Archive for September 2011

Banadad Bridge Re-build in the News

The replacing of the Banadad Bridge on September 17 was noted in a recent article on Cook County’s own public radio’s website- click on BWCA Bridge to veiw.  An article on the project  also can be found on the Midwest’s  leading Nordic Ski websites – Skinny Ski.

BWCA Bridge Built as Fire Continues

Saturday, September 17th – the Banadad Bridge remotely located in the BWCA, midway along the Banadad ski trail, was rebuilt over the weekend by a volunteer crew organized by the Banadad Trail Association (BTA) in conjunction with several North Star Ski Touring Club (NSSTC) members. Grant funds from Arrowhead Electric Cooperative aided the project. The construction crew included Ted Young (Boundary Country Trekking on the Gunflint) & Steve Lenius (Woodbury), both who had been involved with the trail’s last bridge construction in 1996 as well as Tom Rice (Shoreview), Lee Wenzel (Eden Prairie), Lowell Johnson (Lake Elmo), Len Voit (Gunflint Trail), Pete Harris (Croftville) and Karla Miller (Duluth).

The scheduled project was given special permission by the US Forest Service to enter the BWCA since the Pagami Creek Fire east of Ely had forced the closure of most of the B WCA entry points west of the Gunflint Trail including One Island Lake where the crew launched. While the fire had encompassed over 98,000 acres, recent cooler weather & slight moisture allowed for the the crew to proceed.

bridge work -s

The group portaged into One Island Lake from the Moose Trail, two miles west of Poplar Lake, to reach Rush Lake canoing to the far west  end where the bridge is located and they set up camp. The projected involved removing the 3’x6’x8′ rough cut cedar decking and replacing the rotting 24′ log support stringers and abuttments. The total bridge is 40′ long that is made up of a 24′ center span and an 8′ approach on each end supported by cedar timbers. The cedar decking reinstalled on the replacement stringers that were put in place with a series of rollers, levers, pickaroons, a timber jack, cant hook and manual lifting.

The bridge was completed by late afternoon Saturday so the crew cleared about 3 km of trail. They returned from the Boundary Waters Sunday morning. Ted Young expressed relief in completion of the repair project noting, “The bridge previously installed in 1996 was solid until the last few years when the aging support beams rotted out and it became treacherous crossing, especially with the weight of the groomer.”

Front left to right- Pete Harris, Len Voit, Lee Wenzel, Tom Rice, and Steve Lenius. Back- Ted Young and Karla Miller

Front left to right- Pete Harris, Len Voit, Lee Wenzel, Tom Rice, and Steve Lenius. Back- Ted Young and Karla Miller

The BTA ( is a non-profit organization formed to maintain and enhance the Banadad Ski Trail system, preserve the history of the forest and trail as well as promote appreciation and care of the BWCA. The Banadad trail is a 28.8 km linear ski trail of which 22 km is within the BWCA.

NSSTC (, founded in 1967, supports non-motorized outdoor recreation and social events with an emphasis on cross-country skiing and the maintenance of trails.

Another Widefire on the South Seagull Lake Road

Yesterday’s heavy winds brought down a power line igniting another fire along the South Seagull Road. With extremely dry conditions in the forest around Seagull the fire spread quickly. The Gunflint Fire Department was dispatched and by 7:00pm the USFS planes were making water drops.

According to, Banadad Trail ski groomer and Seagull Lake resident, Jim Raml, the fire began down the road from his land and the fire has now spread to his land. While the water drops helped  knocked the fire down last night, they did not extinguish it. With heavy winds again this morning the fire is picking up momentum.

The South Seagull Road including Raml’s property previously burned during the Ham Lake Fire. Needless to say Jim is not a “happy camper.” and he asked with the extremely dry conditions in the forest did the Forest Service  allow the  Pagami Creek Fire at first continue to burn on its own and not extinguish it. Now it is out of control.

Author Ted Young notes -according to the USFS’ Pat Johnson, “the Van Lake fire, which started Sept.6, is about 3 acres and is being monitored.” Monitored! Why are they not putting this fire out also.