Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Davis Lake Timber Sale, 1948-1952:

The Davis Lake Timber Sale was located in a remote region, within what is now the Boundary Waters, around Brule, Winchell and Moon lakes. According to Robert Lee, who served as one of the camp clerk on the Davis Lake Timber Sale, the sale was the last camp logging operation conducted by the North Star Timber Company and combined both old and new logging techniques.

Camp 27, located a half mile west of Winchell Lake on Davis Lake served as the main logging camp for the sale. Working from the camp, timber crews mainly cut the area’s black spruce forest.

Timber harvested from the sale was then transported during the winter along an ice road maintained across Brule Lake. From Brule Lake’s Cone Bay the road continued along a land road just west of the South and North Cone Lakes crossing the North Cone-Davis portage on to the camp. The camp was located on the north east end of Davis Lake.

The sale was close-out in 1952 but Camp 27 on Davis Lake remained intact until 1964 when the USFS ordered it destroyed. With the destruction of the camp an important landmark of Boundary Waters history was lost forever.

From an unpublished document by Robert Lee, "North Star Timber Co. and the Davis Lake Timber Sale," May 2005.

Helen Lake Logging Road

Helen Lake Road and Timber Sales - In 1947 construction of the Helen Lake Logging Road was begun in order to reach and cut the tall white pines in the area around Vista Lake. Beginning at what is now the Lima Grade at a point just north of where the Grade crosses the North Brule River the road eventually penetrated some three and one-half miles west, into what is now the Boundary Water. The road winds passed Helen Lake then across the Horseshoe-Vista Lake portage and continues another half-mile to near Snack Lake.

From 1947 through 1953 the road enable loggers to harvest the tall white pines from the region north of the road up to Swamp, Poplar and Lizz Lake and the much of the area southwest of vista lake. In this area logging was conducted by a series of small sales to several loggers.

From the late 1970s until early 1980s Boundary County Trekking again used the road from the Vista-Horseshoe Portage east to the Lima Grade as a dog sled touring route

Remaining artifacts along the road: While the road is over-grown and difficult to follow and the bridges over Vista, North Brule and Poplar Creeks are gone, the road can still be traveled on foot if you are willing to take time.

Following the road to the west from the Vista-Horseshoe Portage cross the creek next to Horseshoe Lake to pick-up the road on the other side of the creek. From here you Travel west along the road approximately one quarter of a mile where you will come across an old abandoned car. Traveling further, to the end of the road, another one quarter of a mile you will come to a large sawdust pile and the site of a sawmill that operated there when the region was being logged.