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2016 Banadad Trail Association Annual Meeting and Trail Clearing Weekend

Banadad Ski Trail, BWCA’s Longest Tracked Ski Trail will hold their annual Trail Clearing Event and Annual Meeting/Dinner.

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 intersection). The meeting will be at 5:30 and will follow with a Potluck Dinner; all are welcome.

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

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.

Subscribe to the Banadad Bulletin, our free quarterly e-mail newsletter.

Questions contact:

Andy Jenks,
Banadad Trail Association

Mother Nature Complicates opening the Banadad

When we last posted here, the Banadad Trail Association had just hosted the annual trail clearing day and membership meeting.  Several volunteers had clipped and sawed their way through miles of alder brush and fallen trees, readying the trail for the winter.  More trail-clearing folks followed in the next couple of weeks, and we all had a good feeling about the upcoming ski season.

How quickly that changed! The much-anticipated snow finally came, but not as the fluffly, fat flakes that we prefer.  Instead, it fell heavy and wet, cloaking every twig and tree in a thick coat.  Mother Nature mixed in a bit of freezing drizzle, and then added more of that same kind of snow.  Someone likened it to wet cement.  That was an apt description, for when it solidly froze, just like dried cement, it weighted those trees until they were bowing down to the ground.  For many miles, the trail was completely impassable.  As beautiful as it was, it created miles of havoc, and a boatload of new clearing to be done.

For the last several weeks, many people, both volunteer and paid, have been working hard to clear the trail so that it is usable this winter.  The good news is that at this point, the Lace Lake Trail (4K) and the Tall Pines Trail (1.7K) are both opened and groomed.  The snow depth is 18″.  Snow still covers the trees, making for a uniquely beautiful trail.  Come out and ski it!

banadad 2016 sn

The eastern end of the Banadad is once again nearly cleared, with about another day or two of work remaining.  As soon as we get fresh snow, this section will be groomed and tracked.  The trail will extend to the mid-trail junction, near the yurt.  A loop will be possible, utilizing the Moose Trail.  While not what we would have hoped for back in October when we were working, at least we have something here to ski. The distance for this section is 15.5K.

Unfortunately, it is not expected that the western end of the Banadad will be open this season.  Much work remains on the remaining 12K.  As time and funding permit, we will chip away at it, and we welcome your help if you so desire.  To that end, a sign has been posted in the parking lot, and two saws are hanging for anyone who wants to snowshoe in on the trail and cut a few things away.

We are so grateful to everyone who has stepped in to assist in the herculean effort to re-open the trail.  Mother Nature tossed us some lemons, but we didn’t let that stop us.  Join us on the Banadad, the Lace Lake Trail and the Tall Pines Trail, and see how pretty this season has turned out to be.




Barbara Young ” This is the most beautiful winter I’ve seen in a long time”

Barbara Young quoted in StarTribune January 9, 2016.

Banadad Trail Clearing Weekend 10-24-2015


Trail Clearing Group October 24 2015

On Saturday, October 24, 2015, 20 volunteers helped clear and widen sections of the trail.












John Bottger and Ted Young

John Bottger and Ted Young




Robyn Hanson, Sarah Kempainen and Karla Miller











Andy Jenks and Anna Botner (USFS)


Barb Gecas on Cover of Minnesota Trails Magazine

Hestons Lodge and Banadad Trail Association Board member Barb Gecas is on the front cover of the current Minnesota Trails Magazine. Her daughter is following her in the picture.

Barb Gecas and daughter on Gunflint Nordic Trails

Barb Gecas and daughter on Gunflint Nordic Trails

Some Snow on Trail but Need More

Yesterday eleven members of Minnehaha Academy’s Nordic Ski Team lead by their coach, Anne Rykken, worked on clearing the west end of the Banadad.. The kids on the team thought the work was great fun.-

On the westend there is about 1-2″ of snow. Not near enough snow to get onto that end of trail with equipment. However, on the east end the snow measures 3-4 inches. Four inches is almost enough, but not quite enough, to get out onto the trail and start packing. While the snowmobiles are out  packing the packing crew will work on clearing the down trees remaining on the  remote section of the east end just beyond the Logging camp.

Help Clear the Downed trees on the Banadad

GiveMn-Give to the max day -November 13

A wind storm this summer dropped hundreds of trees down across the Banadad within the BWCA. We are working on clearing these trees .

While the Banadad Trail Association recently received a $5,000 grant from the US Forest Service to help pay for this work, we have to match those funds with 35% of that amount in order to access the funds. The Banadad Trail Association needs your help so we can clear the remaining 3-4 miles of Trail and get the Banadad open for skiing this winter.

We are turning to outdoor enthusiasts, skiers, and other who love the Banadad Trail and asking if you can help support this work with a donation.  If you are able,  please donate to the Banadad Trail at Giving to max day – November 13 –  GiveMN.  Thanks

July Storms Litter Trail With Trees

“Imagine going out for a lovely ski on the Banadad Ski Trail and coming across a very large clump of down birches, balsams and a twenty inch aspen flanked by two other large aspen blocking the trail. And by the way you are in the BWCA. To remove these trees it took six people using hand saws and sweat labor over five hours.” States Linda Bosma, Banadad Trail Association former president write up for GiveMN.

tree clump

These six person volunteer crew started at the Banadad eastern trail early in the morning. According to members of the crew; “We cut some eight down trees blocking the trail before we even got to this intimidating clump.” After removing this clump three more trees were cut by the sawyers as they travel west along the trail. Others in this crew assisted with the down trees then tackled the high balsam and spruce branches on the trails side. After putting in a full day this crew had cleared a little over a mile of the trail’s eastern end.


This was just one of the accomplishments the Banadad Trail Association can brag about when eighteen volunteer attended the Association’s annual volunteer trail work day. In addition to the crew working on the trail’s first mile, two other crews worked on other sections of the trail.

The second group of six volunteers walked two half miles to the Lizz Lake Portage, outside the BWCA where the side brush had not been trimmed for many years. They spent the day cutting back the large alder side brush. Two members of this crew wearing rubber boots waded through a foot and one half deep swamp to trim back the brush further down the trail.  After a day of trimming this group had opened up about a quarter of a mile of the trail beyond Lizz Lake Portage.

The volunteer’s third group brought up the rear trimmed mostly conifer side brush and branches which last year was a major problem when heavy snow made these branches lean down into the trail.

After the day’s work was complete Andy Jenks, the Association’s president stated; “that a lot had been accomplished and it was a great day on the trail today”.

Andy continued, “But there still is much more to do. A storm went through six to eight remote interior miles of the trails eastern section this past summer leaving hundreds of trees down across the trail. This section of the Trail because of the distance can not easily be reached by our volunteers so a paid contractor is working on clearing this section. Thus far the cost to clear two and one half miles has been over $1500 and we still have many miles go. While a $5000 USFS grant is helping to pay for this work we must raise and contribute 35% of the costs in cash ourselves.


Andy emphasized, “We really need you help to pay for this work, please log-in and donate to the Banadad’s trail work at GiveMN.

Trail Grooming Tomorrow

Tomorrow, Friday, trail groomers will be out on the west end of the Banadad. The east end will be groomed the next day.

Tomorrow it is also going to warm up to above zero for the first time in days. Last night/this morning the temperature hit negative 36.

Magazine Features BTA Volunteers

Silent Sport Magazine featured the Banadad Trail Association’s volunteer trail maintenance in December.  The article entitled, “Voluntees ready Minnesota’s Banadad ski trail for snow.”