Coalition hopes to save BWCA hiking trail

  • Article by: CURT BROWN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 10, 2011 - 9:32 PM

Fire crews dig a fire line on the southern edge of the Pagami Creek Fire, north of Isabella and just south of the BWCA border Tuesday afternoon.

Photo: Star Tribune, Brian Peterson

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A new group has formed to try to save a popular 29-mile hiking loop in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness ravaged by last summer's Pagami Creek fire.

The Coalition to Bring Back the Pow Pow Trail hopes to lobby the U.S. Forest Service to keep the trail clear 17 miles north of Isabella. "The challenges in restoring the trail are quite high, but we are willing to help the Forest Service preserve this beautiful trail for future generations," said Martin Kubik, a trail activist from Vadnais Heights. In 1993, when the Forest Service removed the trail from its management plan, Kubik successfully lobbied to keep it open. Kubik says an undergrowth of brush will obscure the trail the next few years without a canopy of trees. His coalition, which includes nine hiking and environmental groups, sent a letter to the Forest Service offering to help and opposing an alternate trail outside the BWCA. For more information, e-mail: John Wytanis, Superior Forest district manager in Tofte, says it might be impossible to keep the trail open because of the danger of burned trees falling.

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