10/3/21 – We received notice late Friday afternoon that the Forest Service has lifted the BWCA closure area, effective immediately. The Whelp and John Ek fires have not shown any smoke for a couple of weeks, and we’ve received a more normal amount of rainfall over the last month. Shorter days and cooler temperatures are also contributing to the lessening fire activity and fire danger. This means that the Kelso Loop, Louse River, and Lady Chain routes are now open for travel.
The Whelp fire never grew beyond 50 acres, and burned entirely in the remote wooded area north of Phoebe and Grace Lakes. The fire never reached any campsites or portages, so anyone travelling in the area this fall or in the coming seasons won’t see any evidence of this relatively small fire .
Grouse season is in full swing up here, with several Sawbill crew members partaking this year. It’s been a productive endeavor and we’re looking forward to some grouse dumplings soon!
The more typical fall weather has also led to an explosion of fungi in the northwoods. It’s easy to get distracted by the brilliant fall colors, but the variety of mushrooms poking up from the ground and on the tree trunks and stumps really demand some attention.
As of October 1st, the quota permit season in the BWCA has come to a close. From now until May, you only need a free self-issue permit to enter the BWCA, whether it’s a day trip or an overnight trip. These permits are found in boxes at entry point lakes, or at Ranger Stations. Here at Sawbill, we’ll be open regular hours until October 7th. After that, we’ll be here working on our fall wind down projects, likely with a note on the door that says find us if you need a canoe!