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More of BWCA to reopen, some entry points will remain closed

BWCA area that remains closed is in red as of Sept. 11. Image courtesy of US Forest Service
BWCA area that remains closed is in red as of Sept. 11. Image courtesy of US Forest Service

A large area of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness near the end of the Gunflint Trail will reopen Saturday, Sept. 11.
 
Many of the BWCA entry points at the end of the Gunflint Trail remained closed through Labor Day weekend and the first week of September even when most of the wilderness reopened. Wildfires led to an entire BWCA closure Aug. 21.
 
Entry points reopening Sept. 11 include those on Seagull Lake, Saganaga Lake, Cross Bay, Skipper and Portage lakes and the Kekekabic Trail, among others (see full list below).
 
However, several popular entry points will remain closed at this time, including the Missing Link and Brant Lake entry points. A section of the BWCA will also remain closed at this time and through the end of the permit-fee season, which runs through Sept. 30. Included in the closure area is the popular ‘Lady Chain of Lakes’ just west of Sawbill Lake. This closure includes Alton Lake, though the Sawbill entry point itself remains open. 

Click here to view a map of the closure area that remains in effect. 

Editor’s note: An original version of this story contained information from the Forest Service that the entry points on Seagull Lake will remain closed. The Seagull Lake entry points are outside the closure area on this map. Seagull Lake is opening. Visitors with valid permits for Seagull Lake entry point will be able to access the lake via Blankenberg boat launch or Trails End Campground. This is the only allowable public use of the boat launch and campground at this time.
 
The U.S. Forest Service will also reopen lands and roads along the upper Gunflint Trail on Saturday, with the exception of Blankenburg boat launch and the Iron Lake and Trails End campgrounds. These campgrounds will remain closed to serve as basecamps for firefighters responding to the fires, according to the Forest Service.
 
The John Ek and Whelp fires burning in the BWCA have shown minimal growth over the past two weeks.  

Superior National Forest Supervisor Connie Cummins said fall weather conditions have moderated the John Ek and Whelp fires, both of which have remained within their perimeters for days.
 
“After talking with our fire, wilderness, and recreation specialists, we decided it was safe to lift some of the current closures,” Cummins said. "We’re so happy that we’re opening back up to our visitors.”
 
Effective Sept. 11, the following entry points will reopen: Seagull Lake Entry Point #54/#54A/L, Saganaga Lake Entry Point #55/#55A/J, Cross Bay Lake Entry Point #50, Kekekabic Trail Entry Point #56 and #74, Skipper and Portage Lakes Entry Point #49, Kawishiwi Lake Entry Point #37, Magnetic Lake EP #57, Larch Creek EP #80. 
 
The following entry points will remain closed until further notice: Missing Link Lake EP #51, Brant Lake Entry Point #52.