SHTA COVID-19 Update: April 17, 2020
April 17, 2020
A message from the SHTA team to all SHT users:
We find ourselves several weeks into the extended “Stay at Home” order here in Minnesota. Like you, we’re feeling a little stir-crazy. Longer days and warmer weather usually signal that the spring SHT hiking and trail clearing season is fast-approaching. However…
As of April 17, our recommendation remains to Hike In Place — meaning to explore the parks, trails, and neighborhood sidewalks close to home — and avoid travelling to the SHT. This recommendation is aimed at preventing the spread of the virus into our vulnerable trail communities on the North Shore and to avoid straining the limited Search and Rescue and emergency service capacities, should you become injured while on the SHT.
We ask that you avoid using SHT campsites until further notice. While we cherish the experience of sharing our campsites with fellow hikers, this recommendation is in alignment with the current policies of our agency partners who manage most of the land through which the Trail passes.
- Following Minnesota’s Emergency Executive Order 20-33, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has temporarily closed all camping on state parks, forests and recreation areas.
- (Updated 4/20/2020) The US Forest Service: Superior National Forest has shut down all camping and campfires within Superior National Forest.
These closures affect most SHT campsites. While a few of our sites remain legally open, it is simply unwise and unsafe to practice shared camping on the Trail at this time.
We also advise backpackers and thru-hikers to postpone your planned trips until at least mid-June. While the current “Stay at Home” order in Minnesota is expected to be lifted on May 4, there’s a chance it could be extended further into the spring. We simply don’t know when it will be safe to share campsites again, and the wonderful amenities on the North Shore may need time to get operations up and running after the order is lifted.
Finally, it’s just not a great time of the season to be out on our favorite footpath. The SHT inside the City of Duluth remains closed to all users due to wet conditions. Much of the Trail up the shore has yet to thaw out or dry up; where there isn’t still snow packed down by winter trail users, there’s likely to be mud.
Our annual Trail Clearing weekends and spring maintenance projects have been postponed indefinitely. Again, we ask your patience until we can prepare the Trail for you to have a safe, enjoyable experience in the northwoods.
These are challenging times for everyone, and we appreciate your understanding and support. We will continue to follow the recommendations of our partners and public health officials to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within our trail community.
As always, you can Contact Us with questions or concerns that relate to the SHT.
The SHTA team