Be Berry Careful

      It’s blueberry picking time and the berries are ripening.  The Superior National Forest has issued a warning to those who plan to pick in the area.


July 23, 2009 — People picking berries on the Superior National Forest should be aware that spot application of herbicide to control invasive plants may occur on some roadsides within the Forest. As part of a Forest Service-wide effort, Forest Supervisor Jim Sanders signed a decision in 2006 that allows for management of non-native invasive plants using a variety of methods including herbicide, hand-pulling, and biological controls. The Superior National Forest has been working with partners such as the counties and state to control non-native invasive plants. When ever possible, we will choose to use non-chemical means. However, herbicide spraying is often the most effective control for invasive plants that grow within the rights-of-way of roads. Through the end of August 2009, we plan to use two approved herbicides, Milestone and Escort, both of which have low toxicity to people and wildlife. Although we control the spray to stay within 25 feet of the road’s edge, we suggest that if you do pick berries next to a road, you move 50 feet from the road before you start picking. This will help ensure that your berries are from outside the treated area and that you are safe from traffic hazards. As always, we urge berry-pickers to confirm identification of plants they are harvesting from and to be aware that forest plants bear poisonous fruits. Maps showing herbicide treatment sites are available at district offices in Grand Marais, Tofte, Aurora, Ely, and Cook, MN, and on the Superior National Forest website:

Jack Greenlee at 218-229-8817.