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!