The Gunflint Trail resorts and outfitters continue business as usual as the Spice Lake firefighting efforts are successful
U.S. Forest Service announces near 80% containment of the wildfire that began on June 13 


June 19, 2023 Grand Marais, Minn. – Properties along the Gunflint Trail in Grand Marais, Minnesota remain open and unaffected amid the 22-acre Spice Lake fire located within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness approximately 10 miles west of the Gunflint Trail. As of Monday, June 19, 2023 the U.S. Superior National Forest Service announced that fire reduction efforts have been successful and crews will be scaling back. Throughout the duration of the fire, which began on June 13, 2023, the Gunflint Trail and the majority of the Boundary Waters have remained open to travel.  

“There is a misconception that we are adversely affected by the current fire in the Boundary Waters due to our proximity,” says John Fredrikson, owner of Gunflint Lodge & Outfitters on Gunflint Lake. “But we are open and operating as usual which includes taking all the proper precautions to keep guests and residents safe.”

Being based in the center of the wilderness, the Gunflint Trail community is well-equipped to monitor and manage safety concerns from potential fires at all times. There is direct communication from the U.S. Superior National Forest Service to local businesses on conditions and fire progression, and many businesses provide meals, housing, and other services to fire crews. 

“Because of our relationship with the Forest Service and local government, we stay well informed of any changes to conditions in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. It’s important to our business and our guests to be in the know,” continued Fredrikson.

Tips for an upcoming trip
For visitors planning a canoe trip, local canoe outfitters and the U.S. Superior National Forest Service permitting stations are prepared to assist in identifying alternative canoe routes to circumvent the closed area. It is important to note that a fire ban will remain in place and it will be required for all travelers in the backcountry to pack a camp stove and adequate fuel for any upcoming trip.  

Air quality has been another concern as much of Minnesota experienced poor air quality conditions last week but the same weather patterns that have kept the region dry this spring have also been directing smoke away from the area. It is advised for anyone concerned about air quality to check the MN DNR air quality map for up-to-date information and forecasting.  

Fire Restriction Resources
The U.S. Superior National Forest Service remains the primary resource for Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness closures, restrictions, and fire-related information there are some additional resources to help visitors in planning their upcoming vacations: 



Visit Cook County, Minnesota 
Visit Cook County encompasses the northeastern Minnesota communities of Lutsen, Tofte, Schroeder, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail and Grand Portage, commonly referred to as “the Arrowhead” and the “North Shore of Lake Superior.”  Grand Marais, Minn., has earned several national accolades — most recently, it was named USA Today’s Best Midwestern Small Town and Outside Magazine’s The 16 Best Places to Live in the U.S. 2016. Rekindle your sense of adventure by exploring the Superior National Forest or paddling through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Discover what makes the communities of Cook County, Minn. “Naturally Unforgettable.” Connect on social media using #donorthmn, Twitter @CookCoVisitors, Facebook, or Instagram @donorthmn. Learn more at

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