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.