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Phone: (218)663-7150
Fax: (218)663-7980
Mail: 4620 Sawbill Trail
Box 2129
Tofte, MN 55615

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Sawbill Newsletter Archives: May 2011
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « April 2011 | June 2011 »

5/29/11 - The holiday weekend has made things quite busy the last few days. Luckily Ellyn Krieg returned for another fun filled season just in time to help out.

Here she is pictured packing a food trip, her favorite Sawbill job.

5/28/11 - Many people are seeing baby moose along the lake shores. The mother moose give birth along the shore because it makes it easier for them to defend their vulnerable babies against predators.

Greg Wales, long-time Sawbill canoeist took this wonderful picture on his canoe trip with his son last week.

Here is the link to the latest Cook County West End News on WTIP-FM Community Radio. - Bill

5/25/11 - We received some interesting information from the Forest Service today. It is the account of how many summer season permits were issued over the last 11 years. As you can see, use peaked in 2003 and has been in slow, but steady decline since then.

May 1-Sept 30 (includes all overnight use plus motorized day use for this period):
2010...... 32,671
2009...... 34,000
2008...... 34,681
2007...... 35,481
2006...... 35,528
2005...... 35,990
2004...... 38,886
2003...... 39,304
2002...... 37,238
2001...... 36,797
2000...... 35,390

The Forest Service attributes the decline to an aging population, natural phenomenon (fire, tent caterpillars, late ice-outs), confusion with the "lottery" that makes people think that permits are gone for the season and the recession.

While the decline in use of the BWCA Wilderness isn't really good news for an outfitter, it is nice for the people who visit! Speaking of which, most dates are still open for entry into the wilderness from the entry points around Sawbill. You can check permit availability yourself online, or give us a call (218-663-7150) and we'll check for you. - Bill

5/23/11 - Over the last few days spring has slowly been making progress. The last of the snow pile next to the store finally melted on Saturday, the buds are opening, and the flowers are starting to bloom.
Another sure sign of spring is crew member Sarah Davidson arrived yesterday. Today she went straight to work washing food containers. - Jessica

Leaves opening up to reveal a beautiful surprise.

Sarah hard at work.

5/19/11 - Earlier last week Sawbill crew member Luke Opel observed a pair of ducks along the shore of the lake. He was lucky enough to get a great picture of the pair before they took flight.

The ducks he observed were a pair of Common Mergansers or "Sawbills" only seen together during the short mating season in the spring. Once the mating season is over the males trade in their green and white plumage for something that resembles the females and are rarely seen the rest of the year. - Jessica

5/17/11 - Yesterday, with the help of a beautiful full moon some of the Sawbill crew went for a late night paddle. The water is fairly high right now so we were able to paddle in places not usually accessible. For instance, we ventured into a small bay that is usually too swampy to enter. The mating call of a certain type of small frog called a Peeper was deafening. This is a sure sign that spring is now here. - Jessica

Just before setting out on our late night cruse newly arrived crew member Tess Dornfeld snapped this beautiful picture of the sunset.

Tess worked at Sawbill multiple years in the past and is returning after traveling and working in Africa over the winter.

5/15/2011 - Here is the latest edition of Cook County's West End News from WTIP-FM, Community Radio. - Bill

5/13/11 - Good news for anyone planning on entering the boundary waters in the near future. The ice has gone out on all area lakes and should pose no problem for travelers.

In other Sawbill news many of last years crew members are starting to arrive for their second season. A week ago Jessica arrived, followed by Leif a few days later, and Tyler yesterday. -Jessica

Jessica writing today's newsletter entry.

Chef Leif creating us delicious tacos for supper.

Tyler taking a break from cleaning out the Dome.

5/9/11 - We received the following from the Forest Service last night:

Superior National Forest Ice Report as of May 8, 2011

From Forest Service Pilot:

Overview: With few exceptions, roughly any lake that is of any size east of a line running south of Big Saganaga Lake still has quite a lot of ice.

Lakes in LaCroix and Kawishiwi Districts: Most lakes are open including Basswood and Knife Lakes.

Lakes in Tofte and Gunflint Districts:

Open: Ogishkemuncie, Sea Gull, Little Saganaga, and the western half of Gunflint, Little Cascade; Sawbill ; Perent, Isabella.

Some Ice: Tuscarora (floating scraps), Loon (south of Gunflint Lake) is mostly ice, Homer has scraps of ice.

All Ice: Cherokee, Frost, and Brule still have ice tight to the shore and mostly any lake of any size east of these lakes; Gabimichigami, Gillis, Cherokee, Winchell, Brule, Loon and Davis; Cascade, Tait, and Clara; South Temperance; Alton, Beth; Devil's Track.

5/8/11 - Sawbill Lake is ice free as of late afternoon today.

5/7/11 - Sawbill Lake is still iced over, but it is too thin and honeycombed to measure. I thought it would go out today, but now it looks like tomorrow. We found out yesterday the Kawishiwi Lake is ice free when we dropped off the first canoeing group of the season there. - Bill

Homer and Roy inspect the Sawbill Lake ice sheet.

As soon as there is open water near shore, Homer has to open the swimming season.

5/5/11 - A couple of warm days have made a big difference in the ice thickness on Sawbill Lake. We went from 15" to 9" in two days. Rain is forecast for today, followed by another warm, sunny day tomorrow, which should do the job.

Here is this week's West End News from WTIP-FM, Cook County Community Radio. - Bill

You know ice-out is getting close when Andy has to stay in the canoe to drill the hole.

5/2/11 - One step forward and two steps back. Freezing temperatures overnight have stiffened up the ice on Sawbill Lake. If it were just a little smoother we could go ice skating. As I write this, it is 28 degrees, the north wind is howling, it's snowing and the birds are lustily singing their territorial spring songs. - Bill

15" of ice on Sawbill Lake. The first two inches are frozen solid again, then 10" of slush and 3" of solid ice at the bottom.

This scene is just as cold and bleak as it looks with a steady 20 mph north wind. But, as this picture was taken, there was someone camping in the Sawbill Lake campground with a canoe on their car and the Forest Service was working to get the campground water system functioning - both sure signs of spring.

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