Judge OKs snowmobile trail along edge of Boundary Waters


A federal judge ruled Friday that the Forest Service can move ahead with a plan to establish a snowmobile trail that would come within 400 feet of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the Star Tribune reports.

The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge John Tunheim was a setback for environmental groups that spent years fighting against the trail in court. They argued that placing a snowmobile trail within earshot of the BWCA violates the spirit of the 1978 law that made the Boundary Waters a federal wilderness area.

Judge Tunheim disagreed, writing that the snowmobile route would affect relatively few winter visitors in a small portion of the wilderness area with "sound equivalent to moderate rainfall," MPR News says.

The two-mile snowmobile trail the Forest Service approved in 2006 would run along the Royal River, connecting McFarland Lake with South Fowl Lake, a popular ice fishing destination.

In arguments before Tunheim in October, an attorney representing the Forest Service said winter campers are unlikely in that area, particularly since the Royal does not freeze over during most winters, the Cook County News Herald reported then.

The Duluth News Tribune reports the Forest Service proposed the trail after it began ticketing snowmobilers along the commonly-used but technically illegal route in 2002.

An official with Wilderness Watch, one of the groups opposing the trail, expressed disappointment with Tunheim's ruling. Kevin Proescholdt told the Star Tribune “Our fear is this will be another cut in the death of a thousand cuts to the Boundary Waters.”

Next Up

Antoine Winfield Jr.

Watch: Gopher alums Antoine Winfield Jr., Tyler Johnson make key plays in Bucs' playoff win

The Minnesota greats had a pair of highlights as Tampa Bay advanced to the NFC Championship.


Crews respond to fire at Gertens in Inver Grove Heights

It's reported that a greenhouse on the grounds was on fire.

Marcus Carr

Why the Gophers could be in line for a high seed in the NCAA Tournament

The Gophers are done with a brutal stretch and are poised to make a run.

police tape

Authorities ID man fatally struck by 'errant bullet' in Willmar

The man was working in his garage when he was fatally shot.


1 dead, 1 critically injured in head-on crash on Highway 169

The State Patrol says driving impaired may have been a factor in the crash.

Richard Pitino

Gophers game against Nebraska postponed due to COVID outbreak

The Cornhuskers have had 12 members of its team test positive for COVID-19.

Bob Kroll

What Minneapolis Police Lt. Bob Kroll said in Sunday radio interview

Kroll said that once he's retired he'll go "radio silent."

coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, covid-19

Here is Minnesota's COVID update for Sunday, January 17

The health department provides updates daily at 11 a.m.

Sen. Julia Coleman

'No one's business': State senator calls out attack on her pregnancy

Sen. Julia Coleman represents Minnesota's District 47.

Willmar Police Department

'Errant bullet' goes through garage wall, kills Willmar man

The man was working in his garage when he was shot, witnesses said.