Friday, July 28, 2006

North Shore Festivals

Looking for some great Minnesota events? Drive-up the "air conditioned" North Shore to Grand Marais' annual Dragon Boat Festival. The opening ceremonies begin Friday, July 28 at 7pm and races starting at Saturday, July 29 at 10am. The following weekend is the 77th Annual Grand Marais' Fisherman's Picnic, with races, live music, fireworks, street vendors, specials in the shops & restaurants and all kinds of events.

Another annual festival is the Rendezvous Days & Pow Wow in Grand Portage Aug. 11-13. Celebrate the Chippewa culture with traditional food, arts, crafts, music, dancing, drumming and games like horseshoe throwing, softball, a walk-run race and the turkey shoot.
For additional information and lodging for all these great Lake Superior North Shore events contact Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B or call 800-322-8327.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Border Patrol Runs Down Moose Calves

Friday morning, July 21, a neighbor is drinking coffee, comtemplating the past week's fire events and getting ready for the day's business. Suddenly screeching brakes are heard and two thuds. Neighbor's spouse goes to the Gunflint Trail, which abuts their front yard and sees a Border Patrol vehicle. The Border patrolman goes to a nearby residence and calls the DNR office and reports that he has just run into two moose calves. The neighbor locates the two dead calves, watches as the Border Patrol car leaves and then cleans up the glass. Walks back to his house and tells my friend the sad news. A while later the DNR arrives and removes the calves.
Another neighbor reports that the moose cow has been bellowing all day calling for her children.

This is a restricted speed limit area, on the mid Gunflint Trail area. It appears the Border Patrol car was above the speed limit. If the speed limit had been observed, maybe this tragedy could have been avoided.

My neighbor cried all day.

My guests have seen the calves feeding in the nearby swamps with their mother. What a thrill it was.

As this story is passed on from neighbor to neighbor, more tears are shed.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Images of the Cavity Lake Fire

Follow the following link for some incredible images of the cavity lake fire taken by local residents-

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Fire Expands while Forestry Officials Entertain the Governor

By Monday day four of the Cavity Lake Fire USFS official's confirmed the fire had expanded to over 14,000 acres and consumed all, but a small portion of the shoreline including most of the islands of Seagull and all of Alpine Lake. Only a narrow strip near the Gunflint Trail was not burnt

During the USFS' Monday morning fire briefing Dennis Nietzke stated the following, on day one of the fire we spotted it and began to attack it. Day two we mounted our initial all-out attack on it with several water bombers, on day four, here we are (Monday) after the last night when the fire exploded and expand across the lake to as far as Miles Island.

When Nietzke was asked what happen to day three, He responded that starting about four PM water bombers went on the attack again that day. Then he was ask what about before four PM when the fire was still confined below the ridge line and before the heavy winds that the weather services were predicting for the area that evening. Nietzke stated both the Governor and Congressman Oberstar had come to view the fire and "we had to deal with them."

The question asked at the briefing but never answered by fire officials was why did they not continue their attack on the fire on the morning of day three and why did they waited until four in the afternoon when it was do late to resume the water bombing of the fire.

Many at Monday's fire briefing, particularly Seagull Lake residents feel they know the answer to that question- Fire officials wanted to see what little shoreline of the lake that had not been burnt by previous fires, consumed by this fire. This feeling of course was boaster by numerous announcements and statement over the preceding days by Forest Service officials that this fire was within a planned pre-scripted burn area (the Acorn Unit) and they wanted it to be burnt anyways. Therefore , did the Forest Service intentional ignore the fire during day three because they wanted this area to burn? If this was their strategy they succeed the looser of course are the resident and business around the lake.

Another question - why was the Forest Service officials on Saturday assure campers on the seagull Lake islands that it was safe and that the fire posed no threat. See article- "Paddlers escape, shaken but safe, from wind-swept flames," in the Duluth News Tribune.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Cavity Lake Fire Information

Information is now being posted on the Cavity Lake Fire, as the fire near Seagull Lake is now called, at

According to Jim Raml, Seagull Lake resident living within a couple of miles of the edge of the fire, yesterday as the wind shifted ash from the fire were all around his house. From a boat on the lake in front of Jim's house one could see the flames leaping up from behind the ridge as the fire proceeded in a easterly direction.

Also just receive is the following Press Release from the Gunflint Trail Association

The Cavity Lake Fire is near the end of the Gunflint Trail on the eastern side of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. It is centered in a highland region between Seagull Lake to the north and the Kekakabic Trail to the south, in part of the blowdown area slated for a prescribed burn this fall. While caution and safety are top priorities, actual extinguishing of the fire is not a top priority. Rather the plan is to steer the fire away from valued resources, homes and population areas while cleaning up some of the blowdown in a natural way.

The fire is headed directly into an area that has been treated with prescribed burns over the last few years where containment lines are practical.

While paddlers entering Brant Lake and Seagull Lake are being asked to travel in adjacent entry points no other entries are closed or restricted.Effective July 16, 2006 until further notice, he following portages will be closed due to the Cavity Lake Fire Operations.
1. Gabimichigami to Howard Lake
2. Gabimichigami to Peter Lake
3. Little Saganga to Virgin
4. Crooked Lake to Virgin Lake

Basically the Northern Route to Gillis Lake is closed, travel is recommended to take the southern route to Tuscarora Lake.In fact some may get a good air show as the CL215s begin water bombing the fire in the days to come. Forest service personnel are contacting campers in the area to inform them of the fire and any safety concerns they should be aware of. Many paddlers will see or smell smoke from the fire but should not have their trip affected by it.People with reservations should contact their outfitter or the Forest Service for current information and where the fire is relative to their entry point.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Wildfire South West of Seagull Lake

The fire started sometime after 3:00 p.m. on Friday the Julyl 14th in a remote area of the blowdown south of Seagull Lake, north of Howard Lake near Cavity Lake. The area is heavy "blowdown" - jack pine and spruce and within the "Acorn Burn Unit" which the USFS was planning to burn. It is thought the fire was started by a lightly strike.

Overhead resources were brought in immediately including an aircraft from Canada and the CL 215's. They worked for hours as the winds continued to blow and the fire continued to travel for almost 2 1/2 miles through the wilderness. While yeaterday afternoon the winds were blowing from the northwest tracking the fire towards the Kek trail and a previous prescribed burn area by Howard Lake, during the night the winds shifted to a more westerly direction and toward the south shore of seagull Lake. Between the fire and the cabins on the south shore of the lake there is another large area previously burnt by the Forest Service which could block the fires advance if it continues in this direction.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Boundary Country’s Remodeled Web Goes On-line

Boundary Country Trekking invites you to tour their newly remodeled web sites- Secluded Lodging and Adventure Vacations. Boundary Country's first website was introduced in 1995. In fact it was one of the first travel-hospitality URLs operating in the state. There were very few ISPs operating then so the site was house on the University of Minnesota server. Access to site and email was via phone calls to Duluth. Imagine the phone bills.

Shorty after the Boundary Country site went online with the University server, Boreal Access a community ISP was opened in Grand Marais and the web site was transferred to it. The web sites has been with boreal ever since. With the opening of the Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B, in 2001, Boundary Country opened a second website- Secluded Lodging. While the two web sites continue to be house with Boreal, the dial-up connect has been dropped and the company now has broadband delivered via satellite.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Residents Clean-up Trail- DNR wants to Clear Trees

Trash pickup by Gunflint Trail residents highlights area the DNR propose to clearcut area Cook County News-HeraldLast Updated: Friday, June 30th, 2006 10:29:24 AM- see article

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Governor Response on Clear Cuts

The following letter was received by Jim Raml, Gunflint Trail Scenic Byways, Forestry Sub-Committee Chairman from Governor Tim Pawlenty. Note: The sub-committee is scheduled to meeting with DNR officials on June 3 and 19th.

STATE OF MINNESOTA Office of Governor Tim Pawlenty
130 StateCapitol. 75 Rev. Dr. Mt1rtin Luther King Jr. Boulevard + Saint Paul, MN 55604
June 20, 2006

Mr . James Raml
Chairman, Forestry Sub-Committee Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway Committee P.O. Box 64
Grand Marais, MN 55604

Dear Mr. Raml:

Thank you for expressing your concerns about timber harvesting along the Gunflint Trail. I appreciate and share your interest in the long-term scenic quality of this important byway.
I agree that any timber management activities within the corridor should be conducted only for forest health reasons, and that they incorporate a higher standard of visual quality.

As you know, the proposed timber sale has been removed from the June auction.

I have directed the DNR to meet with the Gunflint Trail Association and other interested citizens to address visual quality and post-harvest regeneration plans that will take into consideration the important values associated with this scenic byway. If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact Brad Moore, Assistant Commissioner of the DNR, at 651-259-5027.

Governor Tim Pawlenty

c: Brad Moore, Assistant Commissiuner, DNR