside of the designated sites.  The reason we have designated sites is to concentrate the impact of camping in only those spots, leaving the rest of the shoreline pristine.  Help us protect the Boundary Waters by following the rules and guidelines - they are there for good reasons.
Getting to your campground or entry point should be pretty easy.  Our roads are in good shape, and there are only a few timber sales creating truck traffic.  You may encounter logging trucks on the Dumbbell River Road, Wanless Road (heading to Hwy.1), Sawbill Landing Road, Lake County 7 near Harriet Lake, the Four Mile Grade near Wilson Lake, The Grade, and the Sawbill Trail.
While most of us are enjoying summer, some of us have been preparing for winter already.  The Forest Service, in partnership with the Arrowhead Coalition for Multiple Uses, has been working to develop the South Fowl Snowmobile Trail near South Fowl Lake.  This section of trail should be ready for snowmobile use this winter, so thanks to all the trail workers that are out there feeding the mosquitos and black flies this summer.
Smokey Bear would like to pass on a big thank you for the warm welcome he received at the Fourth of July parade in Tofte.  He was able to both give and receive a lot of bear hugs, and there’s nothing he likes better.  Being Smokey, he’d also wants us to remind you to be careful with fire and make sure all your campfires are dead out before you leave your campsite.
Have a great weekend, and enjoy the Forest.  Until next week, this has been Becky Bartol with the Superior National Forest Update. 
 

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Superior National Forest Update: July 3

Hi.  I’m Amber Humphrey, Information Specialist, with this week’s edition of the National Forest Update -  information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest. For the week of July 3rd, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
It is Fourth of July weekend!  It looks like it will be a beautiful weekend out on the Forest to enjoy the holiday.  Remember that NO fireworks of any kind are permitted on the National Forest, not even fireworks that maybe legal within the state of Minnesota.  Fire danger is low due to recent rains and high humidity, but even in these conditions fires can get out of control.  We actually had to put one out last week.  A very small, room sized wildfire that had started from an unattended campfire.  One potential fire starter is a type of firework called a fire balloon.  These are small hot air balloons lifted with a candle, and seem to be getting more popular every year.  Normally, the candle burns out before the balloon lands, but they will sometimes crash while still burning, causing an obvious fire hazard.  In addition to possibly starting a fire, they become litter after landing.  Of course, like all fireworks, these are not legal on the Forest.
If you want fireworks, there are some great displays along the North Shore all the way from Two Harbors to Grand Marais.  The parade in Tofte this year will have a certain bear in attendance, making sure everyone knows that only you can prevent wildfires. 
While fire danger is low locally, it is high in the drought stricken west.  Sixteen of our fire crew will be spending their holiday assisting with wildfires that are burning in other states.  Keep them and all the other firefighters in your thoughts this weekend.
As we get into July, driving in the Forest may involve more encounters with large RVs.  Or, maybe you will be the person driving the RV.  Either way, be aware that these vehicles take a lot of space on our narrow Forest roads.  Be patient, and pass only in safe areas, and if you’re the RV driver, pull over and allow others to pass in safe places, especially if you are going slower than the traffic flow.  Don’t get frustrated.  Realize that there really isn’t any rush to get where you are going, and five miles an hour speed increase will not change your arrival time very much.
There may be more RVs, but there are going to be fewer logging trucks on the Tofte District this next week.  We have only two active timber sales right now, one on the Dumbbell River Road, and another off of The Grade near the Temperance River.  Visitors can expect to see trucks hauling on the Trappers Lake Road (FR 369), the Wanless Road (FR 172), the Dumbbell River Road (FR 174), Lake County road 7 near Harriet Lake, and the Four Mile Grade near Wilson Lake.
If your drive takes you up the Gunflint to Chik-Wauk, you could stop in at 2:00 pm on Tuesday for a Forest Service naturalist program about moose.  Check our website for all the other naturalist programs offered every week, or on the Fourth, stop by the Point where we always have a naturalist on location from 1:30 to 3:30 Saturdays.
Have a great weekend, and enjoy the Forest.  Until next week, this has been Amber Humphrey with the Superior National Forest Update. 
 

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