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Superior National Forest Update



Contributor(s): 
USDA Forest Service

The Superior National Forest Update helps you keep up to date with Forest activities that you might encounter while driving, boating, or hiking in the Superior National Forest’s Tofte and Gunflint Ranger Districts.  It includes road and fire conditions, logging and other truck activities, as well as naturalist programs and special events.  

The USDA Forest Service has more information on the Superior National Forest website.


What's On:

Superior National Forest Update: October 30

Hi.  I’m Chris Beal, wildlife biologist for the Gunflint and Tofte Ranger Districts, with a Halloween edition of the National Forest Update  -  information on conditions affecting travel and recreation here on the east side of the Superior National Forest. For the week of October 30, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
It’s Halloween this weekend!  We don’t expect many ghouls and goblins in the forest, but you never know.  Watch out for those trick or treaters around town though, they may be haunting the place all night.
In the woods, keep an eye open for hunters.  Rifle deer season will be opening on November 7th, and if you haven’t started already, now is the time to wear orange when out for a hike.  On the other end of the rifle, hunters should always practice gun safety and wait for a clear shot of an identifiable target before pulling the trigger.
Other people who you might see in the woods are those gathering balsam boughs for wreaths.  It may be scary to think about Christmas at Halloween, but wreath makers are buying or collecting boughs right now.  If you are harvesting boughs, you may collect a limited amount for personal use, but you will need a permit for larger amounts and commercial use.  Check our website for details on permit requirements and for information on how to collect balsam boughs in a sustainable way.  Remember too that collection of ground pine and Princess Pine is not allowed anywhere on the Forest.
Speaking of Christmas, winter weather is approaching.  It’s been a while since any of us have driven on snow and ice, so take it easy when that first snowstorm hits.  This last bit of warm weather is a good time to outfit your car with winter emergency equipment and get yourself and your vehicle ready for six months of hard water.
The fire crews will still be burning piles as weather permits, so you may see some smoke from those fires.  It is still worthwhile to report smoke, our offices will know where pile burning is taking place and be able to tell if it is a wildfire or one of our burn piles.
There are some active timber harvests going on this week.  On the Tofte side, expect to see logging traffic on FR 369 and FR 380 near Sawbill Landing.  There is also activity north of Whitefish Lake; so trucks will be hauling timber on FR 348, FR 170, and Lake County 7.  Finally, there are operations north of Plouff Creek, with hauling on FR 1238, Cook County 2, and The Grade.
On the Gunflint district, hauling is taking place on Greenwood Road, Firebox Road, Shoe Lake Road, the Old Greenwood Road, the South Brule River Road, the Lima Grade, and the Gunflint Trail.
In the spirit of Halloween, we are helping with a national effort to set a Guiness World Record for number of bat houses built in day.  Join us from 3 to 6 pm at the AmericInn in Silver Bay to make a bat house that you can take home.  This program was made possible by a donation of lumber from Hedstrom’s Lumber Mill, and with the cooperation of Tettegouche State Park, Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center, the AmericInn Silver Bay, and Bat Conservation International.  Supplies are limited.
Have a good and scary Halloween!  Until next week, this has been Chris Beal with the National Forest Update.
 

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Superior National Forest Update: October 23

Hi.  I’m Bre Schueller, Fire Management Specialist for the Gunflint and Tofte Ranger Districts, with this week’s edition of the National Forest Update  -  information on conditions affecting travel and recreation here on the east side of the Superior National Forest. For the week of October 23rd, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
Most of what has been happening is the annual shutting down.  The water has now been turned off at all the fee campgrounds.  This means that you will have to pack in your own water, as well as pack out your garbage.  You can’t make camping reservations any more, but you also don’t have to pay a camping fee.  Campgrounds and outhouses remain open for use year round, but they are not plowed out or maintained through the winter.
Another part of the preparation for winter was the removal of docks from water accesses.  Boat ramps remain usable, but you’ll have to manage without a dock if you are headed out for some late season fishing.
The fall color tour signs are coming down too, as the fall color season is mostly over.  The weekly color reports and photos will still be on the web through Halloween, but there should be fewer people in the woods as we shift from fall to winter.
One of the few things opening instead of ending is the new bridge over the Temperance River on the 600 Road near the Sawbill Trail.  The bridge is now open for traffic, and will allow the North Shore Snowmobile trail to return to its usual route this winter.
Speaking of Halloween, we are participating in an attempt to set a world record for the most bat houses built in a day.  At sites across the nation, people will be building bat houses on October 31st to help support our bat population.  Right now, bats are dealing with a disease called white nose syndrome, which kills them in large numbers.  One way to help is to provide roosting sites for healthy bats in the form of bat houses.  You can help bats and set a world record by joining us at the AmericInn in Silver Bay during their annual Trick or Treat event.  From 3 to 6 pm on Halloween, you can build a bat house from a free kit, and then take the house home with you to put up where you want more bats and fewer mosquitoes.  This program is made possible with a generous donation of lumber from Hedstrom’s Lumber Mill, and the cooperation of Tettegouche State Park and AmericInn Silver Bay.  Supplies are limited.
In keeping with the season, snowy owls have been sighted in the area.  These beautiful owls are active during the day and like open areas, so they are more easily seen than most owls.  It also helps that they are bright white!  Watch for them along roadsides and other openings, but also watch out for them flying low over roadways in pursuit of mice.   
Brush piles are being burned by our fire crews at several locations throughout the Forest as weather permits.  You may see smoke from these fires, but if you are unsure where smoke is coming from, it is always worthwhile to report possible wildfires to the Forest Service.  There was one small wildfire on an island in Sawbill Lake this past week which started from a campfire.  Make sure any fires you light during the fall are kept under control, and left only when they are completely out.

Timber hauling is taking place in the same areas as last week.  Hauling on the Gunflint District is taking place on the Murmur Creek Road, the Caribou Trail, The Grade, the Bally Creek Road, the Greenwood road, the Firebox Road, the Shoe Lake Road, the Old Greenwood road, the South Brule River Road, the Lima Grade, and the Gunflint Trail.
In Tofte, watch for trucks on the Sawbill Trail, in the vicinity of Jack Lake with hauling on FR 369 (Sawbill Landing Road or Trappers Lake Road) down to Hwy. 1 at Isabella, and on The Grade. 
Enjoy the end of our fall, and get out in the woods before winter sets in!  Until next week, this has been Bre Schueller with the Superior National Forest Update. 
 

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Superior National Forest Update: October 16

Hi.  I’m Cathy Peterson, administrative assistant for the Tofte 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 Superior National Forest. For the week of October 16th, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
Fall colors are falling down, and our peak season is definitely over.  It still is pretty nice weather for hiking or hunting, and there are enough leaves to make it colorful.  When you are out, watch out for the remaining fall color enthusiasts parked on the roads, and if you are parking yourself for hunting or photography, make sure to do it in a safe location.  In addition to the leaves, the Fall Color Tour signs will be coming down this week, a sure indication of the end of fall and the beginning of winter.
Also happening this week is the annual removal of docks from area lake accesses, and the shutting down of the water systems at campgrounds.  Once the water is off at a campground, there will be no further garbage pick up, and no fees or reservations.  Campers are still welcome to camp, but you will have to bring your own water in, and take your garbage back out with you.  Remember that it is not legal, or a good idea for that matter, to burn your garbage in the fire rings or anywhere on the Forest.
There is some intentional burning going on in the Forest though.  Fire crews will be burning some piles in various areas where they have cut undergrowth to reduce the danger of wildfire.  You may have seen these piles in the woods, often topped with pieces of cardboard.  The cardboard can look somewhat silly, but it keeps a small area dry enough for good ignition, and after that the fire will dry itself.
The new bridge over the Temperance River is very very close to being open, but as of October 15, it isn’t officially open yet.  There is still work being done on the approaches to the bridge.  Please obey the barricades that are in place, it will simply slow the process if people drive on the incomplete approaches.
Also in road news, there is a fair amount of timber activity right now.  Hauling on the Gunflint District is similar to last week and taking place on the Murmur Creek Road, the Caribou Trail, The Grade, the Bally Creek Road, the Greenwood road, the Firebox Road, the Shoe Lake Road, the Old Greenwood road, the South Brule River Road, the Lima Grade, and the Gunflint Trail.
In Tofte, there will be trucks will be hauling on the Sawbill Trail for the next couple weeks, as well as an active logging operation next to the road which might include machinery on the road.  Otherwise there is logging activity in the vicinity of Jack Lake with hauling on FR 369 (Sawbill Landing Road or Trappers Lake Road) down to Hwy. 1 at Isabella.  Visitors may also see a few log trucks on The Grade.  The state also has some active logging operations which will have haul trucks as well.
Logging trucks are large, but we are also sharing our roads this time of year with some very small forest visitors.  There are flocks of juncos foraging on roadways all over the Forest.  These small birds are a slaty gray color with white outer tail feathers.  They are working their down from the north, wintering usually around the Twin Cities and further south.  They can be in large numbers on the road, and are very easily hit by cars.  Slowing down where it is safe and you see a large flock at a distance is a good idea, but emergency braking and swerving to avoid birds can be dangerous. 
Enjoy the end of our fall, and get out in the woods before winter sets in!  Until next week, this has been Cathy Peterson with the Superior National Forest Update. 
 

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Superior National Forest Update: October 9

Hi.  I’m Becky Bartol, environmental coordinator for the Tofte and Gunflint Districts, 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 October 9th, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
Fall colors might be at their peak for the year along the shore, but inland they are starting to fall.  The rain on Wednesday night and Thursday brought some of the leaves down, but there are still plenty left to make this a good weekend to go for a drive and enjoy the scenery.  Some of the gravel roads have some heavy washboarding right now, so keep your speed down and your tires on the road.
The new bridge over the Temperance River on the 600 Road near the Sawbill Trail is almost done.  The iron pony truss bridge, known as the Pink Bridge, which is being replaced was originally built in 1913 as the bridge that spanned the Cross River at Schroeder and then moved to its current location.  It saw a lot of history over its 102 year life, but was no longer safe.  We hope the new bridge will be open in the next week or so.
While bridges may be opening soon, campgrounds are soon to be returning to their winter condition.  As temperatures lower, the water systems in campgrounds will be shut off to prevent freeze damage.  When the water is shut off, garbage pick up will also be discontinued, and you will no longer have to pay a camping fee.  The status of the campgrounds will be tracked on our website, so check it out before you head off on your next camping trip.
Along with this sign of impending winter will be the removal of docks from boat accesses.  This will be started in the next week or two, so if you are planning a fishing trip, you might be safest to assume that there won’t be a dock available.  The ramp, of course, will still be usable, as will the dock until removal.
There is a fair amount of timber activity right now.  Hauling on the Gunflint District is similar to last week and taking place on the Murmur Creek Road, the Caribou Trail, The Grade, the Bally Creek Road, the Greenwood road, the Firebox Road, the Shoe Lake Road, the Old Greenwood road, the South Brule River Road, the Lima Grade, and the Gunflint Trail.
In Tofte, anyone driving up the Sawbill Trail has probably seen the logging operation a mile or two beyond the Honeymoon Trail.  That will be active, and trucks will be hauling on the Sawbill, for the next couple weeks.  Otherwise there is logging activity in the vicinity of Jack Lake with hauling on FR 369 (Sawbill Landing Road or Trappers Lake Road) down to Hwy. 1 at Isabella.  Visitors may also see a few log trucks on The Grade.  The state also has some active logging operations which will have haul trucks as well.
When you’re out hiking, be sure to wear your orange since hunting is going on.  Keep an eye out for moose as well.  It is near the peak of rutting season for moose, and they are out and about.  They are also kind of ornery this time of year, and you should stay well away from any moose that you see.
Enjoy the beautiful fall, and get out in the woods!  Until next week, this has been Becky Bartol with the Superior National Forest Update. 
 

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Superior National Forest Update: October 2

Hi.  I’m Mary Ann Atwood, administrative support assistant on the Gunflint Ranger District, with this week’s edition of the National Forest Update - information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Gunflint and Tofte Districts of the Forest.  For the week of October 2nd, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.

Fall Colors
Looks like this will be a fabulous fall color weekend on the forest. Those who predict such things believe we are at or near peak color…perfect timing to get outdoors and drive, hike or paddle your way through the forest.
While leaf-peeping, be aware of slow moving or stopped vehicles and choose safe spots to pull over with plenty of room for other vehicles to pass.
Autumn brings fall color, shorter days and various hunting seasons.  If you are spending time in the forest, wear an orange vest or hat.  This time of year, orange is definitely the new black. 

Logging Operations
Timber operations have somewhat slowed on the Tofte District.  There will be log trucks on The Grade and Sawbill Landing, (otherwise known as Trappers Lake Road), but there are no other operations. 
On the Gunflint district, there is much more activity.  You may encounter trucks on the following roads: Murmur Creek, Caribou Trail, Bally Creek, Greenwood, Old Greenwood, Firebox, Shoebox Lake, South Brule River, Lima Grade, and the Gunflint Trail. 

Fire News
Fire danger in the woods is currently low to moderate.  Taking advantage of this fact, our fire crews are burning slash piles.  Don’t be surprised to see some smoke as piles are burned.  You can call district offices for details. 
If you are planning to burn a brush pile, be sure to get a burn permit.  Permits can be acquired at the district offices or on the DNRs web site.

Additional Autumnal Alterations
As of October 1st, district office hours have changed.  We are open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:30 pm, closed on weekends.
Also as of October 1st  free self-issue permits are all that is needed for day or overnight visits to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.  Self-issue permits are available at all entrée points and district offices.
The water systems on Superior’s campgrounds get shut down sometime this month – the timing is weather dependent. Garbage service also comes to an end.  Our campgrounds are open year round, visitors just need to plan a little differently…bring water and pack out your trash.   Campground updates will be posted on Recreation.gov until November, that’s www.recreation.gov.  With this comes good news and bad news.  The bad news is: once the water is shut off, you can no longer reserve a campsite.   The good news is you don’t have to pay a camping fee. 
Keep in mind; while the Chicago Bears can’t win a game, the Superior’s bears are still awake.   Follow the “Leave No Trace” guidelines paying close attention to food and garbage storage.

To quote Lauren DeStefano author of Wither, "Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale."   Savor the Superior this season.
Until next week, this has been Mary Ann Atwood with the Superior National Forest Update. 

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Superior National Forest Update: September 25

Hi.  I’m Suzanne Cable, assistant district ranger for recreation and Wilderness on the Tofte and Gunflint Ranger Districts, 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 25th, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
Rain, rain is what has been going on in the Forest the last two days.  This is great as far as plants preparing for winter and for keeping fire danger low, but this much rain can be hard on roads. Keep an eye out for water across roads that may soften road surfaces or cause you to hydroplane.  There could even be washouts in some areas, though we’ve had no reports of any at this point.  The rain is also hard on the fall colors, knocking leaves down before colors really get a chance to start.  Some drier weather and some cooler nights are what is needed to kick start color change, and this weekend might be perfect.
There are a number of logging operations that will have trucks hauling timber this week.  On the Tofte District, you may encounter trucks on the Wanless Road near Elixer Lake, the Sawbill Landing Road near Sawbill Landing, both the Four Mile Grade and the Grade, and on the Honeymoon Trail near White Pine Lake.
On the Gunflint District, watch out for trucks on the Murmur Creek Road, Caribou Trail, Bally Creek Road, Greenwood and Old Greenwood Roads, Firebox Road, Shoebox Lake Road,  the South Brule River Road, the Lima Grade, and the Gunflint Trail.  That’s a lot of work being done!  In addition to work and trucks, you can expect to see more personal vehicles in the woods as well.  There are both fall color enthusiasts and hunters out driving, so watch for slow moving and parked vehicles.  If you are slow moving yourself, keep an eye behind you and pull over in safe places to let others pass if they want to drive faster.
Speaking of hunting, there are many hunters who will be using ATVs and OHVs.  The maps showing roads on which you can drive your ATV are reprinted each year with some revisions.  If you are using a 2014 map, you should stop at a Forest Service office and pick up a free copy of the current map.
The North Shore Drive on Highway 61 got some national attention recently as the National Forest Foundation listed it third in nation for fall colors.   So, it may be time to turn off the computer, phone, and television, and get outdoors for a drive, or a hike, or to go hunting, fishing, or camping.  Get out and enjoy the fall.  Until next week, this has been Suzanne Cable with the Superior National Forest Update. 
 

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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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Superior National Forest Update: August 14

Hello, I’m Chelsey Coley, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Planner for the Tofte and Gunflint Ranger Districts, with this week’s edition of the National Forest Update. This includes information on conditions affecting travel and recreation in the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest. For the week of August 14th, here’s what’s going on around the Forest.

The forest is now considered below normal precipitation for this time of year due to the lack of moisture in July. Our fire indices have been in the moderate range with an occasional windy day being in the high. Without good precipitation in August, those indices may continue to rise into the high levels and even have days in the extreme level if we have wind. Therefore, people need to continue to be careful with campfires.

A wildfire at Silver Island Lake started on Wednesday the 12th in Township 61 N, Range 6 W, and Section 33. At this time the ignition source is unknown. Two Forest Service engines and 45 Forest Service fire personnel are on scene along with aerial support. The current personnel on the scene are making good progress in containing the fire; it is estimated that the containment is at approximately 50%. There was a quarter-inch of rain last night that helped with suppression efforts. The crews will continue to line the fire using dozers, hand tools, and hose lays. Due to fire personnel and smoke in the area of Lake County Road 7, please avoid travel and encourage others to stay clear of the area for their safety and the safety of our firefighters. 

We also had an escape campfire on Larch Lake last week indicating that there is potential for unattended campfires to creep out of the fire ring. Fortunately, the fire just crept around and did not become an issue. Local resources are assisting with the western fire effort as much as possible while still covering our local needs. We have firefighters in Montana, Idaho, and Oregon right now.

The Tofte District is fairly active this week, when it comes to timber sales. Visitors to the Forest could expect to see logging traffic on the Honeymoon Trail (FR 164) near White Pine Lake, on the Caribou Trail (Cook County 4) near Holly Lake, on the Four Mile Grade (FR 170), on Lake County 7 near Harriet Lake, and on the Wanless Road (FR 172) near Hogback Lake.

Bears have been frequenting the McDougal Lake Campground on the Tofte District, so please be “bear” aware and keep all food out of sight, in approved containers or locked inside a hard-sided vehicle. Deposit garbage in refuse containers or store it the way that you would store food.

If you plan to provide a commercial guiding service on National Forest System land, roads, or trails, you need to apply for a special use outfitting and guiding permit. To obtain a permit, please contact Christy Tampio at our Tofte or Gunflint offices.

With all of that being said, I hope you that you all will enjoy your weekend and this has been Chelsey Coley with the National Forest Update.

 

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