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Updated: 5 hours 16 min ago

Moose Calling at the State Fair

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 6:39am

This might just be the way to get people from up north down to the Minnesota State Fair.

Hear the Call of the Moose at the Minnesota State Fair

Fairgoers can hear the Call of the Moose at the Minnesota State Fair. A new partnership between the Department of Natural Resources and Les Kouba Outdoors was formed to raise awareness of the plight of Minnesota moose and raise money for moose research and management.

At the fair:

Get info on a new critical habitat license plate featuring moose art by renowned wildlife artist Les Kouba. Information about the program is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/plates.
Hear moose calling when the finalists of the Let Loose Your Minnesota Moose-Moose Calling Contest sound off on the DNR Volunteer Outdoor Stage at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 29. The DNR’s Tom Rusch, Tower area wildlife manager, will give moose background, demonstrate calling and help judge. Sign up for the contest from 9 a.m. today through 12:45 p.m. Aug. 29, at the fair at the Call of the Moose Store, or online at www.leskoubaoutdoors.com or www.callofthemoose.com.
Hear original music from Michael Monroe dedicated to the Call of the Moose Minnesota. Monroe blends vocals, guitars, bamboo and crystal flutes, and will perform at various times on Thursday, Aug. 28, at the Call of the Moose store, and at 1 p.m. on Aug. 29 before the calling contest.
Merchandise is being sold near the DNR building at the Call of the Moose store. A portion of the proceeds benefits moose research and management. See a restored statue of a life-size moose that has been displayed at the State Fair for nearly 20 years. This year, the moose is outfitted with a tracking collar similar to those used to track real moose in northern Minnesota. See a video of the moose restoration at http://youtu.be/h8Np4zu__xA.
Why all the focus on moose? Moose in Minnesota are in trouble. A 50 percent decline in the moose population since 2010 has left the iconic Minnesota animal in real danger of disappearing.

Information on the partnership between the DNR and Les Kouba Outdoors is available online at www.callofthemoose.com. Information from the DNR on moose research can be found at www.mndnr.gov/moose.

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Funny Fox Video

Thu, 08/21/2014 - 4:34pm

We love fox and we know how curious and mischievous they are. I’m not sure why this person left their GoPro on the ground but the fox took advantage of the opportunity to steal it. The video mainly shows the inside of the fox’s mouth. I’ve always been tempted to put a GoPro on my dog or wish I could put one on a fox to see where they go. Guess I will just have to settle for this video for now.

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What Happened to the Sun

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 9:01pm

The sun is getting lazy. It stays in bed longer in the morning and goes to bed much earlier in the evening. This week the sun has barely shown itself during the day. It’s as if the sun has decided to cut back on work. I’d like to tell the sun its work isn’t over yet.  There are still two more weeks before the kids start school again and they’d like some sunshine. When it’s overcast and a mist is falling from the sky it’s difficult to find the motivation to go fishing, paddling or swimming so hopefully the sun will put in a few more hours of work this week. According to the forecast the sun must have asked for more vacation time with the exception of Saturday when it looks like its scheduled to work.  Let’s hope the sun has a guilty conscious and decides to work a little harder these upcoming weeks.

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Minnesota Canoeing

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 5:30pm

Here’s a place for you to paddle if you live in Central Minnesota. Clear Waters Outfitting is owned by Mike’s first cousin Sandra and her husband Dan. Mike has been helping with their business since they started and still helps out when he can.  We’ve paddled a section of the river and had a great time. It’s not the Boundary Waters but it’s not a 6 hour drive from the Twin Cities either.  If you have time for a paddle then be sure to check Clear Waters out.

CLEARWATER, Minn. (WCCO) – The Mississippi is a powerful river spanning more than 2,000 miles. But there’s one stretch, not far from the metro, that’s shallow and peaceful enough to attract canoeists, paddle boarders and kayakers.

It’s a wide section between St. Cloud and Anoka that’s been designated “wild and scenic” by the DNR.   That means no one can put up new buildings or cut down trees along the shoreline.

It’s where Dan Meer and his family started their company, Clear Waters Outfitting, five years ago.

“Right here, it’s probably only about three, four feet deep,” Meer said. “But you can definitely see to the bottom.”

It’s a lush, green view that Meer appreciates probably more than most because of where he was ten years ago, patrolling parts of Iraq with the National Guard.

“Definitely an eye-opener to see the poverty and the things that go on in some other countries,” he said. “And it really made me realize how good we have it here in the U.S.”

But then he returned from his deployment to a struggling economy and a stressful job in the printing industry.

“After coming back from Iraq, I really started reevaluating what I was doing,” he said. “Plus the recession was in place.”

And that’s how CW Outfitting was born, a chance for the Meer family to get control in their lives, and help others at the same time.

“We just want to send people out to relax and have a good time, and get away from their normal busy lives,” Meer’s wife, Sandra, said.

“We do this for the love of the outdoors,” Meer said. “We’ve been very fortunate to find just a gorgeous stretch of river that we can share with people.”

They set up trips of anywhere from eight to 13 miles, on paddle boards, canoes and kayaks.

This week, Mark Arrington of Maple Grove, Minn. took an afternoon to kayak the Mississippi with his daughter and son.

“There’s some stretches where you see nothing but trees and wilderness, and it’s really pleasant,” Arrington said. “It’s not paddling in the city.”

“One group, I think the biggest count of eagles was 12 eagles in one trip,” said Meer. “People see deer, all sorts of wildlife.”

He could’ve made more money, sticking it out through the stresses of corporate life, but he has a new perspective on what’s important.

“It’s not money, and it’s not fame and all that stuff,” he said. “It’s all about people and just having fun in life.”

Meer said that section of river is also great for fishing. And on September 27th, they’ll host their first small-mouth bass fishing tournament.

 

 

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Voyageur Brewing Company Makes Front Page News

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 7:49pm

We’re super excited to see an article about the Voyageur Brewery on the front page of the Sunday Duluth News Tribune.  It’s been fun to see the progress being made on the tap room each time I go to Grand Marais. It will be even more fun when the building is done and we’re actually brewing. It will be awhile before that happens but I’m sure the time will fly by and be here before we know it. We hope you are excited to come visit the brewery and taste our beer!

Voyageur Brewing Co. owners Bruce Walters (from left), Mike Prom and Cara Sporn, all of Grand Marais, stand in the area that is going to be the taproom at the new production brewery under construction in Grand Marais on Thursday afternoon. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com) North Shore hops on brewery bandwagon By Jana Hollingsworth on Aug 17, 2014 at 8:44 a.m.

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The Voyageur Brewing Co. in Grand Marais is still a shell of wooden beams and metal but its owners have already been approached by Cook County purveyors of honey, maple syrup, hops, wild rice, apples and coffee.

Owners Mike Prom, Cara Sporn and Bruce Walters are eager to see how their brewery will weave local products into the seasonal offerings they plan to put on tap when their 20-barrel production brewery opens in 2015.

“All walks of life have come up to us and are excited,” Prom said of the building activity on Highway 61 in town, “from the third-generation, blue-collar local to those that live here three months out of the year.”

The 5,400-square-foot space will be the first of its kind in the area, and will house a taproom that also includes a fireplace and lake views, a kitchen for small plates, and a rooftop bar. Tours and tastings are planned for the beer marketed toward the adventure-seeker, and a conservative estimate of 1,000 barrels in the first year is expected.

Prom and his wife, Sue, own Voyageur Canoe Outfitters at the end of the Gunflint Trail. They have been longtime friends with Sporn and her husband, Paul, who owns the popular Grand Marais restaurant My Sister’s Place. Bruce Walters, an investor, and his family have been longtime friends with the Proms. The Walters family recently moved to Grand Marais from the Twin Cities area. The friends have been talking about a brewery for six years, and two years ago began market research and crafting a business plan. None of the owners are home-brewers, but have business backgrounds and profess a love for craft beer.

Collectively, they felt a production brewery and taproom was a missing piece on the Grand Marais landscape, and demographic research has shown the county’s residents are craft beer drinkers, Prom said.

The company will fill eight year-round jobs. A head brewer has yet to be announced, but Sporn revealed that on permanent offer would likely be an IPA, a Belgian wheat and either a stout or a porter style. Six beers will always be on tap. The owners are excited about the influence of Lake Superior water on their beer because of how little pretreatment it needs.

“That’s one of the reasons you’re seeing so many breweries around Lake Superior,” Prom said.

Voyageur’s plan is to handle local customers first, and eventually roll out to Duluth and the Iron Range. Within five years it hopes to make it to the Twin Cities. The brewery won’t compete with local restaurants. Its charcuterie platter and spent-grain pretzels, for example, will whet the appetite of beer drinkers before they set out for dinner. They’ll also allow food to be brought in. The brewery will sell bottles at first, and growlers made of stainless steel and environmentally friendly Nalgene water bottles that can be brought into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

The owners will be joining a serious roster of more than 10 brewers in Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin, some of whom they’ve gone to for advice. Sporn said the craft brewing community is one of the friendliest industries she’s encountered.

Other regional production companies include Bent Paddle Brewing Co., Lake Superior Brewing Co. and South Shore Brewing in Ashland. A smaller production company — Castle Danger Brewery — just opened a bigger facility in Two Harbors. Neighbor and Gunflint Tavern owner Jeff Gecas will roll out five varieties of beer in the next month from his new five-barrel system.

But the region isn’t saturated, said longtime Fitger’s Brewery head brewer Dave Hoops.

“People really like to buy stuff from these areas. The North Shore and Duluth, Grand Marais; they are all brand names these days,” he said. “I always go back to the fact that right now 92 percent of the beer drank in this country is Millers, Coors, etc. As long as the product is at the highest level of quality, I don’t think there is any kind of limit.”

Even in Duluth, he said, where there is a greater concentration of breweries, he sees space.

“You can see with the unbelievable success of Bent Paddle how much people want this,” Hoops said, noting that many of the breweries are small: “Borealis, Blacklist, Carmody. They are all great, but tiny. Bent Paddle is the only game in town going statewide. I think there is plenty of room yet.”

Walters said the surge in craft brewing in smaller towns hearkens back to the pre-Prohibition era when communities had their own breweries. It’s an inspirational locavore movement and it makes sense, he said.

Prom compared consumers’ obsession with craft beer to that of coffee and wine in recent decades.

“They’re not just accepting one flavor,” he said. “They want to see the local stuff. When we vacation together we find the brewpub. It’s part of the culture right now.”

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Sharing Makes Sense

Sun, 08/17/2014 - 6:38am

I read this article and loved it so I thought I would share it with you, after all, sharing is caring!
Living Green 365  Sharing is caring

Have you heard of “collaborative consumption” or the “sharing economy”? They’ve become buzzwords with the rise of companies such as Airbnb and Zipcar. Both terms refer to the same economic model based on people and companies sharing, trading, reusing, and renting goods and services, rather than owning something outright. It can be as easy as sharing a snow-blower with neighbors instead of everyone on the block owning their own, or can be an entirely new business model like Airbnb where people rent out their extra bedroom to tourists. It is reinventing not just what we consume but how we consume.

The sharing economy offers benefits to participants as it strengthens community connections, allows access to goods without the cost of ownership, and reduces the environmental impact of most goods and services. It reminds me of that old adage we all heard in primary school: “Sharing is caring.” In the sharing economy, sharing is caring for your family, your community, and the environment.

There are tons of opportunities to get involved in sharing throughout Minnesota. It’s completely up to you how you want to get involved, from the individual to community level, and from sharing cars, to sharing used items, to sharing your skills with neighbors.

So check out some of these ideas on how to join the sharing economy:

Share your belongings and borrow from others. We all have those belongings that we rarely use and just sit in a closet or garage gathering dust. Why not find a use for them and share them with people in your community! Pass along your favorite books to people in your neighborhood by building a Little Free Library or holding a book-share event. If you have tools or items that you’d like to lend out to people, or are looking for something specific to borrow yourself, then the Sharing Shed might be for you. You can list what you have available to share, and search for items that you could use. Tool libraries offer a similar opportunity where people can checkout tools they need for free from a central location, rather than buying something new. If you want to learn more about how to start a sharing program like a tool library in your own community, then check out these handy instructions provided by the Center for the New American Dream.

Aim for reuse rather than buying new. If borrowing or renting won’t do, then look for something reused, refurbished, or repurposed! ReUSE Minnesota is a great resource for locating businesses and organizations that have used items for sale. You can also use the Hennepin County Choose to Reuse directory to search for specific items that are available used in stores throughout the area. Another great place to look for used products is the Twin Cities Free Market where you can find everything from TVs to dressers to exercise equipment, and the best part is that it’s free! And if you are a business, don’t forget the Minnesota Materials Exchange, a free service that links organizations with reusable goods they no longer need to those who can use them.

Save money by sharing cars and bikes. Owning a car can be expensive, especially given the harsh Minnesota winter conditions, and think about how much time that car just sits around each day. That is why various car-sharing programs such as HOURCAR and Zipcar offer the chance to enjoy the perks of using a car without the steep costs of owning one. When you use Car2Go you don’t even have to return the car to the same parking spot! But cars aren’t the only transportation option that can be shared. You can check out a bicycle at an hourly rate through Nice Ride MN, and when you’re done just return it to one of the kiosks throughout the Twin Cities. This is a great option for commuters or people who only bike occasionally. And finally, perhaps the most commonly used shared-transportation is the bus. Every time you ride the bus you reduce your greenhouse gas emissions, don’t have to worry about finding parking, and save money on car-related expenses! Check out the Metro Transit to find bus routes and learn more about other sharing-based transportation options such as carpooling. It’s never been easier to use a variety of options to get to your destination in a cheaper, more environmentally friendly way.

Share your skills. We all have talents and skills that other people might find useful. Why not put them to good use by teaching other people what you can do through a skill-share program. The Experimental College of the Twin Cities is a great chance to take classes taught by people on a range of topics from bike maintenance to film appreciation, or come up with a topic area and teach a class yourself! The classes are free and are a great chance to learn something new from a fellow community member. Similarly, the Hour Dollars program allows community members to swap time and services in an effort to strengthen communities. By completing services for other community members, you earn hours that can then be spent to have someone else help you out with a project. It’s a great way to get to know your community better and also get some work done!

Don’t forget about donating. Ever feel overwhelmed by the amount of stuff you have scattered throughout your house, garage, or basement? No matter what you do, sometimes it seems like stuff just keeps accumulating. A great way to simplify your belongings, while helping others, is to donate your unwanted items to nearby thrift stores like Goodwill or the Salvation Army. You’ll be helping support the work of charity organizations and cleaning out your home. If you have more stuff than you can transport to a thrift store, then a garage sale might work well to reduce clutter. It’s a great way to remove unwanted things from your home, make some money, and ensure that the items are reused rather than traveling to a landfill.

Be creative! Think of new ways to share with your community. You could set up a free-swap with neighbors where people can exchange items, or host a community sharing event. Or perhaps you could organize a community clothing collection of well-maintained clothing to donate to a local second-hand store. Whatever you do, you’ll get something out of it whether it is a less-cluttered closet, meeting your neighbors, or the satisfaction of donating to a great cause.

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Come Play in the BWCA

Sat, 08/16/2014 - 6:11am

Outdoor play is good for you and your kids. Why not plan an end of the summer BWCA trip where you can play outdoors together? Think of all of the fun things you can do while you’re on a canoe camping trip with a kid.

  • Swimming and tons of associated water games like Marco Polo
  • Stick and pine cone baseball
  • Hackey Sack with a pine cone or real one
  • Skipping rocks
  • Catching crayfish or regular fish
  • Finding spiders, frogs and other fun insects
  • Stargazing and making up silly songs around the campfire
  • I Spy

The games you can play are endless just like the benefits of time in the wilderness are too numerous to count. If you can’t make it to the BWCA then at least make some time to play outdoors before school starts whether or not you have a kid.

Play in the BWCA

 

Nature play at home

Being outdoors is great for kids. Studies summarized by the National Wildlife Federation show that kids who spend regular time playing outdoors are more likely to be:

Great students and learners
Able to get along well with others
More creative and curious
Good problem solvers
Generally healthier and happier overall!
As a parent of two young boys, I can also tell you that nature play is relaxing and fun! Here are the basics, as well as some great resources to get you started.

Authentic nature play is unstructured, imaginative, and open-ended. It encourages experimentation and observation. It also includes an element of age-appropriate risk-taking. Risk taking can be as simple as climbing, balancing, and jumping from a new height.

While away-from-home nature areas might create some wonderful memories, you don’t have to travel away from your home to get the benefits of nature play. With a few simple additions, a backyard can include lots of the “good stuff” that is a part of nature play.

Nature play at home can include things like:

Loose parts, like piles of rocks, sticks, or leaves
Construction materials, like sticks, poles, straw bales, tarps, boxes, and 2x4s
Tools, like shovels, buckets, and rope
Water
Mud, dirt, or sand
Hiding spaces
Plants
Balance logs and stumps
Small characters or props for ‘fairy villages’
Swings, hammocks, and other places for relaxing
One of the most inspirational guides I’ve read about nature play at home is the National Wildlife Federation’s guide for Nature Play at Home. Every time I look at it, I get new ideas! You can also find great resources on the Minnesota DNR’s Arbor Month page.

There are small adjustments to be made as you let your kids play in this way. For example, I’ve learned not to worry when the sand leaves the sand box. I’ve decided to allow the kids to dig a big hole in the yard, but I chose where to let it happen. I’ve let the kids harvest ‘herbs’ as a part of their imaginative games even if it means some of my plants take a beating. And, as the parts, pieces, forts, and rock piles move around it is certainly a bit messier than my pre-kid yard, but not any messier than most of my life. I smile (and take a seat on the porch steps) when I see how engaged and focused my sons and their friends can be in this environment.

Small spaces work too

Remember, even when space is limited there are creative nature play ideas to adopt. Balconies are usually big enough for potted plants, a fairy village, a vine tee pee growing out of pots, or a small sand box.

Ideas for winter

Snow play is a wonderful form of nature play. Mittened hands can still play with loose parts, branches, stumps and ropes. When the cold brings you in, bring nature play inside:

Bring loose parts inside. Fill baskets with rocks, tree slices, leaves, acorns, and other things you collect. They can be used as props for any storyline your young ones create.
Make an indoor sandbox.
Bring snow inside in a tub to play with. Try painting it with watercolors, like this.

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Blueberries and Wild Rice

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 6:51am

What do blueberries and wild rice have in common? You can put both of them in pancakes and you can harvest both of them on the Gunflint Trail.  This year the blueberries ripened later than normal due to the long winter and cold spring. The wild rice is following suit and won’t be ready to be harvested until later in the season.  We’re still finding ripe blueberries and I was amazed at how many were left on the trail to Blueberry Hill at Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Trail.  If you’re looking for a place to pick then head on up the hill and you’ll find plenty. And if you’re looking to harvest wild rice here’s some useful information from the DNR.

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                Aug. 11, 2014

Wild rice harvesting season opens Aug. 15; most areas not yet ready

Minnesota’s wild rice harvesting season is open from Friday, Aug. 15, to Tuesday, Sept. 30. Despite the season dates, harvesters must first ensure the rice is ripe before launching their canoes, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Minnesota’s green rice law does not allow the harvesting of unripe rice, and the late spring means some rice stands may be slow to mature.

More than 1,200 lakes and rivers in 54 counties contain wild rice, with concentrations of rice being the highest in Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Itasca and St. Louis counties.

Rice is ripening similarly to last year.  Peak harvesting dates are estimated to be in early to mid-September as long as weather remains mild.

“Some areas had exceptional rice harvests last year,” said David Kanz, Aitkin area assistant wildlife manager. “Early and sustained high water levels this year have hurt some rice beds, so as water levels continue to come down, we’ll have to watch how the rice responds and see if there is enough growing season left for it to recover.”

Some beds that held rice last year may have no harvestable rice, Kanz added.  Scouting will be particularly important this year to find decent stands of harvestable rice.

Wild rice is the edible seed of an aquatic grass and is the only cereal grain native to North America. When properly processed and stored, the nutritious grain can be stored for extended periods.

In addition to being a traditional food source for Minnesota’s early inhabitants and an important part of Native American culture, wild rice is an important food staple for migrating waterfowl each fall and the growing plants provide important habitat for fish and invertebrates.

Because of the grain’s importance, harvesting wild rice is regulated in Minnesota. Some guidelines to consider before deciding to harvest wild rice include:

Harvest takes place from a non-motorized canoe, 18 feet or less in length, utilizing only a push pole or paddles for power.
Rice is collected by using two sticks, or flails, to knock mature seeds into the canoe. Flails can be no longer than 30 inches, and must weigh less than one pound each.
Harvesting licenses cost $25 per season, or $15 per day, per person for Minnesota residents.
There is no limit to the number of pounds people may harvest with a permit.
Processing is necessary to finish the rice into its final food product.
The gathering process is labor-intensive.
Like other forms of gathering, allowing ample scouting time will lead to greater success.  Accessing some lakes can be difficult and some lakes and rivers within tribal boundaries are not open to public harvest. Finding a mentor who is willing to share their skills and knowledge can greatly improve success.

More information about wild rice management, a list of wild rice buyers and processors, and a list of lakes and rivers containing wild rice is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/wildlife/shallowlakes/wildrice.html. The 1854 Treaty Authority website also provides updates from ground and aerial surveys on some lakes within the 1854 ceded territory in northeastern Minnesota. The aerial surveys are tentatively scheduled for late August; the results will be posted soon after.

Those interested in harvesting wild rice are reminded that it is unlawful for any person to take wild rice grain from any of the waters within the original boundaries at the White Earth, Leech Lake, Nett Lake, Vermilion Lake, Grand Portage, Fond du Lac and Mille Lacs reservations except for Native Americans or residents of the reservations listed.

In addition, all nontribal members wishing to harvest or buy wild rice within the boundaries of the Leech Lake Reservation must have Leech Lake Reservation permits. For wild rice harvesting regulations, see www.mndnr.gov/regulations/wildrice.

Aquatic invasive species are a serious threat to Minnesota waters. Like any other water users, rice harvesters should follow cleaning protocols to avoid spreading invasive plants and animals.

Harvesting licenses can be purchased online via desktop browser and smartphone at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense or any DNR license agent.
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UFO Spotted in the Boundary Waters

Thu, 08/14/2014 - 11:19am

How many times have you been canoe camping in the Boundary Waters and spotted something in the sky you couldn’t identify? It happens more than you may realize. Just this morning a guest told me about a flashing object in the sky that went up and down and side to side. It was large and remained in the sky so long they finally went back into the tent resigned to the fact they could be swooped up by a UFO any minute.

They also saw a large lighted object moving across the sky that was much bigger than a satellite. I saw the same object last night so I decided to do an internet search. I found out that the International Space Station was above us last night and determined that was what I saw. As for the other object it is still a UFO.

If you are wondering what is flying in the night sky you can find out by looking at this website and if you want to know about the ISS then check out the NASA website and signing up to receive alerts. Below is what you will receive.

 

SpotTheStation! Time: Wed Apr 25 7:45 PM, Visible: 4 min, Max Height: 66 degrees, Appears: WSW, Disappears NE.

Time is when the sighting opportunity will begin in your local time zone. All sightings will occur within a few hours before or after sunrise or sunset. This is the optimum viewing period as the sun reflects off the space station and contrasts against the darker sky.

Visible is the maximum time period the space station is visible before crossing back below the horizon.

Max Height is measured in degrees (also known as elevation). It represents the height of the space station from the horizon in the night sky. The horizon is at zero degrees, and directly overhead is ninety degrees. If you hold your fist at arm’s length and place your fist resting on the horizon, the top will be about 10 degrees.

Appears is the location in the sky where the station will be visible first. This value, like maximum height, also is measured in degrees from the horizon. The letters represent compass directions — N is north, WNW is west by northwest, and so on.

Disappears represents where in the night sky the International Space Station will leave your field of view

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Meet the Crew at Voyageur

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 6:49am

I’m finally getting around to introductions of our Voyageur Crew on the day before two of them depart. Summer has flown by this year and we’re so sad to have two of our females leaving already.

Abigail Dickinson is originally from Appleton, Wisconsin and she primarily spent the summer packing food for us. She did an outstanding job at everything she did including laundry, cleaning, painting and working in the kitchen. I don’t think she made any mistakes with the outfitting food and that is unheard of.

Abigail is a very motivated person and when she isn’t working she loves to paddle and run. She has taken numerous difficult canoe trips this summer and she did it alone. She paddled the Granite River in a day and was one of the two to paddle to Moose Lake and back in less than 24 hours. Her favorite lake in the BWCA is Paulson and her favorite route is the Ottertrack, Cherry, Hansen route.

We are going to miss her easy going personality and attention to detail. She’s going to be a Senior at Bob Jones University and is majoring in English with hopes to become a paralegal or librarian. We’re hoping she returns to Voyageur again next summer.

Abigail on her Ely Challenge

Kira Miller is from Brookfield, Illinois and will be a Junior at Illinois Wesleyan University.  She is majoring in Environmental Studies and Anthropology. While here this summer she has continued her education by participating in an archeological dig at Grand Portage and attending a seminar about edible foods found in the wild.

Kira was our “Do Everything” crew member this summer. She enjoyed helping Elsa in the kitchen but she also spent time in the store and office where she loved chatting with our guests. Cleaning, outfitting and painting kept her busy as well as special projects like sign making. Kira was willing to do what ever needed to be done.

When Kira wasn’t working she could be found running or paddling.  Just as motivated as Abigail she tackled the Granite River and went on solo overnight camping trips too. Her favorite Boundary Waters Lake is Snipe and her favorite route includes Ottertrack.  She would like to paddle in the Quetico Park and take a crew camping trip. I’m not sure she’ll have time to do that yet this year so maybe her plans include another summer at Voyageur.

Abigail, Hannah and Kira

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They Made It!

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 12:50pm

We have exciting news to share! Not only did our Ely Challenge participants complete their Voyage but also the 8 Rivers Expedition Crew made it to Hudson Bay. We need to get more details to share with everyone about both adventures but here’s a re-cap of the Hudson Bay trip by Adam Maxwell’s father.

THEY MADE IT TO HUDSON’S BAY ! ! !
56 days (8 days off)
907 miles
494 hours of paddling and portaging
61 portages (a guess)
2,646,720 paddle strokes
Congratulations Tessa, Ryan, Kari, Jake, Alex and Adam ! ! !

Voyageur Canoe Outfitters Crew Members Tessa Olson, Jake Bendel, Adam Maxwell

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Anxiously Awaiting Return of Ely Challenge Participants

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 7:30pm

Two of our Voyageur Crew members are at the tail end of their canoe trip to Ely and back. They are paddling what is known as the Ely Challenge. It’s when a canoe crew leaves the Voyageur dock, paddles across the Boundary Waters to Moose Lake, then hitches a ride into the Dairy Queen in Ely, sends a postcard to us, hitches back to Moose Lake and paddles home.

We’ve had numerous Voyageur crew members attempt this feat just for fun. There’s no prize except for pride in having completed the voyage. The goal is to finish in 24 hours or less and when Matt and Abigail sent us their photo in front of the Dairy Queen in Ely they were on track at just under 12 hours of travel.

We expect them to arrive back at Voyageur around 9pm tonight. They have clear skies tonight but unfortunately last night over an inch of rain fell on them. We’re looking forward to hearing all about their trip upon their return.

Ely Challenge canoe trip

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A Little Fire

Sun, 08/10/2014 - 4:17pm

I am surprised a tree that caught on fire last week was named the “Partridge Lake Fire.” It seems a bit odd, kind of like naming a hurricane when it’s not even a tropical storm yet.  I hope this doesn’t mean the USFS expects this fire to expand and actually become a fire.

This area is near mid-trail, about 30 miles from Grand Marais, Minnesota and the fire has been contained and controlled.

From the USFS...

August 7, 2014

At approximately 1635 (4:35 p.m.) yesterday, Wednesday, August 6th, a  Beaver 2 airplane discovered a fire northwest of Partridge Lake and southeast of South Lake, about a mile south of the Canadian Border.  The fire is believed to have been started by lightning from Tuesday night’s storm and has been named the Partridge Fire.  The Partridge Fire is located in the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area (BWCAW).   The direction from the Line Officer is to suppress the fire using Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics (M.I.S.T.).  At this time, there are no trail or area closures.  Superior National Forest (SNF) Crew 21 is hiking into the fire.  Updates on fire activity and status will be posted as they become available.

The Partridge Fire was contained and controlled Thursday 8/7 around 17:45.  Crew 22 will be hiking into the fire today to check for heat.

Additional SNF info at: www.fs.usds.gov/superior

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Happy Birthday Smokey

Sat, 08/09/2014 - 6:27am

According to the DNR Smokey is celebrating his 70th birthday today!
DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                       Aug. 4, 2014

Smokey Bear celebrates 70th birthday; encourages fire safety

Smokey Bear’s message “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires” is as relevant today as it was 70 years ago when Smokey first became a champion of wildfire prevention. Smokey’s 70th birthday is Aug. 9.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources joins Smokey in celebrating fire safety successes and urging all Minnesotans to be careful with fire.Smokey Bear is one of the most well-known symbols in the United States. An amazing 96 percent of U.S. adults recognize Smokey Bear and 70 percent are able to recall Smokey’s tagline without prompting.

Smokey has many educational materials available, especially for kids kindergarten through fifth grade. The Minnesota Interagency Fire Center is home to the National Symbols Cache, the place where all Smokey Bear educational materials are stored and sent out nationwide.

Since 1944, Smokey has told kids and adults that they can make a difference in preventing wildfires. His fire safety lessons have helped reduce forest fires. The average number of acres lost to wildfire nationwide has decreased from 22 million acres in 1944 to an average of 6.7 million acres today.

Yet, wildfires still harm public health and safety, destroy homes and property, and cost millions of dollars annually in firefighting. Minnesota wildland firefighters extinguish an average of 1,400 fires that burn 31,000 acres each year. Most of these wildfires, 98 percent, are caused by people and can be prevented.

Help Smokey celebrate 70 years of fire prevention by being careful with fire at all times.

Here are eight of Smokey’s tips for fire safety.

Don’t play with matches.
Never leave a campfire unattended and make sure it is cold to the touch before leaving.
Use grills, camp stoves and lanterns away from materials that can catch fire.
Be careful with fireworks.  Put used fireworks in a bucket of water.
Make sure outdoor vehicles and equipment are in good working order. Sparks from vehicles and equipment can start fires.
Watch the weather. Hot, dry, windy weather can increase chances of wildfire.
Put out cigarettes in a safe place.
People who see a wildfire, should call 9-1-1 immediately.
For more information on prevention and safety, wildfire emergencies and Smokey Bear education materials, visit Minnesota’s wildfire prevention webpage at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/wildfire/prevention/index.html.

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Recharging My Battery in the BWCA

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 8:14pm

I’m not talking about recharging a battery with a solar charger or power booster I’m talking about recharging my internal battery. Sometimes life can get to be a bit overwhelming and the best way to remedy that is to take a trip into the Boundary Waters. Nothing replenishes my soul like a canoe camping trip in the BWCA.

In the Boundary Waters I can truly get away from everything. There are no phones ringing, emails to check or other demands needing my attention when I’m in the BWCA. I can empty my mind, let go of stress and forget about deadlines when I’m relaxing on a wilderness campsite or paddling in my canoe.

Does your battery need to be recharged? If so then I highly recommend taking a Boundary Waters canoe trip sooner rather than later.

Boundary Waters sunset

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