Sunday, October 9, 2016

Late Fall News along the Banadad Ski Trail

Fall Colors Past their Peak

The leaves on the Gunflint are now post peak and they are falling and beginning to litter the ground. The tamarack just beginning to take their fall golden color. It is still very beautiful along the Gunflint and on the area trails. The wind and rain that we had over the past few days brought down many of the remaining leaves on trees in the area. 

The weather until today has been beautiful- mostly warm and sunny. Yesterday however we received our first snow flakes. Not enough for any snow to stay on ground. Then this morning we reseaved our first frost 28 degrees but is warming up and looks like it is going to be a beautiful day.

Croft Yurt along the Banadad Forcibly moved by Forest Service Edict

We have operated the Bedew Lake Yurt Camp at its present location since 1984. The camp is located five miles west of the Poplar Public Landing along what “locals” refer to as the Moose Trails.

The Croft, our first Yurt site, was selected in the summer of 1983 by USFS personnel and at that time the site was approved by the USFS and we were told by the Forest Service that  the site was outside the BWCA. Fast forward to this spring –Nancy Larson, Gunflint Ranger, USFS, notified that the Croft yurt is actually  located within the BWCA and she went on- the yurt must be move outside the BWCA

We informed Larson that moving the yurt was a major job for us and would like some assistances from the Forest Service particularly since it was “you guys that picked out the site for the yurt originally. Larson, at first, informed us that we would have to locate a new site and move the yurt without any help from the USFS. However with the help of Congressman Nolan’s office the Forest Service changed their tune and at agreed to at least to help us clear a new site two hundred yards or so down the Moose Trail from the old site.

The new site was cleared and after many hours of labor and at great expense to us the Croft has now been moved and set-up. We are currently moving the furnishing in and we expect this yurt to be open for skiers traveling the Banadad Ski again this winter. 

The other yurt at the old site was in such poor shape that we have decided to dispose of it.

 Banadad Trail Association Annual Meeting and Trail Clearing Day 
The annual meeting of the Banadad Trail Association (BTA) will be Friday, October 21, 2016 at the Schaap Community Center on the Gunflint Trail. (Next to the Fire Department, close to the Lima Grade The meeting will be at 5:30 and will be followed with a Potluck Dinner; all are welcome. Also on Friday a trail crew is planning to work on the Banadad. If you would like to join them meet at Poplar Creek Guesthouse at 8:30 am.

The Banadad annual volunteer Trail Clearing Day will be Saturday, October 22, 2016 beginning at 9 a.m.; Meet at Boundary Country Trekking/Poplar Creek B&B, 11 Poplar Creek Drive,  at 8:30 a.m. for tools and instructions. .Lunches will be provided.

For those from out of town and who will need lodging –Please contact 800-322-8327 or email use at The Banadad Trail Association provides lodging for members and other Trail Groups.

The purpose of the BTA is to maintain and enhance the Banadad Ski Trails, preserve the history of the forest and the trail and promote appreciation and care of the BWCA wilderness. The BTA is a volunteer organization open to all who share these goals.

Image above is from last winter. While this clump of brush was cleared, we are hopeful we will not be finding many clumps like this when we go out this year.

Getting the Banadad Ready for Ski this Fall

Last year a major Snow/rain storm struck the Banadad in mid December totally blocking the trail with snow weighted down brush and downed trees. Last year while the Association spent hundreds of hours working to open the trail before the ski season began, we were only to clear about one-third of the trail. This year we must not only clear this past summer’s accumulated brush and down trees but We must also clear much of which remains from last December’s storm. Above image is one of clumps of brush we were confronted with last year. At least this one is gone but there is still plenty out there to clear.

Work on the trail to date:
  • Minnesota Conservation Corp While spend five night camping mid way alone the trails west end, during the day they cleared eight miles of west end of Banadad and another ½ mile up to Whoopee one on the trail eastend
  • Paid trail crews have cleared the Lace Lake, Tall Pines, Knapp, 1 ½ miles of Banadad eastend. and 5 mile maintenance/grooming maintenance access via the Moose trail.
  • Andy Jenks and  a friend Udai Singh have opened a portion of  the 2 mile maintenance -  Winchell Lake Fire Trail. Unfortunately beavers have damn up a creek along the trail which took a lot of time to bye pass.
We are hoping to have the trail completely open by the Volunteer Trail Clearing Day so we can use the trail to access a remote section of the Banadad’s eastern end.

Planned for next few months;
  • A Tractor with a bush hog has been hire to mow the east end trails outside of BWCA sometime in October.
  • On October 21 & 22 volunteers trail crews from Northstar Ski Tour Club and the Banadad Trail Association will be accessing the Banadad within the BWCA via:
1.      Winchell Lake Fire Trail (if open)
2.      the BWCA line  at Meads Lake Portage
3.      the west end at the  BWCA line
4.      if there are enough people, the Moose Trail at the BWCA line

  • December 3 Minnehaha Academy Ski Team will be work clearing the trail where ever they will then be most need.
All and all we believe we have an ambitious maintenance program this and barring another disastrous storm such as last year, this year the Banadad Ski Trail will be open for skiing.

Remember- If you are coming from out of town and will need lodging please contact Ted Young at 800-322-8327 or email us We currently have lodging available for about twenty people.  Also please RSVP if you plan to attend Meeting/Potluck on Friday night and/or Trail Clearing on Saturday. Locals call 388-4487

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