Ski the Banadad

     I skiied the Banadad Trail a number of years ago and I really want to do it again.  Thanks to the newly formed Banadad Trail Association the trail is said to be in better condition than ever. 

Gunflint Trail- The big news on the Banadad is that after twenty years of managing the Banadad Ski Trail Boundary Country Trekking has turned over the management duties to the Banadad Trail Association. The Association has retained boundary Country Trekking as the Trail’s maintenance coordinates.

In other news along the Banadad -More of the Trail’s remote interior within the BWCA was widened this past summer. During August a five-person crew from the Minnesota Conservation Corp (MCC) working out of a “spike camp” along the trail, widened and cleared another two miles. According to the Trails maintenance staff, “the wilderness section MCC cleared due to its remoteness has been neglected for years and was about to be choked off by brush. It is now cleared six to eight feet wide and all the overhanging brush is gone. MCC did a great job!” 

On the other end of the Banadad outside the BWCA, with the aid of a Minnesota DNR grant the Tall Pines Trail has finally been re-surfaced by a bulldozer. Four years ago the trail was hand cleared but due to the trail’s rough surface grooming was impossible and skiing difficult. Finally with the bulldozing completed the rocks and ruts are gone and the Trail is groomed and ready for skiers.

 While public parking was always available at the trail’s western trailhead, starting this year the Association has opened a free public parking are at the eastern end of the trail. This new parking area can accommodate up to five or six cars.

.Skiers traveling the BWCA’s Banadad Ski Trail this winter will also be greeted midway along the trail by greatly improved overnight accommodates. A new twenty-foot yurt was erected earlier this fall at BedewLake. Olga’s Yurt as this new yurt is called replaces the old Olga’s hut. The name Olga is of a mythical character created by guests staying at the yurt camp many years ago.  Olga’s Yurt will serve as the main lodging at the camp. Olga’s has overnight accommodations for up to seven guests and houses the camp’s dining facility. The older Croft yurt will provide additional lodging for another four guests. 

     The new Yurt really sounds nice although the older one wasn’t bad at all.  It’s such a great experience to ski the entire day and end up in the middle of the wilderness with a comfortable yurt to sleep in.  We didn’t have the Boundary Country Trekking Crew cook for us, Mike did that for my birthday.  But I think if I did it again I’d go for their specialty and try the Mongolian Hot Pot Dinner. 

     There are so many things to do in the winter on the Gunflint Trail, now I just have to set my priorities and hope for enough time to ski the Banadad.