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3/4/15 - You may have seen some recent news reports about a proposed "Sawbill" radio tower.

Sawbill Newsletter - 10 hours 12 min ago

3/4/15 - You may have seen some recent news reports about a proposed "Sawbill" radio tower. The tower in question is actually located 3.5 miles southeast of Sawbill, near Marsh Lake. It's part of a statewide public safety radio network known as the ARMER network.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is in charge of building the system and they requested a lease of county land to erect a 330' tower on the site. The Cook County Board of Commissioners voted last week to restrict the tower to be less than 200'. Not only will the lower height make the tower much less visible, but it will not be lighted.

The 330' option would have been visible, both day and night, from many lakes, campsites and portages within the BWCA Wilderness including Alton, Sawbill, Smoke, Burnt and Kelly lakes.

It was gratifying to watch the county commissioners carefully study the issue, listen to their constituents and settle on a solution that everyone can live with. - Bill


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A Grand Marais pep fest

Unorganized Territory - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 2:32pm

Unless you have been living under one of the ubiquitous ice-covered rocks along the North Shore, you know that Grand Marais is in the running for the Budget Travel magazine title of America’s Coolest Small Town. I’ve been voting as often as the magazine website will let me. I think it’s a well-deserved honor. I love our little harbor town.

Even in the recent cold spell—which could earn Grand Marais the title of America’s Coldest Small Town—I appreciate being here. I love that the drive down the hill from my house in the woods of County Road 7 to downtown Grand Marais is always different.

No matter what street I turn on to reach downtown Grand Marais, the lake and the sky are there to welcome me. But I never know what welcome I will receive. Some days the vista is pure blue, with no apparent separation between the earth and sea. Other days the sky is bright blue with huge cotton ball clouds or wisps of white hovering over periwinkle water. There are days when the sky is gray and the wicked water is darker gray with foaming white caps.

For quite a few days in February the water was hidden under a sheet of ice with a dusting of snow. Today though, the lake had changed yet again. When I turned onto 8th Avenue, I saw that the part of the harbor was open. The white ice sheets were stacked, floating almost in a circle around the west break wall.

The beautiful Grand Marais harbor!

With all the votes that Grand Marais has received in the America’s Coolest Small Town contest, it is apparent that I am one of thousands who loves Grand Marais. Or I’m one of thousands who is fiercely competitive. I want my hometown to beat the likes of Fort Myers Beach, Florida; Old Orchard Beach, Maine; Pismo Beach, California; Snohomish, Washington; or Washington, North Carolina. All with more residents than we have in our entire county!

Despite the larger size of those cities, I’m confident that we can win this race. The contest has become a pep rally of sorts, like the uproarious event before a big game. Casting my vote for Grand Marais makes me feel like I’m back in school, answering the cheerleaders’ call, “C’mon 7th grade, don’t be shy, stand & give your battle cry!”

“V-I-C-T-O-R-Y! That’s the 7th grade battle cry!” was the answer the 7th graders and 8th graders; the 9th and 10th graders, the juniors and seniors would shout. My friends and I would scream ourselves hoarse trying to be louder than the other classes.

The competitive drive was stoked when Grand Marais was oh-so-close to winning—ahead by about 4 percentage points—when Budget Travel extended the voting deadline from February 25 to March 4. The injustice of it all infuriated many voters. We were well in the lead as the February 25 deadline passed.

But voting has taken a nice jump since then. Just as each class at a pep fest got progressively louder, egged on by the chance of failure, Grand Marais supporters are hanging in there, persistently clicking to vote for Grand Marais as often as the system will let them. If you’re not clicking to claim V-I-C-T-O-R-Y, join us. Click and vote at http://bit.ly/1KbVL8X .

If we don’t win, if one of the towns is able to mount a last-minute voting rush to defeat us, there will be a lot of disappointed people. But it’s okay. The consolation prize is pretty good. We get more than a pretty picture on the cover of Budget Travel magazine—we get to live in that picture!

I would like to spend my
whole life traveling,
if I could borrow another life
to spend at home.

William Hazlitt


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Please Stop Collaring Moose Calves

Boundary Waters Blog - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 11:00am

A friend and cabin owner at the end of the Gunflint Trail is fed up with the collaring of moose calves. I too am not in favor of the DNR collaring calves and she has started a petition on Change.org.  To sign the petition you just need to visit the website and click the link. PLEASE help Save moose calves and sign the petition.

Here’s what the letter says…

Stop the DNR study which collars newborn moose calves. Staggering mortality of calves associated with abandonment by moms after researcher contact

We all love our Minnesota moose population.  They are a treasure to our state and a wonder to behold.  The Minnesota moose population has significantly decreased over the past 10 years and I agree that research plays a critical role in trying to identify causal factors for these numbers.  However this current research project by the Minnesota DNR under the lead of Glenn DelGiudice appears to be contributing to the demise of moose numbers. Collaring newborn moose calves resulted in 19 out of 25 calves being abandoned by their mothers or requiring rescue according to the Duluth News Tribune.  According to DelGiudice, no previous research had ever noted the high level of abandonment and he is using the sour results as a teaching moment.  ”We were the first ones to do this, ever, anywhere and we knew there were going to be issues…..we just didn’t expect them to be like this”  according to DelGuidice.  The 2013 study results were dismal, but the 2014 numbers were even less successful with much higher calf mortality / abandonment noted. They have received funding to continue the newborn calf collaring starting in May and want to increase their sample size which I believe constitutes a larger number of dead calves.   Below I included a link to the Duluth News Tribune article by John Myers from 2/23

Check out this article http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/news/3685061-minnesota-moose-calf-study-works-through-setbacks

I would like to think that the DNR should be part of the solution and NOT part of the problem with respect to our Minnesota moose population.  Interfering with newborn wildlife has NEVER been a successful endeavor and it appears that it still holds true.  Keep the research to the Adults and give the moose babies a fighting chance.

If you agree with this forum then please sign the petition and share with others.

Petitioning Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

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Making the North Shore Even More Beautiful

Boundary Waters Blog - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 10:18am

It looks like the US Forest Service is going to make our beautiful North Shore of Lake Superior even more beautiful with their newest project.  Read their press release for details.
 
Natural Resource Conservation Service and Forest Service
Team Up with Partners on Lake Superior North Shore Coastal Forest Restoration
DULUTH, MN  February 26, 2015 – As part of a national partnership, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service and Natural Resource Conservation Service are coordinating technical resources and funds totaling $200,000 to support forest restoration efforts along the North Shore of Lake Superior.
Since much of the North Shore is in private ownership, a concerted effort between public and private landowners is essential to achieving forest restoration at a landscape scale. Thanks to this new partnership, agency personnel will be jointly dedicated to coordinating small scale work on private land with larger scale activities on National Forest System land. Through consolidation, treatments will be more economical and seamless.
Will Bomier with the Natural Resource Conservation Service says:  “This project is a unique and critical opportunity to put ‘boots on the ground’ to engage private landowners while expanding restoration efforts on public land.”
In the North Shore project, restoring long-lived conifers and other native species is critical to developing a forest that is resilient in the face of climate change and other disturbances. By improving the health and resiliency of the forest landscape, this effort will help to protect the tributaries that impact water quality in Lake Superior, mitigate wildfire threats to landowners and communities, provide critical wildlife and fish habitat, as well as maintain the visual corridor along Highway 61, a National and State Scenic Byway.
This project is part of a larger landscape restoration effort along the North Shore of Lake Superior being led by the North Shore Forest Collaborative. The Collaborative is made up of more than 30 entities who are committed to large-scale restoration of the coastal forest, including:  Tribal, federal, state and county agencies; non-profit organizations; and private landowners.
“The North Shore Forest Collaborative is a great example of the synergy generated when public and private landowners work across boundaries to accomplish common goals. It is an outstanding model of private-public collaboration.” stated Richard Periman, Deputy Forest Supervisor, Superior National Forest.
The North Shore project is one of fifteen projects located across the country that were selected for a total of $10 million in funding as part of the Chiefs’ Joint Landscape Restoration Partnership in 2015. This is the second year of the national partnership between the Natural Resource Conservation Service and Forest Service that is intended to improve conditions on public and private lands.
In addition to USDA agency investments, partners are contributing more than $5 million in the 2015 projects over three years in financial, technical and in-kind services. These fifteen new projects, coupled with thirteen projects announced last year, will help mitigate wildfire threats to communities and landowners, protect water quality and supply, and improve wildlife habitat for at-risk species in high priority landscapes across the U.S. Summaries of all projects selected can be found at:   http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/newsroom/features/?cid=stelprdb1270755
Funding of these projects was made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill. The 2014 Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life.
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Spring Cleaning

Gunflint Lodge - Sun, 03/01/2015 - 10:08am

It has warmed up today.  After a night at minus 30 and another at minus 25, to wake up to zero was really nice.  The other thing is that I am starting to notice longer days.  It gets light earlier and dark later.  Now we still have short days but there is hope for spring.  Also the warmer sun has helped melt the snow off the main road.  Bruce has even got interested in grilling.  Yesterday he spent some time shoveling the snow off our grill.  As you can see, there was quite an accumulation of snow.  Maybe we will grill some steaks for dinner. 
Even though tomorrow is March, that does not mean that the snow will stop coming.  In fact we often get a fair amount to snow in March.  It makes for great skiing because the weather is warmer, we have a great base and you can even get a tan while skiing.  It was so bright today while we were eating lunch in the lodge that you had to squint to see anything.
Another great sign of spring is that the birds are really coming back.  Today I have seen hairy woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers, gray jays, blue jays, pine grosbecks, chickadees, rose breasted nuthatches and red polls.  Mixed in with them are squirrels and one pine martin.  With them all flying about it keeps the feeders empty.
Another sign of spring is that I feel like I should really be cleaning the house.  This is not one of my favorite projects.  Dusting is really low on my list.   I am, however, making a valiant effort to improve things.  Bruce and I are usually pretty good about picking up stuff.  Getting the wash done and cleaning up promptly after meals is easy.  My mother drilled into me the need to make your bed every day.  All this leaves cleaning bathrooms, dusting and vacuuming on the list.  So I am making the great effort now.  Eventually I will get there.  The trouble is that then it is time to clean again.
Bruce just called and I went down to the lodge to give a little help at the front desk.
So it is now Sunday morning.  For the first time in a long time we had a morning temperature above zero.  We also have a dusting of snow.  It is hard to think of spring this morning with a few snowflakes in the air.
 
 
 
 
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Mosquitos in March?

Boundary Waters Blog - Sun, 03/01/2015 - 6:25am

There’s one good thing about living in the frozen tundra of the North Country, we don’t get mosquitos until May! Some places in the south get mosquitos as early as March. Planning to travel around the United States? Check out this mosquito chart first.

Kayla Matthews shared this chart created by Mosquito Magnet she found on Imgur.com with me. Thanks Kayla!

Minnesota Mosquitos

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The Eaglet has Pipped

Boundary Waters Blog - Sat, 02/28/2015 - 6:30am

I wanted to say, “The eagle has landed.” but that would not have been true. The eaglet has pipped is true and by now it may have even hatched. This is a super cool project you should check out, their Facebook Feed has some amazing photos like the one below.

Eagle eggs are hatching!

By now most followers have probably heard that the first eaglet pipped yesterday, Feb. 24 – right on schedule! The adults laid their eggs about a month earlier than last year, and experienced many days of subzero temperatures. Despite this, the adults have done an excellent job keeping the eggs warm, and it appears to be paying off. If you missed the pipping yesterday, several great photos and videos were captured that can be viewed on our Minnesota Nongame Wildlife Program Facebook Page (you DO NOT need a Facebook account to view these images).

The main EagleCam feed can be viewed at:  mndnr.gov/eaglecam  We also have a mobile website for users who prefer to watch via smartphones and tablets: http://www.webcams.dnr.state.mn.us/eagle/mobile.html
More Q & A

Q: What does “pip” mean?

A: Pip is the term used to describe the first crack and hole in the egg created by the eaglet as it tries to hatch. After pipping, an eaglet may remain in the egg for a day or two before emerging completely.

Q: How do eaglets know when to hatch?

A: Just like chicken eggs, eagle eggs have yolk that feed the developing embryo. The egg contains just enough nutrients to allow the embryo to develop into a young eaglet that is strong enough to escape the egg, survive a few days outside the egg without feeding, and take solid food from the parents. Do not be concerned if you do not see a recently emerged eaglet being fed right away.

Q: Is it too cold for the eaglets?

A: Minnesota’s wildlife are tough critters and are adapted to survive Minnesota’s frigid cold and sweltering heat. There are many challenges ahead for these eaglets, including extreme weather, but these adults have shown complete dedication to their offspring.

Q: I saw a dead bird in the nest, did one of the eaglets die already?

A: We have no reason to think the first eaglet has perished. The adults have brought a couple pigeons into the nest, including one that is within the nest bowl, and we suspect people are mistaking these prey items for the eaglet.

Q: Is DNR planning to name the eagles?

A: Because these eagles are wild animals and because the Nongame Wildlife Program is a scientific agency, we want to focus on observing natural behavior, and avoid emotional attachment to these wild animals.  Therefore, we do not feel it is appropriate to give them names.

Q: Do all eagles that hatch survive to fledging?

A: Estimates of fledging success vary for a wide variety of reasons, but in general nests experience some eaglet mortality before fledging.

Q: How can I help eagles?

A: There are many ways to help eagles in Minnesota and beyond. Donating to the Minnesota Nongame Wildlife Program is one way. Also using and encouraging others to switch to non-lead ammunition and fishing tackle.

 

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Where are We in February?

Unorganized Territory - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 2:56pm

 

Where are we?

Our January WHERE ARE WE? location turned out to be pretty easy. We had a few wrong guesses, but most people recognized the shoreline near Five Mile Rock, near Mile Marker 116. Thanks Kristi Silence for sharing the lovely photo.

And congratulations to Olya Wright of Grand Marais! Olya was drawn from all the correct entries and she and her parents will receive a free one-year subscription to the Cook County News-Herald.

Try your luck! Take a look at the February photo. If you think you know where we were when we took this picture, send us your answer. You don’t have to be the first to reply. The location will be announced next month and a winner will be drawn from all the correct answers.

Whoever is drawn will win a free one-year subscription to the Cook County News-Herald (a $32 value). Good luck!

Answer to the February WHERE ARE WE? must be received by March 16, 2015.

Send your entry to:
Cook County News-Herald
PO Box 757
Grand Marais MN 55604

Drop it by our office at:

15 First Avenue West
Fax: 218-387-9500
email: starnews@boreal.org
Questions? 218-387-9100


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Music and More from Voyageur Brewing Company

Voyageur Brewing - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 11:06am

We’ll be having live music again this weekend at Voyageur Brewing Company in Grand Marais, Minnesota.  On Friday night Pete Kavanaugh will be joining us from 8pm-11pm and on Saturday night Jim and Michelle Miller will be there from 8pm-11pm.  We hope you will join us for some great entertainment, tasty appetizers and delicious beer this weekend.

And for the more part here’s a neat info-graphic about Craft Beer Pubs in London from Carl Westwood.

Created by Carl Westwood

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8 Rivers North Voyage Video

Boundary Waters Blog - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 6:20am

Check out the beautiful scenery, amazing wildlife and real life Voyageurs in this video made by trip participant Kari Smerud. Oh how I long to paddle with the likes of them.

If you want to hear about their trip Kari and Tessa will be presenting at the Far North Symposium at Metro State University in St. Paul, MN on March 21, 2015. I wish I could go see them, someone should videotape it and upload it to Youtube so I can see it!

Take the time to view the video, it’s worth it.

 

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Top shelf research

Unorganized Territory - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 12:56pm

It is time to do the column I set out to do several months ago before I was distracted by coffee cups. I can hear my friend Dan in Florida laughing, “You and your coffee mugs!” but honestly, I did not set out to do a series of essays on cups. I meant to write an Unorganized Territory about a silly thing that takes place at the News-Herald office nearly every day.

As an introduction to the need for a scientific—or semi- scientific— study of our office phenomena, I recalled a silly investigative report on the Today show. Readers may remember that I spent several inches of column space sharing the results of a study done in Australia on whether or not the color of your coffee cup makes a difference in the taste of your java.

According to the people who conducted the study for Flavour magazine, the color does make a difference. But who really cares? Why conduct this coffee cup study?

No explanation is given in the report as to why Flavour magazine publishers felt this was important. So we will be left to wonder.

However, I do have a reason for wanting to do an investigation into the odd human response to a simple shelf in the News-Herald office. I want to do a study just because I want to know why!

So what is this intriguing behavior? It’s not the fact that nine out of 10 people call or come in to the office to renew their “prescription” instead of “subscription.” That makes perfect sense to me. The words just get jumbled up in the average brain.

No, the weird thing that happens day after day, year in and year out, has been noticed by all of us in the office. It isn’t just me. All of us at one time or another have chuckled and wondered.

The scene of the top shelf mystery…

Here’s the scenario. We have a metal shelf next to the front counter. The top shelf is slanted a bit, to better display whatever is on top. The other shelves are typical horizontal shelves. There are three horizontal shelves. Each week when the current edition of the News-Herald arrives, we move the newspapers down a shelf. So, at any given time we have four issues of the News-Herald on the shelves, with the most recent issue sitting on the very top, slanted shelf.

Sounds like a reasonable way to display the paper, right?

Apparently it is not. Because inevitably, someone enters the office to buy a copy of the News- Herald. They approach the metal rack. They peruse the shelves. And they reach for the older newspaper on the second shelf.

At least once a day, one of us in the office has to say, “The most recent issue is on the top….The very top…The top shelf there,” as we point to the current issue.

For a very long time I thought it just happened to me. Then one day, someone else mentioned that people never seem to want to take the papers off the top shelf. After that we all became aware of the odd habit of newspaper-buying people. And we all wonder why.

I think that we should conduct a study to find out why people are hesitant to take papers off the top shelf. Sillier things have been done.

Look at all the research that received the “Golden Fleece Award” from the late Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire. Studies by the National Science Foundation for comparing aggressiveness in sun fish that drank tequila versus gin; a Department of Defense study on how to buy Worcestershire sauce; or a NOAA study on whether or not marijuana is harmful to scuba divers and more.

Where do we apply?

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

Research is what I’m doing
when I don’t know what I’m doing.

Wernher Von Braun


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Be a Part of History!

Clearwater Lodge Tales - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 7:27am
With our upcoming centennial season fast approaching we want to offer the opportunity for past, present and future guests to honor a loved one, or celebrate and commemorate family memories at Clearwater with a Centennial Walkway paver.  These bricks will be used to fill in the existing walkway from the …

Continue reading

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Double Dose of Voyageur

Boundary Waters Blog - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 6:31am
Did you receive our email newsletter yesterday? If not then head on over to our website and sign up for our newsletter so you won’t miss out on any other emails from us.  We’ve got a deal from Voyageur Canoe Outfitters that includes something special from Voyageur Brewing Company! V.C.O. Complete Outfitting Wilderness Trip Special!  $100 off of our four-day Complete Outfitting Package. As a special treat for craft beer drinkers we’re including a BWCA friendly River Growler filled with a craft beer of your choice from Voyageur Brewing Company in Grand Marais, Minnesota.  Located on Highway 61 with a magnificent view of Lake Superior you’ll want to stop in before and after your canoe trip for a cold beer and delicious appetizer. Sale Ends 3/3/15.    $451  $351 for a Four Night Complete Outfitting Package + Growler + Fill Rates are per person. Click on text to purchase. The Details: Almost everything is included in our completely outfitted packages except permits and fishing licenses. We include all of the gear necessary to successfully experience a Boundary Waters or Quetico canoe trip. We also supply and pack the food, and we just updated our menu and have a tasty lightweight selection of meals for you to choose from. We even have vegetarian and vegan options available! This package also includes a cozy bunk stay the night before your permit entry date, a routing session and orientation, a hot pancake breakfast in the lodge and refreshing shower service upon return from your wilderness trip. We want to make your trip preparation as easy and painless possible, all you need to bring is clothes, personal items, toiletries and any fishing gear you may want and we will supply the rest!  The Fine Print:

Packages are only available for entry point 54 Seagull or 55 Saganaga. There is an additional shuttle fee for transportation to other entry points. You do not need to know your travel dates to purchase this special deal. You can purchase the voucher and then when you have decided on your trip dates call us so we can reserve your entry point into the wilderness.  Approximately one week prior to your trip we’ll email you the coupon for Voyageur Brewing Company which must be presented at their location in Grand Marais. There is no cash value for the coupon and it is only good during regular business hours. Due to the Minnesota State Law growlers may not be filled on Sundays.If you must cancel your reservation then we’ll credit the amount paid for the voucher to a future trip with Voyageur for the 2015 paddling season which opens when the ice goes out and ends September 15th, 2015.

 

 

Last Chance to Get Your Hands On Our Gently Used Gear!  Wenonah Ultra-Lite Seneca 3 Person Canoe (Used Two Seasons Only) Excellent Condition $1500 

In a Nutshell:

A full price deposit holds your canoe. Your deposit is refundable if after your inspection you decide not to purchase the Kevlar canoe. We can help make delivery arrangements to areas around the Twins Cities and possibly Wisconsin, Ohio, Illonios and Indiana. We can also make arrangements to store your canoe until next season. Please call or email us with any questions you may have.

1-888-CANOEIT.

 Gently Used Granite Gear Packs $125 1. Quetico 2. Superior One The anatomically designed harness system and foam padded back panel hugs your body and puts the weight of the load close to your back and on your hips. Heavy-duty side lift handles and haul loop make lifting the pack out of the canoe and putting it on your back a breeze! Granite Gear Quetico Pack (#3 Pack) Capacity- 82 Liters Dimensions-41 x 64 x 23 cm Granite Gear Superior One Pack (#4 Pack) Capacity- 121 Liters Dimensions- 51 x 63 x 30 cm
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2/25/15 - It's real winter here now, with roughly three feet of pure white snow on the ground and consistently cold temperatures.

Sawbill Newsletter - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 3:38pm

2/25/15 - It's real winter here now, with roughly three feet of pure white snow on the ground and consistently cold temperatures. The Sawbill Trail is beautiful, but mostly snow covered. Here is a picture of what happens when a long, snowy road is combined with -20 degree temperature.

The most common question we get during the summer months is "What do you do in the winter?" For me, playing music with my friends is one of my favorite winter (or any season) activities. Recently, Eric Frost and I were taped for appearance on the "PlayList" on WDSE - Channel 8, the public TV station in Duluth. Our set will be broadcast tomorrow, at 9 pm and repeated at 3:30 pm on Sunday. I'll post the YouTube version here on the newsletter as soon as it's available. - Bill

Here is last week's edition of the Cook County West End News from WTIP-FM, North Shore Community Radio.

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A Special Week

Boundary Waters Blog - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 3:31pm

I bet most of you didn’t realize we  are in the middle of National Invasive Species Awareness Week. It seems kind of strange to me to have picked February 22-28th, 2015 for the dates but maybe there wasn’t anything else going on to celebrate?

I guess there are other parts of the United States that are not covered in 3 feet of snow so there is still potential to spread invasive species. On the Gunflint Trail we’re pretty safe right now because even where there isn’t good snow cover most plant life ceases to exist with the freezing cold temperatures we have.

In any case, three months from now when the thaw begins we can look back on this special week and remember how to help prevent the spread of invasive species.

MN DNR

Q: I heard that National Invasive Species Awareness Week is in February. What can I do to prevent the spread of invasive species when I’m out on the trails this spring?

A: Whether you are hiking, running, biking, or riding your horse or off-highway vehicle, it’s important to make sure you don’t accidently move invasive species from place to place. The “PlayCleanGo: Stop Invasive Species in Your Tracks” campaign offers these simple steps to help prevent the spread of invasive plants and animals:

Arrive with clean gear.
Burn local or certified firewood.
When horseback riding, us local or weed-free hay.
Stay on the trails.
Before leaving, remove mud and seeds from your gear.
By following these steps, you can help protect your favorite recreation spot from invasive species.

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Phones out!

Gunflint Pines Northwoods News - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 1:42pm

It’s Wed Feb 25th and the phones are out on the trail.

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Oh the Places We Will Go

Boundary Waters Blog - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 7:53pm

And the things we will do. Sunday we left Grand Marais at 5:00am so we could get Abby to Duluth by 7:30am for her volleyball tournament.  We didn’t end up leaving the school until almost 7:00pm!

It’s amazing the things we will do for our kids. Or the places we will go for them. But soon they will be grown up and out of the house and then oh, the places we will go.

The things we will do. Like using an outhouse for the first 5 years of owning Voyageur Canoe Outfitters.

Oh the Places we will go. Like 10 sport and travel shows in the Midwest in one winter to market Voyageur.

Or the things we will do, like start a Half-Marathon on the Gunflint Trail.

Chapters of the book of our lives, being created at a break-neck pace only pausing long enough to replace the ink cartridge or add more paper to the printer.

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2.24.2015 Ample snow, now we need some warmer temps

Bearskin Lodge Ski Trail Reports - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 4:09pm

We continue to add more snow almost daily to our winter accumulation. Bearskin did a bit of grooming today so that some groups of guests visiting from California would have fresh trails, but the grooming was short-lived. We are experiencing unusually high wind conditions, so snow blew back over the trails ridiculously soon.  We’ll get out to groom it all again when the wind calms down.  All afternoon we’ve been watching birds blow out of the trees  — it’s that kind of day here.

This February will not win any accolades for “mild” weather (January might have), but the upcoming weekend looks promising. We certainly have the snow!

Some recent measuring statistics from the Baumanns:

New Snow Last 24 hours: 2.25”
New Snow Last 7 days: 4.30”
Trail Base, Staked: 12.5” -13” average
Snow in Woods, Staked: Average 22” / High 24”
Groomed with classic tracks: 70 K
Groomed for skating: 53.4 K
Surface Conditions: Packed Powder
Last grooming day: 2-21-15
Snowshoe trails: Open
Total snowfall since Nov. 1: 69.88”

Comments: All ski trails continue to be in great shape with fresh snow falling every couple of days. We are expecting colder weather mid-week this week with highs around 0 degrees through Thursday evening, warming by Friday… the moderate weekend temperatures should make for a very enjoyable time on the trails. Today, we are experiencing a lot of blowing snow; expect freshly groomed trails tomorrow, February 25th.

Snow Totals

November Total 2014 – 14.25 inches

December
Dec 1 – Dec 7: 1.75 inches
Dec 8 – Dec 14: 8.75 inches
Dec 15 – Dec 21: 11.0 inches
Dec 22 – Dec 28: 3.5 inches
Dec 29 – Dec 31: 0 inches
December Total 2014 – 25.00 inches

January
Jan 1 – Jan 4: 7.0 inches
Jan 5 – Jan 11: 1.0 inches
Jan 12 – Jan 18: 2.55 inches
Jan 19 – Jan 25: 2.25 inches
Jan 26 – Jan 31: 4.5 inches
January Total 2015 – 17.30 inches

February
Feb 1 – Feb 8: 3.88 inches
Feb 9 – Feb 15: 4.90 inches
Feb 16 – Feb 22: 2.30 inches
Feb 24: 2.25 inches
February Total 2015 – 13.33 inches

Total Snowfall 2014-2015 – 69.88 inches


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More to the Moose Story

Boundary Waters Blog - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 3:17pm

I blogged a few days ago with the DNR Press Release regarding the Minnesota Moose Study.  The press release didn’t have too much information but an article by John Myers in the Duluth News and Tribune sure did. Thank you John for digging into the story and providing readers with some insight.

The DNR has learned something. It turns out wolves are killing moose. In 2008 a moose advisory group was put together by the DNR bu the DNR didn’t want to talk about wolf predation in any of the discussions. Is that because the answer was so obvious they wouldn’t be able to rationalize a full-blown moose study with collaring and killing calves if they admitted wolves were indeed killing moose?

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a biologist to determine moose were being killed and are being killed by wolves on the Gunflint Trail. The large number of calves they eat can and does affect the population.

The moose management and research plan was created by the 2008 moose advisory group and printed at the end of 2011. It is now 2015 and the plan is to capture and collar more moose calves even though they already know a large percentage of them die due to abandonment by the mother or because of guess what? Wolves.

According to Myer’s article, “Wolves have killed 69 percent of the collared calves, with bears a distant 17 percent. Most of the calves died within 30 days of being born. Other causes — such as disease, starvation, vehicles or natural abandonment — each accounted for just a few deaths each, Severud noted.

Correct me if I’m wrong but wouldn’t the adult human population decrease if 70% of the babies born were eaten by wolves?

The DNR doesn’t think wolves affect the adult population of moose but remember they didn’t even want to talk about wolves at all in 2008.  What’s that saying? “You’ve come a long ways baby.”

The study was almost shut down last year, bummer it wasn’t.

“We were at a point last summer when we almost shut it down. We were just getting hammered by some of the public and some legislators” because of the high rate of abandonment, DelGiudice said.

But DelGiudice, who spoke last week at a wildlife research symposium specifically on the problem of “capture-related mortality” in calf moose, said he and other researchers began to “figure out what works” by the end of last summer’s collaring effort.

If they continue to learn as quickly as DelGiudice then the only Gunflint Trail moose you see will be at the Minnesota Zoo. Some abandoned calves were taken there when their mother would no longer mother them after being collared.

Sorry for the rant but it really bothers me that moose calves are collared even though we already know many mothers will abandon them and 69% of them will get eaten by wolves. Move on, no more collaring moose calves.  And especially please stay the heck away from the end of the Gunflint Trail.

Moose on Sag Lake Trail

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The Coolest Small Town in America

Gunflint Lodge - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 8:45am

We have had a bit of the cold spell this past week.  Most nights the temperature has gone down into the minus twenties.  Needless to say, we are talking about absolute temperatures without wind chill.  I realize that people out east have no idea about the cold here but we do become a little smug about it.
One of the nicest things about the cold weather is how beautiful everything looks.  Clear skies and bright sunshine are welcome in the winter..  Heavy snowfalls are also good but they can be very dark and dreary.  Snowfalls also need warmer temperatures.  Who knows which is the best?  It probably depends as much on my mood as anything else.
Grand Marais has become involved in a little contest sponsored by Budget Travel magazine to find the coolest little town in America.  I would encourage all of you to vote for Grand Marais. You can vote up to once a day.   Here is information on how to vote:
“The lead for Grand Marais on Budget Travel’s “America’s Coolest Small Town” contest is down to under 3% this morning.  Please vote for Grand Marais.  You can vote daily until midnight on February 25.  Let’s not let a town in Virginia beat Grand Marais!
Here’s the link http://www.budgettravel.com/contest/vote-for-americas-coolest-small-town-2015,18/?src=banner%E2%80%8B
To skip the ads, just click on the link to the site in the upper right corner of the first screen.  (One vote per day per IP address is allowed.)
Ask your friends to vote, too.”
The deadline for the contest had been extended to March 4th.  It is important that you remember to vote every day.
Wolves have been especially active.  There has been a deer kill for three nights in a row around the lodge.  There must be a large number of wolves around because the animals disappear overnight.  I seem to remember that it takes one deer a week to feed a wolf.  By next fall we will be in a season to increase the number of deer.
Reservations for next summer seem to be coming in steadily.  If you have specific dates or cabins in mind, give us a call so we can hold them for you.
 
 
 
 
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