New state forest maps help Minnesotans find summer fun

Eight new state forest maps from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources feature recreation highlights to help Minnesotans find their perfect adventure.
The maps, in print and mobile formats, are available for Bear Island, Big Fork, Burntside, Golden Anniversary, Remer, Koochiching, Smokey Bear, and White Earth state forests.
State forest maps can lead the way to summer hiking, mountain biking, birding, berry picking, horseback and ATV riding, fishing, camping and more.
“Whether you prefer a wilderness canoe paddle or an ATV ride, there’s a summer state forest experience for everyone – and our new state forest maps will make the experience even better,” said Laura Duffey, state forest map coordinator.
Here are just a few examples of the outdoor summer fun available at state forests:
• Look up at the towering pines of the Lost 40 Scientific and Natural Area inside Big Fork State Forest.


Forest Service welcomes new Kawishiwi District Ranger

Aaron Kania recently took over as the new permanent district ranger for the Kawishiwi Ranger District, which is headquartered out of Ely.
He most recently served as a Supervisory Ranger with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in southwestern Utah. The Kawishiwi Ranger District is one of five districts on the Superior National Forest.
Kania was raised in rural New England where he developed a love of the woods by traipsing around the forests and creeks, making forts and exploring ancient trails. This love of adventure brought Kania out west for an undergraduate degree in history from Adams State College in southern Colorado. There, Kania worked as a guide, which included backcountry skiing, hiking, backpacking, and the best fun of all, whitewater rafting.


Superior National Forest opens additional recreation sites June 26

On Friday June 26, the U.S. Forest Service will open additional recreation sites. For a full list of open areas and other up-to-date information, visit the Superior National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/superior. Following is a list of recreation sites and facilities on the Superior National Forest that will be opening June 26:
Toilets at boat ramps and carry-down canoe access:
• Moose Lake
• Snowbank Lake
• Lake One
• Mudro Lake
• Sioux River North
• Moose River North
• Farm Lake
• Tofte Lake
• Ojibway Lake
• Johnson Lake
• Echo Lake
• Lake Jeanette
• Sawbill
• Trails End
Toilets at trailheads:
• Bass Lake Hiking Trail
• Vermillion Falls
• Britton Peak
• Oberg
• Eagle Mtn
• Trails End
• Pincushion
Toilets at other sites:
• Skibo Vista
• Lake Leander


Spring 2020 Polaris T.R.A.I.L.S grants include Prospector Loop, Virginia ATV trail systems

Polaris Inc. announced it donated more than $110,000 to off-road and all-terrain vehicles (ATV) organizations across the United States as part of its ongoing T.R.A.I.L.S Grant Program.
The 12 nonprofit organizations that were awarded a spring 2020 T.R.A.I.L.S grant received awards ranging from $3,500 to $10,000. The grants will support the development, improvement and expansion of trails, and help educate riders on safe and responsible riding practices.
“These local organizations and clubs are made up of passionate volunteers and riders who love our sport – they are truly the life blood of the off-roading community with a genuine desire to help create a safe and enjoyable experience for all those looking to get out and ride,” said Steve Menneto, president of Off Road at Polaris.
“The T.R.A.I.L.S Grants Program is our way to help support their efforts and show our appreciation for their passion and dedication.”


Forest Service responds to fires, offers prevention advice

U.S. Forest Service fire crews and partners from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and local community Fire Departments have been responding to wildfires across this spring and early summer season.
Conditions in northern Minnesota have been dry and continue to be dry even with some short weather events that have brought rain for a few days.
As local residents, cabin owners, and visitors spend more time in the outdoors, the Forest Service asks the public to be extra vigilant.
On June 2 a wildfire was reported late in the day near Thursday Bay on Crooked Lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
Fire crews responded and actively suppressed the fire keeping it to five acres in size.
Crews remain on site and are actively mopping up the fire to make sure it is secure.
This fire has been determined to be human caused, as an escaped “shore lunch,” not in an approved fire grate at a designated camp site.


$2 million in ATV trail work begins

The Prospector Loop ATV trail project will take a giant step forward this summer with over $2 million in construction work.
“We started on this project in 2013 so it’s been seven years to get to this point,” said Prospector Alliance president Nick Wognum.
The Prospector ATV trail system connects Ely, Babbitt, Embarrass, Tower and the North Shore through existing and new trails along with the Taconite Trail between Ely and Purvis Lake.
In 2019 there was $700,000 in improvements made on sections of the trail east of Ely and between the Knotted Pine and Wildhurst east of Highway 1.
In 2020 the connections between Babbitt, Embarrass and Tower will be constructed as well.
“Our sponsor Lake County has approved two contracts totaling over $2 million for trail constructions, bridges and boardwalks,” said Prospector Trail Administrator Ron Potter.


Grants awarded for regional trail projects

The Iron Range Tourism Bureau announces nearly $45,000 in grant awards for trail projects in St Louis County.
“We’re pleased to have a role in the development of trails in our region,” said Beth Pierce, executive director of the IRTB. “Trails are an important part of our visitor economy, outstanding amenities for everyone who lives here, and powerful recruiting tools for businesses.”
The grant was administered by the IRTB on behalf of the Northern St Louis County Trails Task Force, a group that includes representatives from user groups, land managers, private business and tourism. The TTF meets monthly and is open to anyone with an interest in trails.


Forest Service to reopen campgrounds and other recreation sites starting June 1

On June 1, the Superior National Forest will open overnight camping in a limited number of developed campgrounds.
This is in alignment with Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s announcement on May 20, that allow campgrounds to re-open starting June 1 under the Stay Safe Phase for reopening society Plan.
For a full list of open areas and up-to-date information on re-openings, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/superior/home.
Following is a list of recreation sites and facilities on the Superior National Forest that will be opening June 1:
• Birch Lake Campground
• Birch Lake Boat Launch - Restroom open and maintained
• Fall Lake Campground
• Fall Lake Boat Launch - Restroom open and maintained
• Fenske Lake Campground
• Fenske Lake Boat Launch - Restroom open and maintained
• South Kawishiwi River Campground


National Forest to reopen dispersed camping sites

On May 18, the Superior and Chippewa National Forests will open overnight camping in dispersed sites. Forest Service campgrounds will remain closed until further notice. This is in alignment with Minnesota Governor’s new order 20-56. For a full list of open areas and up-to-date information on re-openings, visit the Forests’ websites at www.fs.usda.gov/superior and www.fs.usda.gov/chippewa.
“We understand the excitement for the public to enjoy their public land. Allowing dispersed overnight camping on the Minnesota National Forests now makes that possible,” says Darla Lenz, Chippewa Forest Supervisor.
“We ask that visitors please continue to follow local, state and federal guidelines on staying safe and social distancing wherever they choose to visit.”


ATV trails open, but youth safety training classes postponed

In a typical year, Minnesota’s ATV clubs hold over 75 ATV Safety Training Classes for riders age 10 to 15, certifying over 2,500 youth to be legal to ride ATVs.
Unfortunately, this is not a typical year.
All classes are postponed until further notice, as part of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) response to COVID-19.
The Governor’s “Stay at Home” order has also forced cancellation of annual meetings and rides by the ATV Association of Minnesota (ATVAM), attended by hundreds of members from around the state.
Like older students missing prom and graduation, many young riders are missing the opportunity to legally ride ATVs this summer with their parents on Minnesota’s vast public trail system.
Anyone born after July 1, 1987, who is age 12 or older, must have a valid ATV Safety Certificate to operate on public lands, trails, and frozen waters, and when crossing road rights-of-way.


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