This week has brought a mix of success and challenge with trail grooming. Crane Lake south to the Arrowhead is open and groomed, and both the Orr North and Orr South spurs are open. DNR has advised that the Orr South Spur south to the Landing Spur is bad for brush and down trees, so be careful there! The Crane Lake to Ash River trail is packed by snowmobiles but not yet groomed. The Voyageur Link from the Crane/Ash River trail to the Arrowhead has also been packed by snowmobiles with one wet spot on that stretch to watch for. Volunteers cleared trail and packed swamps from the road in Kabetogama to the 3k and all of the Tone Dawg on Dec. 20 (thank you much!). No trails on the Kab area have been dragged due to some issues with the groomer that are being worked on today. We may hopefully be able to drag some of these trails yet this weekend.
The DNR reports that trails continue to be rough in many spots. The very northern part of the Arrowhead Trail is closed due to a groomer going through the ice in a swampy area near International Falls. This trail segment is groomed by the International Voyageurs snowmobile club; monitor their website (http://www.ridetheborders.com/trail-report.html) along with the DNR site (https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/snow_depth/index.html) for updates - conditions have been rapidly changing! Along the Arrowhead, grooming will be done where swamps and ice thickness allow. In some areas water is open or can be heard below the ice. More clearing is being done in areas where trees and brush from the heavy snow is blocking the corridor.
In Voyageurs National Park, only one snowmobile trail (Green Trail - Rainy Lake/Black Bay to Kabetogama to Ash River) is staked and groomed, except in Sullivan Bay due to slush. There is a staked detour around the beaver pond between Kab and Black Bay. Be very alert and expect areas of deep slush if off the staked trails on lake surfaces. Conditions in the Park are at https://www.nps.gov/voya/planyourvisit/conditions.htm
It's warm and it's early season. Enjoy the views but watch for hazards as we get the season going. Wishing everyone a safe and Happy New Year filled with many outdoor adventures!
The heavy snow, followed by cold and wind, has created challenges on area trails. Be sure to regularly check conditions in the Park at Alerts & Conditions - Voyageurs National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov). Currently the only staked trail is the Black Bay - Kab, primarily due to the need for rerouting around the beaver pond that has been causing many issues.
We also saw a shared article on Facebook about Why the Trails Weren’t Open | Snowtech Magazine. It's a good read. VTSI is a non-profit and trail clearing is handled by generous folks who volunteer their time and equipment to help ensure our area trails are safe for both riders AND the grooming equipment! If you enjoy the trails and are available early season to help with clearing, please try to volunteer. Many hands make light(er) work for all. Lots of camaraderie and the feeling you've done something good to kick the season off. During the season while you ride if you see a hazard please help fix what you can (smaller branches on the trail, signs that get tipped that you can push back upright), and let us know about those and any larger issues you see - the best way is Facebook Messenger or to your resort who will relay info.
It is gorgeous up here! Today the sun is sparkling over the snow with blue skies. We are all looking forward to a fun sledding season! Happy Holidays to all, and be safe while you ride!
The Park has not yet officially opened any trails, and is closing the Black Bay portage on the (green) Kab West Trail. There is open water at the big beaver pond and dangerous conditions there now. It's early season - be careful out there while you enjoy the trails!
A huge Thank You! to all the hardy folks that came out in the chilly weather Saturday to help clear the trails. Your hard work is much appreciated. Shout-outs also go to Kec's Kove and the Echo Trail Tavern for some very tasty burgers!
Trails are not yet groomed, but if you do go out and can carefully try to help pack swampy areas it would be appreciated. Snow is in the forecast for next week - so here's hoping we're off to the start of a great snowmobiling season!