Planning ahead for Gunflint Green Up

Visitors and guests at Bearskin frequently ask about the 2007 Ham Lake fire.  More and more often now the question goes something like this:  “Didn’t you guys have a fire up here quite a few years ago?”  It’s surprising how fast the time has passed since that spring of 2007, but on the Gunflint Trail the fire still feels like very recent history. 

Bearskin was fortunate to be out of the burn area, but you don’t have to travel very much farther up the trail to begin seeing the blackened remains of a formerly beautiful forest.  Because  a low green undergrowth has gradually spread across the forest floor, the first sight of the burned areas is not as shocking as it was shortly after the fire. The starkness of blackened trees, rocks, underbrush, and soil is muted by a carpet of green.  Still, you don’t have to drive very far through “the burn” before the degree of forest devastation becomes almost overwhelming.  Underbrush grows back quickly; 100-year-old trees do not. 

Nature has been getting a bit of help to replace trees during the Gunflint Green Up each May since the fire. Thousands of trees have been planted during this event by people from all over who love the area and want to contribute to its rejuvenation.

The weather during Gunflint Green Up has become a bit of a standing joke. The month of May can do a good imitation of winter when hundreds of tree planters are counting on a warm, sunny day!  But this year our spring has been so gorgeous that it’s hard to believe it could still snow for Gunflint Green Up.  If ever there’s a year when being out in the woods in early May could be lovely, this is the time.

Nancy Seaton, the coordinator of Gunflint Green Up, sent out this information about the schedule for the Green Up.  Bearskin is offering a special rate to stay during these dates.  Consider the possibility of being part of this special Gunflint Trail event. Nancy wrote:

With all this spring weather it’s easy to get in the mood for Gunflint Green Up.   On May 7 & 8 we’ll be releasing some of the 100,000 trees that have been planted during the previous Gunflint Green Up celebrations.  Releasing is cutting away the competitive vegetation from around the small pine trees–letting the sunshine in.

Friday, May 7
2:00 Sneak Peak at what’s coming to the new Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center
3:00  Centennial Trail Hike (Note: this is a new trail!)
5:30-7:30  Welcome Picnic at the Big Top at Gunflint Lodge with music by the Pincushion Warblers
7:30  Bill Lane will share his “Owl in a Night’s Work” presentation.

Saturday, May 8
9:30  Releasing trees at assigned locations along the Gunflint Trail
5:30-7:30  Thank You Dinner at the Big Top at Gunflint Lodge with music by The Sivertones
7:30-  Dance to The Trail’s End Band

Please register by April 30 at  The registration fee for all meals and programs is $45 per individual or $100 per family (1- 2 adults and their children 16 years of age and younger) and includes Friday’s dinner, evening presentation, Saturday tree releasing, box lunch, dinner, dance, and t-shirt.  Please visit the website for ala carte options, registration and more information.

Caring for our environment is a meaningful experience. Please join us for this community building event.

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