The non-wilderness sections of the Border Route trail have been fully cleared by BRTA crews, including removal of the storm damage from the 2015 and 2016 storms that knocked down a significant numbers of trees. This includes the entire eastern segment from near the Little John Lake overlook east to the eastern trailhead, and the entire western section from the western trail head east to near the junction with the Crab Lake Cutoff trail.
The eastern wilderness section from the junction with the Daniels Lake Spur trail east to the eastern border has been completely cleared of storm damage through the efforts of BRTA crews, CCM&I crews, Forest Service fire and recreation crews and the Flathead crew from Montana. Some brushing remains at the junction with the east end of the Long Portage just east of the junction with the Daniels Lake Spur trail. The western wilderness section from where the Mucker Lake flow crosses the BRT to the intersection with the Daniels Lake Spur trail has been cleared of all storm damage with normal brush levels remaining. The Sock Lake, and Topper Lake segments have been partially cleared and all tree falls have been limbed off or a path around has been set. See the additional details below for the wilderness segments.
Please note that the South Lake Camp has not been reopened. It is expected that the Forest Service will restore it during summer 2017.
Trail condition changes are subject to forces of nature resulting in tree falls that can occur at any time. Please be cautious if you have to go off trail to get around tree falls as the terrain can be very uneven. Brush grow back will normally take 3 or 4 years before it obstructs the trail. The brush clearing dates in each segment can be used to determine the potential of brush obstructing the trail.
By Tom Suter, BRTA Director, BRT Wilderness Maintenance
•The McFarland segment from the eastern BWCAW boundary to the McFarland/East Pike portage was cleared in early October, 2014. All storm tree falls were cleared in early October, 2016.
•This segment from the McFarland/ East Pike portage to the Pine/ West Pike portage was cleared in May, 2015. All storm damage tree falls were cleared in in early October 2016.
•This segment from the Pine/West Pike portage to the west end of the Clearwater/West Pike portage was cleared in May 2015. All storm damage tree falls were cleared in early October 2016. The brushing needed in the 1.32 miles east from the V29 overlook (overlook of the West Pike island from south of the island) was also completed.
•This segment from the west end of the Clearwater/ West Pike portage (east end of Clearwater) to the junction with the West Clearwater camp trail was last fully cleared in May and September, 2016. This involved clearing the storm damage and removal of overgrown brush.
•This segment of the BRT goes west from the West Clearwater camp trail junction to the Daniels Lake trail junction, and overlaps with the Long Portage. This segment is partially cleared with brushing needed to clear heavy brush in the 200 yards going east from the east end of the Long Portage.
•This segment of the BRT is shared with the Long Portage between Rose Lake and Rove Lake. There was heavy damage on the Long Portage that was cleared by the Forest Service July 1 and 2, 2016.
•This segment of the BRT goes from the west end of the Long Portage to the Stairway Portage. The entire segment from Stairway portage east to the Long Portage was cleared and brushed in May 2013. The storm tree falls damage was cleared in early October, 2016.
•This segment of the BRT goes from the Stairway Portage to the South Lake trail junction. During summer 2016 the segment was cleared from Stairway portage to the Rat Lake Bluffs (about 0.75 miles east of the South Lake trail). The remaining part of this segment was cleared of storm damage treefalls in early October, 2016, but needs to be brushed. This segment was last brushed in May 2017.
•This segment goes from the South Lake Trail to the Topper Lake Cutoff trail, and includes junctions with the Mucker Lake trail, the Mucker Lake drainage flow and the Sock Lake camp trail. The portion of this segment from the junction with the South Lake trail west to the flow from Mucker Lake was cleared of storm damage treefalls in early October, 2016. There remains about 200 yards of heavy brush to clear near the South Lake Trail junction.
•From the Mucker Lake flow to the Topper Lake cutoff trail there are several treefalls that have been limbed off or a path around has been set. Brushing was completed from the Topper Lake Cutoff junction east to a short distance west of the Sock Lake camp trail in May, 2016. More brushing is needed to the Mucker lake drainage.
•This segment extends from the junction with the Topper Lake cutoff trail to the junction of with the Crab Lake trail. There are a small number of treefalls in the western 1.25 miles of this segment that have been limbed off or a path around has been set. Brush needs to be cleared in the 1.25 miles. The rest of the segment was fully cleared in August and October, 2016.
•The trail segment from the junction of the BRT/Crab Lake Spur west past the junction with the Crab Lake cutoff trail to the western Boundary of the BWCAW was cleared in July 2012. EXPECTATION: This segment is naturally relatively clear since the 2007 burn. It’s unknown if there is storm damage in this segment.
•Storm damage tree falls were cleared in early October, 2016.
•This trail can have standing water in the road side ditch and old ruts near the trailhead at Clearwater Road when there is snow melt or heavy rains.
•This trail has been fully recovered in summer and early October, 2106 from the extensive storm damage.
•The non-wilderness portion of the trail was cleared in May 2016 and provides access to the Moss Lake trail.
•The South Lake trail was recovered in May, 2016 from the December, 2015 storm damage, including several tree messes and a lot of bent brush from the snow load. A bypass of a large tree north (UTM 685959.29E 5328797.43N 15U) of the Partridge southwest camp was reworked to make the bypass more obvious. The trail down to the South Lake camp from the BRT junction was fully cleared. Unfortunately, the June 19 storm brought down a lot of trees on the north end of this segment cutting off access to the camp. The trail down to the camp was reopened in early October, 2016.
•Please note that the South Lake Camp was severely damaged and has not been reopened. It is expected that the Forest Service will restore the camp during summer 2017
•There is still a 10 foot section of the tread toward the lower end of Partridge Lake that can be under water if the lake level is high.
•The non-wilderness portion of the South Lake Trail was fully cleared in May 2016 and provides access to the west end of the Moss Lake Trail.
•The Mucker Lake trail beyond the junction with the Topper Lake Cutoff trail was scouted in May 2013. It was clear with the exception of having to work around flooding from snow melt. The flooding normally recedes by the middle of May. This part of the Mucker lake trail is not being maintained by the BRTA.
•The part of the Mucker Lake trail from its trailhead to the junction with the Topper Lake Cutoff trail was cleared in early October, 2016.
•This trail can have standing water in old ruts at the trail head and along the trail to the Topper Lake Cutoff trail, due to snow melt or heavy rains.
•The Topper Lake Cutoff was cleared May 2016. In August, 2016 some minor damage from the June, 2016 storm was cleared.
•In early May 2015, the last two northern sections of the board walk on the Topper Lake Cutoff are broken at the cross member where the two are joined. A beaver dam has been constructed up against the southern two sections of the boardwalk with several loose sticks laying on the boardwalk. In May, 2016, there is a third section missing in the middle, so crossing can be done by using the standing trees in the beaver dam to support stepping across the front side of the beaver dam.
•The Moss lake trail is entirely outside the BWCAW and runs along the south side of Moss Lake connecting the South Lake Trail and the Caribou Rock Trail to form a hiking loop that includes the Rose Lake Cliffs overlooks above South, Rat and West Rose lakes. A loop hike can start either from the South Lake trailhead or the Caribou Rock trailhead and return to the originating trailhead. Construction of this trail was completed in May 2015 and was fully cleared in May, 2016.
•The Crab lake trail from the trailhead to the BWCAW boundary (non-wilderness section) was cleared of heavy storm damage in October, 2016.
•The Crab Lake trail from the split with the Crab Lake Cutoff to the junction with the BRT was last cleared of tree falls and brushed in May 2013. No reports yet on storm damage.
•The Crab Lake Cutoff trail was cleared in October, 2016