Tuesday, May 09, 2006

DNR to Clearcut One Mile Along Gunflint Trail

The Minnesota DNR's 2006-07 timber sales include two logging clearcut blocks totaling approximately one mile along both sides of the Gunflint Trail. One of the planned clearcut is near the South Brule Road and the other near the next set of "ladder signs" further up the Trail. Included in the the DNR's plans is the cutting of all the large scenic Jack Pine along the Gunflint near the South Brule Road. Two local DNR officials admitted that when the clearcut blocks where laid-out right to the edge of the Gunflint Trail the DNR's own "visual management guidelines" were ignored. Their excuse was we have to make money for the state.

If clearcutting along the Trail was not bad enough, after the cutting is completed the DNR plans contains no provisions for reforestation. In responses to questions on the clearcut's reforestation plans, Bob Maki, DNR Forester in Grand Marais, stated at the Gunflint Trail Scenic Byways Committee meeting on May 8 "we might aerial seed with black spruce some of the sales." But when question further he admitted they had no real reforestation plans. The Gunflint sales were set-up by Orvis Lunke and Mike Fitzgibbon in Grand Marais under the direction and supervision of Paul Dubuque in Two Harbors.

If this was not bad news enough, the DNR is now planning additional similar timber project along the Trail in the future.

Meanwhile according to Dennis Neitzke, USFS Gunflint District Ranger, they will seek to retain the "High Scenic Integrity" of the Gunflint Trail on all of their planned timber management projects along the Trail. The USFS's new "Devil Trout Project," which was presented to the Byways Committee , included a series of timber sales along the Gunflint from Washington's Pines to near Northerlights Lake. Unlike the DNR's planned timber sales, none of these sales included clearcutting to the edge of the Gunflint Trail.

In response to the Minnesota DNR's planned clearcutting, the Gunflint Trail Association and The Gunflint Scenic Byways Committee are submitting letters to the DNR objecting to clearcutting to the edge of the Trail and their lack of any coherent reforestation plan.

The DNR is accepting comments to their 2006-07 plans up to May 17.

This editor believes logging is and should continue to be an important industry in our county and I have no objection to logging along the Gunflint Trail, provided that when logging does occur that, ( a) it take into account and seek to enhance the nature scenic nature of the Trail and not to destroy it, and (2) all logging projects includes a reforestation program that strives to replace the logged forest with a nature looking diverse- species forest.


At 4:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the 3rd thing in about as many months that I can't believe is even being considered along The Trail. First it was ATVs driving on The Trail. Then the possibility of a used car lot seen from the road which totally doesn't fit with the ambiance of the area and now this.
The Gunflint Trail is a tourist destination because of its beauty and as a gateway to the wilderness. Especially now that it is a Scenic Byway this beauty should be preserved and enhanced. There may need to be some logging in the forest around it but it should rarely be clear cut and never in a place visible from The Trail or other scenic spots. Also it should be mandatory that any place that has been clear cut should be reforested.
Do you have specific email addresses for the people who hold any power on this issue?

At 7:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do not clear cut this land. It's valuable to the locals and the regulars that visit continousely. This is great land and the DNR all you are going to do is destroy this trail system by doing this. We are avid snowmobiliers up there and enjoy the visiting and peace that the gunflint provides. clear cutting will only destroy this beautiful area. go and spend the time cleaning up the blow down areas and prevent fires from breaking out

At 10:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you do not approve of the clearcutting, here are names of people to contact.

DNR staffers Paul Dubuque, area forester, and Tom Baumann, manager of the DNR forest section. Comments must reach DNR no later than May 17,2006.



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