Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Wolf numbers down, but hunt still on in 2013

Wed, 07/17/2013 - 11:56am

Even though there are fewer wolves in the state this year than five years ago, the wolf hunt will go on in 2013, said the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in a recent press release.
According to a comprehensive survey taken last winter, the state has 710 less wolves in 2013 then it had in 2009.
Despite the decline, the amount of wolves estimated exceeds the state’s minimum goal of at least 1,600 wolves and is still higher then the federal recovery goal range of 1,251 to 1,400 animals.
New survey results taken over last winter estimate there are 438 packs and 2,211 wolves, down from the 2,921-survey estimate taken five years ago.
Pack sizes have decreased from 4.9 to 4.3 wolves. John Erb, DNR research biologist, said the reduction in average pack size likely is a combination of reduced prey and the harvest of wolves in the two months immediately preceding the mid-winter wolf pack counts.
In 2012 trappers and hunters harvested 413 wolves and the DNR expects to set up similar hunting/trapping guidelines for 2013. The DNR said it will more closely monitor pack and territory sizes in the next few years. More frequent radio collaring of wolf packs will provide additional data on the population's response to wolf season harvest.
Minnesota wolves were removed from federal protection under the Endangered Species Act and handed over to state management on January 2012.
“Results from the 2013 wolf survey continue to demonstrate that Minnesota’s wolf population is fully recovered from its once threatened status and the population is responding naturally to the availability of deer, wolves’ primary food source,” said Dan Stark, DNR large carnivore specialist.

Higher Ed guest lecture speaker to present key points on mining issue

Tue, 07/16/2013 - 9:44pm

At Cook County Higher Education’s next Guest Lecture event, the speaker will be Margaret Watkins, water quality specialist, presenting Mine Effluent Treatment Technology and Financial Assurance. Watkins will speak on Thursday, July 18, 2013, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the North Shore Campus in Grand Marais. 

The presentation will raise questions and discuss key points around this controversial issue, including: Will sulfide/non-ferrous mining come to northeast Minnesota? If so, what are the nuts and bolts of mine waste treatment?  Is financial assurance related to long-term water treatment options?  What water treatment options have been tested in northeast Minnesota mining projects?  What water treatment options could be applied to copper/nickel mine projects? How do they work? Where have they been tested? How effective are mine effluent treatment technologies? Bring your questions (and possibly your notebooks) to this fascinating discussion.

Margaret Watkins has been employed as the water quality specialist for Grand Portage Reservation since 1996. Watkins has 14 years of experience reviewing existing and proposed mining projects in northeastern Minnesota.  Other work activities have included the development of human health criteria for subsistence fishing and the protection of wild rice waters for federally approved Grand Portage Water Quality Standards, ground and surface water monitoring and assessment, wetland delineation and functional value assessment, source water assessment, National Pollutant Discharge and Elimination System/ Sanitary Disposal System permit review, and review of major industrial projects in the 1854 ceded territory.

Another Grand Portage Casino Express Trip coming up for Cook County Senior Center

Tue, 07/16/2013 - 1:56pm

The Cook County Senior Center has lots of fun planned for July. There will be Grand Portage Casino Express trips on Thursday July 18 and Tuesday, July 30. Transportation is free for those that sign up in advance and $5 for those that don’t. In town pickup is available for a $1 fee.
Those who join the Casino Express receive some free slot play and a coupon for $5 off any entrée in the dining room.
For trip times, stop in or call the Senior Center at (218) 387-2660.

Rockin' Flowers at Grand Marais Flower Show Friday

Tue, 07/16/2013 - 1:55pm

The Grand Marais Garden Club’s 2013 Flower Show will be held Friday, July 19 from noon to 5 p.m. at the Cook County Community Center, 317 W. Fifth St. in Grand Marais.
Featured will be ’50s music and decor which set the mood for the beautiful arrangements of locally grown flowers. Any one interested is encouraged to enter a display. It is not necessary to be a Garden Club member. Children are especially encouraged to enter an exhibit.
The master gardeners will have a special exhibit and video titled Art in the Garden. 
Registration for entries is from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the Community Center the day of the show.
Plants from Garden Club members will also be for sale. Supplement your own garden with selections from the sale.
Refreshments will be served. Admission is free.
For more information contact Sally Berg at (218) 387-3326.

Bear researcher meets with Dayton

Tue, 07/16/2013 - 9:51am


ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A Minnesota bear researcher remains under orders to remove radio collars from bears he's studying by the end of the month, but will be allowed to appeal.

     Bear researcher Lynn Rogers sounded optimistic after a meeting with Governor Mark Dayton and Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr on Monday.

     But Landwehr said afterward he does not plan to lift his decision to rescind Rogers' permit to keep tracking collars on bears in the Ely area. He says there's usually no appeal from that kind of decision, but he has decided to let Rogers present his case to an administrative law judge.

     The DNR says Rogers' hand-feeding of bears makes them too accustomed to humans. The agency also says Rogers has failed to publish his research.

     Rogers denies both claims. He says his research is available to all at

Bigfoot controversy on the Gunflint Trail

Mon, 07/15/2013 - 10:33am
Bigfoot on Gunflint.JPG

Call him Bigfoot, Sasquatch or Yeti—just don’t call him welcome on the Gunflint Trail in Grand Marais. Immediately after an anonymous jokester erected two Bigfoot Crossing signs on the Gunflint Trail near Swamper Lake, debate began.
The community was torn—were the signs cute and funny? Or an annoying Wisconsin Dells-like intrusion? Arguments were carried on in coffee shops and on facebook. Opinions were offered stating that the signs were awesome and hilarious, with many folks weighing in with thoughts of who was the model for the Yeti figure. Others sadly stated that it made a mockery of the tranquility and beauty of the Gunflint Trail.
The arguments are moot. The signs are gone. County Highway Engineer David Betts said his crews took the signs down, but had nothing to do with the placement of the Sasquatch signs. Betts said it was not a high priority for the Highway Department to take the signs down. “Frankly, it really wasn’t a big deal,” said Betts.
Before the Highway Department got there two days later, someone had defaced the signs with black spray paint.
Betts said he was more bothered by the person or persons who stole the “Caution—Baby Moose” signs that had been erected in that area. “It’s bad enough they stole the sign, but they also took the barricade, which is actually worth more than the sign.”
Regardless of whether signs are present—watch for baby moose and hairy visitors on the Gunflint!