Sunday, January 1, 2017

Ski conditions- East End of Banadad Tracked

DATE: January 1


Trail  Base: 14"



TRACKED TRAILS: 10 kilometers Lace Lake, Tall Pines, Tim Knapp and 3 kilometer east end of Banadad
ADDITIONAL COMMENT: the entire Banadad has been cleared and packed awaiting additional snow to track the Banadad

Trail Maintained and Groomed by the Banadad Trail Association.
for additional information contact 218-388-4487.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Banadad Cleared of Trees and Brush

Winter is off to a good start. Packing of the Banadad is underway. Tomorrow we plan to roll the entire 29 kilometers of the trail. Snow cover is good. Yesterday drove into town though a blizzard; could hardly see the road. Had to bring in one of our snowmobile groomers to be repaired. Travel was so bad had to stay in town overnight. We had 10" of snow on the ground. Yesterday's storm gave us another five inch.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Awaiting Colder Weather and More Snow

Minnehaha Academy Ski Team Volunteer Weekend

On this Saturday eight members of the ski team accompanied by three adults, including their coach Anne Rykken, spent some seven hours (total of 77 hours for the group) working on the eastern end of the Banadad. Beginning at the eastern trail head the group widened the trail for about three miles. They did a great job! The team on for these volunteer weekends call themselves the "Banadad Beavers."

Then Sunday the team went over to Bearskin Lodge to ski the summer home road.

While there is not a lot of snow for skiing, we do have four to five inches of snow on the ground. However the ground has yet to freeze
and there is an awful lot of water on the trail- in fact it is the most water I have ever seen on the trail in the fall. This week we are suppose to get a little snow then finally colder weather. Once it get down below 10 or so the trail should start to freeze, that is if there is not to much snow insulating the ground. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Banadad Ski Trail Clearing Advances

Volunteer Trail Clearers - October 22, 2016
Maintenance organized by the Banadad Trail Assocation (BTA) got into high gear this past weekend. On Friday, 8 members of the Northstars Ski Touring Club spent 56 hours clearing the remaining one mile of the
North Stars Ski Touring Club
Winchell Lake Fire Trail. This trail, most of which is within the BWCA, serves as a maintenance assess trail to the Banadad. Then on Saturday twenty three volunteers including the “Northstars” contributed another one-hundred sixty one hours cleared 4.3 miles of Banadad’s west end all within the BWCA. One crew entered the Banadad’s east end  through the Winchell Lake Fire Trail, another at the Mead’s Lake Portage and the third crew through the Moose trail at the mid trail junction.  The crews removed not only the brush and down trees from this past summer but also what remaining debris from last December’s storm.
In addition to these crews another crew hiked in 1 ½ miles from the west end trailhead to cut back a beaver house blocking the trail’s west end.

Early this summer a seven person crew from Minnesota Conservation Corp, camping on the trail, spent six days clearing the entire west end of the Banadad and an another ½ mile of the eastern to the Banadad Bridge. Conservation Corp’s efforts resulted in the clearing 9 miles of trail. Another crew of 9 boy scouts from Texas spent one half of day brushing about a ¾ mile west from the eastern trail head. The 4 ½ miles of trail outside the BWCA was also cleared earlier in the summer by BTA contractor Boundary Country Trekking.

As a result of all these efforts- of the Banadad’s 25 miles of trail 24 ¼ have now been cleared. With all the work that has now been completed we hoping that all are work is not ruined by another freak storm, like last year’s.

Annual Meeting and Potluck Dinner

The Annual Meeting of the Banadad Trail Association (BTA) was called to order by President Andy Jenks on Friday, August 21. Committee reports and Trail clearing results were discussed along action to start setting up a Capital Fund for the construction of garage for the associations grooming equipment. Following the meet the thirty-two people present feasted on a great potluck dinner.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Beavers Busy Along the Banadad

beaver lodge blocking Trail
on beaver lodge
This year the beavers have several construction projects underway along the Banadad Ski Trail. The first  a beaver lodge, discovered earlier this month, is located about 2.5 km. in from the trail’s west end and is constructed on and completely blocking the trail. To get around this lodge and pond that it has created we hope to move the trail onto the pond, after the pond freezes, and just go around the beaver lodge. Of course this likely means that we will not be able to groom from the west end trail head to the pond until it is safe to get onto this pond with the trail groomers.

The second beaver’s project along the trail was discovered this past weekend during the Banadad Trail Association annual Volunteer Trail Clearing Day. A new beaver damn is located 12.2 km. from the east end trail head. Years ago there was a beaver dam here but eventually it burst. The beavers are now rebuilding an another dam at the same location. Luckly this new dam should not create any problem for the use of the trail. It may even be an opportunity to relocate the trail onto the new pond that has been created and bypass the hazardous gully now in use.
dam in gully

The beaver dam along the Tall Pines Trail still remains active and the dam is larger then ever. However, this trail has not been put out of commission. Last year a bypass trail was constructed around the dam and we had to wait only a short while until seepage from the dam froze and to open up the trail for skiing.

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

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Fall is Certainly in the Air

September 11, 2016- The leaves are starting to turn and the temperature is slowly going down. The first to turn colors this year, on the Gunflint Trail are the birch which are turning yellow and the moose maple have begun to take a bright red color. Even a few leave are beginning to fall.

This morning the temperature dropped to 48 degrees. Over the past few weeks there as been server mornings in the forties. No frost yet but it will not be long before we see this.

Fall is certainly here!