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May 2001

5/28/01 – The new Sawbill crew members are arriving in batches
now. Jeff Green and Bhupesh Pattni are also from Virginia, MN.
Bhu and Jitesh (below) are brothers and Jeff is their good
friend. Jeff just finished his freshman year at Bemidji State
University and Bhu finished his sophomore year at the University
of Wisconsin in Madison. They’ve had a hectic introduction to
Sawbill during the busy Memorial Day weekend.


5/23/01 – Another new employee has arrived. Jitesh Pattni is
from Virginia, Minnesota and has just finished his freshman year
at Lewis and Clark College in Oregon. Welcome Jitesh!

Jitesh Pattni

5/19/01 – Summer is getting underway. The leaves are about
half out. The black flies appeared today, but haven’t started
biting yet. The dogs (Homer and Sunnie) have been swimming three
times today and now are napping in the office giving off the
robust aroma of wet dog. It is busier this weekend than last.

We have another new employee. Beka Wilson is from Decorah,
Iowa and is a student at Humboldt State in Arcada, California.
Welcome Beka 🙂

5/14/01 – It was a major break with tradition to have an
opening of fishing weekend that was actually good weather.
Typically it is cold, rainy and windy (if not snowing). This year
it was sunny and warm except for a brief shower on Saturday.
Fishing was generally slow, as it usually is this early in the
year. The notable exception was Smoke Lake, where several limits
of walleyes were taken. Two large bass were caught on Alton by a
group of dental students from Milwaukee. Steve Geving and his son
Garrett, from Duluth, caught one small northern on Alton. They
saw a moose on Kelso Lake. Steve has been camping and fishing at
Sawbill for more than 50 years. Jon Heinzen, from Tofte, caught
quite a few walleyes on nearby Crescent Lake. Louise Trachta, who
works at the Northshore Market in Tofte, caught a large Muskie on

5/8/01 – Sorry, I forgot to mention that all the lakes in the
Sawbill area are now clear of ice. I assume that all the lakes in
the entire wilderness are ice free. It has been warm, windy and
raining – a deadly combination for ice and snow. Several years
ago, we skied on Sawbill Lake on May 9th. Last year, the ice went
out in the second week of April. – Bill

5/7/01 – This just in from the Forest Service:

Campfire Restrictions in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area
Wilderness (BWCAW)
and Surrounding Areas

As of midnight, Wednesday, May 9, 2001, the Superior National
Forest is
restricting the use of campfires, charcoal, and wood burning camp
stoves to
the hours between 7 pm and midnight in the blowdown area on the
Propane and gas camp stoves will be allowed at any time of the
day in the
restricted zone.

A written description, lake lists, and maps for the restricted
area is
posted on the Superior National Forest website
available through any Superior National Forest office or BWCAW

These restrictions are part of an overall strategy to reduce the
risk for visitors and surrounding communities while still
allowing for safe
use of campfires. The need for these restrictions is due to the
effects of
a severe windstorm that blew down trees across a large area of
the Forest
on July 4, 1999. As a result of this large amount of fuel, the
risk is
significantly increased for a large wildfire that would start
spread faster and be difficult to control. The Forest Service
will continue
to monitor conditions and as fire danger levels increase,
restrictions will
also be increased.

Visitors are urged to take care in the use of campfires.
Approximately 50%
of the wildfires in the BWCAW start as a result of human
activities. Most
of these wildfires are from campfires that are not managed
Please be sure your campfire is "dead out" before
leaving it unattended.

All visitors are encouraged to bring camp stoves so they can
respond to
changes in campfire restrictions. Visitors can find out about
restrictions by checking our website,

or contacting any Forest office or BWCAW permitting office.

In the Sawbill area, this means that the routes roughly west
of Alton Lake have no fire restrictions and everywhere else does.
So far, the restriction means that you can’t have breakfast or
lunch fires. For most people, this isn’t much of a hardship. –

5/3/01 – Its official! Sawbill Lake lost its ice early this
morning. A brisk north wind kicked up after several days of
steady south winds. When the ice sheet shifted, it just broke up
and sank out of sight. Natasha Warner was the winner of the
betting pool. The traditional opening of the Sawbill Beach Club,
which means a quick dip in the frigid water, has been scheduled
for Saturday when former crew members John "OB"
Oberholtzer and Paul "Lundie" Lundgren can be here to
participate. Also on Saturday, we will send out a reconnaissance
mission to check the ice on Alton and other nearby lakes. – Bill

5/1/01 – Sawbill Lake’s ice has become too flimsy and
honeycombed to actually measure. It looks like it will go out
tomorrow or the day after at the latest.

Sawbill Lake 1 PM, 5/1/01

Our third new crew member arrived today. Molly
Heekin is from Evanston, Illinois and has been working for the
last year at Active Endeavors, and outdoor store in Evanston. She
is headed for graduate school in New York this fall. Welcome

Molly Heekin, ready to tackle unwrapping the 52
new Mad River canoes pictured behind her.