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Conditions

Mid-year 2017 BRT Summary

The non-wilderness sections of the Border Route trail have been fully cleared 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 boardwalks in the drainage along little John Lake were replaced in June, 2017.

The eastern wilderness section from the junction with the Daniels Lake Spur trail east to the eastern BWCA boundary has been completely cleared of storm damage. Several new trees falls have been reported between the John Lake overlook (V35) and Gogebic Lake. The 4 mph speed of the out and back scouting trip would indicate here are not any significant blockages.

The western wilderness section segments from 0.2 miles west of the west camp on Rose Lake to the cluster of overlooks on the cliffs above the west end of Rose Lake and from the Mucker Lake flow crossing to the Crab Lake Spur trail junction are fully cleared. The segment from the west end of the Long Portage to just beyond the west camp on Rose Lake needs final brushing. The segment from the Crab Lake Spur Trail junction and the western BWCA boundary needs a small number of tree falls cleared and brushing. See the additional details below for the wilderness segments.

Camp Closures: August 8, 2017 notice from Forest Service states that the South Lake Camp has been restored from last year’s storm damage and is open for use. The camp on the northwest shore of Partridge Lake is not available to hikers due to heavy tree damage blocking the camp trail.

General:

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.

Border Route Trail Conditions inside BWCAW Report Mid-year 201y

By Tom Suter

McFarland Lake Segment

•The McFarland segment from the eastern BWCAW boundary to the McFarland/East Pike portage has some new tree falls reported from a June, 2017 scout trip. A tree fall sweep was completed from the John Lake overlook (V35) to the west end of John lake in June, 2017.

Pine Lake segment

•This segment from the McFarland/ East Pike portage to the Pine/ West Pike portage was cleared in early October 2016. A June 2017 scout report indicates several new tree falls in the segment but no significant blockage.

West Pike Lake/ Gogebic Lake Segment

•This segment from the Pine/West Pike portage to the west end of the Clearwater/West Pike portage was cleared of all storm damage tree falls and brushing was completed in early October 2016. A June 2017 scout report indicates several new tree falls in this segment but no significant blockage.

Clearwater Lake Segment

•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.

Rove Lake Segment

•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 was cleared in August 2016 with rough cut brushing of the heavy brush in the 200 yards going east from the east end of the Long Portage.

Long Portage Segment

•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.

Rose Lake East Segment

•This segment of the BRT goes from the west end of the Long Portage to the Stairway Portage. The storm tree falls damage was cleared in early October, 2016 along with a rough cut of brush. From Stairway Portage east to 0.2 miles west of the west camp on Rose Lake was brushed in May 2017. There are two duck under trees on the trail near the V17 overlook on the east end of this segment.

Rose Lake West Segment

•This segment of the BRT goes from the Stairway Portage to the South Lake trail junction. Most of this segment was cleared of storm damage in summer 2016 with the west end of this segment cleared of storm damage treefalls by early October, 2016. In May 2017, the segment was brushed from stairway portage west to the cluster of overlooks on the cliffs above the west end of Rose Lake. The brush from the cluster of overlooks to the South lake trail was rough cut in early October, 2016. The camp trail to the camp on the northwest shore of Partridge Lake is blocked by June, 2016 storm damage. The camp has been recovered but is not available to hikers.

Mucker Lake/ Sock lake segment

•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. This segment was cleared of tree falls and brush was rough cut early October, 2016. In May, 2017, final brushing was completed from the Topper Cutoff junction east to the Mucker Lake flow. The Sock Lake camp trail was cleared with the exception of a very large tree on the trail near the camp that has a walk around path established.

Topper Lake segment

•This segment extends from the junction with the Topper Lake cutoff trail to the junction with the Crab Lake Spur trail. The western 1.25 miles of this segment was cleared in May, 2017 and access to the V7 overlook was reestablished. The rest of the segment was fully cleared in August and October, 2016.

Crab Lake segment

•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. This segment was scouted in May, 2017 and has a small number of step over tree falls. The brush toward the west end of this segment is becoming obstructive.

Access Trails

Daniels Lake Trail

•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.

Caribou Rock Trail

•This trail has been fully recovered in summer and early October, 2106 from the extensive storm damage. Several new tree falls were cleared in June, 2017.
•The non-wilderness portion of the trail was cleared in May 2016 and provides access to the Moss Lake trail.

South 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 in Octover 2016.
•The Forest Service gave notice on August 8, 2017 that the storm damage to the South Lake Camp has cleared and the camp is available for use.
•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.

Mucker 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.

Topper Lake Cutoff Trail

•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.

Crab Lake Trail

•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 Spur trail from the split with the Crab Lake Cutoff north to the boardwalks was cleared in June, 2017. The remaining 0.5 miles to the BRT junction has several step over tree falls and needs brushing.

Crab Lake Cutoff Trail

•The Crab Lake Cutoff trail was cleared in October, 2016

Moss Lake Trail

•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.