January 25, 2012
Jim Hummel, 218-283-6650
INTERNATIONAL FALLS, Minnesota: It is a winter wonderland now in Voyageurs National Park. The past weekend brought up to a foot of snowfall in the area creating excellent riding conditions on the park's snowmobile trails. Travel along the lake trails offers snowmobilers a ride through a national park with opportunities to view wildlife and scenic grandeur.
Snowmobile Trails - see trail status list at end
Hazardous pressure ridges have become active again as temperatures rise. Pressure ridges have the potential to rise rapidly and create standing water during these conditions. Snowmobilers must continue to use extreme caution and only cross the pressure ridges at designated crossings along the staked route. Slow travel speeds are highly recommended. Crews have begun grooming trails and will continue to do so as ice and snow conditions allow. Snow drifts do exist on trails that have not received the benefits of grooming and will bring rougher riding conditions.
Outstanding scenery is one of the reasons why Voyageurs National Park was established. Please enjoy the scenery as you ride and follow the snowmobile speed limit of 45 mph on frozen lake surfaces and 25 mph on all overland portages. Speed limit signs are posted at trailheads and overland portages.
Ice Roads - see trail status list at end
The new 9-mile long Kabetogama Lake Ice Road is open for two way traffic and is being enjoyed by park visitors. The road follows a route along the south shore of Kabetogama Lake between the Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center and the Ash River Visitor Center.
The Rainy Lake Ice Road is now open to Cranberry Bay. The loop around Dryweed Island should be open by the end of the day on Thursday, January 26.
To reduce hazards to snowmobile users, all ice blocks are to be immediately chopped up, submerged, or hauled to land. Placement of equipment or any type of structure must be greater than 50' off the center of all ice roads and snowmobile trails and written authorization from the park is required for individuals to plow any lake surfaces within the park.
Snowshoe Trails - see trail status list at end
The Sullivan Bay snowshoe trail is now open and tracked. This trail is located along the Ash River Visitor Center entrance road. Travel about two miles in on the entrance road and look for the snowshoe sign on your right that marks the trail.
The Blind Ash Bay snowshoe trail near the Ash River Visitor Center and the Oberholtzer snowshoe trail near the Rainy Lake Visitor Center are open, but not tracked.
Snowshoes are available for loan at the Rainy Lake Visitor near International Falls, Arrowhead Lodge in Kabetogama, and Ash Trail Lodge in Ash River. Take advantage of this opportunity to try this fun winter activity.
Cross-Country Ski Trails - see trail status list at end
The park has tracked the Black Bay Ski Trails and the Tilson Connector Trail near the Rainy Lake Visitor Center as well as the first loop of the Echo Bay Trail in Kabetogama. Recent snowfall has created wonderful skiing conditions in the area.
The Rainy Lake Visitor Center near International Falls has adult-sized skis available for rent and children's skis available for loan during business hours. The visitor center is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00am to 4:30pm.
Regular weekly winter trail conditions reports are available on our website at www.nps.gov/voya.
International Falls to Kettle Falls (Purple Trail) - Open & Staked
Rainy Lake/Black Bay to Kabetogama Lake to Ash River (Green Trail) - Open & Staked
Ash River to Crane Lake (Green Trail) - Open & Staked
Chain of Lakes (Dashed Black Trail) - Not Open
Ash River to Kettle Falls (Yellow Trail) - Open & Staked
East Namakan Lake to Sand Point Lake (Blue Trail) - Open & Staked
Rainy Lake Ice Road - Open to Cranberry Bay and loop around Dryweed Island
Kabetogama Lake Ice Road - Open between the Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center Boat Launch and the Ash River Visitor Center Boat Launch
Echo Bay Ski Trail - Open, 1st loop Packed & Tracked
Black Bay Ski Trail- Open, Packed & Tracked
Tilson Connector Trail- Open, Packed & Tracked
KabAsh Trail- Open
Blind Ash Bay Trail - Open with minimal snow cover
Sullivan Bay Trail - Open and tracked
Oberholtzer Trail - Open with minimal snow cover
"STAKED TRAILS MAKE SAFETY SENSE"
ORANGE IDENTIFIES HAZARDS