Outdoor skills program offered for families along the Gunflint Trail

A three-day outdoors skills program for families with teens and college-age kids will be offered this summer through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources at Gunflint Lodge in northern Minnesota.

Designed to provide introductory experiences, this program includes sessions on fishing, canoeing, outdoor survival skills and other activities, including horseback riding and zip-lining.

“Minnesota’s outdoors has so much to offer,” said Linda Bylander, DNR Becoming an Outdoors Woman coordinator. “This program aims to give families the skills they need to enjoy the state’s lakes, forests and more.”

Bylander said the focus on older youth and young adults reflects the fact that many young adults do not fish or hunt, and as a result their children are less likely to as well. “Families that learn skills together tend to apply them together in the future,” she said.

The program from Friday, June 24, to Monday, June 27, is based at Gunflint Lodge up the Gunflint Trail that leads toward the northern Minnesota border from Grand Marais. Costs for the program range from $600 to $700 per family and registration is required. Each family will stay in a deluxe cabin at Gunflint Lodge. For more information or to register, contact Bylander at linda.bylander@state.mn.us or 218-203-4347.

Catch and release properly to help fish survival

Looking ahead to fishing opener, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources shares these tips for anglers:

 

Anglers can boost the odds of fish surviving catch and release with methods that avoid internal damage to fish.

 

“Fish can be injured by hooks, stress and being pulled from deep water,” said Brad Parsons, central region fisheries manager with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “As we head into the fishing season we remind anglers to keep the fish’s survival in mind when planning to catch and release.”

 

Fish hooked in the mouth almost always survive. Setting the hook quickly helps avoid hooking a fish in the stomach or gills. Jigs, circle hooks and active baits like crankbaits are more likely to hook a fish in the mouth. Barbless hooks or pinched barbs can help, but where a fish gets hooked is more important than the presence or absence of a barb.

 

Quickly landing a fish, minimizing its time out of water and handling the fish firmly but carefully all help it survive after release.

 

“By all means take photos, but it helps to have the camera ready and to have pliers that work well for taking hooks out,” Parsons said. “Cutting the line and leaving the hook in the fish is also a good option.”

 

The DNR encourages anglers to practice some restraint when the fish are really biting, especially during the summer or when fishing deep water. Fish pulled up from deep water can experience stress and injury, so anglers who plan on catch-and-release are reminded to avoid deep water.

 

“Deep water and also warm water temperatures increase the stress put on fish when caught and released,” Parsons said. “Anglers tend to do more fishing and catch more fish in warm weather, but these are also important times to take special care during catch and release.”

 

Here are a few more tips for successfully releasing fish:

  • Wet your hands before touching a fish to prevent removal of their protective slime coating. Rubberized nets help, too.
  • Unhook and release the fish while it is still in the water, if possible, and support its weight with both hands or with a net when removed from the water. Never lift them vertically.
  • Hold a fish firmly but gently. Don’t drop it. And don’t hold a fish by the eyes.
  • Do not place fish you plan to release on a stringer or in a live well.
  • Revive a fish by cradling it under the belly and gently moving it back and forth in the water until it swims away.
  • Harvest a fish that can be legally kept if it is bleeding heavily or can’t right itself.

 

“No good angler wants to see a released fish die,” Parsons said. “Responsible catch-and-release fishing can help ensure we continue to have quality fishing throughout Minnesota.”
For more information on fishing and fishing regulations, visit www.mndnr.gov/fishmn.

All invited to the Arrowhead Coalition for Multiple Use annual membership meeting

Join the Arrowhead Coalition for Multiple Use for the annual membership meeting on Tuesday, May 10 from 4 – 8 p.m. at the Cook County Senior Center, 10 North Broadway, Grand Marais.

Vote for board members, find out what’s been happening in Cook County. Light refreshments.
Interested in serving on this important watchdog organization? Let us know! Contact Chuck at 218-387-9844.

Illegal burning pollutes statewide

Illegal garbage burning—in open fires and burn barrels—is a persistent source of pollution in Minnesota, according to a feature story in the May–June Minnesota Conservation Volunteer magazine.

 

Burning garbage can release toxins into the surrounding air, soil and water, Henry Fisher of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) told the magazine. These toxins often include dioxin, a long-lasting carcinogen that can enter fish, wildlife, farm animals and ultimately humans as it works its way up the food chain. “The open burning of household waste … contributes to 50 percent of the known dioxins generated in the state,” Fisher said.

 

Small-scale backyard burning of household trash has a big cumulative impact, according to the story, “A Burning Problem” by managing editor Keith Goetzman. The modern waste stream contains chemicals, paints, coatings, foils and other compounds that make trash more toxic than it used to be, especially when burned. More than 33 percent of rural Minnesota residents said they burn trash in a 2010 MPCA survey.

 

Garbage fires also start many wildfires every year. Spring is fire season, and spring-cleaning may lead people to throw away and burn unwanted things. In the story, a DNR conservation officer and an MPCA inspector name some of the things they’ve found in illegal fires: plastics, rubber, furniture, mattresses, appliances, even a horse carcass.

 

Burning garbage has been illegal in Minnesota since the 1980s. Burn barrels built to legal specifications can be used to burn yard waste but never garbage. Minnesotans who suspect a potential burning violation can report it by calling the MPCA at 800-657-3864 or the TIP hotline at 800-652-9093.

Minnesota Conservation Volunteer is a reader-supported source of outdoor information and ideas. To subscribe to the print magazine, read it online, and peruse the online archive, go to www.mndnr.gov/mcvmagazine. Or subscribe by calling 888-646-6367.

Wildfire Prevention Week is April 17-23

Wildfire Prevention Week is April 17-23
Every year in Minnesota, wildfires cause property losses, injuries and threaten the lives of fire fighters. To raise awareness of this danger, April 17-23 is Wildfire Prevention Week in Minnesota.

Most Minnesota wildfires happen in the spring between the time snow has melted and plants and grasses have greened up. This is because last year’s dry vegetation can quickly catch fire.

“Most wildfires in Minnesota are caused by humans, and the number-one reason is fire escaping from debris-burning piles,” said Linda Gormanson, DNR wildfire prevention supervisor. “To prevent wildfires in the first place, use alternatives to burning grass, plant and tree debris such as mulching or composting.”

So far this year, 555 fires have burned 4,347 acres. On average, fire agencies in Minnesota respond to 1,200 wildfires each year that burn over 38,000 acres at a cost of tens of millions of dollars for suppression efforts.

To help reduce the number of wildfires, the state restricts burning during times when vegetation can easily catch fire. Additionally, burning permits are required to burn vegetation unless there is at least 3 inches of snow on the ground. The DNR or local governments may also restrict burning if weather conditions warrant.

Learn more about wildfire prevention at www.mndnr.gov/wildfire/prevention.  

Current information on statewide fire danger and burning restrictions is available at www.mndnr.gov/forestry/fire. Burning permits are available online, from local fire wardens or DNR forestry offices.

Campfires, defined as no larger than 3 feet in diameter and height and surrounded by a cleared area, do not need a permit. Be safe with fire. Keep a shovel and water at hand, never leave the fire unattended and make sure fires are completely out before leaving.

Chainsaw safety offered for ACMU volunteers

Anyone who wants to be able to clear trails (like the South Fowl/Tilbury Trail) or ATV or snowmobile trails, must have U.S. Forest Service chainsaw safety training. The Forest Service will be holding two training sessions this summer. Please consider signing up for one of these training sessions!

Anyone who uses a chainsaw on federal land/trails must also have CPR and First Aid Training. If you have this training, you should bring your certificate to the training.

If you want to attend a CPR/First Aid course to get the certification, let us know. We will try to arrange a class. There is no charge for the Forest Service chainsaw safety training, however there is a charge for CPR/First Aid Training as it conducted through an American Heart Association certified instructor. But it’s not a bad idea for everyone to have that training.

Space is limited for these courses and we want to get everyone who is interested enrolled, so get back to us asap! Contact Chuck Silence at (218) 370-0377 or Diane Greeley at (218) 370-0304.

 

The dates are:

June 12th

9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Lutsen Town Hall- 116 Caribou Trail, Lutsen, MN

Cutting Location- Near the Lutsen Trail Breaker Groomer Building- 466 Caribou Trail, Lutsen, MN

The Lutsen Trail Breakers have agreed to pay for the building rental.  Donations to their club will be accepted but are not required for participation.  Thanks Lutsen Trail Breakers!!!

 

June 26th

 

9:00 a.m. –  4:30 p.m.

Gunflint Ranger District Office Conference Room

Cutting location: To be Determined.

 

Jon Benson of the Forest Service said participants should plan on bringing their own lunch.  Sawyers should bring the saw that they normally use to cut with, appropriate personal protective equipment consisting of hard hats, chaps, gloves, long pants, boots, long sleeved shirt, and ear and eye protection.  The Forest Service will have limited extras on hand for those who forget.

 

 

Comment sought on Lake Superior trout recovery plan

A healthy recovery staged by wild lake trout in Lake Superior means these fish no longer need to be stocked in the lake, according to an updated management plan that covers the Minnesota waters of Lake Superior. The public can now comment on the plan until May 8.

“The successful lake trout recovery is a highlight of the plan,” said Cory Goldsworthy, Lake Superior fisheries supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Extensive public input informs this plan. It covers the years 2016 to 2025 and outlines management goals for sportfish populations, as well as steps to reach these goals.”

Three public open houses to gather input and answer questions are scheduled, including an April 19 session at the Cook County Community Center in Grand Marais from 6 to 8 p.m.

Comments may be submitted at www.mndnr.gov/lakesuperior or by contacting Goldsworthy at 218-302-3268 or cory.goldsworthy@state.mn.us.

Management actions recommended include:

* Discontinue lake trout stocking in Lake Superior waters near Duluth because wild fish populations have reached rehabilitation criteria recommended in the Lake Trout Restoration Plan for Lake Superior.

* Expand the zone where steelhead are maintained solely through natural reproduction and evaluate catch rates in the absence of supplemental stocking.

* Reconfigure kamloops stocking methods to employ direct stocking upstream in the Lester River.

* Increase commercial fishing opportunities for lake trout.

“The plan combines fisheries science with extensive public input from the 26-member Lake Superior Citizen’s Advisory Group,” Goldsworthy said. “The people who served on the group should be commended for their commitment to this project.”

The advisory group included representatives from interested groups, commercial harvesters, tribal and watershed interests, and others. The process began with a public conference in December 2014, and was followed by a series of seven advisory group meetings.

The plan, which will be finalized this summer, includes history and background on lake trout stocking and other items and is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/areas/fisheries/lakesuperior/index.html or electronically by emailing cory.goldsworthy@state.mn.us.

County Comprehensive Trails plan ready for review

A Cook County Comprehensive Trails Plan is being developed to outline strategic actions that the county and trail stakeholders can take to “create and maintain a quality system of trails for multiple uses in order to contribute to the quality of life for residents and the quality of experiences for visitors in Cook County and Grand Portage.”

Cook County is working with professional planners from the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission (ARDC) to complete the planning process and a public comment period will open on March 7, 2016.

According to David Demmer, land use specialist with Cook County Planning and Zoning, draft proposed actions include policy changes, improved and expanded trail systems, improvements to trail affiliated public facilities, improving the efficiency of trail maintenance, and many other ideas.

On March 7, 2016, residents and other interested stakeholders can review the draft document by going to: www.arrowheadplanning.org/ccctp.

The draft plan can also reviewed as a hard copy at the Cook County Planning and Zoning office and the Grand Marais Public Library.

The public input period will give interested parties a chance to suggest changes or add recommended actions to the plan. The committee responsible for drafting the plan will consider changes to the document after the public input period closes on March 18, 2016 and before the plan goes to an official adoption process with the Cook County Board of Commissioners.

Comments on the draft plan should be sent to ARDC via email to Charlie Moore at cmoore@ardc.org or mailed to: Charlie Moore, ARDC, 221 West First Street, Duluth, MN 55812.

Additional comments will be accepted at a public presentation of the draft plan at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 15, 2016 at the Cook County commissioners’ room at the courthouse in Grand Marais.

 

DNR announces seasonal road and trail closures around the state

As warm weather approaches, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has temporarily closed many of its roads and motorized trails on DNR-administered land.

Road and trail conditions are expected to deteriorate rapidly this spring and many will not remain firm enough to support vehicle traffic without being damaged. This includes state forest roads and trails. Temporary closures could remain in effect until sometime in May, depending on weather conditions.

“We ask that people use good judgment, obey the closures and frequently check the DNR website for updates to help protect our trails and roads,” said Mary Straka, DNR off-highway vehicle program consultant.

Road conditions can change quickly and Straka advises people to first check the DNR’s temporary closures Web page at www.mndnr.gov/trailconditions before planning trips. Road and trail conditions are updated every Thursday after 2 p.m.

The DNR Information Center can also provide information on road and trail closures. Contact them at 651-296-6157, 888-646-6367 or info.dnr@state.mn.us between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

Road and trail users should pay attention to state forest closures. Signs will be posted at entry points and parking lots. The closures include all unmarked roads and trails, unless specifically listed on the DNR website.

For information on roads and trails on county land, contact the county directly.

Will climate change affect tourism on the North Shore?

Will warmer summers, shorter winters and possible changes in the types of plants, animals and birds found in the Northland affect visitors coming to Cook County?

And will an increase in risk of heat waves and wild fires throughout the region slow tourism to the North Shore?

These were some of the questions posed to Arrowhead visitors during the winter and summer of 2015 by researchers from the University of Minnesota, Carleton College and North Carolina State University.

Part of the data collected in tourist interviews centered on what type of activities they engaged in, how much money they spent here, and what their future plans might look like if the affects of climate change continue.

“We’ve combined the results of our tourist survey with past visitation and economic data to assess the potential economic impact of future tourism behavior on the North Shore,” said Mae Davenport, PH.D, associate professor, Department of Forestry Resources director, and Center for Changing Landscapes, University of Minnesota.

Using computers and complex formulas, a team of scientists from the University of Minnesota created future climate models for the North Shore region using variables such as heat index, snow depth, and wind chill.

All of these findings will be presented in two workshops. The first will be held on March 15 from 5-8 p.m. at Lutsen Resort and the second will be at Grand Superior Lodge in Two Harbors on March 16 from 5-8 p.m.

Space is limited and by invitation only. RSVPs are required.

The workshops are a culmination of the research, which was funded by Minnesota Sea Grant.

ACMU bids farewell to former board member and friend

obit - Parker, RichardRichard (Dick) Everett Parker, 74, of Grand Marais, died on February 27, 2016, at Season’s Hospice in Rochester, Minnesota of cancer.

Dick was born April 27, 1941 in Chicago, Illinois to Russell and Myra Parker. He graduated from Maine Township High School in Park Ridge, Illinois in 1959. In 1963, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in botany and bacteriology from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in forestry from the University of Michigan in 1966.

On April 19, 1969 Dick married Phyllis Hebel of Twin Lakes, Minnesota. During their married life they moved 11 times finally retiring to Grand Marais, in 2001 after Dick retired from Color Spot Nurseries as Chief Executive Officer.

 

Dick became very active in volunteering in Grand Marais teaching Department of Natural Resources (DNR) classes (firearms safety, ATV safety, snowmobile safety), Cook County Snowmobile Club, Maple Hill Volunteer Fire Department, Cook County Firewise Committee, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (secchi testing), Flintlock Range, Ham Run Half Marathon, Beargrease Dogsled Race, Gunflint Mail Run Dogsled Race, Mush For A Cure Dogsled Race, Arrowhead Coalition for Multiple Use, ATV Club, Cook County Sprinkler Committee, Cook County Wildfire Plan Committee, Grand Marais Lions Club and Bethlehem Lutheran Church (past treasurer).

He received numerous awards from the Grand Marais community: Cook County Citizen of the Year in 2009, Dolly Johnson Emergency Services Award, ATV instructor of the year for the State of Minnesota in 2009, the Maple Hill Community Fire Department dedicated their Devil Track Hall to Richard, the Grand Marais Snowmobile Club dedicated their maintenance building to Richard, and a new award – The Dick Parker Outstanding Volunteer Award – was created in 2016 to recognize outstanding volunteers of the Gunflint Mail Run Dogsled Race.

Although he appreciated all of the many awards, his preference was always to work in the background without recognition. As his health deteriorated, he greatly missed doing what he enjoyed most, volunteering.

Dick is survived by his wife Phyllis; daughters Angela (Matt) Deeths of Grand Junction, Colorado and Jenny (Matt) Graser of Pace, Florida as well as four grandchildren: Megan, Will, Abby and Miranda.   He is also survived by his brother Theodore Parker of Sacramento, California and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his father Russell Parker in 1972, his mother Myra McKigney in 1993, his granddaughter Allison Graser in 2004, and his sister Arleen VanSchoick in 2013.

A memorial service will be Saturday, March 5, 2016 (1:00 p.m.) at Bethlehem Lutheran Church (417 1st Ave. W., Grand Marais) with Pastor Mark Ditmanson officiating. Burial will be at Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis at a later date.

Richard will be truly missed, but never forgotten, by everyone who knew him.

In lieu of flowers, Dick preferred donations to either Bethlehem Lutheran Church (general fund) or to the Maple Hill Community Fire Department.

To sign the online register book please visit www.cavallinfuneralhome.com.

Curtis Gagnon featured on community radio

Back in 1984, Grand Portage Band Member Curtis Gagnon shot a moose at the wrong time and in the wrong place. The story of what happened after that covers a wide variety of topics including hunting laws, American Indian Treaty Rights, customs, traditions and spiritual values, and our relationship with each other as people.

On Thursday, March 3 join WTIP volunteer Roger Linehan as he talks with Curtis about that moose, whose death ultimately helped the Anishinaabe people, and the impact it had on all of us.

Curtis is also a founding member of the Arrowhead Coalition for Multiple Use and a longtime president of the organization.

This is a special edition of First Thursday Community Conversation, March 3 at 7 PM, only on North Shore Community Radio. Tune at:
90.7 FM Grand Marais
90.1 FM Grand Portage
89.1 FM Gunflint Trail
Or online at http://www.wtip.org/

Work continues on South Fowl Snowmobile Trail

Great news, progress is being made on the South Fowl Snowmobile Trail — the “new” Tilbury Trail between McFarland and South Fowl Lakes in Hovland.
The trail has been cut (and re-cleared) all the way through, however, it is a very challenging trail at this point. The US Forest Service recommends that only experienced riders travel the trail.
There will likely be some changes made to the trail, per the original plan to make it more rideable this summer.
But the good news is that there is a trail to replace the historic Tilbury Trail.
Thank you to all the volunteers who worked on the trail this summer and fall and the latest volunteers who re-cleared it.
Thanks also to the US Forest Service for working so hard on the trail. ACMU looks forward to continuing that partnership.

For information on how you can help, contact Chuck Silence at 218-370-0378 or email loonybin1314@msn.com.

Join us to get the Tilbury Trail OPEN!

South Fowl 11-14-15 Big Pine on trailThe weatherman is saying it might be nice (high of 30) on Saturday, so if we get people to RSVP for a trail cleanup, we will be heading to the new Tilbury Trail to RE-clear the trail.

 

Like all trails (hiking, snowmobile, cross country skiing), the Forest Service relies on volunteers to clear trails. Forest Service staff and ACMU volunteers have spent hundreds of hours on this trail this fall – only to have a lot of brush/trees come down in the ice/heavy snow that fell in January. So re-clearing is needed.

 

The Forest Service has re-opened about ¾ of the way to South Fowl from McFarland – more help is needed! Please come help get this trail, which we’ve worked to get through the environmental study and courts for more than a decade.

 

We also need some experienced riders to break trail and to give the Forest Service feedback on what needs to be done to make it safe for everyone.

 

If the weather is above 10 degrees, we’re doing it! See you there, 10 a.m., Feb. 27.

Who’s in? Please let us know!

*******************

If you can’t make it on Saturday, Feb. 27, ACMU can get the gate open for other groups. If you want to volunteer on another day, contact us. Call Chuck at 218-370-0377.

PLEASE HELP OPEN THE TILBURY, WHICH WE HAVE FOUGHT SO LONG AND HARD FOR!
 

Gunflint Mail Run kicks off dog sled racing season

The Gunflint Mail Run is this weekend, January 9-10. The 100-mile, 12-dog race started at Trail Center on 8 a.m. on Saturday and the 8-dog team starts at 9 a.m. It was a faster than expected race because trail conditions were fast for the dog teams. The winner will be determined by early morning.
For more information about the event or to bid on items in the Gunflint Mail Run online auction, visit www.gunflintmail.com/
Before the race started, Gunflint Mail Run organizers were delighted to share the news of who won the ATV that was raffled to raise money for the prize purse for the Mail Run. Congratulations to Orvis Lunke of Colvill, who is the proud owner of a brand new Can-Am ATV!

Congratulations, Orvis Lunke, on winning the Gunflint Mail Run raffle grand prize -- a CanAm ATV !

Congratulations, Orvis Lunke, on winning the Gunflint Mail Run raffle grand prize — a CanAm ATV !

Another South Fowl clearing day — join us!

Some ACMU volunteers will be working on the trail again on Saturday, November 14. We plan to be there at about 10 a.m. WE ENCOURAGE ANYONE INTERESTED IN USING THIS TRAIL THIS WINTER TO SHOW UP AND HELP OUT WITH TRAIL CLEARING. We know it’s deer season, but if you’ve gotten your deer, please consider lending a hand!

 

Thanks so much to the people who have worked on the trail so far and those who walked the entire trail recently to report that the middle section of the trail still needs a lot of work! The first mile or so is looking good, but further in it is still rough cut and needs a lot more brush and log throwing from the treadway and stumps pulled and/or knocked down.

 

Please join us – wear sturdy boots, work gloves and bring shovels, grub hoes, or rakes. U.S. Forest Service chainsaw certified helpers would be especially welcome!

 

It was a major accomplishment to get this new trail authorized by the U.S. Forest Service and through the courts. Forest Service crews have spent hundreds of hours working on this new trail.

 

It is a major victory for multiple use to have this snowmobile adjacent to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Let’s continue our success and get the trail in good shape for this winter.

 

By the way, volunteers are welcome to go up and clear at anytime! The route is easy to follow. Many hands make light work, come on out and lend some time on this hard-fought trail.

 

Anyone with questions, please call Arrowhead Coalition for Multiple Use secretary Diane Greeley at 370-0304.

Comment period extended for two northern Minnesota forest plans

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has extended the comment period on alternative harvest scenarios for two northern Minnesota forest management plans.

The comment period for the Northern Superior Uplands plan, which covers the entire arrowhead portion of northeastern Minnesota, is extended until Nov. 9. The Northern Superior Uplands presentation is available at www.mndnr.gov/forestry/subsection/nsu. Questions about this plan should be directed to Lynn Mizner at 218-429-3022 or lynn.mizner@state.mn.us.

The comment period for the Northern Minnesota and Ontario Peatlands plan, which covers north-central and northwestern Minnesota, is extended until Nov. 23. The Northern Minnesota and Ontario Peatlands presentation is available at www.mndnr.gov/forestry/subsection/nmop. People can direct questions about this plan to Jon Drimel at 218-308-2381 or jon.drimel@state.mn.us.

The online presentations outline different forest harvest and management scenarios. Input can be provided at the end of the presentation.

This is the public’s opportunity to rate the importance of forest management issues such as sustainable harvest levels, amounts of old growth lowland conifers, and young and old forests as these two forest management plans are prepared. The DNR will use survey responses and comments to help determine future management on DNR-administered lands.

For those unfamiliar with the new forest planning process, the DNR recommends first viewing a presentation that explains recent changes to the process at www.mndnr.gov/forestry/subsection/nmop.

The public will have the opportunity to comment again once the draft forest management plans are developed.

 

DNR seeks applications for advisory committee on natural heritage

Minnesotans with a strong interest in the state’s native prairies, forests, and wetlands and the plants and animals living in them are invited by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to apply by Nov. 16 for a seat on a key advisory board.

The DNR is seeking people to fill three vacancies on the Commissioner’s Advisory Committee on Natural Heritage. Appointees will be responsible for advising the DNR on issues related to sustaining the state’s natural heritage and biological diversity. DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr will appoint committee members for terms of five years starting Jan. 1.

Since 1966, the committee has made recommendations and given support to state scientific and natural areas. The committee also now advises other programs within the department’s Ecological and Water Resources Division, including nongame wildlife, Minnesota biological survey, prairie protection, rare resources, wetland monitoring, and terrestrial invasive species.

Any Minnesota resident with interest or expertise in sustaining the state’s natural heritage may apply online until Monday, Nov. 16 at www.dnr.state.mn.us/cac.html. Applicants should have knowledge, demonstrated dedication or experience related to natural area systems, conservation biology, ecology, geology, environmental education, natural resource management, or protection of Minnesota’s rare species.

Interested applicants can learn more by visiting the committee’s website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/cac.html.

Forest Service seeks group to maintain PowWow Trail

The Superior National Forest is looking for an organized volunteer group to adopt or maintain a section of the Powwow Trail located in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).

The Powwow Trail was heavily impacted by the 2011 Pagami Creek Wildfire. Vigorous regrowth of vegetation and falling dead trees have thwarted efforts to keep the trail cleared following the fire. The Forest Service, partners, and volunteers have dedicated more resources to the Powwow Trail than to any other long distance hiking trail on the Forest in recent years. This includes a concerted effort by Forest Service and Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa crews that totaled more than 2,445 work hours in 2012 and 1,280 work hours in 2015.

All of these combined efforts have yet to re-establish a recognizable tread in most locations around the trail.

Therefore, the Forest Service has decided not to invest further effort at this time in maintaining the entire trail but is inviting a volunteer group to adopt or maintain the six-mile section of trail from the trailhead near Isabella Lake to Pose Lake. The volunteer group would be expected to maintain the six-mile section of trail twice a year, clearing fallen trees and clearing brush with the use of primitive (non-mechanized) tools.

Efforts to clear the trail in this area are more likely to be successful over the next 10 years because vegetative regrowth is less vigorous than along most other sections of the trail. This effort would provide a hiking opportunity for visitors on a portion of the Powwow Trail in the short term. If a group does not volunteer to maintain the six-mile section, the entire 29-mile trail will remain unmaintained.

While the rest of the Powwow Trail route will officially remain open to the public, hikers are cautioned to anticipate many hazards. The trail is nearly impossible to follow without navigational aids and exceptional way-finding skills. There is little-to-no shade since all of the mature trees burned in the Pagami Fire and many remain as standing, dead snags that continue to fall across the trail.

Forest Service crews have re-established the campsite at Pose Lake with a fire grate and backcountry latrine and the Forest Service will consider maintaining other segments of the trail if volunteers are fully successful at maintaining the segment from the trailhead to Pose Lake.

Trail maintenance will continue to be difficult until more burned trees fall down and the tree canopy closes, shading out the undergrowth. This is expected to occur in another 10 to 20 years. The Forest Service will post a map at the trailhead and sign the junctions to notify hikers of the trail section that is maintained, if any, and the part that is not maintained. Current information, including a GPS track log, will also be available on-line, in the Recreation-Hiking section of the Superior National Forest web page, at http://www.fs.usda.gov/superior/.

Historically, hiking trails on the Superior National Forest have been maintained primarily through the dedication of volunteer partner groups. Their contributions have helped to provide opportunities for the American public to access and enjoy their national forest and their efforts are greatly appreciated. Volunteer groups wishing to help maintain the Powwow Trail from the trailhead near Isabella Lake to Pose Lake can contact Anna Botner at 218-387-3200.

 

All hands on deck! Come help clear the South Fowl trail

If people want to use the South Fowl Snowmobile Trail this winter, HELP is needed!

The US Forest Service has been great to work with on the long-awaited South Fowl Snowmobile Trail which will provide winter access from McFarland Lake to South Fowl Lake.

US Forest Service crews, with help from the Minnesota Conservation Corps, have spent hundreds of hours on the trail. There were some steep and narrow areas that ACMU expressed concern about and the Forest Service modified the route in those areas, which is good, but that slowed things down.

However, the trail is now rough cut all the way from the Arrowhead to South Fowl Lake.

You can walk the whole way, but there is a lot more to be done. There are a lot of stumps and big logs and brush to be moved out of the way. The trail is not rideable yet and the Forest Service has other projects they need to work on, i.e., closing campgrounds, etc.

PLEASE join us to get the trail finished before snow falls!

Work Day: Saturday, October 17 – Meet at trail head at 10 a.m. (more…)

County approves ordinance amendment expanding ATV use on Gunflint Trail

 

Brian Larsen, Cook County News-Herald – July 31, 2015

Following a packed public hearing held in the Cook County Commissioner’s room on July 28, commissioners voted 4-1 to allow Class 1 all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) to be driven on approximately four miles of the Gunflint Trail.

Voting for the amended ATV ordinance were Commissioners Frank Moe, Heidi Doo-Kirk, Garry Gamble and Ginny Storlie with Jan Sivertson voting against the change to the 2009 ATV ordinance.

(more…)

Superior National Forest urges visitors to be fire safe

The forecast is for beautiful weather through the weekend and beyond so it is a great time to get out and enjoy your national forests. At the same time, fire danger is quite high in northeastern Minnesota, particularly across the Superior National Forest, including the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).

Forest managers urge visitors to be extra careful with campfires at this time. Always use designated fire rings, when available, and clear flammables away for at least 15 feet from your campfire. Help Smokey Bear and make sure all fires are completely extinguished before leaving your campsite. Remember that wind can carry sparks for a long distance from a campfire. Consider using a camp stove to reduce the risk of a stray spark.

While we currently do not have any special orders restricting campfires on the Superior National Forest, it is important to check on status at the time you plan to visit. As weather, fuels, and fire risks change, restrictions may become necessary. As Smokey always says: “Please be careful with fire.”

For updates regarding conditions on the Superior National Forest, see the Forest website: www.fs.usda.gov/superior and follow us on Facebook@U.S.Forest Service-Superior National Forest and Twitter@SuperiorNF.

June 13 is PlayCleanGo Day in Minnesota

PlayCleanGo: Stop Invasive Species in Your Tracks announces the third annual Minnesota PlayCleanGo Day on June 13, held in collaboration with the Department of Natural Resources. PlayCleanGo encourages individuals and families to take to the outdoors and enjoy parks, trails and campgrounds across Minnesota while supporting efforts to prevent the spread of terrestrial (land-based) invasive species.

On June 13, Minnesota state parks will also be celebrating the eighth annual National Get Outdoors Day, which encourages healthy and active outdoor fun by waiving all entrance fees. In Cook County, Cascade River State Park will participate in the event.

PlayCleanGo volunteers will be on hand at nine state parks, including Cascade, and four regional park locations to provide information and educational materials on terrestrial invasive species.

Visitors can learn about the many park offerings as well as simple steps they can take to help prevent the spread of terrestrial invasive species on our treasured lands.

PlayCleanGo is an education and outreach campaign for outdoor recreationalists. The goal is to encourage outdoor recreation like off-road vehicle use, hiking, biking, horseback riding and more, while protecting valuable natural resources. The objective is to stop the spread of terrestrial invasive species through personal accountability. The campaign is designed to engage recreationists to take quick and easy steps to help prevent the spread of invasive plants and animals while at the same time encouraging outdoor recreation.

 

North Shore Forest Collaborative to meet at Gunflint Ranger Station May 29

The North Shore Forest Collaborative spring meeting will be held May 29 at the Gunflint Ranger Station in Grand Marais.

Organizers note that much has been happening with forest restoration on the North Shore, and the future looks bright.

The meeting will include a field trip to see restoration projects in progress and opportunities to learn about upcoming projects. The field trip includes areas in and around Cascade State Park followed by two small group exercises after lunch at the ranger station.

One group will focus on involving landowners in restoration activities, and the other focusing on next steps for agencies and organizations.

Contact Duane Lula for more information at nsfcstaff@gamil.com. Information can also be found the collaboratives website at: www.northshoreforest.org.

“Art along the Lake” planned for Memorial Day weekend

Early last winter local art galleries gathered to see where there might be synergies and opportunities to support each other.Out of those meetings came a few projects.

The Art Along the Lake event was planned for Memorial Day weekend, and the galleries have coordinated their events and schedules to create a full weekend of demonstrations, hands-on activities, music and refreshments.

A critical component is an art gallery guide. The guide, just published, lists 12 art galleries and includes a map and a link to information about other local arts activities.

In addition to supporting the Memorial Day weekend, the guide will be useable throughout the year.

For questions or more information, contact Marcia Hyatt at (218) 663-7008.