Boundary Waters Blog
You know summer is approaching when the call goes out to local property owners that it’s time to order your trees again. Every year, for I don’t know how many years, Hedstrom’s Lumber Company in Grand Marais, Minnesota has given away tree seedlings. Each property owner can get up to 200 free seedlings including White Pine and Red Pine, my favorites.
We pick the tree seedlings up at the beginning of May and then attempt to get them all planted. Luckily we have the help of a great Voyageur Crew because in our neck of the woods planting trees isn’t easy work. Where there is soil to be found it isn’t very deep. It takes a long time just to find a good spot to place the seedling but it’s so rewarding when you do.
It’s equally rewarding to look at a section of our property that had burned in 2007 during the Ham Lake Fire and see thriving pine trees courtesy of Hedstrom’s Lumber Company.
Thank you Hedstroms!
I’m not sure if it should be considered a ritual, tradition or task but this past week I met with two of my retail clothing providers to place orders for the upcoming season. It shouldn’t be too big of a job for a store our size but it’s something that just takes time.
In the beginning years of owning Voyageur Canoe Outfitters it took me forever to decide on what to order. I would agonize over the color of the garment, the feel of the garment and I would have to try on every garment to determine how the sizes ran. Then I would try to guess what sizes would sell the best during the season. Would people be wearing things big and baggy or small and tight fitting? Would women like this design or just men? Would a man wear this or is it too feminine?
These days I worry more about a good color selection, design choices and having a good variety of garments. A bunch of t-shirts, a handful of sweatshirts and a couple of specialty garments pretty much rounds out my ordering. I tend to let the clothing rep fill in the size selection and tell me what the best selling colors are.
I tend not to second guess every decision I make and I think what has sped up the process the most is Mike no longer accompanies me. That seems to make the process much easier because Mike and I would rarely like the same thing and when I wanted an opinion he wouldn’t give me one and when I didn’t want one he would have one for me.
Whatever I call it, ritual, tradition or task, I’m glad it’s done for another season.
It’s Spring Break time and the kids couldn’t be happier. No school for a week! After substitute teaching two days in a row I’m willing to bet the teachers are very happy too.
Hannah and Tony are back from their spring vacations and are ready to prepare for the fast approaching summer season. They have been busy sending out our new brochure that has a map and valuable trip planning information on it. It turned out very nice and if you’d like to receive one then just fill out the online form.
Once you receive it you can spend time planning this summer’s canoe camping trip into the BWCA or Quetico Park.
I don’t know many 13-year-olds in my neck of the woods who would give up a wildlife safari in Africa or a trip to Disney World to go to Washington, DC to oppose mining near the Boundary Waters but a boy from Illinois did just that.
You may have already heard about it because it is kind of a big deal. Joseph Goldstein is battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia and he really wanted to be a part of the opposition to mining near the Boundary Waters. The Make a Wish Foundation hasn’t actually paid for his trip to DC because plans had to be made quickly and around his chemotherapy sessions but they are working with his parents to make it official.
Remember Dave and Amy Freeman who paddled to DC and got signatures on their canoe and on a petition to oppose mining? It’s the same effort Joseph wanted to be a part of. Here’s what he had to say, “These petitions represent thousands of people like me who love exploring and playing in the beautiful woods and clear waters of the Boundary Waters. My experiences in the Boundary Waters have taught and given me so much, and I want to ensure this beautiful, wild place remains, unspoiled, for my siblings, friends and the next generation. Wilderness is important, and there isn’t much of it left. Mining has no place on the edge of a national treasure, and I’m proud to join my voice with thousands of others in urging our leaders to permanently protect the Boundary Waters.”
Quite remarkable indeed.
Tony’s parents visited Voyageur Canoe Outfitters this week and went cross-country skiing. Look at the lovely trails!
Tony spotted a resident bald eagle in our tree on the Seagull River. Where there’s one there is more, welcome back!
Two weeks doesn’t seem like that long but the scenery can change quite a bit in that amount of time. The best part about living in Minnesota is experiencing the changing of the seasons. From bare trees to green leaves to no leaves again it’s all a part of the fun. Check out the photos Tony took up at Voyageur, just two weeks apart. The sun is getting hotter, you gotta love it.
Spring is an exciting time filled with surprises. Surprises like, “OH, that’s where that went!” when snowbanks melt to reveal items lost since first snowfall. Hopefully we won’t have too many of those this year.
One year, a melted snowbank revealed a mangled kevlar canoe courtesy of a blade on a snowplow. That was a not so welcome surprise. Usually it isn’t that drastic, some garbage here, a tool there but nothing very shocking.
There is always a bunch of work to do once the snow melts. Last night I had a dream I was trying to rake and my arms were so sore I couldn’t even pull it towards me. I haven’t even started raking yet but I obviously have thought about it.
I remember one year we had to shovel out our RV sites because there was so much snow in them and groups were arriving. We don’t have RV sites anymore but even if we did I don’t think we would have to shovel this year, but you never know, when the snow melts.
What is the Heart of the Continent you say? Read on to find out!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
National Geographic and Heart of the Continent Partnership
Introduce Heart of the Continent Geotourism MapGuide and Website
Geotourism: Tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place — its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage and well-being of its residents
DULUTH, MN; THUNDER BAY, ON (March 18, 2015)—Travelers seeking unspoiled places and culturally authentic experiences now have a valuable new resource in a comprehensive “Geotourism MapGuide” and website for the Heart of the Continent region. The landmark project has taken two years to plan and execute and is a historically significant asset for everyone who visits or lives in the region.
The Geotourism MapGuide, with its Heart of the Continent Mobile App, highlights the enchanted landscapes and enduring people of northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Ontario. It is designed to showcase to local, national and international audiences the natural, cultural and historic attractions that define the region.
All sites and attractions that have been nominated and now reside on the website are invited to attend and receive their certificate of participation from National Geographic Society. The keynote speaker is James Dion, Director of Tourism Programs, Maps Division for National Geographic Society.
National Geographic’s acclaimed mapmaking and sustainable tourism expertise helped produce the Geotourism website along with the U.S. Forest Service, Ontario Parks, Voyageurs National Park, Fort William Historical Park, Tourism Northern Ontario, Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board, Thunder Bay Tourism, St. Louis County, City of Duluth, Arrowhead Regional Development Corporation, Atikokan Economic Development Corporation and many others.
The Heart of the Continent area designated for the map stretches from the outer boundaries of Duluth, Minnesota northeast along the North Shore of Lake Superior to Thunder Bay and Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, then west to International Falls/Fort Frances and south along St. Louis County’s western border, including communities and private and public lands. Since the project was launched in February 2014, locals have nominated for inclusion more than 400 of their favorite points of interest; historic, cultural and natural landmarks; events; artisans; and attractions that capture the region’s unique character and beauty. The website may be viewed at www.traveltheheart.org. Residents and visitors may continue to nominate new sites, events and special places for the website, which will be dynamic and constantly changing.
“The Heart of the Continent Geotourism MapGuide and website showcase what makes the region so culturally and geographically significant,” said James Dion, Director of Tourism Programs, Maps Division for National Geographic Society. “More than ever, this project underscores the importance of connecting the local trans-border communities, smartly sharing the region’s tremendous scenic, historic and cultural assets, and helping them thrive together for future generations.”
The Heart of the Continent Geotourism MapGuide:
- Is one of only 22 Geotourism programs worldwide
- Showcases many of the 400-plus sites nominated by local residents
- Is a resource designed to improve local, rural economic development
- Provides access to a niche national market of “geo-tourists”
- Will grow with the addition of hundreds of more sites and events
- Highlights the resources of the region encompassing a major portion of northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Ontario, including communities and over five million acres of public land
- Provides a long-term resource for promoting the Heart of the Continent to the nation and the world.
“Heart of the Continent Geotourism partners see this project as a great opportunity to work closely with other groups to promote the region and its assets,” said Paul Pepe, Tourism Manager for the City of Thunder Bay.
“The Geotourism strategy for the Heart of the Continent will strengthen the case for responsible, meaningful tourism by embracing all tourism assets uniquely distinctive to the locale. Effective stewardship of these economic assets will produce benefits in a way that encourages the type of investment needed to preserve our unique heritage. We’re thrilled to see the partnership that has developed with National Geographic and local organizations in this regard,” said Frank Jewell, St. Louis County Commissioner.
The National Geographic Society has worked with community-based alliances to develop similar Geotourism MapGuides and websites in other regions around the world. Geotourism MapGuide projects have been completed or are ongoing including in the Central Cascades (Oregon, Washington), Four Corners (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah), Greater Yellowstone (Idaho, Montana, Wyoming), Lakes to Locks Passage (New York, Quebec), Newfoundland, Portugal’s Douro Valley, Redwood Coast (California), Sierra Nevada (California, Nevada), and the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia-Herzagovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Serbia.)
Founded in 1915 as the Map Department of the National Geographic Society, National Geographic Maps is responsible for illustrating the world around us through the art and science of mapmaking. Today, National Geographic Maps continues this mission by creating the world’s best wall maps, outdoor recreation maps, travel maps, atlases and globes that inspire people to care about and explore their world. For more information, visit natgeomaps.com.
On Wednesday Mike helped Will Steger begin his wilderness canoe country adventure on the ice of Saganaga. Will is planning to travel over 200 miles solo for a month long journey. This 70 year-old adventurer will travel from Saganaga Lake up the Falls Chain in the Quetico Park to Sturgeon and the Maligne River over to LacLaCroix and Namakan River to Namakan Lake and then depending upon the conditions he may head right back to his cabin near Ely. It’s an ambitious trip for anyone yet alone a 70-year old man to take during March and April because the ice will be breaking up along the rivers and the weather will be varied.
He’ll be traveling mainly at night with a Kevlar Canoe sled that weighs 37 pounds. He will either pull or paddle depending upon what conditions he finds. Where there’s open water he’ll paddle where there’s solid ice he’ll ski, snowshoe or walk. Mike said the conditions were amazing for the first day of travel and according to Will’s post he traveled 6 miles.
Sounds like an amazing journey and Mike was happy to be a part of it. He even sent along some Voyageur Brewing Company Craft Beer for him to enjoy on the first night of his voyage. Here’s wishing him a safe and successful wilderness adventure.
Happy Spring Everyone! Now that spring has sprung most people are able to get out and enjoy some time on the water. It will be awhile before we are able to do so in the BWCA but it’s always a good time for a reminder about paddling safety. Here’s a video from the ACA and US Coast Guard that will help refresh your memory of paddling safely this spring and always.
What do these three things have in common? Just the fact the Minnesota DNR has provided updates about them in the last week that I want to share with you.
First off is the Eagle Cam. If I had endless time to watch videos online then I would surely be watching the Eagle Cam. Live footage of eaglets and their parents in a nest? It doesn’t get much better than this. Those eaglets are so cute and watching the adults bring them food and keep an eye out for danger is very entertaining.
Next is just a little information about deer antlers and why deer shed them each year.
Question of the week
Q: Why do deer shed their antlers each year?
A: Annual cycles in deer antlers are related to the changing seasons. Deer have adapted their physiology and behavior to respond to seasonal changes, including antler growth and shedding. The environmental cue that regulates antler growth is the amount of day length; the physiological cue is the hormone testosterone.
Simply put, the changing day lengths are sensed by the eyes, which send this message through the optic nerve to the pineal gland located at the base of the brain. The declining day length in late fall and early winter causes a decrease in testosterone, which results in antler shedding.
The actual process of antler shedding involves a thin layer of tissue destruction that forms between the antler and the pedicle, called the abscission layer. The degeneration of the bone-to-bone bond between the antler and the pedicle is considered to be the fastest deterioration of living tissue known in the animal kingdom.
Michelle Carstensen, DNR wildlife health program supervisor
Lastly Fire… Anytime the snow cover leaves the earth earlier than normal there’s a higher chance of fire activity. Fire is a four-letter word that I personally hate to use. Our conditions on the Gunflint Trail are much different than they are elsewhere in the State of Minnesota. We still have snow cover and most likely we’ll receive more wet snow throughout April to keep things wet. After all, we have mud season that seems to last forever so I don’t foresee any fire bans in our region or in the BWCA. However, it is helpful to know that without regular rain after the ground has thawed conditions can become dry quickly. Before trees begin to bud is an especially important time to use caution with fire. The DNR suspects an earlier than normal fire ban in some parts of the state so use care when burning brush this spring and make sure you have checked to see if there are any restrictions in place prior to burning.
I have to admit I don’t have my entire funeral planned. I have envisioned a Diet Coke Fountain, all you can eat King Crab legs and Bon Jovi singing, “Live While Your Alive and Sleep When You are Dead.” Those are the loose plans and I figured I would probably be cremated and have people scatter my ashes in various locations but that is up to the folks who are left behind and that care what happens to my remains.
Now that I have seen the canoe casket made by Phoenix Boatworks I’m having second thoughts. I wonder if they float? I’m thinking if I die young I could be preserved and floated out in front of Voyageur Canoe Outfitters on the Seagull River. That way those people who couldn’t make it to my funeral or who just couldn’t bare not to see me there could visit whenever they wanted. I’m not sure about the winter time but I imagine I could be placed at one of my favorite cross-country ski trailheads and maybe I could be incorporated into dog sled races if skis could be placed on the bottom of the canoe casket.
There are so many options I never thought about until now. Thanks for sharing this website with me Mr. Maxwell. The best thing is I don’t have to buy another normal bookshelf ever again.
The water in the Seagull River wasn’t dyed green today for St. Patrick’s Day and I didn’t see any leprechauns skating on the ice out there either. I’m not Irish but I always wanted to be Irish because they get to celebrate their ethnicity on their very own special day. I suppose I could have ignored my German heritage and adapted the Irish way but it would really only benefit me one day of the year as opposed to my German celebration of Oktoberfest that usually lasts for a few weeks.
In any case I hope you have a great St. Patrick’s Day!
An Old Irish BlessingMay the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.