Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Large Gunflint Turn-out for Dr Frelich's Presentation

Dr Lee Frelich, appearing at the Gunflint Conference Center on August 26, before a full house of about seventy-five people, discussed the implication of Global warming on the BWCA and the Gunflint. According to Frelich within the next fifty years, if actions are not taken to reduce the CO2 build up in our atmosphere, the BWCA, we know today, is likely to look more like Nebraska. Frelich explained that the BWCA's traditional pine forest over the next fifty years could be gone. Oak and Maple are already creeping into many parts of the Forest. Then, of course, we all can see what is happening to the paper birch in the area. According to Frelich, the birch can not tolerate the rising soil temperature which kill the birch at it's roots.

At the end of his talk at Frelich invited Jim Raml to join him and the two of them then discussed the implications of the Ham and Cavity Lake Fires.

Following the presentations, a bus tour was conducted of Ham burn sites. The tours first stop was at the "canister site' north of the Seagull Guard Station. This site's jack pine was hit hard by the "blow-down," then salvaged logged. After it was logged it was one of the few logged area with good jack pine regeneration. The site was then burned in the Ham Lake fire. When visited by the tour group they found the site was now filling with willow brush and invasive species. Very little to no jack pine regeneration was evident.

The other site visited by the tour was the Sag Campgrounds landing and ended at the camp grounds. Here the group saw evidents how aspen regeneration can take over a previous mix pine forest.

Click on WCCO-TV to view some of Frelich's visit.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ham Lake Fire Rapid Assessment Report Raises Questions

The USFS Gunflint Ranger District's Ham Lake Fire's Rapid Assessment has been drawn up.
The complete report can be viewed by clicking on RAT Report. Note- since it was copied in text such things as maps, graphs, images do not show up making it some what difficult to read. If you would like a PDF copy of the report email or call 218-388-4487.

According to District Ranger Dennis Neitzke,
"OK, so this wasn't the quickest report we've ever done, but I did want to get this out to you folks. It was not prepared as a public document,
which means not all the acronyms are identified, not all jargon is explained, nor are all tables or information put in a context for public to understand. Some of this is in place so our folks can use it easily. The report is not completely edited either. You can find sentences that might make you scratch your head, but I decided to not wait longer for you to see it.

So, please use the information you can interpret, don't read it as a final product and if you have questions, we'll try to answer those."

After reading the report I have to agree with Dennis, I am glad he does not think it is a finish product. There were just to many glaring omissions and errors in the report. For example, in my reading, the report:

1. failed to taken into account the many prescribed burns that the District has conducted over the past few years within the Ham Lake Fire Area.
2. paid little attention to actual availability of seed source within each timber stand.
3. paid little attention to the timber burned within the BWCA and how this timber will be regenerated.
4. stated that (page 46) "within the 2005 Alpine fire and 2006 Cavity Lake fire moderate and severely burned areas are recovering well." Those that wrote the report have to be kidding when it come to the south shore of Seagull Lake burned in the Cavity Fire.
5. what studies were consulted to conclude in the report that, "Based on observations in the Alpine and Cavity Lake burned areas, it was determined that the Ham Lake Fire would have no long-term negative effects on fishery resources."

Just my two cents worth- Ted Young

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Gunflint Trail Receives Much Needed Rain

After weeks without rain on the Gunflint Trail, yesterday the area got a good soaking. It rained off and on all day long. However by this morning the rain had stopped, it was cool- about 53 degrees and the sun was out again. Much more rain is needed before their is enough moisture to lift the current fire ban.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Ham and Cavity Lake Fire-ecology Tour Planned

Noted University of Minnesota, forest fire researcher, Dr Lee Frelich to conduct a tour and to give a talk on the Gunflint's Ham and Cavity Lake fires and the future of the burned-over areas. This informative fire-ecology program begins; Sunday, August 26, 1:00 p.m., at the Gunflint Lodge Conference Center, where Dr Frelich will talk on the future of the BWCA and Gunflint’s fire damaged forests followed at 3:00 p.m. by a tour of the Ham Lake Fire site. Then on Monday, August 27, 9:00 p.m., Lee Frelich will conduct a tour of Cavity Lake Fire. Because the Cavity Lake fire area is in the BWCA this tour will be limited to 9 people.

Also if you are interested in informally getting together with Dr Frelich and others from the Gunflint, a Potluck Get-together is planned for Saturday, beginning 5:00 p.m at the Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B. The potluck is open to the public; RSVP at 218-388-4487 is requested. If you need lodging for this event rooms are still available at the Poplar Creek Guesthouse.

The program is sponsored by the Gunflint Trail Association, Sugar Loaf Cove and Cook County Extension.

Dr Frelich current research interests includes impact of fire and wind on forests of the BWCAW, effects of invasion by exotic and regional patterns of tree height in old growth and second growth forests in the eastern U.S.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Air Conditioning at Trail Center

Last week with the temperature in the high eighties and matching humidity trail residents and guests were flocking to Trail Center's restaurant which now sports air conditioning. It is rumoured on Poplar Lake that several area businesses where raising funds to pay-off Sarah at Trail Center not to operate the air conditioning during the hot weather. It is alleged that many of the local businessman and some of their staff have been spending to much time keeping cool at the restaurant and not attending to their own businesses.