Hot Spot - Superior Hiking Trail (Bean and Bear Lakes Loop), MN

The Bean and Bear Lakes Loop, part of the 300-mile Superior Hiking trail in Minnesota, is experiencing severe impacts from outdoor activities and is one of the many Hot Spots in 2018. With site-specific training, consulting, educational programs, service projects and more, these threatened areas can be put on a road to a healthy recovery.

Despite being over 30 years old most of the Superior Hiking Trail usage in has occurred in the last decade. One section, the Bean and Bear lakes Loop, is one of the most heavily used sections of trail and frequented by both day-hikers and backpackers. This 7-mile loop passes through deep forest, by stunning rocky overlooks and two gorgeous lakes. This section of the trail was selected because its rising popularity, especially with inexperienced backpackers, has caused numerous impacts including significant trail erosion, improperly disposed of human waste, visitor created trails, the proliferation of illegal campsites, and campfire impacts. 

The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics is teaming up with members of the Superior Hiking Trail Association to execute site-specific blend of training for agency staff, targeted education programs for local youth and adults, resource monitoring programs, service work and expert consultation. The primary objective of this effort is the improvement of on the ground resource conditions, increased awareness of impacts on the trail, elevated Leave No Trace programs within agency management plans and increased practice of Leave No Trace skills and ethics by the visiting public. The Center's goal is to bring long-term solutions that will help the Superior Hiking Trail on its road to recovery.