Centennial Hiking Trail on the Gunflint Trail

Someone recently asked me about the Paulsen Mine and I came across a blog post of mine from November of 2009! What, 2009? How can it have been that long ago already? Well, just in case you’re interested, here it is again. And here’s the link to the piece the USFS has about the Centennial Trail.Kekekabic Trail

   Some of you may remember an earlier post from this summer about the new Centennial Hiking Trail.  It isn’t every day the USFS decides to clear an entirely new trail through the forest so it is with great enthusiasm when I say there is a new trail in town! Actually, it’s on the Gunflint Trail but it doesn’t sound right to say there’s a new trail on the Trail.


     The Centennial Hiking Trail is accessed via the Kekekabik Hiking Trail.  The Kek Trail is an interesting trail because of its rich or not so rich history of mining.  The area was explored during the 1800’s in search of iron complete with a railroad built courtesy of the Port Arthur Duluth and Western Railway Company.  It’s difficult to imagine how anyone could choose a path for a railroad with all of the obstacles in our wilderness canoe country.

     Iron was found in the region but unfortunately mining on the Gunflint Trail was not to be.  The quality of iron wasn’t as high of a grade as iron found elsewhere on the Iron Range.  It wasn’t as easily accessible as other sources either and combined with tough economic times for investors in the area mining would not continue for long.  The book Pioneers in the Wilderness by Willis H. Raff has a complete history of the hows and whys of the railroad and mining on the Gunflint Trail for those who are interested. 

     The USFS in Grand Marais, MN will be producing an interpretive piece to go along with the Kek and Centennial Hiking Trail so future hikers can learn about the history of the trail.  There’s a trail to the location of an old fire tower and several spur trails to mine test pits along the Kek itself. 

     Some of you may remember the women who got lost on the Kek Trail last year.  Have no fear as this portion of the Kek is very easy to follow and even has planks and signs as it is not in the Boundary Waters.  Making the new portion of the Centennial Trail was made easier by the use of fire line making techniques.  The explosives worked quite well to blaze the trail and getting lost should not be of anyone’s concern.

     The Kekekabik Hiking Trail is accessed via the Gunflint Trail around mile marker 47.  Are there even mile markers on the Gunflint Trail?  It’s about 47 miles from Grand Marais and 10 miles from the end of the Gunflint Trail.  To get to the bridge where the Centennial Hiking Trail begins it is a 1.3 mile hike.  The trail then winds back toward the Gunflint Trail via vistas and eventually the Round Lake Road out to the Gunflint Trail for a total of 3.3 miles I believe.

     The Centennial Hiking Trail provides a great loop hike for those who don’t like to cover the same territory twice.  It’s a great addition to the already wonderful hiking Trails found on the Gunflint Trail.  A big thank you to the USFS folks who worked on making the Centennial Trail a reality.

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Bear Patrol in the BWCA

Have you seen any bears in the Boundary Waters this year? If so then let the USFS know. And remember, don’t feed the bears.

We received a report today regarding a group encounter with a bear on the portage between Duncan and Rose.

The bear was not concerned with human presence and was digging through and damaging packs even during attempts to scare it away.

Please continue to report all bear encounters/incidents.   

Thank you and have a wonderful weekend.

Susan McGowan-Stinski
Administrative Support Assistant
Forest Service

Superior National Forest

p: 218-387-3200
f: 218-387-3246
Posted in News

Moose swimming on Saganaga

Thanks to Voyageur Canoe Outfitter crew member Clay for filming this for us to share with you!

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Posted in BWCA, wildlife

Feeding Bears and Birds on the Gunflint Trail

It’s tempting to keep feeding the birds when the weather turns ugly again but you might just get a different kind of visitor to the bird feeder if you do.

Image result for bear in bird feeder

Photo from the internet

Be aware of bears this spring; DNR lists tips for avoiding conflicts

Homeowners are reminded to be aware of bears this spring and check their property for food sources that could attract bears.

“Bears are roaming around now with the loss of snow and warmer weather, so interactions with people have started in many areas of Minnesota,” said Eric Nelson, wildlife damage program supervisor for the Department of Natural Resources.

As bears emerge from hibernation, their metabolism gradually ramps up and they will begin looking for food at a time when berries and green vegetation can be scarce. Remove attractants such as bird seed, garbage, livestock feed, or compost to reduce potential conflict. Attracting bears to yards can lead to property damage and presents dangers to bears.

Black bears are the only bear species that live in the wild in Minnesota. They usually are shy and flee when encountered. Never approach or try to pet a bear. Injury to people is rare, but bears are potentially dangerous because of their size, strength and speed.

The DNR does not relocate problem bears. Relocated bears seldom remain where they are released. They may return to where they were caught or become a problem somewhere else.

The DNR offers some tips for avoiding bear conflicts:

Around the yard

  • Do not feed birds from April 1 to Nov. 15. Anytime you feed birds, you risk attracting bears.
  • If you must feed birds, hang birdfeeders 10 feet up and 4 feet out from the nearest trees. Use a rope and pulley system to refill birdfeeders, and clean up spilled seeds.
  • Do not put out feed for wildlife (like corn, oats, pellets or molasses blocks).
  • Replace hummingbird feeders with hanging flower baskets, which are also attractive to hummingbirds.
  • Do not leave food from barbeques and picnics outdoors, especially overnight. Coolers are not bear-proof.
  • Clean and store barbeque grills after each use. Store them in a secure shed or garage away from windows and doors.
  • Elevate bee hives on bear-proof platforms or erect properly designed electric fences.
  • Pick fruit from trees as soon as it’s ripe and collect fallen fruit immediately.
  • Limit compost piles to grass, leaves and garden clippings, and turn piles regularly. Do not add food scraps.
  • Harvest garden produce as it matures. Locate gardens away from forests and shrubs that bears may use for cover.
  • Use native plants in landscaping whenever possible.
  • Store pet food inside and feed pets inside. If pets must be fed outdoors, feed them only as much as they will eat.


  • Store garbage in bear-resistant garbage cans or dumpsters. Rubber or plastic garbage cans are not bear-proof.
  • Keep garbage inside a secure building until the morning of pickup.
  • Properly rinse all recyclable containers with hot water to remove all remaining product.
  • Store recyclable containers, such as pop cans, inside.

People should always be cautious around bears. If bear problems persist after cleaning up food sources, contact a DNR area wildlife office for advice. For the name of the local wildlife manager, contact the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367, or visit mndnr.gov/contact/locator.html.

Last year the DNR asked the public to report bear sightings outside primary bear range in Minnesota. Male bears are known to travel long distances in search of new habitat and food, and there is a public perception that bear range has expanded in the central and southern counties of the state. For a map showing the primary bear range and to report a bear sighting outside of this range, visit mndnr.gov/bear.

For more about living in bear habitat, visit mndnr.gov/livingwith_wildlife/bears.

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Tow Boat Service on Saganaga Lake

Looking for a tow boat ride across Saganaga Lake? Look no further, we’ve got you covered. We leave right from our dock on the Seagull River and can give you a head start on your BWCAW trip or  Quetico Park trip. Give us a call to book today- 218-388-2224.

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Moose Viewing Ahead on the Gunflint Trail

Gunflint Trail moose

Spring is the best time of the year to see moose on the Gunflint Trail. They love to lick the roads for any residual salt leftover from winter. We love to watch them.  Come vacation with us at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters and we’ll see if we can help you watch a moose too.

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Lakes are Liquid on the Gunflint Trail

Boundary Waters lakes

Photo by Jack Spaeth

The fishing opener has come and gone just like the ice on the Gunflint Trail lakes.  Come experience the beauty of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness with Voyageur Canoe Outfitters.

Saganaga Lake

Photo by Jack Spaeth

Sag Lake BWCA

Photo by Jack Spaeth

Saganaga Lake

Jack Spaeth

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Posted in BWCA

Green Driving Tips

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency shared these tips for being green.

Greening your vehicle and your driving habits

Posted in environment

Minnesota Fishing Opener

There’s still some ice on Saganaga but a little sun or wind and we’ll have open water once again. Just in time for the Minnesota Fishing Opener this weekend.  Looking for a place to stay? Give us a call, we’d love to see you. 218-388-2224minnesota fishing opener

Here’s some fishing information from the Duluth News Tribune…

The Minnesota opener

• Minnesota’s inland fishing season opens at 12:01 a.m. Saturday for walleyes, northern pike, bass (with restrictions; consult regulations) and lake trout.

• You can safely bet Minneosta will have about 1.1 million licensed anglers this year. License sales have been amazingly consistent over the past 10 years — between 1.19 and 1.11 million. About half of those anglers are estimated to be out on opening weekend, if the weather is nice.

• Fishing licenses are available at ELS (Electronic Licensing System) agents statewide, such as bait shops and sporting goods stores, as well as online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense or by phone at 888-665-4236.

• Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan will spend the 72nd annual Governor’s Fishing Opener on Fountain Lake near Albert Lea, just miles from the Iowa border.

• May 11 and 12 are “Take A Mom Fishing Weekend” when Minnesota resident moms fish free, no license needed. Don’t forget, Mother’s Day is May 12.

• Some areas will be closed to fishing to protect concentrations of spawning walleyes. No fishing will be allowed on the St. Louis River from the Minnesota Highway 23 bridge up to the Minnesota-Wisconsin boundary cable through May 19. (And remember even the Wisconsin side of the St. Louis River and Twin Ports harbor remains closed until May 11.)

• Cook County closures include the Sea Gull River from Sea Gull Lake through Gull Lake to Saganaga Lake approximately 1/3 mile north of the narrows; closed through May 24; Saganaga Falls on the Minnesota‑Ontario border where the Granite River enters Saganaga Lake; closed through May 31; Maligne River (also known as Northern Light Rapids) on the Ontario side of Saganaga Lake; closed through May 31 by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry; Unnamed channel between Little Gunflint and Little North Lakes on the Minnesota‑Ontario border; closed through May 31; Cross River (inlet to Gunflint Lake) from the Gunflint Trail to Gunflint Lake; closed through May 24; Tait River from White Pine Lake to the Forest Road 340 crossing, including a portion of White Pine Lake, from May 11 to May 24; Junco Creek from the first log dam above County Road 57 downstream to Devil Track Lake, and including a portion of Devil Track Lake near the river mouth, from May 11 to May 24.

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More Snow on the Gunflint Trail

We thought we were done with the shovels but apparently Mother Nature had other plans. It sure looked like spring yesterday but not so much today with the big snowflakes falling from the sky.

Gunflint Trail

Gunflint Trail snow

Posted in Gunflint Trail

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