Don’t forget that applications for the Great Place Race are due by Wednesday, April 30th. For more information and how to apply: www.becausemovingmatters.org/gpr. Paper applications are also available at the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic front desk.
Questions? firstname.lastname@example.org or 218-387-2330 x110.
Finally! We are scheduling True North broadband service installation appointments for the first group of Cook County residents! The first connections are happening for some Schroeder addresses, and we are contacting potential customers as their addresses are ready. You can prepare by checking out our service options and pricing so you know what you’d like to sign up for when we call. Find this info in our new Welcome Flier or on our website here: http://www.aecimn.com/broadband-services/
Dark is good, light is not and I’m not talking about chicken meat. I’m talking about the ice on the Seagull River and the other lakes of the Gunflint Trail and northern Minnesota. As you can see from the photos below by April 21, 2012 there was no ice left on the river and the earth was free of snow except for the dusting received the night before. This year the river is still very white with just a little bit of dark next to our docks, the first place for open water to appear. Last year we didn’t have open water by this time either but it was a very late ice out and by the looks of it we’re in for another late ice out. However, anything could happen and a hot sun, hard rain and lots of wind at the right time can speed up the process. My best guess is you can hold off asking, “Is the ice off of Sag yet?” until after the 10th of May.
Another spring snowstorm is in the offing for the next few days, but the spring warm-up, which has already opened the rivers and the pussy willows, will continue this weekend.
There’s plenty to do and see, too.
First up is a presentation about reindeer at North House Folk School at 4 p.m. Thursday by Hugh Beach, professor of Cultural Anthropology at Uppsala University in Sweden. His presentation is ehtitled “Reindeer Herding — a Year in Lapland.” Beach has lived among Sámi reindeer herders for many years in Sweden, Norway, and the Kola Peninsula of Russia, and has worked as a reindeer herder in Alaska. The event is free and open to the public.
On Thursday, plein air painter David Gilsvik will be interviewed on WDSE’s The Playlist. Gilsvik lives in rural Two Harbors and exhibits his work through Sivertson Gallery in Grand Marais and Siiviis in Duluth.
The Playlist airs at 9 p.m. on the Public Television station.
On Friday, a Minnesota History Player will present Virginia Mae Hope, who was a U.S. Air Force Service Pilot during World War II at the Grand Marais Public Library.
The Player will bring Hope’s history and experiences as a World War II pilot alive in this free public program. It will be held at the library at 1 p.m.
Saturday will be busy in Twin Ports where the 24th annual Art for Earth Day Gallery Hop will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. featuring receptions, artist talks and walking tours. Participating galleries in Duluth include the Duluth Art Institute, Waters of Superior, Lizzard’s Gallery, the Art Dock, Lake Superior Art Glass, Siiviis, Art in the Alley, Woodland Art Gallery and the Tweed Museum of Art.
Superior, Wis., also participates in the Gallery Hop, including Phantom Gallery exhibits at 1404 and 1410 Tower Ave.
Duluth Pottery (Superior Division), the Red Mug and the Superior Council for the Arts’ North End Gallery are also participating in the event. They are located at 916 Hammond Ave.
And, to continue Duluth news for this weekend, the annual “Run, Smelt, Run” Parade and Party put on by the Magic Smelt Puppet Troupe is this Sunday.
The event starts with the presentation of the Smelt Queen on the grassy plaza by the Lift Bridge at 2 p.m., followed by a “royal procession” on the Lakewalk with the puppet queen and her retinue accompanied by The Brass Messengers.
The public is invited to dress in silver and join the parade.
The procession concludes at the Zeitgeist Cafe on Superior St. where there will be a smelt fry and party. All invited.
Here in Grand Marais, Peter Yarrow will present “A Night of Conversation & Song “ at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts at 7:30 p.m. April 26.
Yarrow is a member of the famous trio, Pete Paul and Mary, and wrote many of their songs, including “Puff the Magic Dragon,” “Day is Done” and “Light One Candle.”
He will play songs and talk about his life as a peacemaker. The event is sponsored by the North Shore Music Association. For tickets, click here.
Also this weekend, internationally known printmaker George Raab will give an artist talk at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery at 7:30 p.m. (EST) on Saturday. Raab’s exhibit continues at the gallery through June 15.
Also in Thunder Bay on Saturday, the “10X10 Theatre Showcase,” featuring 10 original 10-minutes plays by Thunder Bay playwrights, will be at the Finlandia Hall beginning at 7 p.m. (EST).
Here’s the Cook County music schedule for this weekend.
Thursday, April 24:
Gordon Thorne, Poplar River Pub, Lutsen Resort, 6 p.m.
Timmy Haus, Gunflint Tavern, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, April 25:
Gypsy Lumberjacks, Gunflint Tavern, 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 26:
Jim & Michelle Miller, Lutsen Resort, 7 p.m.
A Night of Conversation and Song with Peter Yarrow, Arrowhead Center for the Arts, 7:30 p.m.
Gypsy Lumberjacks, Gunflint Tavern, 8:30 p.m.
Karaoke, Grand Portage Lodge & Casino, 9 p.m.
Sunday, April 27:
Pushing Chain, Gunflint Tavern, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, April 29:
Joe Paulik, Gunflint Tavern, 7:30 p.m.
Here is a potpourri of photos we found this week.
Here’s one that Layne Kennedy took… we all probably hate to see this .. again … but it’s a beautiful shot, nevertheless.
Travis Novitsky caught a beautiful moment of snow, too.
Paul Sundberg captured this great close-up of a sharp-tailed grouse at an intense moment.
Here’s a great shot of a pair of Canada geese dealing with snow by Jim Christiansen.
David Johnson caught this wondrous moment of northern lights the other night.
And Ann Possis caught a beautiful moment of dawn light on Lake Superior in this shot.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
4/23/14 - Today's ice measurement on Sawbill Lake was 27". It's steady progress, although the forecast is calling for 3" of snow tomorrow.
One of our favorite Sawbill canoeists, Dale Benham, from Lincoln, Nebraska, sent along the video below. Dale is a professor at Nebraska Wesleyan University where he teaches a seminar called "The Necessity of Wilderness." In 2012, his class took a couple of GoPRo cameras on their Sawbill canoe trip. - Bill
Follow this link: http://www.wildernesslas.com/ if you're curious about the seminar.
This last weekend some of us celebrated Easter in Grand Marais. If you are of a Christian faith, it is a day of rebirth, resurrection and transformation. For those of you who are not Christian, spring still brings us the themes rebirth, resurrection and transformation. in a more secular sense.
The weather in the northland is echoing this sentiment of transformation, as it is changing daily. On Saturday we had near white-out conditions and on Sunday it was in the 50’s. Today it is overcast and by Friday they are predicting snow again. As the old Minnesota adage goes: if you don’t like the weather, just wait around for ten minutes and it will change.
You can see this spirit of change at Stone Harbor as well. This week we are starting to receive those spring and summer shipments we have all been waiting for. Skis and snowshoes have either been sold or moved to the warehouse for the summer. When you enter the store you see the kayaks and SUPs on display. Spring and summer clothing is starting to peek out at us. Camping has been moved to the second floor mezzanine where we feel we can better show you what we have. Footwear is back downstairs where it started five summers ago. Needless to say, our staff is working hard but are very excited for the new season.
Meanwhile, here are some pictures taken over the last few days in Cook County. In other parts of the state there have been days when people are wearing shorts. Up here? Not so much. Chris has caught a couple of Steelhead but the Steelhead have stopped again because as the snow melt is getting faster, the lake temperature is lowering. As you can see from the shots of the Kadunce she enters the Big Lake, there is still lots of ice and the real run-off has not started. Then there is the picture of the upper Kadunce off of Trout Lake Road. You do not want to take that road without four-wheel drive. And what about the Brule? That picture is just up from where the North and South Arms join. And then Blueberry Road the runs parallel to the Brule. Not sure I would take that, even with four-wheel drive.
We will keep you updated on all of this, so keep checking back.
Crazy but true a moose attacked a snowmobiler in Maine. I have yet to be attacked by a moose but I have had them huff and snort at me as well as charge me. In the instances when moose have been aggressive they have either been in rut or have had a calf with them. The rest of the time they rarely bother to look up at me.
It’s good to keep in mind moose are wild animals that could attack at any moment. Try to tell that to tourists on the Gunflint Trail and locals like me who love to get up close and personal with them.
4/22/14 - Finally, some progress! Today's Sawbill Lake ice measurement is 29". - Bill
Jessica "Hammer" Hemmer, fifth year Sawbill crew member, starts the '14 "summer" season by drilling a hole in the ice.
A sure sign of spring is the annual migration of new canoes from Winona, MN to Sawbill.
Crew member Leif Gilsvik uses his full height to finesse a Wenonah 17 off the top rack.
Winter has just barely begun to loosen its eight month death grip on the north country and the light at the end of the tunnel is no longer a figment of our frosty imaginations but a glorious reality.
What will you do for Mother Earth this Earth Day? The first Earth Day was in 1970 and from what I’ve read I understand we’ve come a long way since then but we still have a very long way to go.
Even in our town of Grand Marais where we cherish our water we can still do more. Within the last year something changed so we can only recycle #1 and #2 plastics. While many plastics are these numbers many aren’t and I find myself saving yogurt containers and plastic lids for who knows what or why. I just can’t bear to throw them into the garbage when I know they could be recycled elsewhere.
At the Cook County School my daughter was exasperated when trying to get a recycling container into the cafeteria. The kids aren’t allowed to leave the cafeteria to throw their aluminum or plastic items into the recycling bin so they go directly into the garbage. The school was doing a pretty good job at composting a while back but last fall when I was subbing I helped a girl retrieve her retainer from the cafeteria bags of garbage and found plenty of items that could have been recycled or composted.
We can all do more and need to do more. Do something good for our earth this Earth Day and every day.
I’ve been wanting to post something spring-like for a while to give everyone hope and fresh dreams of canoe trips. Unfortunately, the weather has not been conducive to such pictures. Spring is coming, I’ve been told, but she is just not very photogenic yet. Every time I think Spring is popping her shy little head from behind winter’s cloak, BAM, it snows again. There are signs, yes, but you have to look and listen a little closer.
The question on everyone’s mind is – when will the ice be out? I’m hearing reports around the county of ice depths in the 20 – 30 inch range depending on the size of the lake. Round Lake no longer has a snow blanket and the slush is deep and dark. Last week was in the 20 degree range which did not help, but this week is suppose to be in the high 50s. A lot of predictions are flying around, but really, it all depends on the combination of the sun and the rain and the wind— today is sunny, windy and 59 so I have hope for sooner rather than later.
The Cross River that runs along Round Lake road is running rapidly. Where the current is strongest, the water is open. Yesterday we spotted a male common goldeneye duck doing his funny little dance for his lady friend. The pileated woodpeckers that hang out around camp have been busy drumming and excavating cavities for new nests. Their piles of wood splinters litter the nasty old snow piles hanging around in the shade. A pair of ravens are working on a nest in one of our large white pines. A number of bald eagles have been spotted soaring high above. Easter morning we heard robins, happy little nuthatches, bald eagles, a Canada goose and all sorts of cheery chickadees singing their spring songs. It was nice enough to have the windows open through which we heard a pack of wolves who we hope were not perusing the Easter bunny.
The snow is melting. Ephemeral waterfalls and creeks are springing up along the roads. That beautiful music made by dripping water can be heard as it jumps off the roofs. The beaver pond by the road, filled to the brim, gave up last weekend and washed away part of the road. A deep, tire grabbing trench cut us off from the world for a day. A sure sign of spring is when the potholes and road washes start turning up. The Cook County highway department guys straightened things out in no time.
The wind has been strong with all these snow squalls roaring through. Saturday’s storm was strong enough to finally blow over the large white pine struck by lightening last summer. Once again the Cook County guys came out and cleared the road. Thanks guys!
Spring is coming, slowly and shyly, but she is coming. Hang in there. We’ll let you know when you can dip your paddles again in Round Lake!
4/21/14 - This morning's ice measurement on Sawbill Lake remains 31". However, the surface snow has now become mostly slush and the ice is obviously more degraded. Two days in a row of temperatures in the mid-50s have taken a toll.
Our great friend, Jerry Vandiver, was kind enough to share this video of his performance at the Canoecopia show in Madison last month. Enjoy. - Bill
I encourage you to go outside and play every month of the year because it is so good for you. Now the Minnesota DNR in celebration of Arbor Month is encouraging nature play this May.
2014 Arbor Month Celebration encourages nature play
A decline in nature play has prompted the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to put this year’s Arbor Month (May) focus on encouraging kids to climb trees and play with nature in their back yards and within the community.
The 2014 State Arbor Month Celebration will be 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, May 17, at Oak Hill Park in St. Louis Park. The event will give families a chance to play with nature, while watching some of the best tree climbers in the state compete at the Minnesota Tree Climbing Championship.
According to the Children & Nature Network and the Commission on Education and Communication, 88 percent of children reported using a computer almost every day, while only 11 percent of children reported visiting a local park or natural area almost every day. In some cases, the use of electronic media has disconnected children and their parents from nature.
Nature play is easy, affordable and safe. Frequent, unstructured play in diverse natural settings promotes overall physical and emotional health, cognitive development, creativity, physical ability and coordination, the Green Hearts Institute for Nature in Childhood reports. It also reduces stress and forms the foundation for responsible environmental behavior.
“Outdoor playtime can easily be doubled with a little planning and a commitment by parents to encourage their kids to climb trees, dig holes in dirt and sand, play in the leaves, plant a garden, build forts, run through tall grass and play with water,” said Jennifer Teegarden, DNR forestry outreach specialist.
State Arbor Month Celebration – May 17
9 a.m. — State Arbor Month ceremony with state dignitaries.
9:30 a.m. — Ceremonial tree planting.
10 a.m. — Musical performance by Kidtime with Rachel.
10 a.m.–noon — Nature play activities, exhibits and presentations.
8 a.m.–5 p.m. — Minnesota State Tree Climbing Championships.
For more information, visit www.mndnr.gov/arbormonth.
It isn’t earth day quite yet but here is something really interesting. This map makes it impossible to live green, well, live in the green at least. The color green represents places that have no population. It could be the site of a mall or business development because no one lives there or it could be a truly wild area where no one lives.
I love to look at maps and this map makes me happy because I see quite a bit of green left in the USA. Much of it is in Alaska which reminds me why I don’t want to visit there real soon. I fear if I go to Alaska to visit then I may never wish to return. In any case, I’m glad to live in an area surrounded by green both on the map and in real life.
Nobody lives here: The nearly 5 million Census Blocks with zero population
A Block is the smallest area unit used by the U.S. Census Bureau for tabulating statistics. As of the 2010 census, the United States consists of 11,078,300 Census Blocks. Of them, 4,871,270 blocks totaling 4.61 million square kilometers were reported to have no population living inside them. Despite having a population of more than 310 million people, 47 percent of the USA remains unoccupied.
Green shading indicates unoccupied Census Blocks. A single inhabitant is enough to omit a block from shading
Quick update: If you’re the kind of map lover who cares about cartographic accuracy, check out the new version which fixes the Gulf of California. If you save this map for your own projects, please use this one instead.Map observations
The map tends to highlight two types of areas:
- places where human habitation is physically restrictive or impossible, and
- places where human habitation is prohibited by social or legal convention.
Water features such lakes, rivers, swamps and floodplains are revealed as places where it is hard for people to live. In addition, the mountains and deserts of the West, with their hostility to human survival, remain largely void of permanent population.
Of the places where settlement is prohibited, the most apparent are wilderness protection and recreational areas (such as national and state parks) and military bases. At the national and regional scales, these places appear as large green tracts surrounded by otherwise populated countryside.
At the local level, city and county parks emerge in contrast to their developed urban and suburban surroundings. At this scale, even major roads such as highways and interstates stretch like ribbons across the landscape.
Commercial and industrial areas are also likely to be green on this map. The local shopping mall, an office park, a warehouse district or a factory may have their own Census Blocks. But if people don’t live there, they will be considered “uninhabited”. So it should be noted that just because a block is unoccupied, that does not mean it is undeveloped.
Perhaps the two most notable anomalies on the map occur in Maine and the Dakotas. Northern Maine is conspicuously uninhabited. Despite being one of the earliest regions in North America to be settled by Europeans, the population there remains so low that large portions of the state’s interior have yet to be politically organized.
In the Dakotas, the border between North and South appears to be unexpectedly stark. Geographic phenomena typically do not respect artificial human boundaries. Throughout the rest of the map, state lines are often difficult to distinguish. But in the Dakotas, northern South Dakota is quite distinct from southern North Dakota. This is especially surprising considering that the county-level population density on both sides of the border is about the same at less than 10 people per square mile.
Finally, the differences between the eastern and western halves of the contiguous 48 states are particularly stark to me. In the east, with its larger population, unpopulated places are more likely to stand out on the map. In the west, the opposite is true. There, population centers stand out against the wilderness.
Ultimately, I made this map to show a different side of the United States. Human geographers spend so much time thinking about where people are. I thought I might bring some new insight by showing where they are not, adding contrast and context to the typical displays of the country’s population geography.
I’m sure I’ve all but scratched the surface of insight available from examining this map. There’s a lot of data here. What trends and patterns do you see?Errata
- The Gulf of California is missing from this version. I guess it got filled in while doing touch ups. Oops. There’s a link to a corrected map at the top of the post.
- Some islands may be missing if they were not a part of the waterbody data sets I used.