Moose Licking Car on the Gunflint Trail

Only on the Gunfint Trail! Had I known there was a car wash happening I would have gotten mine washed too. You can listen to another person’s account online at WTIP.

Richard Hoeg shared this post on Facebook.  If all the melting snow and slop has you in need of a car wash, just drive to the end of the Gunflint Trail and park your car on the side of the road in the burned out region between Gunflint and Saganaga Lake. The moose will be with you shortly … however it is important to have salt on your car as the moose do not accept cash for payment.

Just after dark yesterday evening while picking up my boys at Saganaga Lake after their successful trek from Moose Lake near Ely to the Gunflint. Three cars in succession got the “lick treatment” from two different moose!

moose sized salt lick

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Posted in Gunflint Trail

Ice and slush on the lakes

Snow and high winds made for dangerous conditions on Sunday afternoon.  That didn’t prevent some people from heading outside to fish or snowmobile. One group of anglers on the Gunflint Trail had to be rescued from Greenwood Lake when their snowmobiles got stuck in about 14 inches of slush.

Luckily the anglers were able to get in touch with Canadian authorities via cell phone service who then contacted the Cook County Sheriff’s Department.  Search and Rescue personnel were tasked with attempting to locate them on the 2043 acre lake in 50 mile per hour winds.

The group was located a few hours later a couple of miles from the boat landing and rescuers transported them back to land where the ambulance was waiting. Only one of the anglers was showing signs of hypothermia and was taken to the local hospital. Thankfully everyone made it off of the lake safe and sound.

 

Check out the ice coverage on Lake Superior this year as compared to last year at this time.

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Posted in Gunflint Trail

New date to reserve BWCA permits

NEWS RELEASE: For Immediate Release

Contact: Lisa Radosevich-Craig, Superior National Forest
P: (218) 626-4336
Lisa.Radosevich-Craig@usda.gov

Boundary Waters Permit Reservations Available March 4, 2019

DULUTH, Minn. (February 21, 2019) Beginning Monday, March 4, 2019 at 9 am CST, the USDA Forest Service will reopen the process to reserve Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness quota permits on Recreation.gov.

“Between now and March 4 we will continue website testing and conducting training with cooperators to ensure the website meets Forest Service and public needs,” said Superior National Forest Supervisor Connie Cummins.

As a result of unforeseen technical issues, many people were unable to access the BWCAW reservation process when it opened on Wednesday, January 30. With only a small number of people being able to reserve a permit, the Forest Service halted the process for applying for BWCAW permits, then directed Recreation.gov to cancel and refund any reservations that were processed.

The technical issues with the BWCAW permit sale software have been addressed and additional testing has been completed by reservation system programmers. The USDA Forest Service is confident that the reservation system will function correctly and that visitors will have equitable access to make permit reservations beginning March 4, 2019. Quota permits for the BWCAW may be reserved through the season to September 30.

The BWCAW, located on the Superior National Forest in Minnesota, is one of over 3,500 facilities across the country which utilize Recreation.gov to manage their reservation processes. Full details on the reservation process are located at https://www.recreation.gov/permits/233396.

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Posted in BWCA

Benefits of twenty degrees below zero actual temperatures

Besides the fun tricks you can do with boiling water when it’s -20 degrees outside there are a couple of other benefits. One big benefit the forest might see is a die off of the Emerald Ash Borer.

According to an article, “When temperatures get to about 20 below zero Fahrenheit, we see about 50% of the Emerald Ash Borer Larvae begin to die,” said Rob Venette, director of the Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center with the University of Minnesota…Experts say at 30 below and colder, as much as 90% of the ash borer larva could be dying off.

Unfortunately the warming trends we’re experiencing have allowed invasive species to thrive.  Some researchers claim the warmer and shorter winters are partly responsible for the decline in the moose population. Winter ticks have been especially bad in recent years whereas years back the tick population appeared to be cyclic.

moose in the BWCA

Moose on the Gunflint Trail

A study in an article about tick infestation on moose found this.  “In the study, published in the Canadian Journal of Zoology, researchers outline the screening of 179 radio-marked moose calves (age nine to 10 months) for physical condition and parasites in the month of January over three consecutive years from 2014 to 2016. They tracked new calves for four months each and found that a total of 125 calves died over the three-year period. A high infestation of winter ticks was found on each calf (an average of 47,371 per moose) causing emaciation and severe metabolic imbalance from blood loss, which was the primary cause of death.”

Another benefit of the severely cold temperatures is the amount of ice on lakes. Ice cover can prevent evaporation and thick ice that slows the ice melt can keep water temperatures lower longer.  This can benefit some fish species, reduce invasive species and slow down harmful algal blooms.
While we two-leggeds may complain about the nose hair freezing cold there are benefits that far outweigh having to turn the thermostat up another degree or add another log to the fire. Bring on the cold Mother Nature.
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Posted in environment

Boundary Waters Permit System to Open February 27

Forest Service announces tentative date for reopening Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness permit process

DULUTH, Minn.  (February 7, 2019) The USDA Forest Service anticipates reopening the process to reserve Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness quota permits on February 27, 2019. Prior to the tentative reopening date for the reservation system the Forest Service is working on the following actions:

fixing a technical problem in the BWCAW sale software;
additional planned training for permit cooperators who rely on the system;
and additional testing to ensure a smooth launch of the updated system.
Once the above schedule of actions is successfully completed the Forest Service will confirm the reopening date and move forward with broad public outreach to notify the public of the new reservation period.

“We deeply regret the difficulty this has caused, and I want to thank the members of the community who are working with us to make this transition to an online reservation system successful,” said Superior National Forest Supervisor Connie Cummins. “Our goal is to ensure the reservation system provides a fair and open means for the public to visit the Boundary Waters and support the local businesses that depend on this special place.”

The problem in the BWCAW permit reservation process last Wednesday resulted in many people unable to access the BWCAW reservation process when it opened. This lead to only a small number of people being able to reserve a permit. The Forest Service halted the process for applying for BWCAW permits, then directed Recreation.gov to cancel and refund any reservations that were processed.

The BWCAW, located on the Superior National Forest in Minnesota, is one of over 3,500 facilities across the country which utilize Recreation.gov to manage their permit reservation processes. Within the national reservation system, customers can simultaneously apply for and secure a reservation for a permit.

Full details on the reservation process are located at https://www.recreation.gov/permits/233396.

BWCAW permit reservations

BWCA camping

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Posted in BWCA

Boundary Waters permit reservation news

There has been a flurry of emails along with all of the snow flurries we have been experiencing in the northland. The emails are about what is going on with the permit reservation system for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness or maybe most importantly what isn’t happening.

The first thing not happening is the reserving of BWCA camping permits. After the system failed it was shut down and all permit reservations that had been made have since been cancelled. The other thing not happening is communication with outfitters located anywhere but in Ely, Minnesota. Some folks from the USFS, representatives from Senator Klobuchar’s office, Representative from Congressman Pete Stauber’s office, the contractors that run the permitting system and a large handful of outfitters in Ely had a meeting to work through issues with the reservation system. Apparently the opinions and ideas of outfitters located elsewhere including the Gunflint Trail are not needed nor wanted.

Gunflint Trail outfitters

Enjoying the BWCA

What is happening, besides secret meetings, is a public meeting everyone is invited to. It shouldn’t be a surprise the meeting will be held in Ely, MN. Congressman Pete Stauber will host a forum at the Grand Ely Lodge on Saturday, February 9th at 10am due to the large number of people who expressed their concern over the BWCA reservation system crash.  Are other meetings happening? Most likely but none that we have been invited to. I guess we shouldn’t feel bad since it doesn’t sound like any of our local USFS people are involved in the meetings either. Here’s what they sent to Gunflint Ranger District outfitters…

Hello Gunflint Cooperators:

I greatly appreciate your patience as the issues with the Recreation.gov site are being worked out.  That work still continues today.  Below is an update that went to all the cooperators on the Ely side of the BW.  Two main take-aways is this:

The Go-Live for Recreation.gov will happen sometime AFTER February 19; and
There will be trainings for cooperators coming soon.  We do not know in what format that will happen, so stay tuned.

So, it looks like it will be awhile longer before we start reserving permits for Boundary Waters Canoe trips, we’ll do our best to keep you posted.

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Posted in BWCA

Boundary Waters Permit Information

At long last, a Press Release from the USFS regarding the BWCA permit reservation system…

BOUNDARY WATERS PRESS RELEASE

“The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, located on the Superior National Forest in Minnesota, opened a quota permit sale to the public on Wednesday, January 30 on Recreation.gov. As a result of unforeseen technical issues, unrelated to volume of users, many people were unable to access the reservation process, resulting in only a small number of people receiving access to apply for a permit. For this reason, the USDA Forest Service halted the process for applying for BWCAW permits, and is withdrawing the reservations that initially were processed. We will be providing refunds for any cancellations made.

The USDA Forest Service deeply regrets this inconvenience to everyone, and we encourage people to apply again. Our goal is to provide a fair and open opportunity for visitors to experience this special location. We are urgently working with Recreation.gov to fix the technical issue.  Under the new system, customers can simultaneously apply for and secure a reservation for a permit, so that our visitors have ample time to plan their quality experience in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

We will soon name a new date for reservations requests in the BWCAW permit system. We will provide advanced notice of this date to ensure customers have ample time to make their reservations.  Full details on the reservation process are located at https://www.recreation.gov/permits/233396.”

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Posted in BWCA

Boundary Waters Permit System, FROZEN?

We’re blaming the Polar Vortex on a number of things going on right now so we may as well blame the epic failure of the BWCA permit reservation system on it too. It’s really not a funny situation but sometimes you just have to laugh. Every Boundary Waters Canoe Outfitting Company has to work closely with the USFS in a number of ways. It can often be a very frustrating relationship especially since Forest Rangers and Supervisors come and go every couple of years. Promises made in 1993 aren’t remembered, round table resolutions in 2001 are long forgotten, “gentleman” agreements in 2008 are over a decade old and in 2019 there probably isn’t a person left in the Grand Marais USFS office that could identify all of the business “cooperators” on the Gunflint Trail.  Yes, since 1993 we’ve seen the reservation system change from something as simple as making a phone call to Ely to reserve a permit to something that crashes a computer system in less than an hour.

I would like to say I’ve been sent a statement or an announcement from the USFS about what is going on with the permit system and when we’ll be able to reserve permits. But as a BWCA Cooperator for over 20 years I’ve yet to be contacted. According to the Superior National Forest Website nothing is wrong and Reserve America says to just keep checking back for status updates. We’ll let you know if and when we hear something.

Alert:
  • Due to technical difficulties, reservations for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness are closed. We are diligently working to correct the problem. Please check back for status updates. We will give advanced notification of at least 48 hours or more prior to the system going live.

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Posted in BWCA

BWCA Permit System FAILURE

 

Boundary Waters permit

Boundary Waters Canoe Area

The Boundary Waters permit reservation system went live this morning only to crash shortly after. Anyone who reserved a permit will have their permit thrown back into the pool and will have to re-reserve their permit. The work of outfitters reserving permits for guests will also have to be re-done. It doesn’t come as a big surprise but it is a disappointment nonetheless. We’ll let you know when they attempt to go live again.

A note from the USFS

All – I spoke with the Forest Supervisor. We will reverse all internal and external transactions of course for fairness and close BWCAW reservations until further notice. A banner will show up shortly on the site. Our public affairs is speaking with media.

Again, the Forest has done everything asked of us the last 14 months. We don’t know why this happened, but we will keep you updated as we are updated. All previous tests the last few months pointed to success for today.

We are sick over it as well. A ton of work has gone into this; including working through furlough. We’ve done all we can to prepare and follow national direction.

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Posted in BWCA

COLD Temperatures on the Gunflint Trail

And the forecast calls for more cold temperatures this whole week. Stay warm!
Tabular Listing: January 26, 2019 – 14:46 through January 27, 2019 – 14:46 CST

Time(CST) Temperature Dew Wet Bulb Relative Wind Wind Wind Quality Solar Precipitation Fuel Fuel Battery
Point Temperature Humidity Speed Gust Direction check Radiation accumulated Temperature Moisture voltage
° F ° F ° F %  mph  mph  W/m*m  in ° F  gm  volt
14:04 -7.0 -27.9 -8.8 34 1 5 NE OK 125.0 0.24 6.0 27 15.10
13:04 -8.0 -28.3 -9.7 35 1 6 N OK 151.0 0.24 5.0 27 15.20
12:04 -12.0 -28.1 -13.3 43 3 8 WNW OK 152.0 0.24 3.0 27
11:04 -16.0 -31.0 -17.0 45 2 7 SSW OK 136.0 0.24 2.0 27
10:04 -17.0 -30.0 -17.9 50 1 4 SW Caution 105.0 0.24 1.0 27 15.80
9:04 -31.0 -41.8 -31.4 54 0 2 Caution 48.0 0.24 0.0 27
8:04 -46.0 -56.8 -46.2 51 0 0 Caution 1.0 0.24 0.0 27 12.80
7:04 -46.0 -56.5 -46.2 52 0 1 Caution 0.0 0.24 1.0 27 12.70
6:04 -44.0 -54.3 -44.2 53 0 2 Caution 0.0 0.24 2.0 27 12.80
5:04 -43.0 -53.1 -43.2 54 0 3 OK 0.0 0.24 2.0 27 12.90
4:04 -43.0 -53.4 -43.2 53 0 1 OK 0.0 0.24 3.0 27 13.00
3:04 -41.0 -51.2 -41.2 54 0 2 OK 0.0 0.24 4.0 27 13.10
2:04 -40.0 -49.7 -40.2 56 0 2 OK 0.0 0.24 5.0 27 13.20
1:04 -37.0 -46.2 -37.3 58 1 3 SW OK 0.0 0.24 6.0 27 13.30
0:04 -33.0 -41.6 -33.3 61 0 3 OK 0.0 0.24 7.0 27 13.40
23:04 -27.0 -35.3 -27.4 63 1 5 WSW OK 0.0 0.24 9.0 27 13.50
22:04 -21.0 -29.9 -21.6 62 3 10 NW OK 0.0 0.24 10.0 27 13.70
21:04 -20.0 -27.2 -20.5 68 2 7 NNW OK 0.0 0.24 10.0 28 13.80
20:04 -16.0 -24.5 -16.7 64 4 11 NW OK 0.0 0.24 11.0 27 13.90
19:04 -15.0 -23.3 -15.7 65 3 10 NW OK 0.0 0.24 12.0 27 14.00
18:04 -12.0 -21.0 -12.8 63 5 12 NW OK 0.0 0.24 12.0 27 14.20
17:04 -10.0 -18.8 -10.9 64 4 15 NW OK 11.0 0.24 12.0 27 14.30
16:04 -5.0 -17.7 -6.4 53 6 16 NW OK 44.0 0.24 12.0 27 15.40
15:04 -4.0 -14.7 -5.3 59 6 14 WNW OK 63.0 0.24 11.0 27 15.10
14:04 -2.0 -14.9 -3.6 53 6 13 W OK 110.0 0.24 11.0 27 15.40

 

This Afternoon: A chance of flurries after 5pm. Mostly sunny and cold, with a high near -10. Wind chill values between -20 and -30. Calm wind becoming east around 5 mph.

Chance  Flurries   High: -10 °F

Tonight: A slight chance of snow before 11pm, then a chance of flurries between 11pm and 2am. Partly cloudy, with a low around -25. Wind chill values between -40 and -45. East wind 5 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Slight Chance Snow then party cloudy  Low: -25 °F

Monday: A chance of flurries after 5pm. Mostly sunny and cold, with a high near 1. Wind chill values between -35 and -45. Northeast wind 5 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 15 mph.

Chance  Flurries  High: 1 °F

Monday Night: A 40 percent chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around -20. Wind chill values between -25 and -35. Northeast wind 5 to 10 mph becoming northwest after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 15 mph.

Chance Snow  Low: -20 °F

Tuesday: A 20 percent chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy and cold, with a high near -11. Blustery, with a northwest wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

Slight Chance   Snow Showers and Blustery  High: -11 °F

Tuesday Night: A slight chance of snow showers before midnight, then a chance of flurries after midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around -26. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Slight Chance  Snow Showers then Mostly Cloudy Low: -26 °F

Wednesday: Mostly cloudy and cold, with a high near -12. Blustery.

Cold and  Blustery High: -12 °F

Wednesday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around -31.

Mostly Cloudy  Low: -31 °F

Thursday: Sunny and cold, with a high near -7.

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Posted in Gunflint Trail

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