Twins offer discounts, free hat in partnership with DNR

Anyone with a 2016 Minnesota hunting or fishing license can receive a free camouflage and blaze orange Twins logo baseball cap through a special Minnesota Twins ticket offer online at www.mndnr.gov/twins.

The offer is good for these games:

Sunday, Aug. 14, game vs. Kansas City Royals.
Saturday, Sept. 3, game vs. Chicago White Sox.
Saturday, Sept. 24, game vs. Seattle Mariners.
Tickets prices vary by game and seat locations are either in the field box or home run porch.

All ticket holders under this partnership will pick up their cap at the game. Instructions for purchasing tickets are at www.mndnr.gov/twins. Buy fishing and hunting licenses at any Minnesota Department of Natural Resources license agent, online with a mobile or desktop device at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense, or by phone at 888-665-4236. Mobile buyers receive a text or email that serves as proof of a valid fish or game license to state conservation officers.

Women are encouraged to register for DNR hunting class

Women are invited to enroll in a how to hunt deer with firearms program being offered this fall through the Department of Natural Resources.

There will be educational sessions that lead up to a one-on-one mentored hunt during the weekend of Oct. 14 at Itasca State Park. The session dates are Saturdays, Aug. 27, Sept. 24, and Oct. 8.

Sessions will include deer biology, habits, habitat, regulations, equipment, scouting, how to find hunting land, rifle practice and more. Lodging for the weekend hunt is included at Itasca State Park, and the registration fee is $100 plus minimal range fees for practice shooting.

“I learned what I needed to know in order to teach my 10-year-old son to hunt soon (my goal) and hope this becomes a life-long family tradition for us,” said Bobbie Danielson, who attended the class last year.

Women will need access to a legal firearm in good working condition, a deer license and must possess firearm safety certification prior to the mentored hunt. For more information, email linda.bylander@state.mn.us. The class is limited to 10 women.

More information is available at www.mndnr.gov/bow or by contacting Linda Bylander, 218-203-4347.

DNR announces speakers for angler and hunter summit

Declining participation in fishing and hunting has led the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to plan a two-day conference from Friday, Aug. 26, to Saturday, Aug. 27, that will focus on recruiting and retaining hunters and anglers.

“We are excited to share that several experts will be participating in the summit, including presentations from national experts, reflections from local organizations, and breakout sessions to address opportunities and common challenges to recruiting anglers and hunters,” said Jeff Ledermann, angler recruitment, retention and education supervisor.

Keynote speakers include:

Matt Dunfee is the programs manager for the Wildlife Management Institute, a 101-year old, nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to science-based, professional wildlife management. He has developed recruitment, retention and re-engagement strategies; developed related programs, evaluations and best practices; and conducted numerous multi-day training and information workshops on the topic for state and federal wildlife agency staff and administrators.
Ron Hustvedt, Jr. is the founder of WriteOutdoors.com. His writing appears regularly in numerous regional and national publications and frequently includes experiences of teaching his own young children to fish and hunt. He is a middle school social studies teacher and received the 2014 National Teacher of the Year from the Magnet Schools of America.
Col. Scott St. Sauver is the post commander of Camp Ripley. He is a leader of hunting programs and “Trolling for Troops,” where pro anglers accompany disabled veterans, current service members and recently deployed soldiers on a fishing excursion for the day. He will share stories how these programs have impacted the lives of participants and insights on what we can learn from them.
The conference will allow for information sharing on best practices to design and deliver recruitment and retention programs. Breakout sessions to address common challenges are also scheduled and include topics to increase participation of women, youth and other new audiences; recruiting the right volunteers; funding opportunities and designing effective field days.

Additionally, the DNR will provide a free toolkit with templates for new programs, strategies to enhance existing programs, evaluation tools, and checklists to help program planning and management.

The Aug. 26-27 conference will be at Earle Brown Heritage Center, 6155 Earle Brown Drive, Brooklyn Center. Volunteers and staff of organizations or agencies and members of the public involved or interested in preserving Minnesota’s outdoor heritage are encouraged to attend. There are no fees for registration or meals. Online registration is open at www.mndnr.gov/r3.

Trout stream designations would better match habitat, under proposal

Trout stream designations would better match habitat, under proposal

Streams with the cold, clear water needed to support trout populations would get stronger protection as newly designated trout streams, while other streams unable to support trout would no longer have the designation, according to a proposal involving about 90 waters in 30 Minnesota counties.

“The list of designated trout streams would change,” said Brian Nerbonne, streams habitat consultant with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Every few years we update the list to make sure management and regulations line up with the potential of the streams to support trout.” In all, 48 streams totaling 60 miles would be added to the list, and 41 streams totaling 195 miles would be removed from the list.

People can learn more about the proposal and find out how to comment, including how to comment on individual streams, at www.mndnr.gov/troutstreams. The proposal also includes two trout lakes. Deadline for comments is Monday, Nov. 7.

“Adding or removing designations for streams would change requirements for anglers, landowners and those who work near these streams,” Nerbonne said. “Anyone with questions can check out our website and find out which streams are being considered.”

Designation lets the DNR regulate trout fishing seasons and methods and allows for work to improve angler access and fish habitat. Anglers must purchase a trout stamp to fish designated waters. Designation also protects streams through more stringent levels of permitting and regulatory programs that apply to those seeking water use appropriations and permits for work in a stream.

Additionally, because designated trout streams and their tributaries are public waters by statute, those streams being added to the list that are not already mapped as a public water would be required by state law to have a buffer of perennial vegetation, or approved alternative practices that protect water quality.

“People might wonder why designations change for streams. In some cases, stream conditions improve or worsen. In others, we get more information about streams or stream segments that shows us they need to be protected, or conversely, that we’re wasting effort to protect some streams that can’t support trout,” Nerbonne said.

The changes in trout stream designations parallel an additional effort by the DNR to clarify the names of current trout streams. This renaming would make stream maps and names more accurate, but would not change how the streams are managed.

Information about that separate but concurrent process, which will begin Monday, Aug. 15, also is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/troutstreams.

State agencies seek feedback on Minnesota Walks

The Minnesota departments of transportation and health are seeking public feedback on Minnesota Walks – a statewide guide for creating safe, desirable and convenient places to walk and roll where Minnesotans live, work, learn and play.

Minnesota Walks is Minnesota’s first comprehensive statewide effort to address pedestrian needs and challenges. When completed, it will guide transportation and pedestrian planning, decision-making and collaboration for agencies, organizations, policymakers and public and private entities across the state. The goal of the work is to make walking safe, convenient and desirable for everyone in Minnesota.

The document is available for review at Minnesota Walks. Members of the public are invited to share their feedback through August 21.

“Minnesota Walks will guide and advance the vision to improve the pedestrian environment at the local, state and regional levels,” said Jean Wallace, assistant director for the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s (MnDOT) Modal Planning and Program Management Division and co-chair of the project advisory committee. “People in Minnesota were great at giving us their thoughts during the first round of public input. As we finalize this document, it will be our action plan for making all cities and towns walkable communities.”

Thousands of people in Minnesota from communities and organizations helped develop Minnesota Walks. They attended events, contributed their ideas online, attended meetings, provided leadership and identified challenges. In addition to this input, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), MnDOT and the project advisory committee collected expert opinions and the most current research.

“Minnesota Walks will be such a useful tool for our Statewide Health Improvement Program grantees and local partners who are working to expand opportunities for active living – including walking – to improve health in communities across the state,” said Julie Myhre, director of the MDH Office of Statewide Health Improvement Initiatives and co-chair of the project advisory committee.

People can make comments on the Minnesota Walks project website or by sending an email tohealth.activeliving@state.mn.us. In addition, people are encouraged to join the conversation on Facebook (follow @mndot) or on Twitter (use hashtag #mnwalks).

 

DNR offers tips to private forest owners dealing with storm damage

The recent blowdown in northern Minnesota caused major damage to state lands, as well as private forest lands. While landowners are not required to clean up downed trees and debris, the Department of Natural Resources is encouraging private forest owners and homeowners to consider salvaging and replacing damaged areas.

“Salvage and cleanup will likely be necessary to regenerate the forest and reduce the potential for wildfires and outbreak of insects and diseases,” said John Carlson, DNR private forest management coordinator. “The first step is to assess the extent of the damage and determine whether a timber sale is needed.”

Working in storm-damaged areas is dangerous; so Carlson strongly recommends that only foresters, loggers or tree care companies do the work. Consider hiring a consulting forester to help assess, sell and replant damaged forests.

For smaller properties, the damage may simply require removal of trees with broken tops or limbs and severely bent or fallen trees. Consider retaining a few storm-damaged trees for wildlife habitat.

For large forest stands, a salvage harvest may be the best option. Salvage harvests remove trees that have been damaged. Healthy, undamaged trees with full crowns are retained.

There are several considerations when considering a salvage harvest on private land:

The DNR recommends people contract with a private consulting forester to estimate the timber value and advise on how to set up and conduct a timber sale. For a listing of private consultant foresters, visit web.paulbunyan.net/norfor/members.htm.
Contact adjacent landowners because salvage operations frequently require coordination with adjacent woodlands. The Minnesota Logger Education Program’s online list of trained loggers is a resource to help find someone to remove damaged trees, visit mlep.org/directorysearch.asp.
Landowners are strongly encouraged to have written contracts with anyone who provides consulting services or works on salvage or reforestation operations. Check references and make sure they have insurance for the type of work they’re doing.
The volume and value of the salvageable timber will be almost impossible to determine until the harvesting operation begins. Value will depend on markets, access, amount and type of damage and size and quality of timber.
Timelines for salvage operations
Timelines for wood deterioration, insect infestation and preventing insect spread to healthy trees depend on the tree species and environmental conditions.

Pine: The primary concern is pine bark beetles that can kill trees and introduce blue stain fungus. Damaged Jack, white and red pines provide ideal breeding grounds for pine bark beetles. During spring and early summer, all downed timber, large tree limbs and cut products should be removed, burned, destroyed or debarked within three weeks of the storm to prevent the build-up of bark beetles.

Blue stain can reduce the value of sawtimber by two-thirds, but doesn’t reduce pulpwood values. Blue stain will be a problem within two to three weeks of the storm for broken-off tree stems and tops, and within six weeks in damaged but living trees.

Aspen and red maple: Damaged aspen and maple start losing value the spring after the damage occurs.

Oaks: Quality red oak timber must be harvested by the October following the storm for maximum sawtimber value.

Replanting and regeneration options
Many tree species come back naturally following a blow down or salvage harvest, including aspen, oak, basswood and maple. Returning a forest to Jack, white and red pine will require planting seedlings.

Contact a consulting forester or local DNR forester for more information. Reforestation options may be limited by salvage harvest methods and timing. Sites that do not successfully come back to trees naturally should be planted with seedlings.

Private forest landowners can purchase seedlings from the Minnesota State Forest Nursery for planting in the spring of 2017. Visit www.mndnr.gov/forestry/nursery for a list of available seedlings.

DNR overhauls state water trail trip planning tool

Those who enjoy canoeing, kayaking and other forms of recreation dependent on river levels can now get more and better information about current conditions from 120 real-time river-level gauges along many of Minnesota’s state water trails. Although the Department of Natural Resources has been installing and interpreting river-level gauges since 1971, the reporting service recently got some significant upgrades.

For the most current statewide river level map—updated hourly—visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/river_levels/index.html.

Color-coded dots indicate water levels ranging from “scrapable” (so low that paddlers may have to get out of their watercraft to avoid rocks); to “very high” (where paddling is considered dangerous and not recommended).

“Since weather events can vary significantly throughout Minnesota, paddlers should always consider this tool to verify river level conditions and to make an informed decision,” said Stan Linnell, DNR boat and water safety manager.

Upgrades to the river level map include:

More accurate information for highly-visited water trails.
The addition of river-level information for the recently designated Cedar River and Shell Rock River state water trails.
River-level readings for a larger number of gauges.
For statewide water trail facilities map visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/watertrails/interactive_map.

For a list of all state water trails and maps visit www.mndnr.gov/watertrails.

Gunflint Canoe Races to benefit Gunflint Fire Department

Since 1976, friends and neighbors on the upper Gunflint Trail have held the Gunflint Trail Canoe Races to raise money for worthy causes. This year’s event again will be at the Gunflint Lodge on the south shore of Gunflint Lake on Wednesday, July 20, beginning at 4:30 p.m.

The goal is to raise more than $20,000 to support the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department.

There’s something for everyone at the Gunflint Trail Canoe Races:

* Sixteen (16) canoe races for multiple ages and agilities and plenty of space to cheer on your favorites from Trail resorts and campsites.

* A food tent with the traditional canoe races sloppy joes, plus hot dogs, veggies and home made desserts. Food service starts at 4:30 p.m.

* More than 200 raffle items donated by folks up and down the Trail and in town. Tickets just $2 on site or at local resorts.

* Auctions – both silent and live. All for fun and lots of hand-made treasures along with bigger-ticket items.

* A commemorative T-shirt by local fashion designer Addie Gecas is available for just $15 on site and at Trail Center on weekends before the races. Adult and kids sizes available.

* All-in-fun activities for children and adults who are not racing.

* Last but not least a lucky $5 raffle ticket holder will win a red Current Designs Kestrel 120 kayak, worth $2,100! Winner will be announced just after the amazing fun-to-watch gunnel canoe race.

The kayak will be on display at Trail Center for several weekends prior to the races. Raffle tickets are available at numerous resorts and volunteers.

All proceeds from this year’s annual Gunflint Trail Canoe Races again will benefit the volunteer fire department. There are now three fire stations along the Trail, along with two adjacent community centers. According to Fire Chief Jim Morrison, “Donations from the canoe races will be used to outfit the fire truck we are getting to replace the now 41-year-old truck at Hall 2. We will need about 2,000 feet of hose, nozzles and fittings as well as tools including pike poles and axes. We also use donation money to resupply the ambulance. Medications and other supplies for the ambulance run about $5,000 each year.”

 

Bruce Kerfoot of Gunflint Lodge provides this little history lesson: “We started our Gunflint Trail Canoe Races as a fundraiser for a battle in Congress. We never imagined the races would become a community hoedown of sorts, with a mission to support the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department.  It is a true expression of how the Gunflint Trail community works together as neighbors and friends to better all our lives in the wilderness.”

An active committee of the Gunflint-Seagull-Saganaga Property Owners Associations, chaired this year by Arden Byers of Gunflint Lake, plans and produces the races. As many as 100 volunteers help make each year’s event a success.

For more information contact Vi Nelson at (312) 622-1067.

Voters choose new parks and trails license plate

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Following a week of online voting, during which more than 30,000 votes were cast, Lt. Gov. Tina Smith today announced the winner of the contest to design a Minnesota state parks and trails license plate.

The winning plate features an image of a canoe on the water, surrounded by Minnesota’s four seasons.

“Generations of Minnesotans have enjoyed our extraordinary state parks and trails system,” Smith said. “This new license plate allows Minnesotans to invest in the future of our parks and trails, and proudly demonstrate that commitment on their vehicles.”

The plate was submitted by Michelle Vesaas of Coon Rapids. Vesaas’s design received the most votes from among three finalists.

“My design was inspired by being in the outdoors in this beautiful state through all four seasons,” she said. “Even in the coldest days of winter, if you’re dressed for it, there is incredible beauty to be found.”


The new license plate will be available from the Department of Motor Vehicles this fall as part of the ongoing celebration of the 125th anniversary of Minnesota state parks and trails. The cost will start at $60, plus tax. The total includes a one-time $10 fee for the plate itself and a minimum $50 contribution (renewable annually).

“Purchasing the new license plate will be a great way to show everyone on the road that you ‘go the extra mile’ to support Minnesota state parks and trails,” said Erika Rivers, DNR parks and trails director.

The plate provides their owners with unlimited access to all 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas for the year, replacing the need for an annual vehicle permit (a $25 value).

Proceeds from license plate sales will help fund the operations and maintenance of Minnesota state parks and trails.

The DNR already has eight Critical Habitat license plates from which Minnesotans can choose. These specialty plates—first offered in 1995—provide an opportunity for citizens to support conservation and show their individuality by purchasing a license plate featuring a loon, a moose or another Minnesota-related image. The parks and trails plate will bring the total number of specialty license plates available from the DNR to nine.

For more information, contact the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us, 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Join ACMU on a Tilbury Trail clean-up

13502812_265263087171568_3059335476837652486_oArrowhead Coalition for Multiple Use invites members and friends to a trail clearing party! Sunday, July 17, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Meet at the South Fowl/Tilbury Trail trailhead on the Arrowhead Trail.

When we’ve done what we can do (until about 2 p.m.), we’ll gather at Gale & Carbine Carlson’s cabin for dinner & visiting.

This is YOUR trail, gained after a hard-fought decade-plus bureaucratic battle. Come check it out and see what needs to be done before the Forest Service comes back to do some more improvements later this summer.

Wear work boots and gloves and help pitch some brush if you can!
We picked Sunday because that works best for some of our most dedicated trail volunteers. However,, if a different time works better for you, contact us for information/directions at loons13@outlook.com or call 218-387-9844.

DNR releases Minnesota buffer map; implementation begins

Landmark initiative reiterates state’s priority to protect clean water

As part of the state’s commitment to protecting clean water, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources today released the map of public waters and public ditches requiring permanent vegetative buffers or alternative water quality practices.

The buffer map shows landowners and local governments where protective vegetative buffers of 16.5 feet or an average of 50 feet are required, as approved by the Minnesota Legislature in 2015 and revised in 2016. More than 90,000 miles of waters in Minnesota require buffers or alternative water quality practices.

The buffer map is available at www.mndnr.gov/buffers.

“Vegetative buffers help filter pollutants and sediment out of our waterways,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “Completing this map is a critical step toward the ultimate goal of protecting one of our most valuable natural resources – clean water.”

The project now turns to implementation with these deadlines:

Nov 1, 2017: 50-foot average width, 30-foot minimum width, buffers must be in place on lands adjacent to public waters and identified and mapped on the buffer map.
Nov. 1, 2018: 16.5-foot minimum width buffers must be in place on lands adjacent to public ditches as identified and mapped on the buffer map.
The Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR), soil and water conservation districts, and local governments will work with landowners on any questions about buffers or alternative water quality practices. There will be a series of eight meetings with local government boards and staff to help coordinate the implementation process.

“We want to thank our partners for helping the DNR produce an accurate map on schedule,” said Dave Leuthe, DNR buffer mapping project manager. “Many local buffer ordinances have already gone beyond the minimum state standard established through this process. We applaud the local communities and all landowners who put buffers in place.”

Minnesota’s landmark buffer law establishes new perennial vegetation buffers along rivers, streams, lakes, public ditches and some wetlands. Buffers protect water resources by helping filter out phosphorus, nitrogen and sediment. Gov. Mark Dayton championed the buffer initiative legislation in the 2015 and 2016 sessions.

The buffer initiative is a multi-agency effort involving the DNR, BWSR, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. The DNR is responsible for producing a map of the public waters and public ditches that require permanent vegetation buffers or alternative water quality practices. Studies by the MPCA show that buffers are critical to protecting and restoring water quality and aquatic habitat due to their immediate proximity to water.

More information and answers to specific questions about Minnesota’s buffer mapping project are available at www.mndnr.gov/buffers.

Ruffed grouse counts up, sharp-tailed grouse down from last year

Minnesota’s ruffed grouse spring drumming counts were up 18 percent statewide this year compared to last year, according to a survey conducted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

“Ruffed grouse populations tend to rise and fall on a 10-year cycle and counts this year are typical of what we expect during the rising phase of the cycle, which we are seeing now,” said Charlotte Roy, DNR grouse project leader.

Drumming is a low sound produced by males as they beat their wings rapidly and in increasing frequency to signal the location of their territory. Drumming displays also attract females that are ready to begin nesting. Ruffed grouse populations are surveyed by counting the number of male ruffed grouse heard drumming on established routes throughout the state’s forested regions.

Drumming counts are an indicator of the ruffed grouse breeding population. The number of birds present during the fall hunting season also depends upon nesting success and chick survival during the spring and summer. For the past 67 years, DNR biologists have monitored ruffed grouse populations. This year, DNR staff and cooperators from 14 organizations surveyed 126 routes across the state.

The 2016 survey results for ruffed grouse were 1.3 drums per stop statewide. The averages during 2013 and 2014 and 2015 were 0.9 and 1.1 and 1.1, respectively. Counts vary from about 0.6 drums per stop during years of low grouse abundance to about 2.0 during years of high abundance.

Results this year follow a year of no change from 2014 to 2015. While it can be difficult to explain year-to-year variation, the lack of change in last year’s results followed a cold, wet spring of 2014, which may have hurt grouse production.  

In the northeast survey region, which is the core of Minnesota’s grouse range, counts were 1.5 drums per stop; in the northwest there were 1.1 drums per stop; in the central hardwoods, 0.8 drums per stop; and in the southeast, 0.8 drums per stop.

Sharp-tailed grouse counts down slightly
To count sharp-tailed grouse, observers look for males displaying on traditional mating areas, which are called leks or dancing grounds.

“The data on sharp-tailed grouse take some interpretation, because survey results can be influenced by how many leks are counted or changes in how many birds are at each lek year to year,” Roy said. “The average number of sharp-tailed grouse was similar this year compared to 2015, but we may be looking at a decline when considering changes in the number of leks counted or changes at the same leks counted in both years.”

Comparisons of the same leks counted in both years indicate that counts per lek were down in the northwest region and statewide. In the east-central region, birds counted per lek was statistically unchanged, but fewer leks were counted, likely indicating that birds are combining into fewer leks but maintaining the average lek size.

This year’s statewide average of 9.5 sharp-tailed grouse per lek was similar to the long-term average since 1980. The 2009 average of 13.6 was as high as during any year since 1980. During the last 25 years, the sharp-tailed grouse index has been as low as seven birds counted per dancing ground.

The DNR’s 2016 grouse survey report, which contains information on ruffed grouse and sharp-tailed grouse, is available online at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/grouse.

North Shore Water Festival in Grand Marais, July 16-17

The third annual North Shore Water Festival (NSWF) in Grand Marais offers visitors a chance to get wet and participate in water activities on Saturday and Sunday, July 16 and 17 in Stone Harbor.

The NSWF will have experts on hand offering fishing, touring kayak and canoe demonstrations, stand-up paddle board demo activities in the harbor, including stand-up yoga, plus a display of new water gear and equipment. Most activities are free to the public, and only require signing a waiver and/or registering in advance for stand-up board yoga.

The North Shore Water Festival is hosted by Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply, 22 E. First St., with the support of local Grand Marais businesses. A variety of vendors will be on hand to show and offer demos of their gear and equipment.

Events run from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

For more information contact Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply at (218) 387-3136.

DNR offers advice for dealing with storm damaged trees

Cleanup following a storm can be an overwhelming task for homeowners. Knowing which trees to save and which to remove can impact safety and the survival of remaining trees, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

DNR forestry outreach specialist Jennifer Teegarden offers the following tips.

Do:

  • Approach damaged trees with caution. Stay clear of downed wires and call 911.
    Carefully inspect standing trees for damage and deal with hazardous trees first. If possible, ask a forester or arborist for advice.
  • Trees should be removed if more than 50 percent of the trunk or live branches in the crown are damaged, and if the tree is unnaturally leaning or roots are damaged.
  • Watch for detached branches, loosely hanging branches and split or cracked trunks that can cause injury or further damage.
  • Use proper pruning techniques to remove broken limbs by cutting just outside the branch collar, but limit pruning to making the tree safe. Too much pruning can weaken an already stressed tree.
  • Water stressed and damaged trees weekly to help them repair and rebuild. Be careful not to overwater, especially in heavy clay soils.
  • Monitor damaged trees in upcoming years to make sure they don’t become a hazard.
    Don’t:
  • Be rushed by promises of bargains from inexperienced or unqualified tree service providers. Improper pruning or unneeded removal can result in unnecessary costs or loss of healthy trees. Ask for references and proof of insurance.
  • Repair a broken branch or fork of a tree with tape, wire, bolts or other wraps. It will not heal, and the split will invite decay and further weaken the tree. Cabling or bracing should only be performed by a certified arborist and inspected annually.
  • Remove the tops of trees. This makes the tree more susceptible to insects and disease, and results in new branches that are weakly attached.
  • Apply paint or dressing to wounds as these materials interfere with the natural wound sealing process.
  • Remove small, leaning trees. Trees less than 15 feet tall may survive if they are gently pulled back into place. Press out air spaces in the loosened soil. The tree can then be staked for up to a year.
  • Fertilize stressed or damaged trees.
    Information on tree care, proper pruning techniques and handling damaged trees is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/treecare/maintenance/stormdamage-prevention.html.

For more extensive information on tree care, contact a DNR forester, city forester, certified arborist or county extension staff.

Take the right steps to correct damaged trees so they can continue to provide shade, clean air, beauty and increased property value for many years to come.

Cook County ATV Club hosts Tom Lake Ride & Shoot

The weather is looking good for the Cook County ATV Club Tom Lake Ride & Shoot on Saturday, July 9.
Anyone interested is invited to meet at the Portage Brook gravel pit in Hovland at 11 a.m.. Length of ride may vary from previously announced due to downed trees, but organizers promise it will still be fun!

Bring a picnic lunch for on the trail.

Return to the pit for target practice at around 2:30 p.m. Different areas will be set up for rifles, shotguns, pistols. Join club members on the ride or meet them after at the Portage Brook pit. Bring your firearms, lunch, beverages, chairs and enjoy the day!

For more information about the Ride & Shoot, email ATVcookcounty@outlook.com or call 218-387-9844 up to 8 a.m. on the 9th! For more information about the Cook County ATV Club, find the club on Facebook, under Cook County ATV Club.

 

Heart of the Continent working with National Geographic

The Heart of the Continent Partnership (HOCP) is a Canadian/American coalition of land managers and local stakeholders working together on cross-border projects that promote the economic, cultural and natural health of the lakes, forests and communities on the Ontario/Minnesota border. Representing a broad array of organizations, the partnership seeks to develop a common identity and sense of belonging.

HOCP explains the Heart of the Continent region: Spanning the international border between northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Ontario lies an international treasure: the largest expanse of public greenspace in the heart of North America.

Heart of the Continent Area

Heart of the Continent Area

This 5.5 million acre (2.2 million hectares) landscape comprises a blend of working forest, rugged scenery, pristine watersheds, abundant wildlife and outstanding biodiversity. Several separately managed natural areas are encompassed by this ecosystem at the “heart of the continent,” including Quetico Provincial Park, Superior National Forest (including the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness), Voyageurs National Park, Grand Portage National Monument and numerous Minnesota state forest lands and parks and Ontario provincial parks.

HOCP is currently partnering with National Geographic Society on a regional geotourism initiative, including a map and website. The goal is to increase visitorship, build support for the region, and build community among those who care   for it.

 

Click here to read an article about the efforts of the Heart of the Continent in the Ely Echo

North Shore Trout Stream Refuge Project is seeking volunteers

Cold groundwater is essential for North Shore trout streams, keeping stream temperatures below the thermal limit for trout and steelhead survival and providing base flow during summer. Yet groundwater is not abundant in this region and is particularly important for sustaining these prized coldwater fisheries.

The DNR and organizations such as Minnesota Trout Unlimited are focusing habitat restoration and protection efforts on a subset of North Shore watersheds most likely to sustain coldwater fisheries and quality angling into the next century. They need detailed information on the locations of groundwater discharge areas in priority watersheds to most effectively target habitat restoration and watershed protection efforts.

Volunteers are now needed to assist with collecting temperature data and mapping information for the North Shore Trout Stream Refuge Project. Volunteers will be in the stream with quick-reacting thermometers (thermocouples) to find and GPS areas of cool water that could serve as thermal refuges for cool water fish. Volunteer efforts will be coordinated by Trout Unlimited, with training and equipment provided. Volunteers are needed during July, August, and early September 2016.

Stream walking will only be effective when average stream temperatures are warmer than potential groundwater inputs and under summer low flow conditions (thus, large rainstorms will delay or shift volunteer efforts).

Examples of locations include Elbow Creek, Cascade River, E. Colvill Creek, Devil Track River, Little Devil Track River and Junco Creek.

 

If interested in this opportunity or for more information contact woollybugger@charter.net You may also call 612-670-1629 for more information.

Comments sought on master plan for Cook County Mountain Bike Trail System

The Arrowhead Regional Development Commission (ARDC) is now accepting comments on the final draft of the Cook County Mountain Bike Trail System Plan. The Plan, which envisions over 150 miles of purpose-built mountain bike trails in Cook County, was developed in partnership with the Superior Cycling Association over a three-month planning process. Comments on the Plan, which is available for review at www.arrowheadplanning.org/mtbCookCounty, will be accepted through July 15, 2016.

 

The Cook County Mountain Bike Trail System Master Plan outlines a conceptual plan and strategic actions for introducing over 150 miles of mountain bike trails to the Sawtooth Mountain Range in Cook County. The draft plan’s actions include expanding existing mountain bike trail clusters, developing a mountain bike trail traversing the entirety of the North Shore ridgeline, enhancing mountain bike trail programming efforts, and more. The two-week public input period will give interested parties a chance to suggest changes or additions to the plan before the document is finalized.

 

ARDC will be accepting comments on the Cook County Mountain Bike Trail System Plan through July 15, 2016. For more information or to review the Plan, visit www.arrowheadplanning.org/mtbCookCounty or contact Russell Habermann, Associate Planner at ARDC, via phone at 218-529-7552 or via email at rhabermann@ardc.org.

 

The Arrowhead Regional Development Commission is a regional comprehensive planning and development agency serving the counties of Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake and St. Louis in Northeast Minnesota. ARDC’s mission is to serve the people of the Arrowhead Region by providing local units of government and citizen groups a means to work cooperatively in identifying needs, solving problems and fostering local leadership.

 

 

DNR reminds boaters to stay sober

In an effort to curb alcohol- and drug-related boating accidents and deaths, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officers and hundreds of other public safety officers remind boaters to obey all rules and stay sober when taking to the water.

“We have zero tolerance for anyone found operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” said DNR Conservation Officer Adam Block. “Drunk boating is drunk driving, and carries the same consequences. Intoxicated boat operators will not get a warning; they will be arrested.”

BWI is the leading contributing factor in boating accidents and fatalities, both in Minnesota and nationwide. State boating accident statistics show that over the past five years, 42 percent of fatal boating accidents involved alcohol.

In 2015 alone, alcohol was a factor in seven out of 16 fatal boating accidents.

“The majority of fatal boating accidents turn deadly because the victim isn’t wearing a life jacket. But being intoxicated is often what causes them to end up in the water in the first place,” Block said.

Last year, 78 BWI arrests were made statewide.

While a blood alcohol level of .08 is the legal limit for boat operators – the same limit as for driving a vehicle – Block said, “boaters are encouraged to leave the alcohol on dry land and choose to boat sober on ‘dry water.’”

According to Block, Minnesota has some of the strongest BWI laws in the country, which he said should send a message to boaters about the importance of boating sober.

Boaters convicted of BWI face significant monetary fines (up to $1,000 for a first offense), possible jail time, impoundment of their boat and trailer, and the loss of boat operating privileges for 90 days during the boating season.

Intoxicated boaters with prior BWI convictions, who have a child under 16 years old on board, or who have a blood alcohol limit of .16, may be charged with a gross misdemeanor or felony crime and subject to higher monetary fines, mandatory jail time, loss of driver’s license, loss of vehicle plates, and forfeiture of their boat and trailer.

South Fowl/Tilbury Trail update: Time for trail work again!

ACMU had a good meeting with Forest Service personnel on Thursday, June 16. Attending the meeting were Forest Service representatives Gunflint District Ranger Nancy Larson, Jon Benson and Cathy Quinn.

Thank you to Jon Benson and his Forest Service crews. They have spent hundreds of hours on our trail.

Thank you to Jon Benson and his Forest Service crews. They have spent hundreds of hours on our trail.

There has a been a turn over in Forest Service personnel. Jon Benson is now in Suzanne Cable’s position. Cathy Quinn will be working with us on the South Fowl/Tilbury trail with Jon’s input.
They have been out to look at the trail–especially the sidehills that make the trail so difficult. It has been decided the best course of action is to blast to break up the rocks and level the sidehills, reducing them from a 20% grade to a 10% grade. The Forest Service is consulting with an expert from Colorado who has built trails for the Forest Service in Colorado.
However, there are still downed trees and brush from last winter and this spring. We need people to get up there and clear before the blasting is done. If you have he time please go in and enjoy the trail and move some brush.

Thank you to everyone who has worked on the trail — every stick and rock moved is greatly appreciated!
We hope the process of blasting will finally produce a usable trail for all riders of all levels.
Thank you from ACMU!

Department of Health watching our beach water

Now that summer has finally arrived, the Minnesota Department of Health beach monitoring program has begun. Occasionally “no water contact” advisories are issued for local beaches.

Beach monitoring is conducted at the following beaches in Cook County:  Chicago Bay boat launch in Hovland; Paradise Beach, Kadunce Creek, Durfee Creek in Colvill; Old Shore Road, Harbor Park in Grand Marais, Recreation Park campground in Grand Marais, Cutface Creek Wayside Rest; Temperance River State Park, Schroeder Town Park and Sugarloaf Cove Beach in Schroeder. At press time, all had “water contact acceptable” ratings.

MDH monitors beaches all along the North Shore from Duluth to Two Harbors. All have received “no water contact” advisories at some point.

A number of factors, such as dog, geese and other wildlife feces, dirty diapers, failing septic systems and sewer line breaks and overflows, can contribute to higher levels of illness-causing bacteria.

The Minnesota Lake Superior Beach Monitoring Program offers the following tips to minimize risks associated with potential water contamination. Its website recommends waiting 24 hours before going swimming after a heavy rainfall and showering after swimming or recreating at the beach. It also advises that beach goers do not swallow water and that they try to keep face and head out of the water. If possible, the website says to wear earplugs and goggles. Finally, it advises people with weakened immune systems not to swim.

Anyone who becomes ill after contacting beach water is asked to contact the Minnesota Department of Health at (877) 366-3455.

To find the latest results of beach monitoring for North Shore beaches, visit www.MNBeaches.org.

 

ACMU members complete chainsaw safety training

To use a chainsaw on trails on US Forest Service land, you must have Forest Service chainsaw safety training and CPR/First Aid training. A chainsaw safety class was held Sunday, June 26 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. in Grand Marais.

Thanks to all the folks who time out of their busy lives to attend this training offered by our trail partner, the US Forest Service.

Jon Benson of the USFS did a great job making the training interesting and informative. Attendees agreed it wasn’t such a bad way to spend a summer day.

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USFS instructor Jon Benson gives a safety briefing before the cutting begins.

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Members of ACMU, the local ATV Club and the Superior Hiking Trail Association took part in the class.

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A Superior Hiking Trail Association volunteer practices a cut.

 

“Clean In, Clean Out” helps protect lakes this holiday weekend

AIS media event, Mississippi, Hastings Access

AIS media event, Mississippi, Hastings Access

The Independence Day weekend ahead is one of the busiest of the Minnesota boating and fishing season. The Department of Natural Resources reminds everyone to plan a little extra time for making sure boats and equipment are clean going in and clean coming out of lakes and rivers to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

“Clean In, Clean Out” zones are stenciled onto special areas at many accesses where boaters can pull off and make sure they aren’t transporting aquatic invasive species. To protect the state’s waters from the spread of invasive species and the environmental, recreational and economic damage they cause, Minnesota law requires boaters and anglers to:

Clean their watercraft of aquatic plants and prohibited invasive species.
Drain all water by removing drain plugs and keeping them out during transport.
Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.
“With many accesses busier than usual, we’re asking everyone to be patient and practice ‘Minnesota Nice’ this Independence Day weekend,” said Adam Doll, DNR watercraft inspection program coordinator. “There are also more DNR-trained watercraft inspectors and more decontamination units than ever before, all helping keep 95 percent of Minnesota lakes off the infested waters list.”

Watercraft inspectors check to ensure that boaters and anglers follow clean, drain, dispose laws and may deny access if necessary. Decontamination stations provide a free and thorough process of removing aquatic plant and animals.

More information, including a 30-second public service announcement about stopping the spread of aquatic invasive species, is available at www.mndnr.gov/AIS.

Only approved firewood allowed on state lands

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wants to remind visitors that only approved firewood is allowed on lands managed by the DNR, such as state parks, state forests and wildlife management areas. Firewood restrictions will help prevent the introduction or spread of damaging forest pests, including emerald ash borer, gypsy moth and oak wilt.

Firewood that can be used on state-managed lands must be offered for sale by the DNR at that location or:

Be acquired from a DNR-approved firewood vendor that sells firewood harvested within 50 miles from where burning occurs.
Be acquired from a DNR-approved firewood vendor certified by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) or the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS). There will be a certification shield on the bundle label.
Be kiln-dried, clean (unpainted and unstained) dimensional lumber free of any metal or foreign substance. Pallet boards are not considered approved firewood because they may contain bark that can harbor forest pests.
There is one exception: Anyone camping on state forest land outside of a designated campground may gather dead wood on the ground for campfire use on site.

“Remember to keep your bundle label, purchase receipt or vendor ticket when purchasing firewood from a DNR-approved firewood vendor,” said Susan Burks, the DNR’s Forestry Division’s invasive species program coordinator. “You many need to show it to DNR staff or camp hosts where you are camping.”

The DNR encourages visitors to burn all firewood purchased from a park before leaving or to return unopened bundles for a refund. Leave any leftover firewood purchased outside the park with the camp host or at the campsite for the next camper. It’s important that visitors not take firewood home because it could move forest pests to a new location.

For more information, including a list of approved firewood vendors, visit www.mndnr.gov/firewood/index.html or contact the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us, 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.