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Winter Ice and Trails Report - Dec 29 2011

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Date: December 29, 2011
Contact: Dave Little, 218-283-6600

INTERNATIONAL FALLS, Minnesota: Voyageurs National Park staff, in northern Minnesota, is regularly checking ice and snow conditions in anticipation of opening the park's 110 miles of snowmobile trails and 10 miles of cross-country ski trails when conditions are safe.

As of Thursday, December 29, lake ice and snow conditions are improving slowly in Voyageurs National Park; two inches of snow fell on Wednesday evening. The only snowmobile trail currently open is the Green Trail from Rainy Lake/Black Bay to Kabetogama to Ash River. Snowmobiling conditions are marginal in the park because the lake surface has little snow and numerous bare icy spots. Several hazardous pressure ridges have formed along the Green Trail on Kabetogama Lake. Use extreme caution and only cross the pressure ridges at designated crossings along the staked route. Slow travel speeds are highly recommended. The park's land portages have very rough riding surfaces due to the lack of snow.

The rest of the park's snowmobile trails remain closed and are not safe for travel this weekend. The park will perform more lake ice checks next week and update the snowmobile travel status at that time.

The Sullivan Bay snowshoe trail is now open and tracked.

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. Regular weekly winter trail conditions reports are available on our website at www.nps.gov/voya.

Snowmobile Trails
International Falls to Kettle Falls (Purple Trail) - Not Open
Rainy Lake/Black Bay to Kabetogama Lake to Ash River (Green Trail) - Open & Staked
Ash River to Crane Lake (Green Trail) - Not Open
Chain of Lakes (Dashed Black Trail) - Not Open
Ash River to Kettle Falls (Yellow Trail) - Not Open
East Namakan Lake to Sand Point Lake (Blue Trail) - Not Open

Rainy Lake Ice Road - Not Open


Ski Trails
Echo Bay Ski Trail - Open with minimal snow cover
Black Bay Ski Trail- Not Open
Tilson Connector Trail- Not Open
KabAsh Trail- Open with minimal snow cover

Snowshoe Trails
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

Did You Know?

Students may go for a hike during a fall field trip.

Each year more than 2,500 students visit Voyageurs National Park.