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Superior National Forest Update - May 31, 2019

Superior National Forest Update
Superior National Forest Update

Superior National Forest Update – May 31, 2019
Hi, this is Steve Robertsen, interpretation and education specialist on the Superior National Forest, and this is the National Forest Update, information for visitors to the Forest.  It is the start of June, and summer is upon us at last, so I think we should all be visitors to the Forest this week!

As you head out into the Forest, there are still a few lingering effects of spring.  While weight restrictions are being lifted from many roads, they are still in force on others.  The Lake and Cook County websites have up to date lists on which of the county roads are open to large trucks.  As the weight restrictions end, hauling for timber sales is beginning.  Watch for possible hauling in the Trapper’s Lake Road area and in the areas of the Greenwood, Firebox, and Blueberry Roads, as conditions allow.

“As conditions allow” is a phrase that applies to the prescribed burns happening on the Forest as well.  We’d love to be able to give people lots of advance notice and precise dates on prescribed fires, but it is more important to burn on days when the weather is just right – and nature just isn’t that predictable.  You can find out about planned prescribed fire by clicking on the “Prescribed Fire Information” link on our home page, then on the “Current Year’s Plans” link.  Notices on burns will be tweeted out and posted on our Facebook page as they happen.  Active fires, both prescribed burns and wildfires, can be followed on the national incident information site called InciWeb.  We have links to that as well, or just search for

InciWeb:  “I-N-C-I Web”.  If your travels in the Forest take you near a burn underway, please follow posted information and be extra careful about vehicles and people on the road.  Smoke may restrict sight, so drive carefully.  It is good to bypass these areas entirely if possible.

Birds are doing everything right now.  Some are migrating through, some are setting up nests, and some are feeding chicks.  Peregrine falcons nesting in the cliffs along the shore are in that last stage – feeding chicks.  These nests are pretty closely monitored both by people and by the peregrines themselves who will loudly call and even swoop down at people who get a bit too close.  Peregrines were gone from the North Shore due to DDT until the peregrine falcon reintroduction program in the 1980s brought them back.  It has been a very successful program, and you can now often see these amazing birds as you travel on Hwy 61.  Diving at speeds which have been clocked at over 224 miles per hour, they are the fastest animal around.  We watched a peregrine take a gull over the lake once, and it is pretty incredible to see them in action.  I’m not sure the gull agreed.

Wilderness rangers have begun summer patrols through the Boundary Waters.  They will be working to clear and maintain portages, take care of campsites, and help people traveling in the wilderness.  They also get to pick up litter, which, they are happy to report, has been decreasing over the years.  You can help on this one by following the simple rule of ‘Pack it in, pack it out’ during your wilderness travels – or for that matter, your travels anywhere.  Remember, don’t burn trash in campfires, and don’t dispose of trash in latrine pits.  Just pack it all out.  On a less happy note, the wilderness rangers also report the return of the black flies.  It’s getting to be time to find the head net again.

It should be a lovely early summer week this week, so ignore the black flies and take advantage of it by heading out into the woods. 

Enjoy the Forest, and until next week, this has been Steve Robertsen with the National Forest Update.