We live, work, and play at Camp du Nord, a heavily wooded Boreal Forest. Good stewardship of our land and our facility requires that ‘we tend the garden’. Building sites, campsites, trails, and driveways all need this. Indeed, the North Arm trails wouldn’t exist without continual tree removal.
Balsam trees thrive in this area. They often sprout up in thick patches. They are usually a short-lived fast growing tree. They are very sappy and therefore shouldn’t be used in fireplaces or woodstoves as they produce a lot of creosote. Removing balsam is called ‘fuel reduction’.
The balsam removal was done at no direct cost to Camp du Nord. It is part of the wildfire management plan for this area to protect the people and buildings on the North Arm. Concern has been high since the 1999 blowdown. Recent large fires in the BWCA have proven the concern is warranted. Funding is through FEMA and administered by the USFS and St. Louis County for various projects.
We accepted this offer for assistance in balsam removal because a significant portion of our balsam are dying, we are concerned about wildfire, and it is good for the health of Camp du Nord’s forest.
There is still a lot of stewardship left for us as staff and volunteers to do. We are planning on planting 2000 trees in the spring of 2016. These should be planted for screening between campsites, cabins and buildings, and the road and driveways and parking areas but not too close to buildings.
The balsam will keep coming back and it will be up to us to keep it at healthy levels.
A few places in camp may look a little different next time you arrive on the shores of Burntside Lake. Have no fear, the forest is constantly changing and with the planting of over 2000 trees this spring, we envision a small window of time where these few places will look a bit bare. Your view of the lake will actually be better in some places!