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Just Another Day in the BWCA

Boundary Waters Blog - 6 hours 42 min ago

Swimming, Paddling, Fishing

Just another day in paradise

Ben’s Little BWCA Bass

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Gunflint Trail Canoe Race Success

Boundary Waters Blog - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 12:17pm

Our Voyageur Crew had a fantastic time at the Gunflint Trail canoe races on July 16th.  The races are put on by the cabin owners to benefit the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department and they do a super job at feeding and entertaining the masses.  The number of hours volunteers spend collecting donations for the raffles, preparing food to sell and planning the activities is greatly appreciated by the community who enjoys the event. So many people help out to make the event happen and we’re grateful for all of their work and the donation to the GTVFD.

We’re also happy they hold the races because it gives our summer crew something to look forward to mid-summer. I joked around with the crew telling them things like,

  • “If you don’t win the race then don’t bother coming back to shore.”
  • “If you aren’t puking then you aren’t paddling hard enough.”
  • “Blood and bruising is expected.”

We have a mainly new crew this year and I guess they thought I was serious because we had bruising, bleeding and puking this year! They paddled hard and came home with lots of medals making Voyageur proud once again.

The 2014 Canoe Races were very successful because of the help of many volunteers and participants from up & down the Trail.
 
Volunteers (many of you):
1.  Prepared and sold more than $2000 of food.
2.  Sold thousands of raffle tickets.
3.  Donated raffle and auction items that raised $6,000.
 
Proceeds to the GTVFD totaled  $16,000, $4000 more than was raised in 2013.  
 
Another $1,000 +/- is pending (or tentative).
 
We’ll see you next year at the races.  Mark your calendar… July 15, 2015.  Food, fun and more will begin at 4 PM.

Fun at the Gunflint Trail canoe races

Elsa Lunde, 13 years of age, wins the canoe at the Gunflint Trail Canoe Races

 

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storm Hits western area of the BWCA

Poplar Creek Courier - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 10:22am
    PRESS RELEASE Superior National Forest Superior National Forest July 23, 2014 Contact: Kris Reichenbach 218-626-4393   Many Cooperate in Emergency Response to Windstorm   The storm blows many trees down and there were repors of some of the Gunflint Trail area side roads blocked ...
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Is Spring Here-Ice out in Little Ollie Lake

Poplar Creek Courier - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 10:22am
Two days ago the ice left Little Ollie Lake along with most of the smaller lakes on the Gunflint Trail. Poplar Lake still is ice covered but with a little help from the weather could go out by this coming weekend. In the woods there is still lingering patches ...
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GUNFLINT TRAIL Celebrates “Two-Line Opener”

Poplar Creek Courier - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 10:22am
COOK COUNTY, Minn. (May 9, 2014)— Unfazed by lingering ice, the fishing mecca of the Gunflint trail in northeastern Minnesota is gearing up for a two-line opener. “Talk about the best of both worlds,” says Bob Baker, owner and fishing guide at Gunflint Pines Resort. “How often do you ...
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Grooming on Banadad Ends for the Season

Poplar Creek Courier - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 10:22am
While the last grooming of the Banadad Ski Trail took place early April there is still amble snow on the trail for the backcountry skier and snowshoer. As of Easter there is over eighteen inches of snow along the eastern end of the trail and it is currently snowing quite ...
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Break from the Cold Tomorrow-Friday

Poplar Creek Courier - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 10:22am
After many days well below zero, with the temperature hitting -36 last night, we are finally going to see the temp go above zero tomorrow. According to current prediction it could get as warm as 20 above. That will really be a switch.
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Very Large Black Cat Sighted

Poplar Creek Courier - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 10:22am
While I have been quite reluctant to post this because people will think I am nuts. However I have since found several other people who have had similar sightings. So here goes! On January 8, I was returning to Poplar Lake from grooming the Banadad Ski trail along the snowmobile ...
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Wound Vets Ski Nordic Trails

Poplar Creek Courier - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 10:22am
Combat Wounded Veterans, http://combatwounded.org/, visit ski lodges along the Gunflint. Ten veterans, several who had lost their legs while in the military skied from Bearskin to Poplar Creek Guesthouse and the Tall Pines Yurt. While the next day they were scheduled to ski on to the Croft Yurt ...
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Great Early December Snow

Poplar Creek Courier - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 10:22am
While we did not have the 40+ inches of snow portions of the North Shore had, we did get enough snow to begin serious work on the Banadad. The Lace Lake and Tall Pines have been cleared and barrel rolled. A few more inches of snow and they will be ...
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Not a lot of Snow but More then this Time Last Year

Poplar Creek Courier - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 10:22am
Last night 4-5 additional inches of snow fell. Another few inches and we can start packing the Banadad Ski Trail.  
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First Snow of the Season

Poplar Creek Courier - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 10:22am
This morning we received about one inch of snow. First time this fall. However yesterday with the temperature hovering in the 40s and blue sky it snow for about five minutes. So you could say yesterday was our first snow.  Last Fall the first snow came about a month ...
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Boundary Waters Fishing Fun

Boundary Waters Blog - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 9:57am

This past week we’ve had some gorgeous weather for being out in the Boundary Waters. My son Josh has been taking advantage of the sunny skies and has been spending as much time as possible fishing in the BWCA. He no longer needs me to accompany him in the boat but I received a token invite to go onto Saganaga with him the other day. It was the 90+ degree day and the water was as flat and calm as I’ve ever seen in it. In spite of the heat and ripple free water we were able to land two fish. He caught a small lake trout and a big northern pike.

The rest of the week Josh has had a friend or a Voyageur Crew member to fish with so I’ve lost my spot in the boat. It’s great to see him enjoying fishing so much as I’d much rather him be outside in the boat than inside on an electronic gadget.  The smallmouth bass have really started to bite this week, I guess the water is finally warm enough.  Some spots on Saganaga my depth finder was recording water surface temperatures of 74 degrees! That’s hot for the big lake.

I have an opportunity to go fishing with Josh and his friend today, so I better get off of the computer and grab my pole. I have to take advantage of the invitations while they last.

Catching fish in the BWCA

Gunflint Trail fishing

Fishing fun in the Boundary Waters

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Emergency Response to BWCAW Windstorm

Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 9:46am

 

Superior National Forest sent us more information about the LaCroix blowdown. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes that we can sometimes take it for granted. Thanks to everyone who has helped with the emergency response!

 

PRESS RELEASE Superior National Forest July 23, 2014 Contact: Kris Reichenbach 218-626-4393

 

Many Cooperate in Emergency Response to Windstorm

Winds from a thunderstorm early July 22, 2014 caused trees to blow down in areas across the Superior National Forest, with the most impacts in the far northwest part of the Forest in northern St. Louis County, Minnesota. Multiple agencies coordinated to rescue people from two groups injured from falling trees while camped in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). No further storm related injuries have been reported and crews continue to patrol and assess storm impacts today. More…

Starting in the early morning hours of July, 22, the St. Louis Sheriff’s Department, Crane Lake Volunteer Fire Department (CLVFD), local businesses, and the Superior National Forest worked together to conduct emergency response operations in parts of the LaCroix Ranger District that were impacted by the powerful thunderstorm.   Seven injuries were reported. One group used a satellite phone to call in an emergency to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office at three a.m. from Lady Boot Bay of Lac LaCroix. Mark Zupancich of Zup’s Resort, Anderson’s Resort, SLCSR, and the Crane Lake Volunteer Fire Department (CLVFD) removed two injured people by boat to an ambulance. At approximately noon, a report of five more BWCAW visitors camped at Loon Lake-some who were still trapped in their tents from fallen trees, was received by SLCSR. Morse /Fall Lake First Responders (MFLFR), along with CLVFD members, extracted the trapped individuals. First responders accompanied two people who were flown out by a Forest Service floatplane to Ely. Three more people with less serious injuries were accompanied by first responders and brought out by boat to Crane Lake. In a separate medical evacuation that was not storm-related, a Forest Service floatplane was also used and assisted by MFLFR and the Lake County Sheriff on Tuesday.

In response to the storm, an Interagency Incident Management Team was formed to ensure other parties are not in need of assistance and assess storm impacts. Two Forest Service wilderness crews were already in the area of the storm and were redirected to check the safety of BWCAW visitors. Two Forest Service float planes flew patrols looking for any other injured parties and to assess the damage. One additional Forest Service crew was inserted by float plane to Lac LaCroix. A Minnesota State Patrol helicopter was on standby for closer assessments but was not utilized. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources used aircraft to help with public safety and storm damage assessments on the Canadian side of the border.

The Forest Service completed an aerial reconnaissance Tuesday and identified an area of concentrated impact in the Lac LaCroix Area, including Lady Boot Bay, Ge-be-on-e-quet Lake, Lady Boot Bay, Little Loon Lake, East Loon Bay, the Northern portion of the Sioux Hustler Trail, Little Gabro Area, Little Isabella Entry Point Area, Snake River Entry Point Area. Trees are also reported down at scattered locations across the Forest.

Based on current information, the Forest Service does not plan to close any part of the Superior National Forest due to the storm, including the BWCAW. Visitors to the Superior National Forest and surrounding area are urged to watch for downed trees and take particular caution around trees that may have been damaged but are partially suspended or not already on the ground. This is a reminder that visitors need to be prepared for conditions that may result from natural occurrences in the Wilderness and can expect downed trees on some portages and campsites as a result of this storm. Crews will continue patrols to assess and remove blown down trees as appropriate.

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The Birney Quick Exhibit & The Dragon Boat Festival

North Shore Art Scene - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 12:18am

Dan Schueller took this fantastic photo of his daughter, Everlee, doing what every child loves to do on a hot summer day — get wet!

 

Lots going on this weekend. The highly anticipated Birney Quick Retrospective opens at the Johnson Heritage Post with a reception from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, followed by  the North Shore Dragon Boat Festival.

The North Shore Dragon Boat Festival brings excitement to the Grand Marais Harbor this weekend. Photo by Tom Spence.

The North Shore Dragon Festival begins in Grand Marais on Friday with drums sounding across the harbor as dragon boat teams practice for the races on Saturday. They’ll all gather together in their bright-colored T-shirts and zany costumes for the Parade of Teams down Wisconsin Street at 7 p.m.  led by the Red Dragon puppet.

This is always a fun, high-energy event as the teams chant and sing and generally have a great time rallying their spirits for the upcoming race day. The parade ends in Harbor Park for the opening ceremonies, including “Waking the Dragon.

A family paddle opportunity follows at 7:30 p.m. and the Splinters will play in the park from 7:30-8:30 p.m. All welcome.

The races begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday morning with live broadcasts by WTIP Community Radio on-site.

The dragon boat races and dragon dashes continue through the day with the  divisional finals set for 3:15 p.m. The awards ceremony is at 5 p.m. There are also opportunities for youth and family paddles at 11:15 p.m. Register at the big tent by 11 a.m. Food is also available on-site.

The festival continues on Sunday when the Splinter Nation, an eight-piece dance band, will play in Harbor Park from 1-3 p.m. Sunday is also an alternate race day if there is inclement weather on Saturday.

For more information, visit www.northshoredragonboat.com. (Hint: Boats are often looking for paddlers… check at the big tent to see if there are openings.) Whether you race or not, it’s always an event to enjoy in Grand Marais.

“The Tall Ones,” painting by Birney Quick.

Birney Quick, left, and Byron Bradley at the grill during the weekly fish fry, a tradition of the Art Colony at that time.

“A Quick Reflection: A Retrospective Exhibit of the Art of Birney Quick” opens at the Johnson Heritage Post with a reception from 5-7 p.m. Refreshments will be served and the public is invited.

The exhibit will include a wide selection of his works, including paintings, pen & ink drawings and more. Quick was co-founder, with Byron Bradley, of the Grand Marais Art Colony, and his influence is still felt today.

He was a plein air painter and he and Bradley first brought students from the Minneapolis School of Art  to Grand Marais for a summer arts program in 1947. Classes for children were also offered every Saturday. Quick and Bradley took over the arts program from the Minneapolis School of Art in 1956 and, over the years, expanded the programming to include a Friday night lecture series on art and a Town Hall Music Series, as well as a variety of classes and art opportunities for students.

Quick developed a strong artistic vision which has allowed the Art Colony to evolve and flourish even after his death in 1981.

During his career, Quick produced more than 10,000 artworks as well as wrote and illustrated “Adrift in the Aesthetic Latitudes.” 

The exhibit will continue at the Johnson Heritage Post through Sept. 7. The Heritage Post is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday and Monday.

Other exhibits open this weekend include an exhibit of watercolors by Tim Pearson at the Spotlight Gallery at the Grand Marais Art Colony and an exhibit of acrylic paintings by Tim Young at the Coho Cafe in Tofte.

To learn more about how paintings are made, check out the studio demo at the Art Colony on Friday at 10 a.m. with plein air painter Neil Sherman. The demos are free and everyone is invited.

For theater lovers, the Grand Marais Summer Theater Festival continues this week at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts with performances of  “Nana’s Naughty Nickers” ( 7 p.m. Thursday & Saturday) and “Nunsense: The Mega Musical” (7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Sunday.) The plays are a production of the Grand Marais Playhouse and will be performed in repertory through Aug. 10. For more info and tickets, visit www.grandmaraisplayhouse.com.

Also, the Cook County Farm & Craft Market is open at the Senior Center parking lot from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. The market features a variety of arts and crafts as well as baked goods,  handmade soaps, gourmet salts and Fika coffees. Musicians often play during the market as well.

North House Folk School will hold free craft demonstration on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as well.

And author John Bouchard, who wrote “Life on the Invisible Line,”  which he also illustrated, will have a booksigning at the Lake Superior Trading Post from 1-3 p.m. Saturday.

In other art news. singer/songwriter Maria Nickolay will talk about her music and play a few songs on WTIP’s The Roadhouse on Friday night. Buck Benson will also talk about his upcoming bicycle adventure through South American on the show.

If you’re going to Thunder Bay on Saturday, check out the Die Active Y-Art Sale, an arts and antiques yard sale with emerging young artists and artisans. It will be held  behind the Hoito (314 Bay Street) in the ‘midsummer garden.

The  Y-Art sale is part of the 2nd annual Valley Fresh Buskers Festival, July 26-27.

The festival features street performers, food vendors as well as interactive audience events as well as lots of musicians. The festival is from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. (EST) both days and is free and will be held in the Bay and Algoma neighborhoods in Thunder Bay. For more info, click here.

Meanwhile, here are the music opportunities in Cook County:

Thursday, July 24:

  • Joe Paulik, Music on the Beach, Lutsen Resort, 6 p.m.

Friday, July 25:

  • Portage Band, American Legion, 6 p.m.
  • Briand Morrison, Pie Place Cafe, 6 p.m.
  • Maria Nickolay, Cascade Lodge Pub, 7:30 p.m.
  • Joe Paulik, Music by the Campfire, Eagle Ridge Resort, 7:30 p.m.
  • The Splinters, Harbor Park, 7:30 p.m.
  • Michael Monroe, Bluefin Grille, 8 p.m.
  • Cook County’s Most Wanted, Gunflint Tavern, 9 p.m.

Saturday, July 26:

  • Cook County’s Most Wanted, Birch Terrace Lounge patio, 3 p.m.
  • Joe Paulik, Bluefin Grille, 7 p.m.
  • Michael Monroe’s Log Cabin Concert, rural Grand Marais, reservations at 387-2919, 7 p.m.
  • Eric Frost, Cascade Lodge Pub, 7:30 p.m.
  • Gypsy Lumberjacks, Gunflint Tavern, 8:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 27:

  • SplinterNation, Bear Tree Park, 1 p.m.
  • Gypsy Lumberjacks, Gunflint Tavern, 7:30 p.m.

We found a great variety of photos this week.

Let’s start out with some wonderful photograph of moose by Nace Hagemann.

“Sometimes you just got an itch,” by Nace Hagemann,

 

And this one, taken at dawn:

Photo by Nace Hagemann.

 

 Paul Sundberg visited Kakabeka Falls recently and took this wonderful image.

Photo by Paul Sundberg.

 

Layne Kennedy took a trip down the Missouri River recently and he and his fellow paddlers discovered that umbrellas were good sun shades, as along as it wasn’t too windy. Here is a gorgeous photo he took one evening.

Photo by Layne Kennedy.

 

 Bryan Hansel was in Pictured Rocks National Park recently and took this wonderful shot of the Au Sable Lighthouse Station on a starry night.

Photo by Bryan Hansel.

 

Closer to home, David Johnson captured this evocative moment just before dawn in Grand Marais.

“Foggy Morning” by David Johnson

 

Summer really has arrived and here are two photos to prove it.

Thomas Spence posted this photo of flowers along the Poplar River the other day.

A Poplar River Summer” by Thomas Spence.

And David Grinstead posted this shot of brown-eyed Susans, which are blooming on the Gunflint Trail.

Photo by David Grinstead.

 

And finally, here two interesting lightning shots from the storms earlier this week.

The first is by David Johnson taken in Grand Marais.

Photo by David Johnson.

 

And here’s a photo we found on Destination Duluth yesterday which we posted on our NorthShore ArtScene Facebook page.

It’s of the same thunderstorm that hit Grand Marais. The photo was taken by Cary Schmies, assistant district attorney in Dulut. People say that lightning never strikes the Lift Bridge. You decide.

Photo by Cary Schmies.

 

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

 

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Chik-Wauk Loon News

Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center Blog - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 12:15pm


This has been a devastating spring for loons in northern Wisconsin and Minnesota wth 70 % of loon nests abandoned. The host specific black fly species, simulium annulus, feeds exclusively on the Common Loon. Forever bothersome to nesting loons, these flies appeared in larger than normal swarms this year. According to Walter Piper, a Chapman University researcher of loon behavior in Wisconsin, the late ice out and late snow melt is part of what causes an extra large population of these flies, which differ from the black flies that leave huge welts on our human hairlines and pollinate blueberries.

Simulium annulus flies feed on a loon’s head as they sit on their nest, causing the loon to continuously dive off the nest to try to rid themselves of the pests. However, even when loons swim underwater, the flies can still stick to the loon’s head. Whenever the loons dive underwater to escape the flies, the eggs are exposed to cold and predation.

On Hungry Jack Lake, a loonwatcher observing a loon nesting on a man-made platform reported a huge cloud of flies swarming the loon’s head that was visible without binoculars from 100 ft away. That loon repeatedly got off the nest to dive and then had to fight off a crow going for the exposed eggs. The pair finally abandoned the nest and after one week the eggs were taken to the DNR office in Grand Marais to be transferred to Grand Rapids, MN for contamination studies.

This tragedy of events also touched the loon pair who nest on the man-made loon nesting platform in the Chik-Wauk Museum bay. Over the winter, the platform had broken loose and when Kathy and Mike Lande towed the refurbished platform back to the nesting site in mid-May, the pair swam alongside, diving under the canoe and pecking at the platform. The loons started nesting on May 19th and had been on the nest for two weeks before the flies hatched. The pair abandoned the nest after 20 days of incubation, 8-10 days short of hatching. When Kathy went out to the nest a week after it had been abandoned, there were no eggs so it is assumed that the flies drove them off the nest and a predator got the eggs. Although the pair stayed around the nest for awhile and showed signs of renesting, they finally swam away. Sadly after two successful nesting years in 2011 and 2012 producing two chicks each year, both 2013 and 2014 have been unsuccessful nestings.

Some of the pairs on Gunflint Trail lakes renested, with chicks hatching in mid-July. This is very late in the season for loon chicks to be hatching and the loons now have a finite amount of time to learn how to survive on their own before the autumn migration.

Now is the time for boaters to be very “Loon Aware” as chicks in their first three-four weeks are very vulnerable, especially to speeding watercraft and boats pulling waterskis and tubes. Anglers should be cautious when loons are near, since bait on the end of a line looks like free lunch to loons. Loons may dive for the bait, swallowing hook and line.

The re-nesting loon on Hungry Jack Lake has a fishing line dangling from his or her beak. When the loon is not on the nest, it spends more time trying to get out the line than eating. DNR officials contacted say it is impossible to catch a loon and remove the hook, so the loon will most likely have a slow and painful death. Local business owners and anglers have reported loons taking bait, so it is a problem that anglers should be aware of. When loons are about, anglers should pull in the line and go elsewhere to fish.

The DNR is collecting any abandoned eggs and/or dead loons. If found, they should be put in plastic bags, frozen, and labeled with the information on where and how the specimen was found, then taken to the DNR office in Grand Marais. Local DNR wildlife manager Dave Ingebrigtson can be reached at 218-387-3034 with any questions or concerns.

Report submitted by Gunflint Trail Historical Society board member Phyllis Sherman.

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LaCroix Blowdown Update

Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 9:15am

 

Becca Manlove, Superior National Forest Information Officer from Ely, sent us this update on the LaCroix Blowdown. We are grateful to all of the folks who helped those injured in the storm. It was an amazing team of people. Heck, even the Canadian Ministry of Natural Resources got involved! Thank you to everyone who helps our visitors to the BWCAW!

 

LaCroix Blowdown Fact Sheet July 22, 2014

Introduction: Winds from a thunderstormat 2 a.m.on July 22, 2014 caused blowdown in pockets of the Superior National Forest. Injuries were reported from falling trees for two groups camped in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).

Injuries: Seven injuries were reported. One group used a satellite phone to call in an emergency to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office at three a.m. from Lady Boot Bay of Lac LaCroix. Mark Zupancich of Zup’s Resort, Anderson’s Resort, St. Louis County Search and Rescue (SLCSR), and Crane Lake First Responders removed the two injured people by boat to an ambulance. At approximately noon, a report of five more BWCAW visitors trapped in their tents from fallen trees was received by SLCSR. Two people were flown out by a Forest Service floatplane to Ely where a life flight was called. Three more people with less serious injuries were brought out by boat to Crane Lake by Morse Fall Lake First Responders, Zup’s Resort, and SLCSR. A Forest Service floatplane was also used in a medical evacuation that was not storm related assisted by Morse/Fall Lake First Responders and the Lake County Sheriff.

Personnel: An Interagency Incident Management Team was formed. Two Forest Service wilderness crews were already in the area. Two more were flown in. A Forest Service float plane flew an assessment looking for any other injured parties and to assess the damage. A MN State Helicopter was on standby for closer assessments. The Canadian Ministry of Natural Resources also sent aircraft in to help with public safety and storm damage assessments on the Canadian side of the border. SLCSR, Morse/Fall Lake FD and Responders, Crane Lake FD, hospitals in Ely, Cook, and Virginia, area ambulances, resort owners, St. Louis and Lake County Sheriffs, and other EMS teams were on alert in case more injuries were reported.

Visitor Impacts: Assessments are still coming in. Some portages may have a number of trees down, but no portages have been reported as impassable. No other injuries have been reported.

Size: The exact extent of the blowdown is being assessed at this time. Current assessments are showing less damage than initially thought. Tree damage is patchy and in concentrated areas of five acre microbursts.

******* Becca Brin Manlove 218-365-7569 Information Officer West Zone Superior National Forest Ely, MN 55731  
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High Winds and Injuries in the BWCA

Boundary Waters Blog - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 6:48am

Monday night another storm passed through the Boundary Waters. We experienced winds on the Gunflint Trail in the low 30′s and almost a half of an inch of rain. Luckily we didn’t hear of any injuries reported on our end of the BWCA and we didn’t lose power this time.  Unfortunately elsewhere in the BWCA a couple of campers were injured when a tree fell on them.  We’re hoping they have a quick recovery and that no other injuries are reported.

PRESS RELEASE
Superior National Forest
Superior National Forest
July 23, 2014
Contact: Kris Reichenbach 218-626-4393

Many Cooperate in Emergency Response to Windstorm

Winds from a thunderstorm early July 22, 2014 caused trees to blow down in areas across the Superior National Forest, with the most impacts in the far northwest part of the Forest in northern St. Louis County, Minnesota. Multiple agencies coordinated to rescue people from two groups injured from falling trees while camped in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).  No further storm related injuries have been reported and crews continue to patrol and assess storm impacts today.   More…

Starting in the early morning hours of July, 22, the St. Louis Sheriff’s Department, Crane Lake Volunteer Fire Department (CLVFD), local businesses, and the Superior National Forest worked together to conduct emergency response operations in parts of the LaCroix Ranger District that were impacted by the powerful thunderstorm.   Seven injuries were reported. One group used a satellite phone to call in an emergency to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office at three a.m. from Lady Boot Bay of Lac LaCroix. Mark Zupancich of Zup’s Resort, Anderson’s Resort, SLCSR, and the Crane Lake Volunteer Fire Department (CLVFD) removed two injured people by boat to an ambulance. At approximately noon, a report of five more BWCAW visitors camped at Loon Lake-some who were still trapped in their tents from fallen trees, was received by SLCSR. Morse /Fall Lake First Responders (MFLFR), along with CLVFD members, extracted the trapped individuals.  First responders accompanied two people who were flown out by a Forest Service floatplane to Ely.  Three more people with less serious injuries were accompanied by first responders and brought out by boat to Crane Lake.  In a separate medical evacuation that was not storm-related, a Forest Service floatplane was also used and assisted by MFLFR and the Lake County Sheriff on Tuesday.

In response to the storm, an Interagency Incident Management Team was formed to ensure other parties are not in need of assistance and assess storm impacts.  Two Forest Service wilderness crews were already in the area of the storm and were redirected to check the safety of BWCAW visitors. Two Forest Service float planes flew patrols looking for any other injured parties and to assess the damage.  One additional Forest Service crew was inserted by float plane to Lac LaCroix.  A Minnesota State Patrol helicopter was on standby for closer assessments but was not utilized. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources used aircraft to help with public safety and storm damage assessments on the Canadian side of the border.

The Forest Service completed an aerial reconnaissance Tuesday and identified an area of concentrated impact in the Lac LaCroix Area, including Lady Boot Bay, Ge-be-on-e-quet Lake, Lady Boot Bay, Little Loon Lake, East Loon Bay, the Northern portion of the Sioux Hustler Trail, Little Gabro Area, Little Isabella Entry Point Area, Snake River Entry Point Area. Trees are also reported down at scattered locations across the Forest.

Based on current information, the Forest Service does not plan to close any part of the Superior National Forest due to the storm, including the BWCAW.  Visitors to the Superior National Forest and surrounding area are urged to watch for downed trees and take particular caution around trees that may have been damaged but are partially suspended or not already on the ground.  This is a reminder that visitors need to be prepared for conditions that may result from natural occurrences in the Wilderness and can expect downed trees on some portages and campsites as a result of this storm.  Crews will continue patrols to assess and remove blown down trees as appropriate.

Late-night storms topple trees, injure campers in BWCA
  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 22, 2014 – 3:36 PM

The top wind speed reported to the National Weather Service came from Alexandria, at 59 miles per hour shortly after 11 p.m.

Thunderstorms carrying strong winds roared over the northern half of Minnesota late Monday and into Tuesday, knocking out electricity to thousands of customers and injuring campers in two locations in the sprawling the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, officials said.

Two campers in a group of 17 from Louisiana near Lady Boot Bay were injured when trees fell on their tents about 2:45 a.m., according to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office. First responders transported the two by ambulance to a Virginia, Minn., hospital for treatment of noncritical injuries.

The two were identified by the Sheriff’s Office as Hayden Toups, 13, of Brusly, and Kirk Sanchez, 47, of Port Allen.

Another group of campers about 10 miles away at Loon Lake were hit by trees later Tuesday, with some injuries being reported, said Sheriff’s Sgt. Kevin Friebe.

Emergency responders “are still getting them out right now,” Friebe said shortly after 2 p.m. While he didn’t have specifics on the number of injured or how badly, the sergeant added that medical helicopters were being used, so “they’re obviously considered serious.”

An official at the Superior National Forest office in Duluth said the storms were quite violent, leaving about 100 trees down along the highway that connects Ely and Isabella about 40 miles to the southeast.

Elsewhere in the state, power was reported out around 11:30 p.m. Monday for some customers as far south as Staples, with windy conditions also peeling away parts of rooftops in the Todd County community, the National Weather Service (NWS) added.

Also, hail was reported early Tuesday in Ogilvie and Long Prairie.

The top wind speed reported to the weather service came from Alexandria, at 59 miles per hour shortly after 11 p.m.

Minnesota Power and Lake Country Power reported a combined 20,000 or so customers without electricity overnight in the Duluth area and elsewhere. Nearly 2,400 remained without power in the Brainerd area well after sunrise.

Minnesota Power said snapped tree limbs and uprooted trees caused trouble for the utility in International Falls, Duluth, Eveleth and Nisswa, among other communities. Trees toppled easily because of the ground’s saturation from heavy June rainfall, the utility added.

By late Tuesday morning, Minnesota Power was still working to restore power to roughly 6,500 of its customers.

“This storm raked across our service territory rather quickly and then subsided about 3 a.m.,” said John Muehlbauer, a Minnesota Power crew superintendent.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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LaCroix Blowdown

Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 10:13pm

Webmaster note: Becca Manlove has sent us an update on the LaCroix Blowdown. Please see this post for the most up-to-date information: LaCroix Blowdown Udate. And if you want to know more about the emergency response, see this post: Emergency Response to BWCAW Windstorm.

You may have heard about the blowdown that happened early Tuesday morning in the BWCAW near Ely. Becca Manlove, Superior National Forest Information Officer from Ely, just sent us this information about it. We are grateful to all of the folks from Superior National Forest, local Search and Rescue personnel, First Responders and Volunteers who helped with this incident and who continue to aid visitors to the BWCAW.

 

LaCroix Blowdown Fact Sheet July 22, 2014

Introduction: Winds from a thunderstorm at 2 a.m.on July 22, 2014 caused blowdown in pockets of the Superior National Forest. Injuries were reported from falling trees for two groups camped in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).

Injuries: Two people used a satellite phone to call in an emergency to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office at three a.m. from Lady Boot Bay of Lac LaCroix. Mark Zupancich of Zup’s Resort, Anderson’s Resort, St. Louis County Search and Rescue, and Crane Lake First Responders removed the injured by boat to an ambulance. At approximately noon, a report of five more BWCAW visitors trapped in their tent from fallen trees was received by St. Louis County Search and Rescue. Two people were flown out by a Forest Service floatplane to Ely where a life flight was called. Three more people with less serious injuries were brought out by boat to Crane Lake. A Forest Service floatplane was also used in a medical evacuation that was not storm related.

Size: The exact extent of the blowdown is being assessed at this time. Current assessments are showing less damage than initially thought. Tree damage is patchy and in concentrated areas of five acre microbursts.

Personnel: An Interagency Incident Management Team was formed. Two Forest Service wilderness crews were already in the area. Two more were flown in. A Forest Service DeHaviland Beaver float plane flew an assessment looking for any other injured parties and to assess the damage. A MN State Helicopter was on standby for closer assessments. The Canadian Ministry of Natural Resources also sent aircraft in to help with public safety and storm damage assessments on the Canadian side of the border.

Visitor Impacts: Assessments are still coming in. Some portages may have a number of trees down, but no portages have been reported as impassable. No other injuries have been reported.

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Becca Brin Manlove Information Officer West Zone Superior National Forest Ely, MN 55731  
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