Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

USFS releases forest road flood survey

Fri, 06/22/2012 - 6:12am

Heavy rains over the past two days affected portions of the Superior National Forest, primarily roads and some recreation sites on the Laurentian Ranger District in the southern portion of the Forest. 

Only minor washouts with some shallow water across a few of the main roads were reported on the Tofte and Gunflint Ranger Districts.   

Roads and facilities on the Kawishiwi and LaCroix Ranger Districts in the northern portion of the Forest were not affected by flooding.

Forest managers urge all visitors to use caution driving Forest Roads and to be aware that crews may not have been able to assess and sign all affected roads.  Also, as a result of saturated soils, trees may begin to fall over unexpectedly.

It's National Pollinator Week

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 6:02pm

June 18-24 is National Pollinator Week. Not sure what that means? Well, one out of every third bite of food we consume comes from plants that depend on bees and other pollinators.  But pollinators in trouble, and populations are declining. Five years ago the U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval and designation of the final week in June as “National Pollinator Week” marked a necessary step toward addressing the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations. Pollinator Week has now grown to be an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles.  Laurie Davies Adams is the executive director of Pollinator Partnership. She spoke with WTIP volunteer Veronica Weadock.

To learn more about the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign visit or visit the Pollinator Partnership website at

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Lutsen 99er bicycle race starts at Lutsen Mountains Saturday morning

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 2:20pm

After the success of the inaugural Lutsen 99er, the series continues June 23, 2012, high above the shores of beautiful Lake Superior.  This is a 99-mile (39-mile option also offered) racecourse that takes advantage of the scenery and topography of Minnesota's North Shore.
The race starts at 7:30 a.m. at Lutsen Ski Resort, in Minnesota’s Sawtooth Mountains, overlooking majestic Lake Superior, in a Category 3 climb. Once over the ridgeline, the course takes advantage of the glacially sculpted terrain, rolling hills, and numerous lakes and streams. This area is the southern range of the Boreal Forest. Participants will be riding on sections of road and trail that see as much moose traffic as people traffic at any given time.
“We’re excited to continue our commitment to the sport of mountain biking in the state of Minnesota while remaining focused on our goal of continuing to build world-class mountain biking opportunities in North America,” said Peter Spencer, brand manager for Lutsen 99er. “Now in its second year, the Lutsen 99er will provide the perfect combination of speed and challenging hills for bikers of all levels.”
Last year 75 participants tackled the tough course in the inaugural race, including many local riders. A movie trailer for the Lutsen 99er was produced by local filmmakers Beau Larson and Karl Hansen. To see the action, visit, click on race and then movie trailer.
For more information or to register, contact Adam Harju at (218) 370-1124 or Peter Spencer at (952) 229-7330, or visit

ATVAM attempt at Guinness World Record Parade is on, despite area flooding

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 2:18pm

On June 23, 2012, the All-Terrain Vehicle Association of Minnesota (ATVAM) will be attempting to break a Guinness World Record for the world's longest ATV parade. In June 2009 ATVAM broke the world record for the longest ATV parade with 1,632 ATVs. In the fall of 2010, however, Utah broke the record with 1,870 ATVs.ATVAM encourages all ATV enthusiasts to meet in Silver Bay for a weekend of fun riding and other ATV-related activities. Last time 50-plus Cook County riders joined the fun. Organizers are aiming to have more than 2,000 ATVs participate in the parade.

Although a route that was to be open to ATVs from Two Harbors to Silver Bay has been closed because of road damage, the parade route will bee as planned -- a longer route than in years past. 
Parade organizer Les Schermerhorn said of this year’s attempt, “Support for the parade has been outstanding, but we need all the help we can get to retake the record for the Minnesota ATV community.”
For more information visit or call ATVAM at (800) 442-8826. 

Most Lake Superior beaches are closed

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 12:30pm

The state's Lake Superior Beach Monitoring Program is advising no water contact at all beaches along the north shore from Gary/New Duluth to Chicago Bay in Hovland. Further information will be forthcoming.

Roads reopen across the Northland, some remain closed

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 9:02am

The Minnesota Department of Transportation reports that northbound Interstate 35 has reopened this morning between Mahtowa and Highway 210 at Carlton.

Southbound I-35 remains closed in that area.

The DOT said people posted at the barricades on I-35 are trying to help drivers find alternate routes, but that's a challenge given the other roads that are closed around the area from flooding. Interstate 35 is open across the city of Duluth.

Here are some updates on other roads in the Northland, provided this morning by MNDOT and other sources:

  • Highway 61 Expressway closed at Knife River with detour in place; Scenic 61 reportedly is open to Two Harbors.
  • Highway 61 open at Silver Creek Tunnel, with shoulder damage
  • Highway 53 is now open past the Miller Hill Mall. Maple Grove Road is open in the same area; parts of Mall Drive remain closed
  • Highway 2 open from Proctor west.
  • Highway 23 closed at Fond du Lac
  • Highway 210 closed through Jay Cooke State Park