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By September 18, 2011 the Pagami Creek Fire in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA), the United States’ most used designated Wilderness Area under the Wilderness Act of 1964 and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Act of 1978, had burned about 94,000 acres (147 square miles, 380 square kilometers).
According to InciWeb, the website used by fire management to communicate information to the public, the Pagami Creek fire started from a lightning strike on Thursday August 18th, 2011. When the storm generated by the Pagami Creek Fire rushed over Grand Marais, it looked like the coming of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. A typical campsite in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area - this is why canoeists journey from all over the world to visit Minnesota.On July 4, 1999 a derecho that lasted 22 hours and traveled 1,300 miles ripped through the Boundary Waters. A moose in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.After the plume-driven fire storm, a Type 1 Incident Management Team, one of 16 highly-trained national teams, was brought in to manage the fire, a Type 2 Incident Management Team, one of 35 national teams, was assigned Cook County, to the east of most of the fire, and the fire fighting crew grew to over 500 people.
The Boundary Waters has a history of fires and fires consuming over 100,000 acres aren’t that rare. In the late 1800s and all of the 1900s, logging and the fire suppression efforts changed the natural progression of forest fires.
As the Pagami Creek Fire calmed down due to cold, wet weather, Forest Service officials had more time to respond to criticism. On Monday, October 3, the Type 1 management team turned over control to a Type 2 management team.
It provides significant income to the surrounding communities, such as Grand Marais and Ely.
Fire keeps the forest healthy and creates habitat for creatures that are currently struggling due to climate change.
In my opinion, the Forest Service needs to manage the fires in such a way that achieves forest restoration without harming tourism.
The main objection I can see people having is that because this is a designated wilderness area under U.S.
In order to assure that an increasing population, accompanied by expanding settlement and growing mechanization, does not occupy and modify all areas within the United States and its possessions, leaving no lands designated for preservation and protection in their natural condition, it is hereby declared to be the policy of the Congress to secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness. When you read the great wilderness philosophers, such as Leopold, Muir, Olson, the wilderness character that they describe isn’t the devastation of a fire, but it is the natural preserved beauty of an untouched forest. We passed high over the blue misty ridges of the Appalachians, which pinned the first colonists to their beachheads. The wilderness defined Americans as a people; it was that untouched wilderness that drove the expansion of the country, created a wealth of American dreams and defined American rugged individualism. Bryan Hansel is a freelance writer, award-winning photographer and an American Canoe Association L4 Open Water Coastal Kayaking Instructor. I was in the BWCA from Sept 8-14, on Disappointment, so saw from rather close the massive plume generated by the fire. I would take mild issue with the defense of your beginning statement of facts with the quotation from the Wilderness Act of 1964.
Now, coming down from such lofty perch, I must say how affected I was by the sight of the smoke and ash boiling up. Overall, however, I would say we, the public, could use a bit better education as to the true extent of what may be a wilderness experience.
The Forest Service already manages the BWCA in a more park-like fashion with designated campsites, privies, etc. I guess it comes down to if you believe that the BWCA is different than any old Wilderness Area — not that there are enough in the country. Clearly your statement is true, that the BWCA is run under a more park-like regimen than a true wilderness.
That said (and stepping outside the belljar) I do like your idea of closer attention to the forests so that fires of such devastation become less likely. I think there are a number of differences between a Boundary Waters experience and a wilderness experience. I think describing the policy as Manifest Destiny is a bit misapplied as Manifest Destiny was about expansion. Sounds to me as if we’re in pretty close agreement as to overall management of this resource. You can write to the Superior National Forest using their contact form or call them at (218) 626-4300. As far as the Forest Service in Grand Marais, I’ve always had great experiences with them. Go light; the lighter the better, so that you have the simplest material for health, comfort and enjoyment.
Your family so needs a mini-escape and you've always wanted to check out the "The Waterpark Capital of the World," but when it comes time to book that escape, the choices can become a tad overwhelming and you never make the reservation. So we put together an insider's guide to the warm waters, winter sports and fun indoor activities to keep your winter boredom at bay.
Take in a peaceful winter horseback ride at Woodside Ranch, a 15-minute drive from the Dells. Retrieving your meal from a model train is fun, especially when a rotating cast of stuffed animal characters accompanies it. But what do you do when you’re out in the wilderness, thirsty and lost, and need water to fill your bottles? It may take a while, but if you are traveling downhill, you’ll eventually get to water. Hidden basins may not be easy to see, as the same terrain features that make them possible also make them hard to find. There are many watercourses or ponds that are only filled when it is raining or perhaps only in the rainy season. Look for muddy areas, especially those that are lower down, such as the bottom of a small pool. Once you’ve found your water, always be sure to purify it, no matter how clear it looks. If the water is muddy, pre-filter it with a cloth before running it through your water filter. In normal circumstances this might have kept the fire inside the BWCA, but the area had suffered a particularly dry fall and fire danger was high.
Officials described the fire as a plume-driven fire, that created its own weather, including a massive pyrocumulonimbus cloud, ash-filled rain, hail and lightning. Well-formed convection columns develop under unstable atmospheric conditions, and they can dominate a fire’s behavior with updrafts and downdrafts (much like a thunder cell).
This area is now burnt and the beauty lost for the rest of most of my lifetime.The fire management teams responded in what seemed like to locals an unorganized fashion, and it seemed like they were unable to get out information to the public quickly enough. Much to the relief of locals and BWCA lovers, it seemed like someone who knew how to handle the situation showed up and took control. Historic data from sampling tree cores gives an accurate view of forest fires back to the 1700s.
Campsites and the relatively untouched beauty of the area draw people from around the world. It seemed like the Forest Service was trying to achieve that when they set fires to protect Lake One and Lake Two from the Pagami Creek lightning strike. My gut tells me that the Forest Service should put out natural fires, especially when fire conditions are high, and then later carry out prescribed burns when the conditions are right.

Rising foothills appeared, then the snow-covered peaks of the Rockies, with the board expanse of the painted deserts beyond, and finally the ramparts of the coastal Sierras, the dark boarder of the sequoias, and the crashing of white surf of the blue Pacific.
Something like this costs money but so does fighting out-of-control wildfires, and many of our current politicians including Cravaack, who represents the area, lack the vision and foresight to spend money for the preservation of American wilderness as opposed to spending in reaction to an emergency. I think that an aggressively managed controlled burn plan combined with fire suppression during risky times can achieve an experience that lets visitors witness regrowth without sacrificing the overall beauty that the area is known for. Do we have a wilderness experience in the BWCA or do we have a Boundary Waters experience there?
A few that stand out the most are the park-like management, ease of access, relative safety, huge outfitter support for visitors, largest number of visitors to any Wilderness Area, motorized access allowed, private buildings and property surround it, and established campsites with privies.
Is stopping a fire at the Gunflint Trail natural when a natural fire would just sweep across into the eastern section or north across the border into Canada (and into the tangle of international treaties, laws and what not)? If you shop at that online store, PaddlingLight gets a small commission from the sale and it doesn't cost you any more.
It offers information about lightweight canoe and kayak travel, how-to articles, trip reports, adventure stories, kayak plans, canoe plans and reviews.
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Try the Cascade Kids program, where kids 4-10 can learn the basics of skiing and snowboarding. Not only have they mastered the gooey goodness of the Original Mac, with bubbling cheddar and mozzarella cheeses atop noodles with crispy breadcrumbs, but their unique offerings hit the mark.
Buffalo Phil's offers Lil' Buckaroo meals, tasty barbecue dishes with buckets of sweet and spicy sauce options and a new pizza, pasta, soup and salad lunch buffet.
If you see a dead tree with a trail of ants going up it, there’s a good chance that there is water in a hollow of that tree.
Basically, a spring is a place where underground water comes to the surface through a crack due to the pressure underground. And when they need clean water, elite soldiers are choosing the Paratroopers Water Purifier -- the smallest, lightest, and most durable water purifier on earth! Forest Service allows wildland fires to burn unless they pose a significant threat to public safety, the area outside of the wilderness or structures. The fire went from 10,000 acres to over 60,000 acres in mere hours while vaporizing everything in its path. A particularly dangerous situation arises when the plume collapses on account of gravity — the strong downdraft is capable of pushing a fire in any direction. Roads were closed, entry points into the wilderness were closed, canoeists were evacuated, houses just outside of the BWCA were evacuated, some rescuers were even caught within the fire storm and had to deploy their fire shelters in order to stay alive. It toppled trees, snapped them in half, pulled 100-foot, towering white pines out of the ground.
It took several days before they banned fires in the Superior National Forest and the Boundary Waters. Ely businesses noticed a temporary increase in business from the 600 firefighters and equipment, but worried about their future. More accurate GPS mapping changed the reported size of the fire down to a total of 93,669 acres.
Based on that data, historically the Boundary Waters experiences a 100,000 acre fire every half-century.
The combination of logging slash in the areas of the BWCA that were logged and dead trees in the forest understories built up high fuel loads. Choosing to let a fire burn in the Boundary Waters is a complex choice, because if it burns too hot, the forest might not come back the way it did in the past. By September 28, the fire fighting effort had cost over $11 million dollars and was only 61% contained. To help with the containment the Forest Service used explosives within the wilderness to blast more than a mile of fire line.
Follow up investigative reporting found that the Forest Service was way off on its fire predictions, which put people’s lives in jeopardy and caused the largest wildfire in Minnesota since 1918.
Unfortunately, they attempted the prescribed burns during conditions that weren’t perfect and we suffered the consequences of their actions when their burns burst out of control.
They should use a controlled method that would mimic the natural progression of smaller fires while protecting the shoreline, portages, trails and campsites. We flew across the checkerboard pattern of farms over the valley of the Ohio, but all I saw was the old primeval forest of green extending unbroken to the Mississippi. So little of wilderness is left that it needs to be kept in a state that preserves the natural beauty.
My thoughts are based on the belief that the BWCA is different and therefore requires a different management approach. Currently, we have an unhealthy forest and we’re on unnatural and unhealthy pace of acreage burned over a 50-year period while our changing climate is make the area warmer and more prone to wildfires. I’d argue that we have a Boundary Waters experience and that experience is worth fighting for.
The answer, of course, is no, because the reality is that we manage the fires already and we will continue to do so.
I also believe that a key part of any program to maintain the BWCA forests in a healthy state while minimizing damage to the the tourism industry should include better informing the public of what constitutes (and goes on in) a in a well-cared-for wilderness, i.e. Do you have any sense as to how the Forestry Service receives and acts on public input in this neck of the woods?
We promote self-direction by emphasizing the do-it-yourself culture, and we believe growing paddlesport participation advances wilderness protection.
With rafts for up to three people, family water slides are great for getting little ones used to big rides or sharing group giggles.
Shoot hoops, play dodgeball, take a flying leap into the foam pit or bounce around the huge trampoline court. The hearty, flavorful wraps and savory soups are sensational, and the garlic tator tot and broccoli salad sides are worth the upcharge. You need to know how to read the land as well, so that you can tell where to find water, even if you don’t have a map.
If you are in arid terrain, you will be better off traveling at night and hiding out in the shade during daylight hours. It’s not uncommon for the terrain to cause small ponds in catch basins, especially if the valley is rock, rather than dirt. Insects, like ants and bees, need water, and won’t travel far from a good reliable source. The same can be done with leafy plants, although you can accomplish the same thing by covering a branch with a plastic bag.

A spot of green on a mountainside, where the rest of the mountain is rocky or bare, most likely indicates a spring. If you find animals moving at these times of day, you can be fairly sure that they are moving toward water. There’s a good chance that there is still water underground, even if there is none on the surface. By pre-filtering it with cloth, you can remove most of the sediment, ensuring that your filter element will last longer for filtering out the more dangerous pathogens.
It’s so small and lightweight you can easily carry it in your pocket or purse, backpack or glove box. The original half-acre fire was allowed to burn to approximately 130 acres before the Forest Service decided to intervene.
The term plume-driven event was thrown around casually, but even the forest service spokesperson didn’t seem to know how to explain what was happening. During the heavy logging years from 1850 to 1899 that changed and over 815,000 acres were burned; some of that burning is contributed to extreme drought conditions. At one point, almost 1,000 fire fighters were working on the effort to stop the fire from growing. Although close to half the number of fire fighters at the maximum count remained significant resources remained on the ground. Because it is to be managed, it’s perfectly acceptable under law to put out natural fires in favor of prescribed burns done under the right conditions. We can quibble with the Forest Service’s policies until the cows come home, but the real fault lies somewhere close to the expectation (unreasonable in my view) that the woods will always be pristine for us when we arrive. Additionally, fires created by this unnatural state may destroy seed stock and the forest might change into something completely different, i.e.
Al Franken is quoted as saying that Pagami Creek may not only be the exception to the rule by escaping the BWCAW but also may be the “exception that changes the rule” of allowing some BWCAW fires to burn. Part of our mission is promoting the protection and preservation of our federal, state and local lands. Or try the new slideboard experience, a surfboard ride that combines the thrill of water slides with the interactive skill of gaming, which opens in December. Kalahari's indoor theme park features a six-story Ferris wheel, ropes courses for tykes and teens, bumper boats and even a pulse-pounding pendulum ride. Snowland suites, decorated with holiday trees and snowflakes, are available for the first time this year.
While this restaurant is slightly more upscale, it offers classic kids' meal with quality ingredients.
A line of plants going across an otherwise barren plain indicates a watercourse, even if it is dry at the moment.
The sun will warm the air in the bag, causing water to evaporate out of the leaves, which will condensate on the inside of the bag.
Between you and your four neighbors, chances are that at least one of the five households will experience a break-in… or worse, a home invasion. Sawbill Outfitters pumped 50,000 gallons of water via a forest fire sprinkler system onto their property.
Since then the Forest Service has conducted several controlled burns to remove the dead trees and create fire breaks, and several forest fires, including the 75,000 acres Ham Lake Fire which burnt part of the wilderness and destroyed 30 structures outside of the wilderness, have reduced the volume of the downed trees, but much of the fuel (dead, down and dry trees) remains. With rain in the forecast, the forest service stated that they expected limited to no growth over the next 5 to 6 days. Total personnel grew to about 800 people, and officials considered using explosives within the Boundary Waters to clear a fire line on the northern perimeter of the fire.
If fire continues at the current pace, this half-century will exceed the number of acres burned from 1850 to 1899. Luckily, the Pagami Creek fire burned through a healthy section of the forest, so it should come back naturally.
The resources included 530 personnel, 10 hotshot (Type 1) crews, 2 Type 2 crews, 3 engines, 4 dozers, 1 water tenders, 3 camp crews and other personnel. Secondly, the only part of the Wilderness Act that says anything about fire is when it waves restriction for motorized vehicles when fighting fires. Plus you can enjoy holiday festivities throughout the resort–dine in a life-size gingerbread house or bask in the twinkling glow of indoor snowfall.
There is even a possibility of finding hidden water basins in the desert, if there is rock to hold the water. Friends of mine who were out of the country recruited me and two other friends to rush to their place and grab valuables.
The following air resources were available: two Type 1 helicopters, three Type 3 helicopters, and three Beaver aircraft on floats.
Spin around the spiraling two-story go-kart trail, test your agility in the Lazer Maze or have a showdown in the Lazer Tag arena. Check for tickets first–only a few 7 p.m performances are available in November and December.
One of my friends went up the Sawbill Trail that was suppose to be open to The Grade only to find it closed in a different location than was reported to the public. People started questioning the Forest Service’s decision to let the fire burn and the Forest Service replied by defending their decision. Unfortunately, the articles didn’t talk about how invasive whitetail deer eat the white pine saplings, which makes it difficult for white pine to naturally repopulate. They preform the burns under perfect conditions that mitigate the risk of one going out of control.
You’re much more likely to find water in the depression where two mountainsides or two hillsides come together, than you are on the hillside itself.
Ask anyone whose home has ever been robbed what if feels like, and they’ll say it feels like they were violated. An anonymous Forest Service worker told a friend that he wouldn’t be surprised if they needed to evac Tofte. In the past, the Forest Service has safely carried out many prescribed burns in the BWCA under the right conditions. Because not only do criminals violate what should be your sanctuary from the world and walk away.
Especially, when that area now covers the most popular parts of the BWCA, and, especially, when it could have been prevented in favor of waiting for better conditions.
Elsewhere, several canoeists fought a forest fireon their own until rescuers arrived and put out the blaze.
Over the next few days, despite strong winds, dry air and warm temperatures, the fire only crept along, and fire containment increased to 11%.

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