Snow conditions good on area trails

In general, good to excellent conditions can be found along ski and snowmobile trails in the northern region of the state. Please call ahead for the most current trail conditions. <BR><BR>Please be aware that snowmobiles with studs are not allowed on most paved state and public trails. Snowmobiles not registered in the state of Minnesota must obtain a $16 trail use permit. If you have further questions, please contact the Department of Natural Resources, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 1-888-646-6367. You may also order state stickers and permits at 1-888-665-4236, or online at http://www.wildlifelicense.com/mn/index.html. <BR><BR>NORTHEASTERN REGION <BR><BR>N of Hibbing<BR><BR>McCarthy Beach State Park is covered in 8 inches of snow after receiving 6 inches of new snow last weekend. The cross-country ski trails have a 4 inch base, and are considered to be in very good condition. The snowmobile trails are groomed with a 2 inch base, and considered to be in fair condition. <BR><BR>International Falls<BR><BR>Land trails within Voyageurs National Park, running from International Falls south to Kabetogama, Ash River, Crane Lake and Orr, are groomed and reported to be in good riding condition. These trails have a 6-8 inch base, with another 8-10 inches of fresh snow on top. Area lake trails, running from Rainy Lake to Kabetogama, Ash River, Crane Lake, and Kettle Falls, are staked and open. Park officials report conditions to be good.<BR><BR>Tower<BR><BR>The Arrowhead State Snowmobile Trail is a 128 mile trail running through Voyageurs National Park. There is roughly 12-15 inches of snow in the woods along this trail. The Arrowhead has been groomed and is considered to be in good condition, with a 2-4 inch base. Riders are encouraged to use caution in swampy areas where ice flowages remain a hazard. There is riding and fishing activity on area lakes, but early ice conditions are still unpredictable and spotty. Logging activity is taking place along several stretches of the trail, -please use extra caution when in the vicinity of Elephant Lake, the Pelican River crossing, and Fawn Creek Road just north of Black Duck Lake. Similar conditions are reported for the Taconite State Trail where it intersects the Arrowhead State Trail. <BR><BR>Ely<BR><BR>There is from 15-18 inches of snow along the Taconite State Trail near Ely. This 165 mile trail system has been groomed and is reported to be in good condition with a 3-5 inch base. Please use caution in areas with swamps due to ice flowages. Also be aware of logging activity between Tower and Bear Head Lake State Park. <BR><BR>NW of Grand Marais-Gunlint Trail<BR><BR>The Pincushion Mountain cross-country ski trails are reported to have an 8-11 inch packed powder surface, with 18-30 inches of snow in the woods after 8 inches of snowfall. The trails have been groomed for classic and skate skiing, and are considered to be in very good to excellent condition. Lighted trails, snowshoe trails, and a warming shelter are also available. <BR><BR>S of Grand Marais<BR><BR>Trails inland of Cascade River State Park, such as the Deeryard and Pioneer trails, have a 14-16 inch base, however are ungroomed due to last weekend's ice storm. All trails may not be open and fully groomed until Friday, January 7. <BR><BR>Tofte<BR><BR>The Sugarbush Trail System is reported to be in good to excellent condition for classic and skate skiing. Thirty kilometers of classic ski trails and 20 kilometers of skate ski trails have been snowmobile packed and tilled. The trails have 8-12 inches of packed powder over a solid base. The Snowshoe Trail is also open. <BR><BR>NE of Two Harbors<BR><BR>Gooseberry Falls State Park now has roughly 14 inches of snow on the ground. The ski trails have a 6 inch groomed surface and are considered to be in excellent condition! The snowmobile trails are groomed and in very good condition. Visitors are also enjoying the beautiful ice formations and great gray owl sightings throughout the park!