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Border Route Trail West End Maintenance Update Dec 4, 2019

October 10-13 was the annual BRT west-end clean-up trip, staying in donated modern cabins at Heston’s Resort on Gunflint Lake. There had been heavy rains in the weeks before the trip (very unusual), and the forecast was for several inches of snow over the weekend. Friday we replaced the map on the kiosk and cleared from the west end on Gunflint road to Magnetic Rock and on to CR46 in 5.5 hrs. The trail was in pretty good shape except for a couple of mud sloughs, and we were surprised to find the painted trail markers had held up over the year. Saturday we continued by doing the segment from CR46 to CR46 that parallels the Cross River, with scenic cliff overlook. We then went up to N. Loon Lake Rd., where the trail crosses, and worked west back to the groomed ski trail. We cut through the waist high patches of thimble berries, as these scared off hikers to Bridle Falls in the past, even though they only lasted a few hundred yards. Normally we would not cut perennials. Sunday we awoke to 5 inches of new snow, and following our safety standards, decided it was not safe for trail work. Unfortunately, this left the BRT segment from N. Loon Lake Rd. to Crab Lake cut-off without the usual fall clean-up. We would normally sweep the Brice Breon and Middle Cliffs trails in the fall too. A trip to the west end may be required this coming spring.

Border Route Trail East End Maintenance Update Sept 15, 2019

Friday in the rain, John E, Doug H and Jeremy from Grand Marais completed a dead fall sweep from swamp river trail head to Portage Brook Bridge and up to Otter Lake 5 plus miles. Saturday we sent two, three person crews from the South Fowl trail access with chainsaw and billy goat brush cutters to the east and west. Lots of big rocks and ledges made for slow going with the brush mowers. Gary with Rebecca F and Jim H. went east and stopped about ¼ mile from the stump river bridge. We left equipment and hiked out. John E with Doug and Jeremy got to overlook 36 or 37 and hiked back. We left south fowl about 6 PM. Sunday the four remaining hiked back to stump river bridge and completed that section. We then headed to the McFarland trail head and completed a deadfall sweep back to overlook 36. The only sections between the BWCAW boundary and the eastern BRT trailhead not swept was Portage Brook to Stump River which received heavy maintenance last year and The short McFarland to the BWCA section.

Border Route Trail BWCAW Trail Report Update May 15, 2019

2019 spring clearing of 3.6 miles of the BRT has been completed as of May 11, 2019. This covers from where the Mucker Lake drainage flow crosses the BRT (on its way to the South Lake) going east to the South Lake Trail/BRT junction all the way to about 0.3 miles east of the four overlooks on the high cliffs above the west end of Rose lake. This includes all the segments identified in Figure 2 in the September 7, 2018 conditions report. As previously reported, the camp trail to the North Partridge camp in the Figure 2 is open.

The next three weekends, crews will be working on the Clearwater Lake segment between the west Clearwater Lake camp and the Mountain Lake portage, wrapping up this spring clearing on June 1, 2019.

Border Route Trail BWCAW Trail Report as of September 7, 2018

The Border Route Trail BWCAW Trail Report as of September 7, 2018 contains a summary of the trail clearing completed to date in 2018. It includes maps indicating where the known trouble spots exist.

Partridge Lake (northwest) Camp reopened:

On September 12 the Forest Service completed the recovery of the trail to the camp on the northwest shore of Partridge Lake. The camp sign marking the trail junction has been permanently removed by the Forest Service. The approximate Waypoint for the junction is: Lat/Lon Degrees and Minutes NAD27 = N48 05.722 W 90 28.910; UTM WGS 84 = 687481.22E 5329967.20N U15


Trail condition changes are subject to forces of nature resulting in tree falls that can occur at any time. Please be cautious if you have to go off trail to get around tree falls as the terrain can be very uneven. Brush grow back will normally take 3 or 4 years before it obstructs the trail. The brush clearing dates in each segment can be used to determine the potential of brush obstructing the trail.

Border Route Trail Conditions inside BWCAW Report Year-end September 7, 2018

By Tom Suter

McFarland Lake Segment

•The McFarland segment from the eastern BWCAW boundary to the McFarland/East Pike portage has some new tree falls reported from a June, 2017 scout trip. A tree fall sweep was completed from the John Lake overlook (V35) to the west end of John lake in June, 2017.

Pine Lake segment

•This segment from the McFarland/ East Pike portage to the Pine/ West Pike portage was fully cleared over the 2018 Memorial Day weekend.

West Pike Lake/ Gogebic Lake Segment

•This segment from the Pine/West Pike portage to the BRT junction with the Clearwater/West Pike portage was cleared of all tree falls by June 1, 2018. Brushing of the segment was completed except for 1.79 miles in the middle of teh segment. There are 4 or 5 brush clusters in this area that have been rough cut and are considered passable for hikers.

Clearwater Lake Segment

•This segment from the west end of the Clearwater/ West Pike portage (east end of Clearwater) to the junction with the West Clearwater camp trail was last fully cleared in May and September, 2016. This involved clearing the storm damage and removal of overgrown brush.

Rove Lake Segment

•This segment of the BRT goes west from the West Clearwater camp trail junction to the Daniels Lake trail junction, and overlaps with the Long Portage. This segment was cleared in August 2016 with rough cut brushing of the heavy brush in the 200 yards going east from the east end of the Long Portage.

Long Portage Segment

•This segment of the BRT is shared with the Long Portage between Rose Lake and Rove Lake. There was heavy damage on the Long Portage that was cleared by the Forest Service July 1 and 2, 2016.

Rose Lake East Segment

•This segment of the BRT goes from the west end of the Long Portage to the Stairway Portage. The storm tree falls damage was cleared in early October, 2016 along with a rough cut of brush. From Stairway Portage east to 0.2 miles west of the west camp on Rose Lake was brushed in May 2017. The section from the west camp to the long prtage was brushed in summer 2018.

Rose Lake West Segment

•This segment of the BRT goes from the Stairway Portage to the South Lake trail junction. Most of this segment was cleared of storm damage in summer 2016 with the west end of this segment cleared of storm damage treefalls by early October, 2016. In May 2017, the segment was brushed from stairway portage west to the cluster of overlooks on the cliffs above the west end of Rose Lake. The brush from the cluster of overlooks to the South lake trail was rough cut in early October, 2016. The camp trail to the camp on the northwest shore of Partridge Lake is available to hikers.

Mucker Lake/ Sock lake segment

•This segment goes from the South Lake Trail to the Topper Lake Cutoff trail, and includes junctions with the Mucker Lake trail, the Mucker Lake drainage flow and the Sock Lake camp trail. This segment was cleared of tree falls and brush was rough cut early October, 2016. In May, 2017, final brushing was completed from the Topper Cutoff junction east to the Mucker Lake flow. The Sock Lake camp trail was cleared with the exception of a very large tree on the trail near the camp that has a walk around path established.

Topper Lake segment

•This segment extends from the junction with the Topper Lake cutoff trail to the junction with the Crab Lake Spur trail. The entire segemnt was cleared in May 2018.

Crab Lake segment

•The trail segment from the junction of the BRT/Crab Lake Spur west past the junction with the Crab Lake cutoff trail to the western Boundary of the BWCAW. Tree falls were cleared in October 2017 and brushing was completed to 0.3 miles east of the BRT/Crab Lake SPur Trail junction where the brush remains heavy. Some clearing was done in early June to make this apssable for hikers.

Access Trails

Daniels Lake Trail

•Storm damage tree falls were cleared in early October, 2016.
•This trail can have standing water in the road side ditch and old ruts near the trailhead at Clearwater Road when there is snow melt or heavy rains.

Caribou Rock Trail

•This trail has been fully recovered in summer and early October, 2106 from the extensive storm damage. Several new tree falls were cleared in June, 2017.
•The non-wilderness portion of the trail was cleared in May 2016 and provides access to the Moss Lake trail.

South Lake Trail

• A bypass of a large tree north (UTM 685959.29E 5328797.43N 15U) of the Partridge southwest camp was reworked to make the bypass more obvious. The trail down to the South Lake camp from the BRT junction was fully cleared in Octover 2016.
•There is still a 10 foot section of the tread toward the lower end of Partridge Lake that can be under water if the lake level is high.
•The non-wilderness portion of the South Lake Trail was fully cleared in May 2016 and provides access to the west end of the Moss Lake Trail.

Mucker Lake Trail

•The Mucker Lake trail beyond the junction with the Topper Lake Cutoff trail was scouted in May 2013. It was clear with the exception of having to work around flooding from snow melt. The flooding normally recedes by the middle of May. This part of the Mucker lake trail is not being maintained by the BRTA.
•The part of the Mucker Lake trail from its trailhead to the junction with the Topper Lake Cutoff trail was cleared in early October, 2016.
•This trail can have standing water in old ruts at the trail head and along the trail to the Topper Lake Cutoff trail, due to snow melt or heavy rains.

Topper Lake Cutoff Trail

•The Topper Lake Cutoff was cleared May 2016. In August, 2016 some minor damage from the June, 2016 storm was cleared.
•The boardwalk next to the beaver dam was fully rebuilt May 7, 2018

Crab Lake Trail

•The Crab lake trail from the trailhead to the BWCAW boundary (non-wilderness section) was cleared of heavy storm damage in October, 2016.
•The Crab Lake Spur trail from the split with the Crab Lake Cutoff north to the boardwalks was cleared in June, 2017 and was brushed in October 2017. The remaining 0.5 miles to the BRT junction was cleared of tree falls and brush to within 0.25 mi of the junction. The remaining brush area is considered passable by hikers.

Crab Lake Cutoff Trail

•The Crab Lake Cutoff trail was cleared in October, 2016

Moss Lake Trail

•The Moss lake trail is entirely outside the BWCAW and runs along the south side of Moss Lake connecting the South Lake Trail and the Caribou Rock Trail to form a hiking loop that includes the Rose Lake Cliffs overlooks above South, Rat and West Rose lakes. A loop hike can start either from the South Lake trailhead or the Caribou Rock trailhead and return to the originating trailhead. Construction of this trail was completed in May 2015 and was fully cleared in May, 2016.