Archive for the ‘Green’ Category.

Protect our Winters

Thought this organization info  I received recently from Roger Lohr  might interest some of you- thanks, Ted Young

Campaign Cause

On April 11, cross country skiing’s racing celebrity Kikkan Randall joined 74 other snow sport icons in signing a letter to President Obama to urge action on climate and energy with the organization “Protect Our Winters” http://protectourwinters.org/athleteletter-2279. Is it time for the xc ski community to get on board with these issues that threaten our passion and livelihood?

And as always, I’m looking for newsworthy info about events, programs, and special offers for the spring and summer to post on the What’s Happening Page and Hot Topics Page; so drop me a line. I’m trying to promote resorts on the site and secondarily, in my anxiety-driven existence, I probably try too hard to keep the regional What’s Happening columns (east, central, and west) somewhat even…

Best wishes, Roger Lohr,  XCSkiResorts.com

Spring Banadad Bulletin


Greetings from your BTA President!
Ski season ended early this year—but despite a disappointing season for cross country skiers, we saw a lot of activity on the Banadad Trail this year and conditions were pretty good. I hope you were able to get out to the trail for a ski this year. I skied it several times and the conditions were good and the scenery beautiful as always! Ted and Jim did a great job of grooming in tricky conditions—thanks for the great work!
As spring begins, we look to summer and maintenance and planning work.  This issue of the Banadad Bulletin includes information on this year’s grooming report, our upcoming tree planting efforts to offset our carbon footprint from grooming with the snowmobile, an update from our membership committee, and more. Of course the big project we are taking on this year is the relocation of the trail’s western trailhead.
Our organization continues to grow—with the help of many of you! We continue to build our organization capacity and membership base, and will conduct strategic planning this year to ensure our organization has clear goals to ensure we have the capacity to continue stewardship of this wonderful resource, the Banadad Ski Trail.
To all of you who love the Banadad and support our work, a heartfelt THANK YOU!! Please consider getting more involved—we will need volunteers to help with trail maintenance this year, tree planting in May, and are open to your ideas on how to continue to preserve and maintain the Banadad.
Sincerely,
Linda Bosma
President
The 2012 Winter on the Banadad
This past winter the skiing on the trail got off to a slower than usual start. In past years some portions of the trail were skiable by the Thanksgiving holidays. This year serious skiing did get underway by late December.  While ten kilometers of the trail’s eastern end was tracked there was not enough snow on the trail to track the remainder of the Banadad. Then twelve inches of snow fell just before New Year’s followed by another three inches the next night. Following the storm groomers were out and the entire trail was tracked for the first time this season.
On January 6 the first skiers completed the entire trail.  Nicole and Mathew, from Little Falls had that honor. Starting on January 6 from the west end trailhead, the pair skied the 12 kilometers to the Bedew Lake Yurts. After spending two nights at the yurt camp they skied 18 kilometers to the East End trailhead.  After completing the trip they stated that the trail was in good shape and they had a great time.
Unlike most of the state, the ski trails on the Gunflint had great snow and skiing through the winter. Then the week of March 1l came and it all ended! The temperature went-up into the 50’s seemingly over night. On March 18 the last two skiers, clad in t-shirts and shorts were spotted near the eastern trailhead. When ask how the skiing was they stated that, “they were able to ski about 3 km to the first Beaver Pond, but encountered many bare spots.” By the next day with temperatures hovering in the sixties there was little snow left.
This was the first year within the twenty nine year history of the Banadad that there was not enough snow on the Trail to ski into April.  With the Trail’s late opening this makes this year’s season one of,  if not the shortest ski season ever.
Even with the shortened season groomers, Jim Raml, and Ted Young still put-in 124 ½ hours and traveled some 486 miles grooming and tracking the trail this past season.
Trail Highlights- the Midtrail Junction
This is the first of a series of “trail highlights” on interesting features you will find along the trail. Additional trail highlights will be featured in future Banadad Bulletins and we hope to incorporate into future trail maps.
The Mid Trail Junction is located at the northern end of the old logging road that connected the Birch Cliff and Tucker Lake Logging Roads with Finn Lake Logging Road.  The Mid-Trail Junction is the spot were these old logging road came together. The site is located approximately midway along the Banadad.
Members of the Minnehaha Academy Ski Team at the trail’s Mid-Trail Junction- first week in March 2012
Some additional history – Following the 1964 Wilderness Act and 1978 Boundary Waters Act, logging within the Wilderness where these roads were located was prohibited. Beginning in 1982 these road were reopened as a Nordic Ski trail. The purpose of the new 28 kilometer wilderness trail was to link the Gunflint’s Central and Upper Nordic Ski Trails.
The first skiers through this new trail were in 1983. They skied from Borderland Lodge (now Cross River Lodge) to Windigo Lodge. First called the Ski Thru Trail, Artery Trail or Tucker Lake Trail, depending to whom you asked, the trail was officially named, by the Gunflint ski resorts, the Banadad in l984.
More then an Average Number of Skiers on the Trail this Season
With a lack of ski-able snow on most other ski trails in the state and even with the ski season’s slow start it appeared that the Banadad was off to a recorded number of skiers for the Season Then came the mid-March thaw and the season was over. The final total number of skier days for this year was 908. This compared to a past seven year average of 856 skier days.
The number of skier days is tabulated from the BWCA Permits filled out during the season. However, many people do not bother to fill out this permit, particularly “locals.”  To compensate for skiers not filling out permits the number of skiers that fill out permits is multiplied by 10% and this is then added to come out with the yearly estimated total number of skier days.
Banadad Trail Green-Up May 5 and 12
For the past four years the carbon produced by the equipment used to maintain and groom the Banadad Ski Trail has been sequestered in tree planting.  According to the Linda Bosma, BTA President; “tree planting is our way to insure that the maintenance and grooming of the trail remains carbon neutral”.
This year’s Banadad Tree Planting is scheduled for 10:00 AM, Saturday, May 5 and May 12. Planting will last about four to five hours. Meet at the Poplar Creek Guesthouse, 11 Poplar Creek Drive. Tools, tree seedlings and supervision provided.
For those needing lodging for the Tree Planting, Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B and Cabins is offering a special rate of $89/person plus taxes for two nights lodging, Barbara’s famous breakfasts each morning and a trail lunch. If you need overnight accommodations or would like more information, go to lodging or call 800-388-4487 or if in Cook County call 388-4487.
This Year’s Major Project- the Re-route of the Trail’s Eastern Trailhead
Assisted by a Minnesota DNR grant the Banadad Trail Association is working on obtaining easement and relocating a quarter- mile of the trail’s western end. Easement is required on this portion of the trail since it will travel across private land. The current owners of the property are interest in facilitating the easement and trail re-route.
This May Tom Rice, Andy Jenks and Ted Young plan to work on laying out the new trail route. The new route is  expect to be move east of the old trail. As part of the project the parking area will be enlarged and moved off the Gunflint Trail. We hope to have the project completed by next year’s ski season.

Getting the Trail Ready- This Year’s Maintenance Highlights

  • The highlight of this fall’s maintenance occurred on October 17 and 18 when eight volunteers rebuilt the Trail’s old dilapidated thirty-six foot bridge over the Banadad Creek between Banadad and Rush Lakes.  The bridge was in such bad shape that after the crew arrived at the bridge a portion of it collapsed as one of the volunteers walked across. Since the bridge was located in a remote area of the Trail, the construction crew canoed in, spent a night camping  on the trail and canoed out the next day. According to Ted Young, maintenance supervisor, “the old bridge certainly would not have supported the grooming equipment this coming winter.”
The bridge construction crew-Front left to right- Pete Harris (Grand Marais), Len Voit (Gunflint Trail), Lee Wenzel (Eden Prairie), Tom Rice (Shoreview), and Steve Lenius (Woodbury). Back- Ted Young (Gunflint Trail) and Karla Miller (Duluth).
Other maintenance projects this past fall:
  • West end of the Trail Cleared – Again this year five members of the Minnesota Conservation Corps widened one and half miles of the trail’s west end and then walked the entire eight miles of the west end trail clearing down trees as they walked.
  • Half Mile of East end Widened, – BTA’s regular trail maintenance crew member Jim Raml and his dog Blanca “ATVed” up to the BWCA line at the Meads Lake Portage. From there he hiked-in three and one half miles, clearing down trees as he walked. Jim camped on the trail and spent four wet-buggy ten-hour days widening about three-quarters of a mile of the brush-blocked trail. Great job Jim!
  • LaceLake, Tall Pines and Knapp Trails – Located outside the BWCA where mechanical equipment is allowed, chainsaws were used to clear all the summers’ accumulation of down trees. Later the center brush was mowed with a brush hog equipped track Bobcat on the trails outside the BWCA. “The swampier” sections of these trails we plan to clear by hand with a brush saw.
  • Volunteers – working over two weekends twenty-five volunteers from the Banadad Trail Association, Minnehaha Academy Ski Team and North Star Ski Touring Club logged 174 hours clearing  2 ½ miles of brush and down trees at the trail’s two ends. This year volunteers worked exclusively within the BWCA which required that all work be done by hand.
Note from the Membership Committee
If you haven’t become a member, please consider joining to support the trail you love. Annual membership categories range from $15 upwards. Please see the Banadad Trail Association’s website at http://www.banadad.org/ for more information and to sign up to become a member. We need your support, your muscle, and your pocketbook! The Banadad Trail Association is a 501 (c) (3) organization and your donations are tax deductible.
Support the Banadad Ski Trail by Joining the Banadad Trail Association! Click on membership to join

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Spring Banadad Bulletin

Current Ski Conditions on the Banadad

This past weekend three parties skied the entire trail. Along the way they stayed overnight in the Croft Yurt at Bedew Lake. Reporting on conditions along the trail, each group stated that the trail remains in excellent shape. While the track early in the morning was frozen hard, the light snow that has been occurring overnight during the past few days has mitigated the potential icy conditions.

With over twenty inches of snow on the ground, and more snow on the way, it is likely that the Banadad will remain open and ski-able well into April. For current trail conditions go to the Banadad Trail Associaiton’s website.
Then Don’t Forget about Spring Crust Skiing
If you are on the Gunflint Trail this time of year, it is a good time to get out and cross-country ski on the crust of the snow. It’s almost effortless skiing, especially if you use the skate-skiing technique. Crust is best after a few days of thaw conditions followed by cold nights. Every day is different, so just go out and see what it’s like. Crust sets up best in the mornings, and sometimes the sun will soften the crust too much by midday or early afternoon. If you hit the right conditions, it’s great going.
Crust skiing takes place on the Gunflint from the end of March through early April. When conditions are right the lakes are turned into giant flat ski trails enabling skiers to travel from lake to lake and to get into remote BWCA lakes.
January –  Banadad Ski Trip
Karla Miller, Banadad Trail Association Board Member (BTA) I love the woods and I love to ski, but I was still a bit apprehensive about the Banadad trip. While I’ve worked on this trail, walked it, and skied parts of it, I hadn’t gone end to end until this year. The first day we would go 19k between the two yurts and the second day 12k heading out to the trailhead. The trails I frequent locally are short, or they allow me to cut back if I’ve had enough skiing for one day. With this linear trail I would most certainly be committed and totally immersed in the northern wilderness.
The four of us women (two veteran Banadad skiers- Linda Bosma, Trail Association President, and Chris Matter, Trail Association Board member, and two newbies- Linda Whitehead and I) embarked on our adventure, skiing two kilometers from the Poplar Creek Guest house parking lot late Saturday afternoon to the Tall Pines Yurt. It was a short but wonderful ski through the woods as we enjoyed the trail and chatted along the way.
That night at the yurt we had invited Barbara and John Bottger and Ted Young to join us for supper. It was an evening filled with laughter, conversation and fine cuisine. We enjoyed Linda B’s awesome shrimp pasta, salad and garlic bread, along with and delectable almond cheesecake dessert provided by our guests. The trip was off to a great start.
Low temperature Saturday night was –32, but the yurt stayed warm (some would say HOT), especially for Linda W who drew the short straw and the top bunk. She was awfully quiet, on top of her sleeping bag in shorts and a t-shirt. When asked if she was ok, her relaxed response (without even opening her eyes) was, “yeah, I’m imagining I’m laying on the beach.”
From the two women, Linda and Chris, who had been doing this trip for 16 years now, we were given good advice: “Remember to pack moleskin, layer up with wicking fabric, and no cotton!” Those veterans wisely refused to let me join them if I didn’t get rid of the cotton I packed, and even gave me the shirt from their pack.
Before breakfast (and before the mercury had reached 0) on Sunday morning, I walked down the path to Hooker Lake. Standing there, bundled up, taking in the view, my eyes watered as I stood in awe, with the pink sky beyond the pines and the silent snow-blanketed lake. No usual swooping Gray Jays looking for a handout, but at a closer look there were signs of prior activity, including the trail of an otter who had been hopping and sliding along the edge.
Fresh fruit, oatmeal, coffee and juice made for a good ski breakfast. (See Yurt Cooking with Chris on You Tube for a closer look.) We headed out about 11 a.m. for our first full day of skiing, with temps at about 7 degrees. Really it was perfect weather! Hard to believe I’m saying that after finding myself normally shivering in those conditions as I run between house, car, and office. Once in a while, skiing the trail, I would get cold fingertips, but that seemed to pass quickly as I’d just clench them together in my mitten for a few minutes.
It is like a soul massage – – gliding down the Banadad trail through the Boundary Water wilderness with snow draped trees on either side. Exhilarating and breathtaking views all the way as we passed thick pines, peeling birch, high areas with lakes in the distance, low swamp areas, and evidence of past “blowdowns” and burns. We shared the trail with a few grouse running across the trail in front of us and then watching us pass from behind a tree. While the four of us skied apart at times, we were careful to join up for water breaks and a quick lunch on the trail, sitting on a space blanket with a banquet of venison, cheese, fruit, trail mix, bars & crackers.
On that initial east end section of the trail I didn’t seem to have a lot of gliding going on, which was probably due in part to the conditions and a somewhat level trail. As we neared the Croft Yurt we were able to take advantage of some downward slopes. You can’t help but squeal “whee!!!” gliding down those hills – some of them are best snowplowed half way down first.
We arrived at the Croft Yurt around 5 pm just as the wind was really starting to pick up. Ted was there with the fire going already and had transported our gear via a separate snowmobile trail access. Creamy wild rice soup, grilled cheese and a cold Leinie’s rounded out a perfect day. I had the top bunk that night and was quite comfortable laying there listening to the fire crackle and the wind howl outside the yurt.
The next morning after another hearty breakfast of oatmeal, we left the Croft Yurt about 10 a.m. and headed out on freshly groomed trails. Initially, the trail goes up what seemed to be an endless hill. It was obvious my wax had a bit to be desired this early as I labored up the hill, working hard not to slide back down. I learned the danger of duck walking up that hill at one point when the tip of my ski caught on a young birch tree, shaking loose the snow on its branches directly on to me.
That trek uphill was well worth the effort and provided a good warm up, even though I was complaining all the way. While there were some additional upward inclines to tackle, for the most part it seemed most of the trail on the west end was downhill. At 17 degrees, it was perfect skiing weather. It was too short of a ski, as we reached the car shuttled to the trailhead within about 3 1/2 hrs.
Yes, I skied the Banadad and I realized the cost of the trip and my BTA membership are quite a deal. Back in this busy life of civilization I’m still reliving the vivid memories of gliding on that wonderful single-track groomed trail through the BWCA wilderness.
The Greening of the Banadad- Tree Planting
For the last three years the carbon produced by the equipment used to maintain and groom the Banadad Ski Trail has been sequestered in tree planting. This carbon offset will continue this year. The Banadad Trail Association will be planting 400 red and white pine trees along and near the Banadad.
If you would like help in the tree planting, give us a call at 218-388-4487. The Banadad Tree Planting is scheduled for 10:00 AM, Saturday, May 14. Meet at the Poplar Creek Guesthouse, 11 Poplar Creek Drive. Tools and supervision provided.
If you need overnight accommodations, go to Green-up Specials.
Depending on the weather there should be about two weeks or so of skiing left this season on the Banadad. And of course don’t forget “spring crust skiing!” For current conditions and the latest news tune into the Banadad Trail Association’s website.

Trees Planted along the Banadad- Trail Goes Carbon Neutral

The Banadad Trail Association, friends and neighbors this spring are planting six hundred red

Tree Planting along the Banadad

Tree Planting along the Banadad

and white pines and 100 white spruce trees in previously logged and “blow-down” areas along the eastern end of the Banadad Ski Trail and around Little Ollie Lake. Some 350 trees went into the ground over this past weekend. The remaining trees are planned to be planted during this week by local members of the Association, guests and staff at Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B. As in previous years, the tree planting is a way for the Banadad Trail Association to insure that the maintenance and grooming of the trail remains carbon neutral. Similarly Poplar Creek B&B, in joining with the Association in this project, is seeking to sequester the carbon produced by the use of its vehicles in these new tree

This weekend project was injunction with the Gunflint annual Green-Up.. The year’s event attracted some two hundred participants who in addition to the tree planting along the Banadad began clearing the underbrush, called –releasing’” around trees previously planted during the event in past years.