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Superior National Forest Update - May 11, 2018

National Forest Update – May 10, 2018.
 
Hi.  I’m Joe Mundell, timber sale administrator, on the Gunflint Ranger District of the Superior National Forest, with this week’s National Forest Update.  This is the Friday May 11th, edition, and there is a lot going on out there.

Spring is creeping northwards, slowly but surely.  Down in the Twin Cities, trees are fully leafed-out now, but up here, buds are just starting to swell.  Tamaracks are showing a pretty good dusting of green on them, pussy willows are blooming, and grass is greening up.  Frogs are calling from every small puddle, and birds are singing in the morning.  There are lots of sparrows right now moving through, including some that you don’t see except in the spring.  Hummingbirds traditionally show up on Mother’s Day, we’ll have to see if they are on time this year. 

Mother’s Day also means that it is almost fishing opener.  You can drop a line for walleye starting on May 12, if you can find open water.  Lakes are actually opening pretty fast considering how deeply frozen they were just a few weeks ago.  Many of the smaller lakes are open, but the larger border lakes are still fairly well frozen.  Because of the late break up of ice, we haven’t been able to get all the docks in at our boat landings yet.  They should be in within the next two weeks, but in the meantime, prepare to launch your boat with no dock if you are planning a fishing trip.  There are a few spots in the area where fishing will still not be allowed.  These areas are where fish are pushed to very high concentrations due to the ice.  Check the DNR website for locations of these temporary restrictions.
 
We are a bit later than many years in being able to turn on our water systems at fee campgrounds.  Until they are turned on, we won’t be collecting fees at campgrounds for camping.  If you are camping, be ready for either possibility – have water with you in case there’s none available yet, and bring money with in case the fee season has started.

If your camping brings you into the Boundary Waters, the issued permit season has begun.  Overnight visitors need to have a permit issued at a Forest Service office or at a cooperator’s business.  Because of ice, our wilderness ranger crews haven’t been out in the woods yet, so canoeists may run into portages where winter deadfalls have blocked the trail.  If you do run into situations like that, take note of where and when and let us know so we can plan to take care of it. 

There isn’t very much truck traffic on the roads this week as the road conditions remain poor.  There may be logging activity near Sawbill Landing and off the Greenwood and Firebox Roads, but we only anticipate hauling on the DM&IR Grade, also known as FS380.   

Fire danger can change rapidly in the spring.  Our April Showers in May have brought relief for a while, but the sun will soon dry everything out again.  We’ve had some ‘red flag’ days already, and be on the lookout for more to come.  The conditions did eventually let us conduct our wildlife opening burns, but we’d rather not have to deal with any wildfires.

Enjoy the spring weather, and good luck to everyone who is heading down to the water with a pole in hand!

Until next week, this has been Joe Mundell with the National Forest Update.
 

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