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What’s REALLY In Our Food: Beaver “Scent” In Your Ice Cream?

Aging Youthful - Mon, 09/01/2014 - 8:42am

It is really more than “scent” but I didn’t want to totally gross everyone out in the title. What is castoreum you ask? From the Health.com website:

What it is: Brace yourself—this food flavoring is extracted from the castor sac scent glands of the male or female beaver, which are located near the anus. According to Milkowski, the substance is pretty expensive (think about what it probably takes to obtain it) and is more common in perfume than in actual foods. 

Where you’ll find it: While it sounds downright disgusting, the FDA says it’s GRAS, meaning it’s “generally recognized as safe.” You won’t see this one on the food label because it’s generally listed as “natural flavoring.” It’s natural all right—naturally icky.

When Mark trapped beaver there was very little that went to waste. We fed all but the feet, heads and guts (which can make the dogs sick) to our sled dogs and Mark was sure to extract the castor as he would re-use it as scent bait on his traps or sell it as it was more valuable than the hide itself.

What foods could you find castoreum in:

  • alcoholic beverages
  • baked goods
  • frozen dairy
  • chewing gum
  • candy
  • beverages
  • meat products
  • pudding
  • gelatin
  • ice cream
  • vanilla flavoring
  • raspberry flavored food

This is what PubMed.com has to say about castoreum:

Castoreum extract (CAS NO. 8023-83-4; FEMA NO. 2261) is a natural product prepared by direct hot-alcohol extraction of castoreum, the dried and macerated castor sac scent glands (and their secretions) from the male or female beaver. It has been used extensively in perfumery and has been added to food as a flavor ingredient for at least 80 years. Both the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regard castoreum extract as generally recognized as safe (GRAS). Acute toxicity studies in animals indicate that castoreum extract is nontoxic by both oral and dermal routes of administration and is not irritating or phototoxic to skin. Skin sensitization has not been observed in human subject tests. Castoreum extract possesses weak antibacterial activity. A long historical use of castoreum extract as a flavoring and fragrance ingredient has resulted in no reports of human adverse reactions. On the basis of this information, low-level, long-term exposure to castoreum extract does not pose a health risk. The objective of this review is to evaluate the safety-in-use of castoreum extract as a food ingredient.

I don’t know about you but I don’t trust the statement of “generally” regarded as safe. Once again, it is SO important to read labels and if you can, make your own foods, stay away from processed as much as possible and cleanse your body regularly as we really do not know what is in our foods these days.

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Belated #FreedomFriday

Aging Youthful - Sun, 08/31/2014 - 7:52pm

RETIREMENT, TAKE 2: (Warning, long post and video. If you are ready to put your life up at a whole new level, this could change your life forever). Comment below, what excites you??? What excites you RIGHT NOW???

It has taken me two days to decompress and debrief and wrap my head around the everything I heard, learned and soaked in this last weekend. As I sat in the audience on Sunday morning I realized I had not been being my authentic self or congruent. I have been talking the talk, but just tip-toeing the walk.

As of 4:00 EST this afternoon, I am F O R E V E R psychologically unemployable. I turned in my resignation…I have not been truthful with you and most importantly myself, by working a 9-5 job…yes, a JOB. The one I tell everyone else they should leave and follow their passion. I ran back to one for a while, because it was safe, afraid to REALLY put myself out there in a strange city where I knew only a handful of people. For the last four months, my flame has slowly been just a slow burning candle flame. My boss knew exactly what I wanted to chat with him about, he could see my passion, my flame was like a massive 5 alarm fire burning in my belly! I told him he deserved to have someone who was not always wishing they were somewhere else.

I spent a good portion of the weekend in tears asking myself what am I afraid of? I have the keys to a life-changing vehicle in my hand and I have been driving it around with the freaking parking brake on for the last three years. These products, both nutritional and financial, are not only life-changing, they are LIFE-SAVING! Three people on the stage shared stories of how they were contemplating suicide as they felt they had no way out of the financial hole they found themselves in. All threes lives were turned around by what we have to offer: a life of hope, passion and FREEDOM from physical and financial pain!

Why did that have such an impact…both Mark and I have been feeling the same way in recent months as we’ve been apart. We are doing what we HAVE to do, but it seemed like there was no way out and there wasn’t if we didn’t play full out. It was easy for me to leave as the pay was marginal and I’m very grateful for the opportunity, but it left me deflated at the end of the day, not wanting to talk to more people, down and depressed. What excites me right now? To retire Mark once and for all!

NO MORE! My fire and passion has been re-ignited and I will NEVER let it burn out again. My first phone call to a friend to tell her that I am re-committing to changing lives, may have changed hers. Is she joining me? No. God and the Universe put her at the top of my mind this weekend when they said to write down the names of five people right now. I even texted her a photo of the list. This friend is personally going through hell right now and needed someone to reach out. I don’t “sell” products, I “sell” a lifestyle…what this “business” is all about:

CONNECTION. COMPASSION. PASSION. FREEDOM! Wanna buy some?

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8/31/14 - Terry Olson is a retired Forest Service employee who lives in Finland, MN.

Sawbill Newsletter - Sun, 08/31/2014 - 9:51am

8/31/14 - Terry Olson is a retired Forest Service employee who lives in Finland, Minnesota. A few years ago, Terry got interested in sport flying and bought a small float plane.

Every once in a while, Terry quietly glides into Sawbill Lake for a visit. He chooses his weather carefully, waiting for mornings with calm winds and blue skies.

He is kind enough to give rides to his friends and awards each rider a little wooden model of his plane as a keepsake. - Bill


Terry's plane looking pretty at the Sawbill Lake canoe landing.

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Start the School Year with a Walking School Bus – Wed, Sept. 3rd

Moving Matters - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 12:17pm

Don’t miss the first Walking School Bus of the new school year on Wednesday, September 3rd! Join in for a fun walk to school and enter to win a door prize

Walking School Buses are groups of people walking or biking to school together, organized by Cook County Safe Routes to School. The Walking School Buses (WSB) in Grand Marais meet in three locations:

  • West WSB leaves at 7:20 a.m. from 8th Ave. West & 2nd Street (passes Birchwood Apts on the way to school)
  • Central WSB leaves at 7:20 a.m. from the Courthouse Parking Lot.
  • East WSB leaves at 7:30 a.m. from 7th Ave. East & County Rd 7.

Each WSB stops at ISD 166 and GES on time for school to begin. If the student normally gets a ride to school, come in a little early to meet at one of the WSB locations and walk or bike to school with friends! Law enforcement and local community leaders will accompany each WSB. Volunteers are always needed; please contact Safe Routes to School Coordinator Maren at maren@sawtoothmountainclinic.org or 387-2330 if you are able to help or have questions.

While every day is a great day to walk or bike to school, every Wednesday this fall will be a Walking/Biking Wednesday! See the designated walking and biking to school routes on the updated Safe Routes to School Map. Other Walking School Buses this fall will be on October 8th and November 19th.

Walking School Buses are organized by the local Safe Routes to School group, with support from the State Health Improvement Program.

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Hey Summer, You’ve Been Fun

Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center Blog - Sun, 08/24/2014 - 4:33pm

You know what? It’s been one fun Gunflint Trail summer at Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center.

We kicked off Kids’ Day, which sees a couple dozen kids through the museum on Mondays: making journals, learning about pond life, seeing if they can jump as far as a frog, and all sorts of other fun, hands-on activities. We host our last Kids’ Day of the season, tomorrow, August 25. Last Tuesday, our U.S. Forest Service naturalist friends put on their last presentation of the season at Chik-Wauk. And we’ve finished up a series of special guest presentations on Sundays as well. We’ve been having such a good time, it’s hard to believe that it’s nearly back to school time. We hope you found some time to play with us this summer!

To celebrate Smokey Bear’s 70th birthday, Smokey came for a visit to Chik-Wauk on August 4th, along with some U.S. Forest Service and Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department friends. Kids got to learn Smokey’s story and learn about fire is fought on the Gunflint Trail. A good time was had by all. Happy Birthday Smokey!

Thanks to all those who attended the Gunflint Woods, Winds, and Strings Benefit Concert on August 16. Several local and guest musicians entertained a sellout crowd of over 150 Gunflint Trail neighbors and guests. Thanks also to the organizing committee and all the volunteers who worked to put on this important fundraising event for the Gunflint Trail Historical Society and Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center.

The pace at Chik-Wauk always slows down a little during the week between when the MN State Fair starts off and Labor Day weekend. Things don’t stay quiet for long though. Come the Sunday of Labor Day weekend (August 31), we’ll have a full house for the Annual Old Fashioned Pie and Ice Cream Social Fundraiser. This beloved event features homemade pie, ice cream, book signings (with local authors John Henricksson and Nace Hagemann), and a gift shop sidewalk sale. The festivities go from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. , or until the pie runs out. Sorry, you won’t find any pie on a stick at the pie and ice cream social. With homemade pie this good, you don’t need a gimmick.

While you’re at the museum, don’t forget to pick up a few items in gift shop. These sales are so important to keeping Chik-Wauk strong and Christmas is just four months away, eh?

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storm Hits western area of the BWCA

Poplar Creek Courier - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 10:22am
    PRESS RELEASE Superior National Forest Superior National Forest July 23, 2014 Contact: Kris Reichenbach 218-626-4393   Many Cooperate in Emergency Response to Windstorm   The storm blows many trees down and there were repors of some of the Gunflint Trail area side roads blocked ...
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Is Spring Here-Ice out in Little Ollie Lake

Poplar Creek Courier - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 10:22am
Two days ago the ice left Little Ollie Lake along with most of the smaller lakes on the Gunflint Trail. Poplar Lake still is ice covered but with a little help from the weather could go out by this coming weekend. In the woods there is still lingering patches ...
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GUNFLINT TRAIL Celebrates “Two-Line Opener”

Poplar Creek Courier - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 10:22am
COOK COUNTY, Minn. (May 9, 2014)— Unfazed by lingering ice, the fishing mecca of the Gunflint trail in northeastern Minnesota is gearing up for a two-line opener. “Talk about the best of both worlds,” says Bob Baker, owner and fishing guide at Gunflint Pines Resort. “How often do you ...
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Grooming on Banadad Ends for the Season

Poplar Creek Courier - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 10:22am
While the last grooming of the Banadad Ski Trail took place early April there is still amble snow on the trail for the backcountry skier and snowshoer. As of Easter there is over eighteen inches of snow along the eastern end of the trail and it is currently snowing quite ...
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Break from the Cold Tomorrow-Friday

Poplar Creek Courier - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 10:22am
After many days well below zero, with the temperature hitting -36 last night, we are finally going to see the temp go above zero tomorrow. According to current prediction it could get as warm as 20 above. That will really be a switch.
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Very Large Black Cat Sighted

Poplar Creek Courier - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 10:22am
While I have been quite reluctant to post this because people will think I am nuts. However I have since found several other people who have had similar sightings. So here goes! On January 8, I was returning to Poplar Lake from grooming the Banadad Ski trail along the snowmobile ...
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Wound Vets Ski Nordic Trails

Poplar Creek Courier - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 10:22am
Combat Wounded Veterans, http://combatwounded.org/, visit ski lodges along the Gunflint. Ten veterans, several who had lost their legs while in the military skied from Bearskin to Poplar Creek Guesthouse and the Tall Pines Yurt. While the next day they were scheduled to ski on to the Croft Yurt ...
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Great Early December Snow

Poplar Creek Courier - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 10:22am
While we did not have the 40+ inches of snow portions of the North Shore had, we did get enough snow to begin serious work on the Banadad. The Lace Lake and Tall Pines have been cleared and barrel rolled. A few more inches of snow and they will be ...
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Not a lot of Snow but More then this Time Last Year

Poplar Creek Courier - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 10:22am
Last night 4-5 additional inches of snow fell. Another few inches and we can start packing the Banadad Ski Trail.  
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First Snow of the Season

Poplar Creek Courier - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 10:22am
This morning we received about one inch of snow. First time this fall. However yesterday with the temperature hovering in the 40s and blue sky it snow for about five minutes. So you could say yesterday was our first snow.  Last Fall the first snow came about a month ...
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Quick spring into summer

Gunflint Pines Northwoods News - Thu, 06/05/2014 - 3:09pm

Guest who were here for the Memorial weekend got a real treat!!  Who would believe that the ice went out on May 19th and the temps were in the 80′s by Memorial weekend.  Memorial weekend was great with hi temps, sunny days and virtually no bugs!

Fishing is well on it’s way with people catching Lake Trout  anywhere from the surface to 30ft.  The Walleye are still in the shallows finishing up their spawning season.  Lake temps are changing quickly.  The past  80 degree temps changed the shallow lake temps from the upper 30′s to the mid 50′s over night.

Trolling floating stickbait is still the preferred methods for the evening Walleye bite.  Lindy rigging live baits seem to be the best bet for daytime Walleye fishing.  Lake Trout seem to be responding to stickbaits, spinners and spoons.  The bass are still a bit slow, but we’re finally hearing of some movement, and the Northern are crusing the shorelines.

More to come!

 

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Dennis Todd Memorial – June 7th

Gunflint Pines Northwoods News - Wed, 05/28/2014 - 10:35am

A memorial service has been planned for Dennis Todd June 7th 10am at the Gunflint Conference Center at 143 S. Gunflint Lake Rd, Grand Marais MN. Dennis was a fishing guide on the Gunflint Trail for 20+ years.

Dennis Ray Todd of Appleton City MO. & The Gunflint Trail MN. died as a result of a boating accident on Nothern Light Lake in Canada on September 12, 2013. Dennis and a friend were enjoying a day of fishing when the accident happened. It is not completely clear of what happened but they were both ejected from the boat. The passenger was wearing a life jacket and was able to make it to shore. Unfortunately Dennis was not and in an apparent attempt to retrieve the boat he succumb to the cold waters and drowned in Traflagar Bay.

Dennis was a graduate of Appleton City High School. After serving his country in the United States Army he worked various jobs in Kansas City before finding his true calling. Dennis has been employed with Gunflint Lodge for the past 25 years as a fishing guide. It was apparent to many repeat customers that Dennis had a true passion, he loved to fish. “Bobber down” was soon echoed throughout the Midwest from those who were fortunate enough to go north fishing with the “Walleye Jedi”.

Friends and family alike enjoyed fish fries at Dennis’ and he was always able to provide someone with fresh fish. Dennis was quick with a joke or story and always had a helping hand for anyone that was in need of one.

Dennis was born to Raymond and Betty (Harris) Todd on February 12, 1954 in Appleton City, Mo. He was proceeded in death by his father Raymond and an infant sister Janet.

Dennis is survived by his son Cameron and step-daughter Laura (Scott) Campbell, his mother Betty Todd of Appleton City, sister Judy (Steve) Adams Bloomfield IA, brother Dave (Lisa) Todd Butler, nephews Matt Brownsberger, Brian and Kyle Todd, and four grandchildren. Many cousins and friends as well.

Memorial gifts may be sent to the Cameron Todd Educational Trust Fund at the Community First Banks in Butler and Appleton City Mo.

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Trail Grooming Tomorrow

Banadad Bulletin - Thu, 01/23/2014 - 10:01am

Tomorrow, Friday, trail groomers will be out on the west end of the Banadad. The east end will be groomed the next day.

Tomorrow it is also going to warm up to above zero for the first time in days. Last night/this morning the temperature hit negative 36.

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How do you say THANKS?!

I’m down to my last couple days working here in Grand Marais and on the Gunflint Ranger District………it has been quite a ride here.  For those of you who are wondering, I started in Grand Marais in August of 2001 and I’ll be leaving here in a couple days so that makes it pretty much eleven years on the nose that I’ve been here……and my time here has been pretty much spectacular.

The thing about that is, I can’t take a lot of credit, there have been so many people working with me that have really done the work.  We have some outstanding employees here in our office and they keep charging forward to help us meet our budget commitments.  And then they do more to help us within the community.  

Much of our forest is about 100 years old and you’ve noticed the older trees are dying.  The Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway committee, the biologists from the State and the Tribes, the County Biomass Committee, the timber industry and several local landowners have worked with us to find ways to restore our forests to a healthier state.  One of the facts I learned last Friday is that on the Gunflint District during my time here, we have planted 2.1 million trees, a combination of white, red and jack pine, white spruce, cedar and tamarack will be the next forest we all enjoy. 

Speaking of new forests, we have had around 800 volunteers planting and caring for trees during Gunflint Greenup.  We have had our challenges, but this community doesn’t say quit.  After Ham Lake Fire, there were plenty of reasons for despair, we all could have slumped back to drown our sorrows but another choice was made, a choice to clean up and create a new forest.  The Scenic Byway Committee wrote and received a $250,000 grant for the purposes of forest restoration.  With that we cleaned up some of the dead trees along the Gunflint, prepared some areas for planting, planted seedlings and seeded jack pine.  As you drive up the Gunflint, you can start to see the next generation of forest and it will have a healthy component of pine trees.

Of course Ham Lake was only one of five major fires we had during my time here…..or should I say five major wildfires.  If you look back at the blowdown of 1999, no small event, there have been a number of opportunities for us to get together and find reasons to succeed.  For several years we got together and worked on prescribed fire, I think totaling about 40,000 acres worth.  I’m sure that for many of you it may have seemed like we were coming in heavy handed to get these things done.  However from my point of view we worked with a lot of businesses up the Trail and I got to work with a lot of great people.  Without you, our work would have been a real challenge, but with you, we accomplished quite a bit.

Then the real fires started. Alpine Lake, Cavity Lake, Redeye Lake, Famine Lake………and then Ham Lake, the most destructive fire in our forest’s history.  There were homes, businesses, garages and out building lost, 148 between the US and Canada, but “WE” survived……and through working together have grown stronger because of it.  I mentioned Gunflint Greenup, but there is also the Chik Wauk Museum and Nature Center, and our venture with Becoming a Boundary Waters Family.  Three great partnerships working together for the good of our forest.

Then there was that peculiar change of events.  Toward the end of 2007, we were “as dry as we have seen it up here”…..until September when the rain started.  I remember someone telling me their lake went up 14 inches with one storm.  Who would have thought that next we would have eight inches in two hours on June 6, 2008?  I’m not sure how wide spread that rain was, but it sure was on the slopes above Grand Marais………..and water still flows downhill…….and that much water REALLY flows downhill……really fast….and will move heaven and earth………or at least a lot of earth.

But again, we found a way to work together and I could even find one bright spot in all that.  Some of you know that I bike to work, at least on the nicer days.  Well for much of the rest of the summer, I had a lane on the hill going down the Gunflint pretty much to myself…….or at least that part of the lane that didn’t wash away.  Once it was fixed, I again was sharing the road and waving to friends as they passed me.

Friends……..I’d somehow like to acknowledge all the friends I’ve made up here and all I’ve worked with…….. or maybe I should say all of you who put up with me……….but I know if I tried, I’d forget someone and all of you are important.  So I’ll generalize a bit and hope you all know how special you’ve made my time here.  Before I arrived, I met and was working with Sheriff Dave Wirt and that only got better after I settled in.  When he retired in early 2005 and Sheriff Mark Falk took over, we continued that great working relationship.  I wondered a few times if Sheriff Dave knew what 2005 would bring with Alpine Lake fire and the beginning of our large fires?  Talk about a new Sheriff being baptized by fire……..and the start of a great working relationship!!!  Then there are the rest of the office, the deputies and dispatch people I got to know……it has been great!!

Within the Cook County Board of Commissioners there have been a few changes since I arrived.  I believe Jan Hall is the only commissioner who has been on the board throughout my tenure here.  I have gotten to work with nearly all the commissioners on one project or another and I truly appreciate all that we have done together.

Though maybe not as visible, I have had the pleasure of working with Grand Portage on several issues.  Norman DesChampe has been the Chairman throughout my tenure and with his staff we have struck an outstanding working relationship.  Norman is one of the great leaders within the Minnesota Chippewa Tribes and I can only think how lucky I’ve been to know and work with him.

I’ve mentioned the support and help we’ve gotten from businesses in the County and that has been nothing short of amazing.  There is just no way we could achieve what we do without the support and help from all of you.  As strange as it might seem, much of our wildlife habitat management and our fuels reduction goals are accomplished through the timber industry and logging.  Most everyone knows Hedstroms and we are very lucky to have them in our back yard, but there are also so many others working in the woods to help us do what we think is right for our forests.  As I think about it, the eagle and wolf populations have been successfully restored, and we’re working on the lynx.  Our next challenge is likely moose and we’ll keep working with the tribes and DNR to do what we can for that species.

A special relationship we have is with the outfitters, guides and hospitality businesses who help us manage the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness as well as our campgrounds.  Special because we need those people to help us succeed, but sometimes the policies that come from our upper levels can …………well……..add a little stress.  And I am humbled by how patient my business friends can be to find a way to keep going………I think it’s patience…….?  But I do know how much I appreciate what they do for us.

Since the volunteer fire departments are………well………volunteer, I’m pretty much talking about many of the same people who work in businesses or other agencies.  But the relationship is different when you’re working side by side.  Now we meet, train and work together to help all of our friends in Cook County…….as it should be.

The other agencies are many, from the City of Grand Marais to the County, the State, Grand Portage and even Canada.  I’ve said this in different meetings, but the way you have all come together during our natural disasters is a model for the nation.  Several of the people who have come here to help with those disasters have commented on how they are used to having to bring communities together when they come to help.  But in our community ………….well the leaders here pretty much had their acts together and the incoming teams were in awe of what they saw….doesn’t get much better than that!!

There have been a few other adventures that we have worked on together, a snowmobile trail connection with Grand Portage, some other trail reroutes, a county wide ATV plan (which after all the debate, we’ve finally implemented), some work in our campgrounds, a few miles of hiking trail work, biking trails, a few hundred acres of fuels reduction along with a variety of small projects, too many to name, where I’ve had the chance to work with so many citizens of Cook County where I owe you all so much and thank you so much for  your help.

The one disappointment I have is that I have to this point been unable to bring a solution for access to South Fowl Lake.  As I leave I know I have some co-workers back here who’ll help see that through the final steps.  My disappointment extends to the fact that though this really is a fairly small project, I was unable to bring people together for a resolution.  We are cleaning up a few details that will support my decision and the final proposal before it is submitted it to the Court. 

So as I prepare my next adventure, I leave here grateful for all those who’ve chosen to work with me, grateful to be a part of a resilient community, grateful for the lessons I’ve learned.  But mostly grateful for the friends that have welcomed my family and me to be a part of Cook County!

THANK YOU!!

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Babes in the Bay

The Portage Path - Fri, 06/29/2012 - 6:59am

The loon parents are very proud and fairly loud about their new babies.  They’ve been feeding and bragging in the bay over the last few days.  The chicks are pretty big already and can dive on their own so this is not a fresh hatch.

The photo is not very sharp but you get the idea.  We have a pro photographer with a super lens staying here right now so I imagine we’ll get some better shots quickly.

It’s windy and dry but fairly close to another perfect day in a long string of perfect days this summer.

 

D

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