Superior Hiking Trail advocates strive to 'Leave No Trace'
As the number of visitors to the Superior Hiking Trail has surged in the past few years, the human impact to the SHT and its surrounding environment has grown proportionally.
With that in mind, the Superior Hiking Trail Association has partnered with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics to make the trail a 2018 Hotspot Location. Leave No Trace Center is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting popular outdoor destinations by teaching people to enjoy the spaces responsibly.
Hot Spot Locations are popular outdoor areas across the country experiencing heavy recreational use resulting in excessive trash, damage to vegetation and wildlife, trail erosion and other problems. The SHT was selected as one of 20 places nationwide that experiencing many of these problems, particularly in high use areas like the Bean and Bear Lakes Loop near Tettegouche State Park in Silver Bay.
"Nowhere on the Superior Hiking Trail has been as impacted by human use as the Bean and Bear Lakes Loop," SHTA Trail Development Director Jo Swanson said in a press release. "Heavy traffic, overused campsites and hikers traveling off trail are all challenges facing this section of the trail."
SHTA Development and Communications Director Jaron Cramer said the organization is working with professional trail builders over the next few months to analyze the best ways to minimize impact near Tettegouche and other high-use areas, like Gooseberry Falls State Park.
The Hot Spot program is designed to educate the public about reducing impacts on nature while still enjoying the outdoors. "Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers" crisscross the country to provide workshops and educational opportunities.
Trainers were at Bent Paddle Brewery in Duluth on Tuesday, Sept. 11, for an outdoor skills and ethics workshop. There are several events over the weekend in Lake County highlighting the Leave No Trace campaign on the Superior Hiking Trail at Castle Danger Brewery in Two Harbors and Tettegouche State Park.
Castle Danger release party Sept. 14 for SHT
Castle Danger Brewery will host a release party for its Maple Märzen lager Friday, Sept. 14, from 6-9 p.m. Last year, the brewery donated a portion of proceeds from sales of the beer to the construction of a new bridge over the Split Rock River on the SHT. This year, proceeds will be donated to the SHTA Volunteer Program. Leave No Trace trainers will be available at the release party for those interested in minimizing their impact on the trail.
Leave No Trace training Sept. 15-16
There will be a Leave No Trace training session Saturday, Sept. 15, and Sunday, Sept. 16, from 10-11:30 a.m. at Tettegouche State Park. Trainers will conduct public outreach on the Bean and Bear Lakes Loop from 12:30-5 p.m. each day.
For more information or to register for the trainings at Tettegouche, visit superiorhiking.org/event/leave-no-trace-hot-spot-workshop-public-outreach.