Investing in Recreation on the Superior National Forest
The Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) responds to the growing $5.9 billion backlog of deferred maintenance on national forests and grasslands, which includes $3.7 billion for roads and bridges and $1.5 billion for visitor centers, campgrounds and other facilities. The Act invests in recreation infrastructure, public land access, and land and water conservation. These investments improve outdoor recreation and contribute to economic growth and job creation in communities near public lands.
Land management agencies like the Forest Service submit projects for funding and compete with other submissions across the nation. The Superior National Forest has been successful in receiving funding since 2020, and will continue to submit projects through 2025, which is when the funding expires.
Once our projects have been selected and awarded, we work with our contracting department who sends out a bid for projects, the potential contractor then submits a bid, and we select and award the bid.
Since we first submitted projects in 2020 and 2021, material costs have increased, and the Forest has had to restructure our projects to be most efficient with our funding. We are still waiting for fiscal year 2023 money to be announced. This summer we will submit proposals, mostly for bridge maintenance, repairs and replacements, for fiscal year 2024.
On the Superior, some projects have been completed, while others are in progress or some stage of contracting.
Completed projects, 2021:
- Four miles of Magnetic Rock trail were upgraded with help from the Student Conservation Association.
- A new dock was installed at Prairie Portage - Basswood Lake.
- Fenske Lake Pavilion was restored, the fishing pier repaired, and some campground maintenance is complete.
This year as weather allows:
- Fenske Campground steps, retaining walls, and the vault toilets will be replaced.
- The wooden staircase on the Gotter Lake to Flying Lake portage will be replaced with a stone staircase.
- The wooden staircase on Rose Lake to Duncan Lake portage will be replaced with a stone staircase.
* The Forest has designed the projects in such a way that they are not expected to impact visitors.
Most likely this summer:
- Upgrade and maintain 6.3 miles of trail and trenches on the Omaday Trail.
- Rehabilitate 1.2 miles of the Long Lake ATV trail.
Planned for the future:
- Pincushion trail bridge replacement.
- South Kawishiwi Pavilion will be upgraded including replacing two rotting logs, and a new accessible entrance will be constructed allowing all to enjoy this historic building.
- South Kawishiwi Trail maintenance.
- Dry Lake trail restoration and tread maintenance.
- Six new vault toilets will be built—possibly this fall, or next year.
- Upgrades of Vermillion Falls Day Use Area.
- Cascade River Rustic Campground.
- Clara Lake Campground.
- Sand Lake Campground.
- Jackpot ATV Trailhead.
- One Pine Boat Launch.
- New toilet at Birch Lake, Credit - Zach Barry, USDA Forest Service
- Fenske Campground Pavilion Restoration, Credit - Lee Johnson, USDA Forest Service
- Kawishiwi Pavilion, Credit - USDA Forest Service