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Closures extended due to July 2 damage

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Closures extended due to July 2 damage
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

CHIPPEWA NATIONAL FOREST - The closures of Norway Beach, South Pike Bay, West Winnie and Tamarack campgrounds are being extended.

Closures within the Chippewa National Forest were extended Thursday and announced via press release Friday.

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Also remaining closed are:

-- Birches Picnic Shelter Area, off Forest Road 2218.

-- The Migizi Bike Trail, starting at the junction of U.S. Highway 2 and the Pike Bay Loop Road, heading south at the Junction of 61st Ave. NW and Pike Bay Loop Road.

-- The Soo Line Trail is closed from the junction of Highway 2 and the Pike Bay Loop Road heading east and ending at the Junction with Cass County Road 8, north of Federal Dam.

The closures are due to continuing storm damage.

Forest law enforcement officers continue to find people in closed areas.

Forest officials remind visitors that areas posted closed are closed to all traffic, including by foot or bicycle.

The closures are meant for visitor safety until hazard trees and debris are cleared in storm-impacted areas. Heavy machinery is operating in and around storm-impacted areas, and winds can cause additional trees and hanging limbs to fall.

Visitors found ignoring closure orders may be subject to fines up to $5,000 and/or six months in jail.

Those collecting firewood under Forest Service permit need to survey areas and assess safety before cutting dead and downed trees. Ensure you are clear of any hanging limbs overhead. Remember that many of the storm-damaged trees are under stress and can spring back or kick when cut. No one is allowed to gather firewood in closed areas.

High temperatures have also added to the fire danger.

Anyone planning to burn a brush pile needs to obtain a burning permit, either from the Forest Service office or from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Burning permits may be obtained in person or online at www.dnr.state.mn.us/forestry/fire/questions.

With the state permit system, those burning brush must call an 800-number each day listed on their burning permit. This will ensure that permittees receive any updates on burning conditions and fire weather.

For more information, contact Chippewa National Forest at 335-8600.

For current information on Forest roads, contact offices in Blackduck (218-835-4291), Deer River (218-246-2123) or Walker (218-547-1044).

Updated storm information also is posted on the Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/chippewa

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Pioneer staff reports
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