Superior National Forest Scales Back Closures Related to the John Ek, Whelp Fires
DULUTH, Minn. – The Superior National Forest is scaling back closures associated with the John Ek and Whelp fires along the Gunflint Trail due to recent rains and moderated fire weather.
“Fall weather conditions have moderated the John Ek and Whelp fires, both of which have remained within their perimeters for days. After talking with our fire, wilderness, and recreation specialists, we decided it was safe to lift some of the current closures. We’re so happy that we’re opening back up to our visitors,” said Connie Cummins, Superior National Forest supervisor.
Forest officials say some closures will stay in place including:
- Forestlands/roads along Gunflint Trail reopen, Trails End and Iron Lake campgrounds remain closed, effective September 11:
- Forestlands and roads along the upper Gunflint Trail are open to visitor use.
- Blankenburg Boat Launch, Trails End and Iron Lake campgrounds, and all associated facilities (including but not limited to both Trails End, Trails End Boat Launch Parking Iron Lake Campground, Iron Lake Canoe Carry Down), will remain closed to serve as basecamps and staging areas for firefighters and other personnel responding to wildfires.
- John Ek and Whelp closures area shrinks and some entry points reopen, effective September 11:
- The new closure area will remain in effect around the John Ek and Whelp fires through at least the end of the 2021 quota permit season on September 30, or until terminated. This is to ensure public safety should the fire become active again.
- The area on the above map and the following entry points will remain closed: Missing Link Lake and Brant Lake.
- The following entry points will reopen on September 11: Seagull Lake, Saganaga Lake, South Lake, Meeds Lake, Skipper, and Portage Lakes, Cross Bay Lake, Magnetic Lake, Kekekabic Trail – East/West, Kawishiwi Lake, and Larch Creek.
- Visitors with valid permits for Seagull Lake entry point will be able to access the lake via Blankenberg boat launch or Trails End Campground. This is the only allowable public use of the boat launch and campground at this time.
- If you have an existing permit for one of the above-reopened entry points on September 11 or after, your permit is still valid.
As a reminder, a closure is still in place for the Greenwood Fire to allow firefighters and heavy equipment operators to move through the area without congestion from additional vehicle traffic.
This closure includes McDougal Campground, Little Isabella Campground, several rustic campgrounds, and the following BWCAW entry points: Island River, Isabella Lake, Bog Lake, Little Isabella River, Snake River, Hog Creek, and Pow Wow Trail.