Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Opening the Banadad Ski Trail

Maintenance crews have been working hard to get the Banadad Ski Trails’ twenty-six miles open for skiing. This past weekend fifteen volunteers from the Minnehaha Academy Nordic Ski Team widen and cleared the center brush along the first two miles of the trail’s west end. While all the trees that had fallen on this section of the trail were cleared previously by the North Star Ski Turing Club on November 30, the ski team still had to clear several new down trees. That same day Andy Jenks, president of the Banadad Trail Association (BTA) and his wife Julie worked on the east end starting at the Meads Lake Portage the pair were able travel about one and three-quarter of mile.  They also had to remove some thirty newly fallen down trees from this section of trail. This section of the trail was completely cleared during the BTA’s Work Weekend on November 24. Both trail sections were in the BWCA. Volunteers also worked on several trail sections outside the BWCA.

The newly down trees, the volunteers found, likely had came down due to the soaking rain, wind and heavy wet snow that occure just after the earlier crews were on the trail.

Volunteers, since September, have now but in 277.5 hours clearing some sixteen mile of the twenty- six mile of the Banadad Trails. However it clear a lot of work remains before the Banadad can open for skiing. This remaining clearing will be taken-on be Boundary Country Trekking’s trail crews with some help by additional volunteers.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conducting lake assessments


Fisheries staff from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Grand Marais area office will conduct surveys and assessments on several area lakes and streams during the next few months.
 Waters scheduled for surveys or assessments (by week) include:
* July 7 - Otter Lake, Crescent Lake, Bouder Lake
* July 14 - Crescent Lake, Binagami Lake, Crooked Lake
* July 21 - Caribou Lake (near Lutsen), Clearwater Lake, Devil Track Lake (walleye reproduction check), Mud Creek
* July 28 - Clearwater Lake, Sundling Creek, Sawbill Creek, Swanson Creek
* Aug. 4 - Sundling Creek, Irish creek, Junco Creek, Saganaga Lake, Flute Reed River, Kadunce Creek
* Aug. 11 - Onion River, Cascade River, Kimball Creek, Devil Track River, Saganaga Lake
* Aug. 18 - Saganaga Lake, Swan Lake
* Aug. 25 - Saganaga Lake, Swamp River, Loft Lake (habitat survey)
* Sept. 1 - Prune Lake, Echo Lake
* Sept. 8 - Moose lake, Loft Lake (fish population assessment)
* Sept. 15 - Kraut Lake, Trip Lake, Squash Lake
* Sept. 22 - Chester Lake, Trout Lake (yellow perch assessment), Unnamed Lake
* Sept. 29 - Thrush Lake (brook trout special assessment)
* Oct. 6 - North Shady Lake
* Oct. 13 - Greenwood Lake (lake trout special assessment)
* Oct. 20 - Trout Lake (lake trout special assessment)
 In addition, several lakes may be added as time and funding allow.  Those lakes include North Cone, Crocodile, Horseshoe, Hub, Long, Powell, Stump, Vernon, Fern, West Fern, North Fowl, South Fowl, Boys, Swamper, Gillis, and Tuscarora.
 These survey plans are tentative. Lakes and streams may be added or dropped and timing may change. Questions about these surveys can be addressed to the DNR’s Grand Marais Area Fisheries at 1356 Highway 61 E., Grand Marais, MN 55604. Questions also can be submitted
by calling 218-387-3056.
 Fisheries surveys and assessments are done on a regular basis to monitor changes in fish populations and to determine if management strategies have been effective. Survey frequency varies on each lake and stream based on ongoing management evaluations and angler use. Large lakes with heavy use are surveyed more frequently than small, remote lakes. Lakes stocked regularly are also sampled more frequently to assess stocking success.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

New Rock Dam at inlet Blocking Canoe Traffic

On July 8, 2013 Ted Young was informed by Doug Graham that someone had re-damned up the inlet between Poplar and Little Ollie Lake.  This work was done on or about July 6. According to Doug the person that put-in the new dam had been give permission to do so from Cliff Bentley Minnesota DNR Hydrologist stationed in Duluth.
Measuring inlet's depth

Jim Ross, his son-in-law and Ted inspected the new rock dam the next day and noted that it appears to be higher then set by the DNR and re- agreed upon following the remove of the illegal dam constructed across the inlets  in 2006. It was also clear that this new dam was a barrier to navigation between the two lakes.

Next Ted called Bentley to inform him of the new rock dam.  In response Bentley state that no one had talked to him recently about adding more rocks to the inlet and if rocks were added it was not authorized and those rocks could be removed.

Ted and Bob Peterson were contacted by Bentley that he would meet with representatives of both lakes at the inlet at 11:00 am on July 19. Bentley also noted that he thought that Bob was involved in the construction of this new dam.

Attending this meeting with Bentley from Little Ollie Lake was: Ted Young, Steve and Joanne Nickols; and from Poplar Lake were Bob Peterson, Jim Kloek and Doug Herron, along with several other public employees. At the meeting Bentley recalled that Bob Peterson did call about a year ago and was given permission to replace some rocks.

The water depth over the newly constructed rock dam at the inlet was measured, by a USFS employee, at one foot intervals from one side to the other. The only section that was within the previously agreed upon  lake level was the a few feet on the south side of the inlet where Ted had two days earlier removed rocks from the dam to create  a navigation channel.

It was agree by all attending the meeting and approved by Bentley that a navigation channel could be maintained on the south side of the inlet. The size of this navigation channel beginning at the south shore of the inlet  could not exceed six (6) feet on the top slopping down to four feet at the bottom. The bottom of this navigation channel was not to exceed the previously agreed upon level.  It was further agreed that before anyone from Poplar Lake added any rocks to the inlet someone from Little Ollie Lake would be notified.

During the meeting Bentley displayed  a lake level chart for Poplar Lake showing the annual water level fluctuation and he stated that the  water level of Poplar Lake normal fluctuation was between one and two feet annual.

The ordinary high water level for Poplar Lake set by the Minnesota DNR is 1854.2 feet above sea level.  Poplar Lake’s lowest recorded level was reached in September of 1998 at 1851.42. (see http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/lakefind/showlevel.html?id=16023900)

Poplar Lake water level monitoring station was first maintained by Fred Dell on Voyager Point beginning in August of 1968. The monitor station is now maintained at Rockwood Lodge.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Wildfires Continue in BWCA forces Closurs

Duluth News Tribune: Persistent but small fires in the northern part of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness have forced the closure of some new areas.The U.S. Forest Service reported Thursday that two wildfires detected Wednesday — the Parley Lake fire and the Hoist Lake fire — prompted many of the new closures.

The Parley Lake fire, estimated at 75 acres, is burning about 20 miles north of Ely east of the Beartrap River and north of Sunday Lake. Aircraft continued to drop water on the fire Thursday, and a ground crew was on the scene. The Hoist Bay fire, near Basswood Lake about 12 miles northeast of Ely, is estimated at 2½ acres and was attacked from the air. Because of those fires and one more on the Canadian side of the border — estimated at 300 acres, between Knife and Emerald lakes — the Forest Service announced the closing of the following lakes, portages and campsites: 

Four Mile portage; Ella Hall, Mud lakes; Slumber, and Muskeg lakes and campsites; the waters and campsites of Hoist and Back Bays of Basswood Lake; the portages from Pipestone to Back Bay, Back Bay toward Half Dog Island (Frog portage), and from Hoist Bay to Good Lake.

Sunday and Saturday Bay campsites in Crooked Lake; zones 5, 1, and 2 of the Sundial Primitive Management Area and all the lakes and waterways within that area including: the Beartrap River from Beartrap Lake north to Iron Lake, Parley, Sunday, Sundial, Bunggee, Sinneeg, and Ritual lakes; travel will be allowed through the bays of Crooked Lake but camping will not be allowed on Sunday and Saturday bays; travel will not be allowed on the Beartrap River.

From the border on Knife Lake to the end of Ottertrack Lake, south arm of Knife Lake, Little Knife Lake, Amoeber Lake, Topaz Lake, Cherry Lake, Hanson Lake, Lunar Lake, Lake of the Clouds, Rivalry Lake, Gijikiki Lake, Ester Lake, Ottertrack Lake, Rabbit Lake, Ashdick Lake. This includes area from the border heading south along the section lines of T 65 N, R 7 W, sections 21 and 28, including all campsites on islands and peninsula on adjacent lands, the following lakes, portages, and campsites.

The Forest Service reported Thursday that closures previously in effect for the Ensign Lake area have been lifted because the fire that prompted them has been extinguished.
Closures are subject to change as conditions change. For updates, visit the Superior National Forest website: www.fs.usda.gov/superior
Fire restrictions remain in place for the BWCAW; campfires are allowed only between 7 p.m. and midnight. Gas stoves can be used at any time.
Crews reported Thursday that the line around the 50-acre Cummings Lake fire northwest of Ely, which prompted some concerns earlier this month, is holding well, but the fire cannot be extinguished without significant rain or snowfall.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pagami Creek Fire Countines to Build

The Paguami Creek fire was first discovered  fourteen miles east of  Ely on August  18. The cause of the fire appears to be a lighting strike. With extremely dry conditions in the area and buffed by high winds the fire has now grown to over 100,000 acres. According to the fire command website, yesterday the fire made an " unprecedented 16 mile run to the east, reaching the edge of Polly Lake. The fire became a plume-driven event." 

USFS officials yesterday took the unprecedented action of closing most of the BWCA entry points west of the Gunflint Trail as a precautionary measure. Many entry points in the Ely area had previously been shut down.   For the latest on this fire go to http://www.inciweb.org/incident/2534 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Small Wildfire Confirmed West of Poplar Lake

Yesterday afternoon the USFS's Beaver airplane was spotted circling west of Poplar Lake. A check with the sheriff's office confirmed there was a small fire on Skipper Lake. Firefighters were on the scene. Stay tuned on this one!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Brule Lake Fire-2

Date of Detection:  The Brule Lake Fire was discovered by visitors on Brule Lake on August 8, at approximately 2:30 PM.

Location:  T63N R2W Sect. 8 and 9; Very east side of Brule Lake on the north side of Brule Bay.

Fire appears to be human caused and located near the fire grate.

Current Size:  Approximately ¼ acre, it is being suppressed.

Agency: USDA Forest Service Tofte Ranger District

Status: Low activity smoldering in the duff.

Resources:  A two person wilderness crew and a two person fire crew are in the area at this time suppressing and mopping up.  Crews are staying through the evening for observation.

Fire Information:  (218) 663-8060 Tofte Ranger District Office
                                 (218) 663-8063 Nichole Borson

Small Wildfire Reported on Brule Lake

August 8, 2011

Date of Detection:  The Brule Lake Fire was discovered by visitors on Brule Lake on August 8, at approximately 2:30 PM.                                                                                                                                                                                 
Fire Information:  (218) 663-8060 Tofte Ranger District Office
                                 (218) 663-8063 Nichole Borson