On July 4, 1999 a windstorm caused a 1000 square miles of blowdown with the main path going through the Gunflint Trail. The Gunflint Trail is a State of Minnesota scenic byway that bisects the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and is an important conduit for local economic interest. It is a County Highway that is historic in the sense that if follows Native American footpaths that are centuries old and now serves a significant portion of Cook County residents and businesses. The are was struck again by disaster in May 2007 when the Ham Lake Fire occurred, the largest wildfire in the history of the Superior National Forest. The Superior National Forest will plant 134,000 red, white and Jack pine to benefit threatened, endangered and sensitive species. This planting will be a part of Gunflint Green Up which began in the summer of 2007 and involves public participation in reforesting after the fire. Volunteers included Girl Scout Troops, families, college students, senior citizens and friends and families of those who lost homes in the fire.
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