Pow Wow Trail

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Pow Wow Trail

Postby BRTman » Fri Dec 09, 2011 6:06 pm

More news coverage on the Martin Kubic letter to the USFS.

BWCAW groups concerned about trail closure
Brittany Berrens, Lake County News Chronicle 12/8/11

Expressing concern about a popular hiking trail in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, representatives from nine outdoor and environmental groups have signed a letter of concern addressed to Superior National Forest supervisor Jim Sanders.

The group is concerned that because of the damage caused by the Pagami Creek fire earlier this year, forest officials will close the 30-mile Pow Wow Trail near Isabella. But forest officials say the group shouldn’t jump to conclusions.

Tofte District Ranger John Wytanis admits that from an aerial observation, the trail looks close to completely damaged. While the trail is closed right now due to safety concerns, he said the Superior National Forest is nowhere near making a final decision on the trail. Because tree roots were severely damaged during the fire, there is still a risk that trees and branches could fall, causing a safety concern for hikers who might want to head out on the trail. “The plan is to let it sit through the winter as more trees come down and let whatever’s going to happen, happen during the winter,” he said.

The plan is to assess the trail in the spring when crews can get out on the ground and get a good look at exactly how much damage was done and what the next steps toward repairing the trial would be. Wytanis said the trail could be closed for another year, depending on safety issues.

Wytanis also said the trail may not be the first item on the list to get repaired. Because the BWCAW is a popular destination for canoeists and kayakers, he said much of the restoration focus will be on campsites and portages. This is one of the group’s concern, Martin Kubik, Boundary Waters Advisory Committee president and a co-signer of the letter, said. “Our mission is to put the trails on an equal footing (to the campsites and portages),” he said.

The group is also concerned that because it may be expensive to repair the trail, the Superior National Forest will “take the easy way out” and abandon the trail, Kubik said. Wytanis admitted that repairing the trails, campsites, and portages in the BWCAW will be expensive, but hopes that the Superior National Forest will receive extra funding from grants and other sources to make the extraordinary repairs. Both Kubik and Wytanis hoped that volunteer organizations would also help to rebuild the trail, as they have with other trails in the past after the Ham Lake fire and the blow down.

Overall, Wytanis did not understand the group’s concern because it is too early in the damage assessment process to make any final decisions on the trail. “No decision has been made,” Wytanis said. “We’re not even thinking about (closing the trail permanently).” Kubik stated that the group just wants to make sure they are involved in the decision making process and wanted to make sure forest officials knew they were open to help keep the trail open for future use.
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Re: Pow Wow Trail

Postby finnbay » Sat Dec 10, 2011 5:54 pm

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Having walked the first 2 1/2 miles of the Pow Wow a few weeks ago, it is evident that the trail was in the middle of some of the worst devastation. Looking at maps of the fire, aerial photos and a few first hand photos (of which I've included), there is a lot of work to do to clear the trail and remove hazards from alongside it. That being said, the regrowth potential is enormous and is already starting. Evidence of green started showing up almost immediately. I recently was looking at some archival footage of the Forest Center area from the 1950's and 60's, and the growth within the last few decades was phenomenal. I'm positive that the next few decades will duplicate this environmental miracle again. No one likes to see the after effects of a large forest fire, however, the next few years is going to make this a very interesting area to experience.

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Re: Pow Wow Trail

Postby PaddlerJimmy » Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:13 pm

Coalition hopes to save BWCA hiking trail
Article by: CURT BROWN , Star Tribune 12/10/11

A new group has formed to try to save a popular 29-mile hiking loop in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness ravaged by last summer's Pagami Creek fire.

The Coalition to Bring Back the Pow Pow Trail hopes to lobby the U.S. Forest Service to keep the trail clear 17 miles north of Isabella. "The challenges in restoring the trail are quite high, but we are willing to help the Forest Service preserve this beautiful trail for future generations," said Martin Kubik, a trail activist from Vadnais Heights. In 1993, when the Forest Service removed the trail from its management plan, Kubik successfully lobbied to keep it open. Kubik says an undergrowth of brush will obscure the trail the next few years without a canopy of trees. His coalition, which includes nine hiking and environmental groups, sent a letter to the Forest Service offering to help and opposing an alternate trail outside the BWCA. For more information, e-mail: bringbackPWT@yahoo.com. John Wytanis, Superior Forest district manager in Tofte, says it might be impossible to keep the trail open because of the danger of burned trees falling.
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Re: Pow Wow Trail

Postby PaddlerJimmy » Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:49 am

Work Underway to Restore Popular BWCA Trail
Dayna Landgrebe, WDIO 1/9/13

Work is underway to restore a popular trail in the BWCA, burnt up by the Pagami Creek wildfire of 2011.

On Wednesday night, a group of outdoor advocates get at Duluth's Hartley Nature Center getting an update on the Pow Wow Trail in the BWCA from the Boundary Waters Advisory Commission.

Commission President Martin Kubik said eight of the 31 mile trail was turned to charred dust during the massive wildfire.

"The Pagami Creek fire was so intense that it burned all the soil, or a lot of the soil, and there is noting but dust or gravel in the ground," Kubik said.

Kubik said now the commission is working with the U.S. Forest Service to create a comprehensive restoration plan for the years ahead.

"Our goal is to have a plan to bring it back. That will include marking the trail, cutting all the tree falls, restoring the camp sites and replacing the latrines that burned in the fire," Kubik said.

He said in the more-than two years since the blaze, the Forest Service has done a lot of work to cut those fallen trees in about 24 miles of the trail. But overall, he said much of the trail remains unmarked.

"We need to make a plan that will work with the hikers so they can use so they can use the trail again like they're used to," Kubik said. "We realize that there will take more than one generation before the trail comes back."
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