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Old enough to vote*

Unorganized Territory - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 10:06am

I am diligent about voting. I am a firm believer in the adage, “If you don’t vote, don’t complain.”

I have voted in every election since I was old enough to vote, even when it was inconvenient. For most of the years that I lived away from Minnesota with my soldier husband, I cast my vote by absentee ballot. From Washington State, Germany, Colorado and California, I went through the steps to apply for an absentee ballot and get it returned promptly.

Some of Cook County’s hard-working vote counters in the 2010 election.

But with every election, I imagined one day being able to go to the polls to cast my vote—the polls back “home” in Minnesota. I remember going with my mom when she voted at a town hall. My memory is sketchy, but I think she voted at what is now a house at the top of Fall River Road (County Road 13). I remember the U.S. flag hanging at the entrance. I remember neighbors visiting as they were coming and going.

I also remember controversy about voting when I was a teenager. It may seem unbelievable to the current generation, but when I was growing up, you had to be 21 years old to vote. There were a lot of changes in the turbulent ’60s and lowering the voting age to 18 was one of them.

I was a bit young to follow all the debate about letting 18-yearolds vote. Apparently the suggestion was first made before I was even born. President Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first president to endorse voting rights for 18-year-old citizens in his 1954 State of the Union Address.

It took quite awhile for the idea to take hold and there was a great deal of legal maneuvering as many states questioned the federal government’s right to lower the minimum voting age. States that refused to follow the federal government’s lead faced the need to have separate voting rolls and special ballots for voters between 18 and 20 years old for federal elections.

I don’t remember all this legal wrangling, but I do remember the young men facing the draft into military service—and the possibility of being sent off to fight in the Vietnam War—demanding the right to vote. I remember news stories on our old black and white TV about the horrors of the war. I remember watching footage of anti-war protests and amongst the protest signs there were some that read, “Old enough to fight, old enough to vote.”

In those times of trouble in our nation that message appeared to be something citizens could finally agree on. On March 10, 1971, the U.S. Senate voted 94-0 in favor of an amendment lowering the voting age. On March 23, 1971, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 401-19 in favor of the proposal.

Amazingly states followed suit. To add an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, three-fourths of the United States must ratify Congress’s action. I’m proud to note that Minnesota was among the first five states to agree. Ratification was completed on July 1, 1971 when enough states had taken action. On July 5, 1971, with President Richard Nixon as witness, the Twenty-Sixth Amendment became part of the Constitution.

I was 14 years old and more interested in clothes and nail polish and whether or not the Beatles would ever get back together than politics, but I still remember feeling jubilant that I would soon be able to vote.

The first presidential election in which I had a vote was in 1976. I was able to choose between the Jimmy Carter/Walter Mondale or Gerald Ford/Bob Dole tickets. I won’t say who I voted for. But it was with great pride that I was able to vote in my first election. Even though it was an absentee ballot mailed back home to Minnesota.

I know it is unlikely that any 18-year-olds read Unorganized Territory. But if they do, I hope they take a minute to think of the struggle that went into establishing the right for them to vote.

Young women also owe a debt to the women suffragettes who fought for women’s right to vote. Without the work of Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Jane Addams the 19th Amendment would never have come to pass.

But that’s another column. This week I’d just like to remind everyone in Unorganized Territory that voting is not something to take lightly.

So if you’re 18 and want to vote, take some time to go to the Cook County courthouse before the end of the day on Tuesday, October 14 to pre-register. You don’t have to pre-register, but it makes voting much easier.

When you pre-register your name gets added to the official roll of voters. In most of Cook County, that means you will receive a ballot in the mail. In the City of Grand Marais, it means when you go to the polling place, you’ll be on the list and will be able to enter the voting booth to cast your vote— quickly and easily. And hopefully, proudly.

Voters don’t decide issues, they decide who will decide issues.

George Will

* Apologies to any 18-year-olds for not getting this posted before the Oct. 14 pre-registration deadline. You can still vote! Contact your county’s auditor office for information.

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Good Morning Beautiful

Boundary Waters Blog - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 8:31pm

It’s always a beautiful morning on the Gunflint Trail. Thanks Voyageur Crew Tony for sharing the beauty with everyone.

Beautiful Gunflint Morning

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Dual Fuel Equipment Test

Arrowhead Electric - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 3:50pm

A scheduled annual Dual Fuel Equipment  TEST will affect members on the DUAL FUEL Interruptible rate Thursday, October 16th starting at 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. This TEST is for your benefit so you can make sure your automatic backup system is functioning well before the cold winter season arrives.

Arrowhead Electric apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and would like to thank you for your continued support while our radio receiver testing occurs. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Rose the AECI office at 663-7239.

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Get Your Daily Greens in 1 Scoop

Aging Youthful - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 1:00am

This week’s Favorite Everyday Product feature is on one of my favorites: Isagenix Greens. While I would like to be able to eat 8 servings of leafy greens a day, the truth is if I can get in one serving, I consider it a good day. It is usually my meal of choice when I’m out for lunch and when I get home late in the evening, the truth is the last thing I want to do is sit down and make and eat anything let alone a salad. The Isagenix greens give me an easy way to get my greens and unlike a lot of other powdered greens on the market (you know…the ones where you have to plug your nose, chug it down and then shudder to KEEP it down), this actually tastes good on it’s own!

What is in it you ask??

Features chlorella and spirulina. Antioxidant-rich ingredients, like ginkgo biloba leaf, green tea extract and grape seed extract, help fight free radicals, which can potentially endanger cells and weaken your immune system.

  • Complement your recommended daily intake of 3-5 vegetables
  • Boosts the body’s natural ability to neutralize environmental pollutants
  • Gluten-free 
  • Great source of colorful phytonutrients
  • Antioxidant dietary supplement that protects against free radicals

- See more at:

It’s super-convenient in either the 30-serving tub or the 30-serving single-serving packets. Either way, at just over $1.00 per day, it is a BARGAIN! Since Mark went back to MN to work, I have been throwing out so much greens and vegetables and have finally given up buying them and opting for a salad at lunch and a serving of greens. My other meals on the go are our shakes or protein bars, or nuts that I can keep in my car and not have to worry about melting (it is still in the 80′s in Florida in October).

Not only do I love the convenience, I LOVE how these make me FEEL. Yes, I get a boost of energy when I take its as well as super healthy fast-growing hair (you can’t tell by what the humidity does to my hair) and nails. I recently started having my nails done with natural nail polish and my tech Michael is amazed that I have to come in as often as I do as the grow out happens so fast!

For more information on these awesome greens, click here. If you’d like to order, you can click here for my site, or contact me for information on getting your whole body back in to balance with one of our 30-Day Systems!

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Moose Madness Weekend!

North Shore Art Scene - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 12:41am

Northern lights graced the skies in Cook County the other night. Here’s a photo by Nace Hagemann documenting the night.

David Johnson calls this one “Old Frosty Rump.”

Fall’s Final Fling and/or  the Moose Madness Family Festival is this weekend in Grand Marais; there’s lots to see and do and it’s definitely moosey.

There’s a Moose Medallion Hunt, a Moose Cartoon Contest, a Moose Poetry Contest, a Moose Coloring Contest, a Moose Sumi-e  workshop, (at the Grand Marais Art Colony), a Moose Mosey (or Rut Run on the Rocks), a Moose-A-Zumba (under a tent), a Moosebassador (Michael Monroe) performing in Harbor Park, a Moose-A-Rama with the Muffin Man at Drury Lane Books, Moose Cookies and Moose Bucks that can be earned all over town.  Murray the Moose is on the loose, too, and available for photo ops throughout the weekend.

Oh, and Michael Monroe will be on WTIP Community Radio‘s The Roadhouse on Friday night to talk about his new CD, “The Call of the Moose.” He’ll sing a few songs, too. The show airs from 5-7 p.m. on Friday nights.

The Cook County Events Bureau has moved and will be in the new Tourist Information Center, right next to the Dairy Queen) all weekend. It’s Moose Central this weekend, and is the place to go to find out what’s happening, pick up entry forms for the contests, Moose Medallion Hunt clues and more.

And that’s just a brief listing of all the moosey things going on in Grand Marais this weekend. It’s a grand celebration at the end of fall and draws families throughout the region for a weekend of fun.

To see the complete schedule of events, click here.

North House Folk School is holding a Family & Intergenerational Learning Weekend, too, with a wide variety of courses and classes, including a special rate for adult/child pairs. See for all the course details.

There are also a number of public events at North House over the weekend including a Campfire Bannock & Outdoor Film Screening at 7 p.m. Friday. Over the Waterfall will play for a kid dance from 7-8 p.m. and an 8 p.m. community dance following.

On Saturday, there will be a Sled Dog Meet & Greet (with real sled dogs and mushers) from noon to 2 p.m.  and a spinning and knitting demonstration from 2-5 p.m.

Everyone is invited. Free.

Meanwhile there’s more going on in town, too, with two local artist book signings at Sivertson Gallery.

Kelly Dupre will sign the book she illustrated, “The Best Part of a Sauna,” from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the gallery on Friday and Betsy Bowen will sign the book she illustrated, “Plant a Pocket of Prairie at the gallery on Saturday from 11;30 to 2 p.m.

Mario Cianflone will be at the library at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Grand Marais Public Library will host Mario Cianflone for a special presentation on the history and music of the accordion at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. Everyone invited. Free.

Also on Saturday, the Cook County Farm & Craft Market will be open for the last day of the 2014 season. The market is held in the Senior Center parking lot and features a wide variety of arts & crafts, homebaked goods, jams and more. It is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

There are two wonderful art exhibits open in town as well.

The Five Generations of Arts & Crafts exhibit at the Johnson Heritage Post features a wide variety of artwork by the Ralph W. Smith, Glenn S. Smith, Nancy Daley, Jody Ouradnik, Amy Ouradnik and Madeline Burton. The exhibit continues through Nov. 2. The Johnson Heritage Post is open from 10 am. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 1-4 p.m. on Sunday and Monday.

Sculpture by Byron Bradley.

The Tour d’Art Legacy Exhibit continues at the Grand Marais Art Colony. The show features a selection of works by the founders of the Art Colony, Birney Quick and Byron Bradley, as well as artists closely associated with it– Hazel Belvo, Marcia Cushmore, Sharon & Steve Frykman and Liz Sivertson.  Work by some of their students is also included. It’s quite an amazing show, and highly recommended. The Legacy Exhibit  continues through Oct. 26. The Art Colony is open from 9 a.m .to 4 p.m. daily.

In other art news, here’s an interesting list of photography contests in the region and links to each:

Fall Color Photography Contest

Gunflint Trail Photo Contest
Over $100 in Sven & Oles Gift Cards up for grab
Lutsen / Sawbill / Tofte Photo Contest
Prizes from Bluefin, AmericInn, and Sawbill
Waterfall Photography Contest
Win a $1,000 resort stay in Babbitt
Moose Madness Photography Contest

Images on Bryan Hansel‘s new landscape calendar.

Speaking of photographers, Bryan Hansel has just released his calendar for next year: Northern Landscapes 2015. To find out more, click here.

And here are a few things to look forward to.

Chris Gillis will play two concerts at What’s Upstairs? above Betsy Bowen’s Studio Oct. 24 & 25. A number of musicians will perform with him, including the drummer and bass player from his dad’s (Frank Gillis) band. Stay tuned for details next week.

And, the premiere of “The Story of Winter,” a Kenny Blumenfeld and Alex Johnson film, opens at the Parkway Theater in Minneapolis Oct. 24. The trailer is really funny… only in Minnesota. Check it out here (and get tickets if you’ll be in town.)

OK. Here’s the music line-up:

Thursday, Oct. 16:

  • Gordon Thorne, Gunflint Tavern, 7 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 17:

  • Jim & Michelle Miller, Cascade Lodge Pub, 7:30 p.m.
  • Michael Monroe, Bluefin Bay, Tofte, 8 p.m.
  • The Thunderheads, Gunflint Tavern, 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 18

  • Mario Cianflone, History & Music of the Accordion, Grand Marais Public Library, 3:30 p.m.
  • Jeff Diethelm, Cascade Lodge Pub, 6:30 p.m.
  • Gordon Thorne, Lutsen Resort, 7 p.m.
  • Michael Monroe, Bluefin Grille, 8 p.m.
  • The Thunderheads, Gunflint Tavern, 8:30 p.m.
  • Timmy Haus, Papa Charlie’s, 9:30 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 19:

  • Polka Fest, Grand Portage Lodge & Casino, noon to 8 p.m.
  • Steve Blexrud, Gunflint Tavern, 7 p.m.

Monday, Oct. 20:

  • Joe Paulik, Bluefin Grille, 8 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 22:

  • Open Mic Night, Gunflint Tavern, 5 p.m.
  • Gordon Thorne & Bob Bingham, Bluefin Grille, 8 p.m.

It was hard to pick what photos to put up this week. There were a lot of wonderful ones. Here’s a selection. Enjoy!

“Fall Art Project,” by Thomas Spence.

Full Moon Over Grand Marais by David Johnson.

Lunar Eclipse by Paul Sundberg.

“Hollow Rock” by Linda Farwell Ryma.

Here’s Bryan Hansel‘s shot of the northern lights the other night, taken with a fisheye lense.

And, to finish off, here’s a moose haiku written last year for the poetry contest. And have a great weekend!

Silently walking,

through the woods, antlers brushing

the tall evergreen trees

Sonja Milkovich, Age 9

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Wood is the Word at the Voyageur Brewery

Voyageur Brewing - Wed, 10/15/2014 - 3:28pm

Reusing barn wood in the new brewery

Reduce, REUSE, recycle at the Grand Marais brewery

Grand Marais Craft Beer in Minnesota

One of our goals in building the brewery in Grand Marais was to buy or use local whenever possible. We feel we have done an excellent job at that by using local carpenters, plumbers, electricians and tradespeople on the brewery. Another way we have contributed to reaching that goal is through our wood.

We recently took apart a barn at a farm up near Hovland, Minnesota. The wood in this barn was cut and milled right here on the North Shore by Otis Anderson many years ago. This wood will be used to decorate some of the walls inside the taproom.

The countertops and bar tops will be made using live edge white pine from Northern Minnesota. Hedstrom’s Mill in Grand Marais, Minnesota cut the wood specifically for our brewery project.

We’re also getting some reclaimed wood from a place in Duluth, Minnesota. We’re using Douglas Fir that is over 100 years old for tables.

It’s great to be able to reuse wood, be green and incorporate parts of our area history into our building.  We’re hoping to add more pieces of our area history to our brewery as we continue our building process.

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Whiskey Jack Fun

Boundary Waters Blog - Wed, 10/15/2014 - 12:23pm

The Whiskey Jacks have been entertaining our Voyageur Crew lately.  Canadian Jays, grey jays or camp robbers are another name for these fun to watch and feed birds.

One time when we were out ice fishing and not catching, I kept myself entertained for hours by feeding these hungry camp robbers.  I was relaxing on shore with a bag of pretzels and the birds were patiently waiting all around me.  I tossed a few broken pieces onto the snow for them and they would soar in to pick them up.  They were having difficulties with the hard pieces of pretzels so I decided to chew the pretzels a bit before handing them out.  Before long I had birds resting on my cap, in my hand and on my boot waiting for more pretzels to be chewed up.  Luckily the contents of the bag disappeared before my jaw fell off and right about the time the anglers were ready to leave.


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Recipe of the Week: Baked Apple Chips

Aging Youthful - Wed, 10/15/2014 - 1:00am

Another “chip” recipe this week. This time it’s baked apple chips! With fall in the air (even in Florida) my palette is craving apples and cinnamon. What a great way to get it and my craving for crunch satisfied at the same time! From the website Paleo Grubs:

  1. 1-2 apples (I used Honeycrisp)
  2. 1 tsp cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Using a sharp knife or mandolin, slice apples thinly. Discard seeds. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange apple slices on it without overlapping. Sprinkle cinnamon over apples.
  3. Bake for approximately 1 hour, then flip. Continue baking for 1-2 hours, flipping occasionally, until the apple slices are no longer moist. Store in airtight container.
By Rebecca Bohl ( For extra tips and info, click here for the full article.
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Good-Byes You Look Forward To

Boundary Waters Blog - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 10:07pm

There are some good-byes you look forward to while others you do not.  In the case of the black bear that has been hanging around Voyageur this year we are hoping to see him leave soon. We wish he would go into hibernation and stay out of our neighbor’s garage, off of our deck and out of our outfitting building.

Then there are other good-byes you wish you didn’t have to say. Those are the ones you say to staff when they leave or maybe you don’t even get to say good-bye but wish you could have. Yesterday Luke left and today Elsa and Ron left for the winter. It’s always sad to see them leave even though I know they are happy to get back to the Phillippines. I selfishly wish I could keep them here year round.

There’s a skunk hanging around Voyageur. We’ve never had a skunk on our property and in fact we rarely see them on the Gunflint Trail.  We’d be happy to say good-bye to the skunk and wish him no happy returns.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my life it’s you don’t always get to choose when or if you get to say good-bye. Sometimes you don’t even know you’re saying good-bye. With the bear or skunk that would be just fine, as long as the leave!

Voyageur black bear

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Opportunity to View Highway 61 Concept Designs and Provide Feedback: Oct. 28th

Moving Matters - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 4:17pm

Join the City of Grand Marais on October 28th for an open house and presentation of concept designs for Highway 61 through Grand Marais. Your feedback and input is needed! A light meal will be provided and free childcare* will be available at the Cook County Community YMCA.

Tuesday, October 28th
6 – 8 pm
Bethlehem Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall
417 1st Ave. West, Grand Marais

Questions? Contact Mike Roth, City Administrator at or call (218) 387-1848. For more information and updates, visit

*Free childcare is available for families participating in the evening, for children age 4 months and over. Drop-off will be at the YMCA starting at 5:30 pm, pick-up after the event.

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Trail Clearing Help Needed

Boundary Waters Blog - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 10:03pm

A fun thing to do in the winter on the Gunflint Trail is cross-country ski the Banadad Trail. It’s a long trail(18 miles) and it travels through the Boundary Waters. Mid-way through the trail Boundary Country Trekking has a yurt skiers can stay in overnight.  I’ve stayed there a couple of times and absolutely loved it.

Since parts of the Banadad Trail are in the BWCA they can’t use chainsaws to clear the trail. This means all of the work must be done by hand. Like any project the more hands there are the faster and easier the work is.  If you’re looking for something to do on October 25th then how about lending a helping hand on the Banadad ski trail?

Banadad Ski Trail Work Day, Annual Meeting and Pizza Party
Saturday, October 25

The Banadad Trail Association invites you to help get the Banadad Ski Trail ready for winter. We will be concentrating our clearing and trimming low hanging tree branches starting at the Banadad’s eastern trailhead. I was out on the first mile of the Banadad from the eastern trailhead and found nine large downed trees blocking the trail including a 12-14 inch Aspen along with several other trees it brought down and on either side of this clump of trees were two more large downed Aspens. These trees are just beyond the Swamp Lake Portage and well within the BWCA where all trail work must be done using hand tools.

If what we experienced on this part of the trail holds for the rest of the Banandad we have got a real job ahead of us. Please join us; we really need your help!”

Volunteers meet for the Trail Work Day at 9:00 am, Saturday, October 25, at Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B, 11 Poplar Creek Drive (just off the Lima Grade) Gunflint Trail. Hand tools and lunches will be provided to all volunteers. Wear sturdy clothing and boots.

After the work session volunteers and friends of the Banadad are invited to return to Hestons Lodge, 579 South Gunflint Road for the Banadad Trail Association’s fifth Annual Meeting followed by pizza dinner cooked in Heston’s wood fired-outdoor oven and social hour. Festivities at Heston’s begin a 6:00 PM. RSVP, 218-388-2243

For more information on the Trail Work Day and/or the Banadad Trail Association’s Annual Meeting and Dinner contact 218-388-4487.

Hope to see you on Saturday, October 25, Ted Young, Banadad Maintenance and Grooming Administrater

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Vlog: It’s All a Part of Me

Aging Youthful - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 9:30pm

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“Ocean Plump” Chickens?

Aging Youthful - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 1:00am

This week’s “What’s Really in Our Food” article is about the process of “plumping” chicken sold in the grocery store. What is plumping you ask? Well, it’s not getting the chicken fatter by feeding it more; according to the website Say No to Plumping the definition is:

The practice of injecting saltwater, chicken stock, seaweed extract or some combination thereof into chicken to increase its weight and price, while simultaneously increasing sodium content by up to 500%.

If you buy frozen chicken breasts for convenience like I’ve been known to do, more than likely they are injected with some sort of “solution”. The best way to know is to (I’ve said it a hundred times) READ THE LABEL. Also, chicken is not the only meat subjected to plumping. I was reading the label on a frozen turkey and saw it had been injected as well.

While most people may not be affected by this, those who are on a low sodium diet for health reasons, this could be a concern. Also, while you think you are paying for meat, you may also be paying for saltwater. Again, as I preach and preach and preach…READ LABELS so you are educated about what you are putting in your body.



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10/12/14 - Lou's Shoes

Sawbill Newsletter - Sun, 10/12/2014 - 7:44pm

10/12/14 - Our very own Cindy Lou Hansen got back today from a four day shoemaking class taught by Jason Hovatter at the North House Folk School in Grand Marais. "I can't even begin to tell you how many steps went into making these," she said as she showed off her beautiful new pair of shoes, "No pun intended!" - Peter

We're trying to convince Cindy to switch careers from canoe outfitting to shoemaking. She could call her business Lou's Shoes!

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North Shore Fun

Boundary Waters Blog - Sun, 10/12/2014 - 2:13pm

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in Grand Marais lately. This weekend there was a homecoming football game on Friday night and dance on Saturday night.  Our house in town was filled to the brim with kids on both nights.  On Saturday night there were over 20 of them at one time for photos. I was happy when Sunday rolled around and we were able to get out of the house and enjoy time outside.

There are so many places to explore around Grand Marais no matter which direction you choose to go.  Today we decided to check out Cut Face Creek since I had never explored there.  There wasn’t much water so Abby’s friend and I walked through the culvert that goes beneath Highway 61, kind of creepy, a little bit wet but lots of fun. We didn’t go too far up the river as Josh and his friend wanted to go fishing at Cascade River.

We got back in the car and headed West to Cascade.  West is the direction people from Grand Marais use to describe what most people refer to as South or towards Duluth, Minnesota.  The kids had fun walking along the river and trying to catch fish but we didn’t see any or catch any.

It didn’t matter to me if we caught fish or not. It was just great to be outside on a gorgeous fall day with 3 fun kids.

fun on Minnesota’s North Shore

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Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway Survey

Boundary Waters Blog - Sat, 10/11/2014 - 11:13am

It’s been a few years since I was on the Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway Committee but that doesn’t mean other people haven’t been working diligently this entire time.  A big thank you to the folks who are continually working on making the Gunflint Trail Corridor an even more special place.  To thank them for their hard work you can participate in the survey they are asking you to complete so they can keep up their wonderful work.

Contact: Ryan Miller
218-529-7552 (direct)
1-800-232-0707 (toll free)

Participation Requested in the Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway Survey

(Grand Marais, MN)  The Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway Committee, a sub-committee of the Gunflint Trail Association, is working on an update of the Gunflint Trail National Scenic Byway Corridor Management Plan (CMP).  The purpose of the update will be to acknowledge changes that have occurred since the 2008 plan such as the Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway’s designation as a National Scenic Byway and also to evaluate the progress of goals and strategies identified in the previous plan.

Public input is being requested through participation in the Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway Survey, which asks participants for their input on aspects of the Corridor Management Plan, specifically what they feel are the strengths, weakness, and opportunities of the Gunflint Trail.  The survey will be distributed to members of the Gunflint Trail community and will also be made available at  The survey will be open through October 23rd.

The Survey was prepared by the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission (ARDC) on behalf of the Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway Committee.  Results will be collected by ARDC and analyzed by the Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway Committee and included in the Corridor Management Plan update.

The mission of the Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway Committee is to act as advocates and stewards for the preservation, protection, understanding, and maintenance of the natural historic intrinsic values of the Gunflint Trail (Cook County Road #12) and its corridor.  The goal of the Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway Committee is to work with all stakeholders to understand and retain the intrinsic values of the Gunflint Trail corridor for all those who work, live, recreate, and value the area.

For further information on the Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway Survey, please contact Ryan Miller, Associate Planner (218) 529-7552 or

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Wilderness Safety 101

Boundary Waters Blog - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 6:40pm

Every day you can find an article where someone has gone missing in a wilderness area. Some are lucky and are found alive while others aren’t so lucky. Is it just luck or is there something that separates the survivors from those who perish?

Being prepared may be one thing that helps those who survive through ordeals of being lost.   Here’s a release from the Minnesota DNR that might just help you be a survivor.

Learn wilderness survival basics before going afield

A missing duck hunter near Mille Lacs Lake forced to spend the night in the woods is a good reminder that anyone spending time outdoors should know wilderness survival basics, said an official with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

A recent news release from the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office said that 76-year-old Glenn Huff of Garrison had become disoriented while hunting and was unsure of his whereabouts. Rather than wander aimlessly, Huff then “hunkered down with his dog for the night, and at first light started to make his way back to his vehicle.” The following morning Huff and the dog met up with sheriff’s office deputies who reported Huff in excellent condition following the incident.

“That incident is a good reminder that anyone can get lost in the woods, including hunters,” said acting Capt. John Paurus, DNR enforcement education program coordinator.

Panic is an enemy for those who get lost. They should remember the acronym S.T.O.P.

SIT: They should collect their thoughts and realize they are not lost; they just can’t find camp or vehicle.
THINK: What do they have at their disposal both physical and mental that can help them in this situation? Inventory survival kit and start to develop a plan.
OBSERVE: Look around, is there shelter, water, an open area where searchers could see them?
PLAN: Create a plan of action. Pick a spot that to build a fire for heat and signaling. In addition, can the spot provide basic shelter?
A basic survival kit can be packed into a quart zip-lock bag and should contain the following:

Basic shelter materials: Two 55 gallon garbage bags and 30 feet of braided mason’s line.
Means to start a fire: Disposable lighter, waterproof matches or matches stored in a waterproof container, or 10 feet of toilet paper or Petroleum Jelly soaked cotton balls in a waterproof container.
Means of signaling: Whistle, signal mirror (could be an old CD). A fire is also a signal.
Means of knowing direction: A compass.
Comfort food: Food bar, nuts or trail mix.
Anytime people head outdoors they should plan for the unexpected and be prepared to spend the night in the woods. Here are some musts before heading out.

Always let someone know the destination and return plan.
Carry a compass or GPS and know how to use it.
Carry a basic survival and first-aid kit.
Carry a cell phone.
Check the weather and dress for it.
These outdoor safety tips are part of the DNR hunter education firearms safety program. An online study guide for hunters and outdoor enthusiasts is on the DNR website at . Click on HunterCourse.


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A quality of life narrative

Unorganized Territory - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 11:45am

I’ve ended up in a lot of meetings lately, as part of my job and as a citizen.

Right now, the all-important update of the Cook County Comprehensive Land Use Guide is under way. I went to the well-attended meeting at the Cook County Community Center on September 17. I was pleased to see the turnout and even more pleased to see that there was a lot of consensus on issues I care about. I’m looking forward to more discussion about what the county should look like in 15, 20 and 30 years.

There have also been meetings on the Highway 61 corridor as it passes through Grand Marais. Another good-sized crowd turned out at the Grand Marais Public Library recently to share concerns and to talk about possible improvements to the highway to make it safer and more pedestrian and bicycle friendly.

Because of these and the many other meetings I’ve attended recently, I almost passed on the presentation by the University of Minnesota- Morris at North House Folk School on Tuesday, September 23. I had started my day in a county board meeting and had a couple of interviews, so by 6:30 p.m. I was ready to just head home.

But the invitation from Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux about the UM-Morris Center for Small Towns statisticians was intriguing. Jay said he had had some interesting conversation at his B&B with Kelly Asche of the Center for Small Towns.

Jay was excited enough about it to arrange the presentation, so I decided to head to the talk at North House Folk School. I wanted to hear what the university had to say about Grand Marais.

I’m glad I did. The discussion about the “rural narrative” was enlightening. Asche and his co-presenter Jon Bennett talked about the supposed “brain drain” that is occurring in small towns in Minnesota. There is a huge concern about all the young people leaving our rural communities. Asche shared slides with dire newspaper headlines declaring that small towns were dying.

The duo shared statistics that show that is actually far from the truth. Small towns are changing, but they are not dying. In fact, Asche said, in Minnesota only two towns have dissolved in the last 50 years.

The demographics, not the populations, of towns are changing, said Asche. Young people are moving away— most likely to college and to experience the world. But that population is replaced by an older, more stable demographic.

In opposition to the theory that with young people leaving there is a “brain drain,” Asche said the people moving to rural areas bring education, experience and enthusiasm. He said there is actually a “brain gain.”

People who have had their fill of metro-area living are returning to rural life. People with children are moving to the country to raise their children. People are choosing quality of life over high salaries and the “rat race.”

Asche and Bennett had figures and charts to back up their statements. However, their assertion that people move to rural areas because of the quality of life was confirmed— and amplified—by the environment in which they were speaking.

The windows of the lovely “blue building” on the North House campus look out onto the periwinkle blue waters of Lake Superior. As they talked, the sky darkened and became streaked with soft pastels. Eventually it grew dark—until a brief flashing began—the soothing light of the Grand Marais lighthouse

This David R. Johnson photo is a vivid example of why we love to live in Grand Marais.

It was distracting. I zoned out a little bit because of the lighthouse. I started thinking about hikes out to The Point and about ships on the lake. As I blinked and cleared my head to refocus on the presentation, I had to smile. That was exactly Asche’s point.

We are here because even though we must attend meetings, we can do so in such scenic spaces.

Perfect proof for his quality of life argument!

To read the papers and to listen to the news… one would think the country is in terrible trouble. You do not get that impression when you travel the back roads and the small towns do care about their country and wish it well.

Charles Kuralt

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Autumn Days at Chik-Wauk

Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center Blog - Sun, 10/05/2014 - 12:47pm

Golden tamaracks lining the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center driveway mean autumn is upon us and the 2014 museum season is quickly drawing to a close. Be sure to visit and catch this year’s temporary exhibit on Butterflies, Skippers, and Moths of the Gunflint Trail before we lock up our doors for the winter months at 5 p.m. on Sunday, October 19th. (Until then, we’re open every single day from 10 a. m. -  5 p.m.)

As you drive up to the museum, you might notice large flocks of brown birds along the Gunflint Trail roadside. These are Lapland Longspurs, making their way to their southerly wintering grounds. Soon the longspurs will be replaced by snow buntings and not too long after that, the snow will fly in earnest.  Here’s a nice photo of the Chik-Wauk bay in its autumn colors to distract you from the ever-approaching winter.

While you’re at the museum, get a head start on your holiday shopping with our gift shop sale, offering up to 40% off select items.

Sunday, October 19 is the final day the museum will be open this year. After that, you’ll have to wait until May 23, 2015 to visit and see the 2015 temporary exhibit, “The Gunflint Trail’s Paper Trail” featuring brochures, diaries, correspondence, and other paper items that originated on the Gunflint Trail.

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