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.
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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