One day later and we could have had a slushy, mushy, Mush for a Cure but Mother Nature was on our side and the temperature and lake conditions were absolutely perfect. Yesterday the high temperature was 40 degrees on the Gunflint Trail and today it’s up to 50 degrees but on Saturday the high was 24 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. Not too warm for the dogs and mushers and just warm enough for the spectators.
The 2014 Mush for a Cure sled dog FUNdraiser was a complete success thanks to the hard working individuals that came together to put on an amazing event. The sponsors, prize contributors, volunteers, businesses, spectators, mushers and of course the dogs deserve a huge THANK YOU for their support of the event.
Friday night’s Pink Zombie Party and Bald, Brave and Beautiful Contest was amazing. Andrea Everson of Studio 61 Hair was our generous head shaver again this year. Our first female contestant raised more money herself than what we had raised on some previous years contests in the past. Ana Genz, along with Craig Horak of the Tire and Auto Store in Grand Marais and Cory Christiansen, fishing guide on the Gunflint Trail raised over $10,000. Craig encouraged the spectators to give a little more by announcing he would shave his beard, growing since he was 16 years old, and his chest if $500 more was raised. Needless to say, volunteer vet Ellen Anderson, Craig’s wife, went home with a very different man on Friday night.
The auction featuring items such as a photography session with Bryan Hansel and prints by local photographer Nace Hagemann brought in more money for the cause. The Vikings football signed by Adrian Petersen was the expected hit of the night but instead a hand tied blanket donated by Mush for a Cure organizers and tied by Shari Baker pulled in $1000. It’s always an entertaining evening and this year was no exception.
Saturday started out with a delicious pancake breakfast at Gunflint Pines and the short course event that featured small sled dog teams and skijorers. The main event began at noon after the National Anthem was sung by local Abby and Linden Sutton. There was a Sourdough Start, where mushers begin in their sleeping bags with boots off. It’s fun to watch the mushers hurry to get dressed, get their teams hitched up and take to the trail.
Food was served by the Cook County Ridge Riders Snowmobile Club as the spectators waited for the teams to return to Gunflint Lake. Musher Awards were handed out and before we knew it the fat lady had sung and it was all over for another year. The National Breast Cancer Foundation should receive another check for over $30,000 and all involved should be super proud to have been a part of Mush for a Cure 2013.
- Zombie King- Ed Heineman
- Zombie Queen- Ana Genz(raised over $5000!)
- Pink Lantern- Don Deckert
- Dork Award- Susan Hoppe
- Best Dressed Team- Lenny Wendel
- Best in Pink- Shanna Peoble
- Most pledges- Don Deckert
- Most dollars raised- Jessica Berg-Collman(raised over $5000)
03/10/14 Morning control: Dual Fuel control 6:30am-10:00am. Water heat control 6:30am-10:30am. Though not as common as peak load management in the evening, morning control times are possible. Similar control times are expected again later this week. See daily status and predictions of load control at Great River Energy’s daily Load Management Guide.
Arrowhead Cooperative offers our members dual fuel and off-peak heating and water heating program at rates far lower than the general service rate per kilowatt hour. In exchange for that low rate, dual fuel members allow their water heaters or electric heat to be controlled any time, morning or evening, as necessitated by demand for electricity, expensive wholesale prices, or reliability of the power supply. Call Arrowhead Cooperative if you want to start saving with off-peak or dual fuel programs, or visit the Rates and Rebates page of this site.
I guess I had never heard the full explanation as to why deer and moose lose their antlers. In case you were wondering, here’s why.
DNR QUESTION OF THE WEEK
Q: It is not uncommon to find antlers lying on the forest floor in the spring. Why do buck deer, bull moose and other antlered species shed their antlers?
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 via 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 the formation of 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, wildlife health program supervisor
Today is the day we’ve been waiting for, it’s the 8th Annual Mush for a Cure FUNdraiser on the Gunflint Trail. All festivities are on Gunflint Lake in front of Gunflint Pines Resort and Campground.
The short course race for small teams and skijorers begins at 10am and the long course begins at noon with a Sourdough Start. That’s when the musher starts out in their sleeping bag without their boots on and then when the whistle blows they rush to get their boots on, teams harnessed up and get on their way. It’s a super spectator friendly event.
Teams will come in staggered throughout the day and there will be a bonfire on the ice as well as food grilled by the Cook County Ridge Rider’s Snowmobile Club. The temperature is predicted to be in the teens and we’ll have the big tent up just in case the wind is nippy.
We’re looking forward to a great turnout for this FUNdraiser and hope to see many of you there!
If you haven’t heard already, there is a lot of snow up in the Northwoods this year. Tons and tons of it – literally. While beautiful and fun it presents logistical nightmares for those who must keep roads clear and roofs standing. Tuscarora’s numerous cabins and buildings adds up to a lot of roof surface area to worry about. As the inches pile up on the shingles, blood pressures rise as well. Shoveling all those roofs is a lot of hard work but if you don’t do it, the risk a roof that was built sometime in the 1940′s coming down increases with each snowfall.
We have been fortunate this winter to have a collection of longtime Tuscarora friends join us this winter and pitch in with the shoveling. Thanks everyone!
There are some benefits from shoveling roofs. The view is amazing. It is extremely satisfying to break off a huge chunk of snow just right so it slides off with a whump. And that huge blank surface of snow is great for making snow angels or should I say roof angels, which is exactly what all those helps are.
The roofs are safe now from impending collapse which is a great load off the mind (bad pun intended). All that snow that was on the roofs, is now on the ground in huge heavy piles. This is not a complaint by any means, just an observation – I can’t see out my office window anymore…
We were back at Gunflint by the 14th. I tried for a blog but my computer didn't connect. Just as I was getting ready to move over to Bruce's computer, his had some electrical issue. At any rate, now things are back working. At least Bruce's computer is working. Mine still has issues.
The month of February was a combination of cold, cold temperatures and lots of snow when it warmed up. Many of the snow banks around the lodge are high above my head. The lake water levels are going to be very high this spring as things melt.
One of the most interesting things to watch this past month has been the interaction between the wolves and deer. That is a polite way of saying that the wolves have been eating very well. We have had several kills that were right at the lodge. Sheryl came in one morning to see wolves feeding on a freshly killed deer right on the patio. One night at 7:00 p.m. the wolves took another deer in front of Cabin #8. The guests in Cabin #5 got up to use the bathroom around 1:00 a.m. and looked outside. The deer carcass had been dragged onto the ice and there were seven wolves feeding and playing.
Perhaps the most surprising encounter occur during our last storm. The snow was really coming down and you could only see a little ways onto the lake. Several deer were on the patio where a guest was feeding them. They were all concentrating on the guest. Unbeknownst to anyone a wolf came up and hid just over the lip of the patio. When the guest came in, the wolf jumped into the midst of the deer. It was a case of too many animals to pick from. Finally he took after a deer running to the east. At the same time a couple guests were walking to the lodge from that direction. They spooked the wolf and he took off across the lake with no dinner.
Construction on the new staff housing is coming along very well. All the sheetrock and insulation are in place. Windows started to go in yesterday. Interior painting will be finished next week. A sample room is going to be set up next week to make sure that all the cabinets and furniture fit in correctly.
Work is also in the planning stages for some remodeling on Cabins #18 and #19. New cabinets, fireplaces and ceramic tile will be going in them this spring. There is always something to spruce up.
I am started to get excited about my garden. We are still eight weeks before anything can go in the ground. Looking out the house windows, you can't even see where the beds are. It just makes me feel good to think about planting stuff.
Summer reservations are coming in very well for both the lodge and the outfitters. Bruce has a lot of packages (as usual) to pick from. If nothing seems to fit you, just talk with him. Bruce will make up something special just for you.
As I have been writing this it has started to snow. Who knows how much we will be getting. Bruce will bring the plow over and I will have my shovel to clean up the edges.
Tonight is the Pink Zombie Party for Mush for a Cure where we highlight the Bald, Brave and Beautiful contest. We have three contestants who are putting their hair on the line to raise funds for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. For the first time ever we have a female contestant willing to have her head shaved. Ana Genz was one of our honoree’s from a previous year and is a breast cancer survivor herself.
The night is filled with FUNdraiser fun and everyone wears pink to show their support. This year’s theme is Zombie so we’ll have some scary looking zombies in pink. There will be a live auction where we have some great gifts up for bid and door prizes for those in attendance. Music, drinks and more all at Windigo Lodge tonight on the Gunflint Trail.
Here’s my commercial for this year’s Mush for a Cure the event I co-founded years ago…
Thank you to all who support Mush for a Cure, a Sled Dog FUNdraiser on Minnesota’s Gunflint Trail. With the generosity of volunteers, sponsors, mushers and dogs we’ve raised $186,000 for the National Breast Cancer Foundation since the event began.
This year marks the 8th Annual Mush for a Cure and it’s happening this March 7th and 8th. We hope you will support our event and our effort to raise money and awareness of breast cancer.
We would love your help in making this year’s event a big success. You can help in a number of ways, by volunteering your time, attending the scheduled events, spreading the word about the event or by donating money.
We appreciate your support of the Mush for a Cure in the past, present and future. To donate please visit our FUNdraising Page today. http://www.active.com/donate/2014MushforaCure
Thank you very MUSH!
Mush for a Cure
Co-Founders Mary Black & Sue Prom
Call 218-370-1352 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
PO Box 731
Grand Marais, MN 55604
The weekend kicks off with the opening of “Our Town,” by Thornton Wilder at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts on Thursday at 7 p.m. A production of the Grand Marais Playhouse, this timeless drama is an American classic. It is Wilder’s most performed play and first appeared on Broadway in 1938 to wide acclaim. It subsequently won a Pulitzer Prize. The play is a community youth performance and will just run this weekend.
The multi-generational cast includes Braidy Powers as Dr. Gibbs, Diane Stoddard as Mrs. Gibbs, Cy Fortunato as George Gibbs, Robin Henrikson as Rebecca Gibbs, Dick Swanson-Mr. Webb; Beth Farone–Mrs. Webb; Breanna Hay–Emily Webb and Sam Kern–Wally Webb and Kevin Kager–Professor Willard, to name a few in the 22-member cast.
Performances are at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students and are available at the door.
The Mush for A Cure FUNdraiser is this Friday and Saturday on the Gunflint Trail. The event is a non-competitive sled dog run to raise money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation to find a cure for breast cancer.
Mush for a Cure is always wonderful and features hilarious “pink” events and a great opportunity to see mushers doing what they love most. It is also a fantastic fundraiser.To date, Mush for a Cure has donated $186,500 to the Breast Cancer Foundation. The goal this year is to raise $50,000.
Mush for a Cure starts on Friday at Trail Center at 5 p.m. with musher registration and a Pink Pasta Dinner.
The Pink Zombie Party follows at Windigo Lodge from 7-11 p.m..
At 9:30 p.m. at Windigo is one of the highlights of this fun weekend–The Bald, The Brave and The Beautiful Head Shaving. Three candidates vie to raise the most in pledges. The three contestants this year include Ana Genz, a breast cancer survivor and the first woman to compete in the head shaving. Her goal is to raise $6,000. She will donate her long hair to the Locks of Love. Corey Christianson and Craig Horak are also in the competition. They are working to raise as many funds as Ana and try to out-fundraise each other at the same time. Click here to learn more about the contest.
Saturday begins with a Mushers Pancake Breakfast at Gunflint Pines Resort from 8-11 a.m. It is open to the public and a goodwill donation is requested.
The Short Course start is held at the Cross River Gravel Pit at 10 a.m. The Long Course Sourdough start is in front of Gunflint Pines on Gunflint Lake. In the this type of start, the mushers must be in their sleeping bags and get up, harness their dogs and set out. Mushers will finish between 1-3 p.m. on the lake. The awards ceremony is at 3:30 p.m. All invited. To read more about the event, click here.
On Saturday night, Sivertson Gallery hosts mosaic artist Michael Sweere for a Fireside Chat at the gallery at 6 p.m. The title of his presentation is “Broken Plate Landscapes.” He will talk about how he does his work as well as be presenting several new pieces. Refreshments are served. All invited.
Also this weekend, the Frozen Photographers exhibit opens at the Duluth Photography Institute, 405 E. Superior St. in Duluth with a reception from 6-8 p.m. It will be a juried show featuring a wide range of work from local and regional photographers.
In Thunder Bay, the Bay Street Film Festival will be March 6 & 13 at the Finlandia Club in Thunder Bay. For more information, click here.
On March 9, the band Cheap Trick will be performing at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium at 8 p.m. (EST) on March 9. For tickets and more information about the shows at this venue, click here.
And finally, the Magnus Theatre in Thunder Bay has put out a call for painters to exhibit in the lounge during upcoming shows including “Red,” a play about the abstract painter Mark Rothko which opens March 13 and “Same Time, Next Year,” an award-winning classic that opens April 17. For more info, email Justin Parcher, publicity and marketing coordinator at email@example.com. The learn more about the theater, click here.
Even farther afield, multi-media artist Carla Stetson, who lived and worked in Duluth for years, opens a show at the Anderson Center in Red Wing at 7 p.m. March 7. The exhibit entitled “Natural Histories: Mixed Media” includes works by texitle artists Carolyn Halliday and Kimber Olson. Stetson will also have a gallery dedicated to her entire collection: Ornithography.
This is Woodcarver’s Week at North House Folk School. For find out more, click here.
The new course catalog for 2014 is out, too. To see, click here.
And not to forget–March 13 is EATS, a fundraiser for the Cook County Educational Foundation. It will be held at the Cook County Middle/High School from 6-8 p.m. next Thursday. The event features lots of great tasting tables by local restaurants, music and a silent auction. Only 150 tickets will be sold for the event. They are available at the school office, Java Moose, the Blue Water Cafe or from any Cook County Educational Foundation board member.
There’s lots of great music this weekend, too. Here’s the schedule:
Thursday, March 6:
- James Moors, Poplar River Pub, 6 p.m.
- Evergreen Grass Band, Gunflint Tavern, 7:30 p.m.
- Dance Party with DJ Beavstar, Papa Charlie’s, 9 p.m.
Friday, March 7:
- Timmy Haus, Moguls Grille, 3:30 p.m.
- Mark Darling, Gunflint Lodge on the Gunflint Trail. 5:30 p.m.
- The Sivertones, Cascade Lodge Pub, 7 p.m.
- Gordon Thorne, Bluefin Grille, 8 p.m.
- Evergreen Grass Band, Gunflint Tavern, 8:30 p.m.
- Timmy Haus, Papa Charlie’s, 9 p.m.
Saturday, March 8:
- Al Oikari & Rod Dockan, Papa Charlie’s, 3:15 p.m.
- Boyd Blomberg, Moguls Grille, 3:30 p.m.
- Mark Darling, Gunflint Lodge, 5:30 p.m.
- James Moors, Papa Charlie’s, 6:45 p.m.
- Jim McGowan, Cascade Lodge Pub, 7 p.m.
- Jon Kelberg, Lutsen Resort, 7 p.m
- Timmy Haus, The Landing at Devil Track Resort, 7 p.m.
- The Spruce Roots, Gunflint Tavern, 8 p.m.
Sunday, March 9:
- Wu Acoustic Family, Papa Charlie’s, 3:30 p.m.
- Classical Evening of Flute, Cello & Piano, Bluefin Grille, 6 p.m.
- Pushing Chain, Gunflint Tavern, 7 p.m.
Monday, March 10:
- Joe Paulik, Bluefin Grille, 8 p.m.
- Caroline Smith, Monday Night Songwriter Series, Papa Charlie’s, 8 p.m.
Tuesday, March 11:
- Fingerstyle Guitar Workshop with Gordon Thorne, Moondance Coffee House, 5-7 p.m.
- Open Mic Night with Bump Blomberg, Papa Charlie’s, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, March 12:
- Sonja and the Reckoning, Spotlight North, Papa Charlie’s, 8 p.m.
We found lots of cool photographs this week.
We’ll start out with the ice caves at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore which continue to be a very popular place to visit. Last Saturday, 2,650 visited the park, bringing the total to 80,000, more than half of all the people who visited the park in 2013.
We’ll start out with this photo by Keith Crowley.
Paul Sundberg visited the caves recently, too, and came up with this beauty.
And John Heino posted this the other day. He calls it “This Calmness.”
And Bill Cady took this wondrous shot of the northern lights from the ice caves.
And yes, we all are pretty tired of winter, but beautiful images continue to come out of our unending winter wonderland. Jamie Rabold posted this the other day:
Thomas Spence caught this ice “explosion” at Temperance River State Park.
The ice is beginning to pile up on the shores of Lake Superior, too. Jeff Henningsgaard took this beauty.
Here’s an icy scene lit by beautiful northern lights. Bryan Hansel took this one.
Christian Dalbec shot this gorgeous sunrise over Split Rock Lighthouse last weekend.
And David Johnson took this evocative shot of a Lake Superior fish house at sunrise.
Don Davison captured the grim reality and stark beauty of winter in this shot.
And Christian Dalbec documents a reality for deer this year — wolf tracks on lakeshore ice.
And, just in case you might have forgotten …this should be coming … pretty soon.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
I may seem to be a broken record, talking about the weather again. But I just drove home from a late night at the News-Herald office and noticed that the thermometer in my car was recording minus 15 degrees. And that is not factoring the wickedly howling wind. The “Polar Vortex” appears to be back.
But weather is on my mind, for a reason other than I am still shivering as I write this week’s column. I’ve been thinking about the weather because of a weather related job that I had in the ’80s. It was a great job. I was a secretary for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in beautiful Monterey, California. I worked for an office of scientists supervised by a NOAA officer, Captain Otto Steffin.
The scientists were an eclectic bunch—they all had doctorates in a variety of fields—marine biologists, meteorologists, oceanographers— and they all worked together collecting weather data. However, they spent the majority of their time in dark offices, staring at lines and lines of code scrolling across their computer screens. I didn’t understand how they were collecting weather information by sitting at their desks all day and sometimes late into the evening.
I didn’t understand much of what they were doing and it didn’t really matter. My job was to provide office support. I answered the phones for them, screening nuisance calls. I ordered supplies using the complicated government purchase order system. I made travel arrangements for our scientists who were going somewhere and booked lodging for visiting scientists and government officials. It was interesting work because they were interesting people.
It was interesting just getting to work. Our office building was on the Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center (FNMOC), a Navy base, and it was a heavily secured facility. I had a special Naval picture ID that served as a passkey at a gate that opened when you swiped the card. It was pretty high-tech for the ’80s. Everyone was matter of fact about it, so I didn’t think much about the secrecy of it all.
Our office had a lot of visitors, from all over the United States, but mostly from Washington, D.C., from the Department of Commerce (DOC). NOAA is part of the Department of Commerce. After a few months of taking messages for the scientists from DOC, I asked Captain Steffin why NOAA and the weather gurus were under the DOC umbrella. It was logical, he said, weather is very important to commerce.
That made sense, but I still didn’t understand what our scientists were doing and what the DOC officials were looking for when they visited. I just provided office support and wondered. The mystery was revealed when Captain Steffin asked me to help find lodging on Cannery Row, near the Monterey Bay Aquarium for a number of officials from DOC. A planeload of dignitaries was coming to FNMOC, including the Secretary of Commerce.
And, very exciting, there was to be a black-tie event at the Monterey Bay Aquarium during their visit—and my husband Chuck and I were invited.
To this day it was probably one of the most elegant affairs I have ever attended. The aquarium was closed for the evening and we were free to wander as we wished and there was fine wine and fancy hors d’oeuvres. And set up in the big atrium, were about a dozen computers, with the familiar code scrolling across the screens. However, our scientists had a surprise. After entering a bit more data, the screens changed. In place of the lines of white text on a black background were funny shaped blobs of color scrolling across a map of the United States. As they flipped the map view from the entire United States to just California, to across the United States to Florida, to Washington, D. C., they explained that what we were seeing was weather. It was a live picture of weather, beamed to their computers by satellite.
It was a fascinating evening and one that I have thought about often when I check out AccuWeather or watch the nightly weather report on TV. I often wonder if I am imagining the import of that evening. Was I part of the advent of weather radar and I didn’t even realize it?
I did some research as I sat down to write this week’s Unorganized Territory and the weather mystery deepened. I can find no mention of the NOAA office in Monterey. Researching weather radar does not bring up the names of any of the scientists I worked with. As I clicked and clicked on NOAA and National Weather Service websites, I found nothing—except a very official-looking government website declaring that I needed special security clearance to go any further.
I’ve lost touch with all my coworkers, so what happened to those brilliant scientists remains a mystery. I hope they are doing well. I hope, wherever they are, they are warmer than we are!
But who wants to be foretold the weather? It is bad enough when it comes, without our having the misery of knowing about it beforehand.
Jerome K. Jerome
Established in 1953 by 3M executive Archibald Bush and his artist wife, Edyth, the Bush Foundation has granted over $1 billion in grants and fellowships to over 3000 people. Through its Fellowship Program, the Bush Foundation is committed to supporting and developing more leaders who are better equipped and better networked to effectively lead change.
I am honored, humbled, and thrilled beyond belief to have been selected as a 2014 Bush Foundation Fellow and will use this amazing opportunity to pursue graduate work at the University of Minnesota and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. I look forward to working with others to apply what I learn to making my rural Minnesota community the best that it can be!
The 2015 Bush Fellowship Program will open for applications in September 2014. Think about it!
There are some things you won’t see in the Boundary Waters when you’re kayaking. Chances are the biggest thing you’ll ever see swim beneath your canoe or kayak in the BWCA is a beaver or a fish. There isn’t any kind of animal swimming in the Boundary Waters that would or could purposefully or accidentally capsize your canoe or kayak. This is not the case in some other places you may choose to paddle.
I remember a college professor telling me about paddling the Zambezie River. The threat there is not only being capsized by a hippo but mauled and/or eaten by a hippo. This happens more than one would think as more humans are killed by hippos than any other animal in Africa, according to an article I read. In this article it tells about a man that was almost killed by a hippo while kayaking the river.
Then there are sharks and whales in other parts of the country. I can’t imagine paddling in an area that was dangerous but wouldn’t it be something to be so close to a creature of such size and beauty? Whether or not it’s worth the risk is a question each person has to ask themeself. For now I’ll stick to the Boundary Waters and keep my kayaking encounters on the tame side.
3/4/14 - Jerry Vandiver is a successful Nashville songwriter, dedicated wilderness canoeist and friend of Sawbill.
3/4/14 - Jerry Vandiver is a successful Nashville songwriter, dedicated wilderness canoeist and friend of Sawbill.
Jerry has recently released his second CD of canoe camping themed songs, "Every Scratch Tells A Story." The CD begins with the song "My Wilderness Journey." While Jerry was recording the song, he cut an alternate version called "My Sawbill Journey" (click on title to listen).
If you are inspired by Jerry's Sawbill journey to share a picture or short video of your Sawbill journey, email it to me and Jerry will produce a YouTube video of the best pictures set to the song.
By the way, Jerry is perfoming with his "One Match Band" at Canoecopia in Madison, Wisconsin this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
This year Lake Superior is receiving a lot of attention. From precipitation to water level to the amount of ice cover and the Apostle Island area ice cave adventures have been constant themes in blogs and news reports almost all winter long.
I still haven’t been to the ice caves even though I was in the parking lot ready to go one day. A friend of mine and I wimped out due to the negative something below wind chill and negative something below actual temperature. I know it’s hard to believe I just admitted that I wimped out of something, that isn’t normally the case. I don’t usually wimp out and I doubt I’ve ever admitted it. In any case I didn’t go and it doesn’t seem likely that I’ll make it out there before the ice deteriorates. My loss, but with the thousands of visitors going on weekends and the number of photos posted of it I hardly feel it necessary.
I do feel it necessary to share some information about Lake Superior with you. I read an article about the ice coverage and found this interesting.“…on Feb. 19th ice spanned 80.3 percent of the lakes, according to NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Mich. The ice reached an even greater extent on Feb. 13, when it covered about 88 percent of the Great Lakes – coverage not achieved since 1994, when ice spanned over 90 percent. In addition to this year, ice has covered more than 80 percent of the lakes in only five other years since 1973. The average annual maximum ice extent in that time period is just over 50 percent. The smallest maximum ice cover occurred in 2002, when only 9.5 percent of the lakes froze over.” Something else I found interesting about Lake Superior is the fact it is at it’s normal water level for the first time in 9 years. It and the other great lakes have been at historically low levels for years now but Lake Superior is back on track. Most likely due to the amount of precipitation and snow we’ve received as well as the ice coverage that has prevented evaporation which normally occurs when there is no ice. “…Lake Superior now sits 13 inches above the level of March 1, 2013, and appears to be continuing an upward trend that started about one year ago. The lake has now pulled far away from its lowest points, when it hit monthly record lows in August and September 2007.
The last time the lake’s water level was at or above normal was April 2005, said Cynthia Jarema of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District.” http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/article/id/292713/group/homepage/
That is good news for our Great Lake Superior.
The 2014 Spring Application for Operation Round Up grants is now available! Local groups and organizations are encouraged to apply.Review the application guidelines and download an application HERE. Applications are due May 1st.
Do Not Resuscitate. That’s one meaning of the three letters strung together but it also means Department of Natural Resources. Sometimes I feel like I am critical of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in my blog posts and I guess sometimes I am. Maybe it is because I have such strong feelings regarding wildlife and our natural resources in Minnesota. Or maybe it’s because there is so much to be critical about. In either case this is a very interesting story about someone who has been allowed to work very closely with bears and who has charged people for experiencing things with him. Where did the money go? I don’t know, it’s just one of the questions I have about this DNR program.DNR: Lynn Rogers gave instructions for mouth-to-mouth bear feeding By Dave Orrick
firstname.lastname@example.org Posted: 02/28/2014 12:01:00 AM CST | Updated: about 13 hours ago Lynn Rogers Ely MN August 2011 Ely, Minn., bear researcher Lynn Rogers offers nuts from his mouth to a wild black bear. Behaviors like this by Rogers have drawn criticism. This photo, taken by a participant in one of Rogers’ courses, was obtained from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources via a public records request. Rogers never wanted it to become public. “I told people, please do not post this,” he said. “The public would not understand. We would lose credibility. … It would look like we were advocating that, which we’re not. It would make us look foolish, which it does.” Ely bear researcher Lynn Rogers gave tips to paying participants in his “bear course” on feeding bears from their mouths, according to sworn testimony and documents discussed Friday.
Among instructions from Rogers’ Wildlife Research Institute read before a judge in St. Paul on Friday was “Tip Number 4: Don’t offer bears food from your lips unless the bear is used to that.”
Lou Cornicelli, who oversees research permitting for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, read the instructions, which were provided to him by a former course participant and Rogers supporter who later became a critic.
Their veracity has not been challenged by Rogers in a fact-finding legal proceeding that has essentially outed his controversial research methods on trial.
After reading the instructions, Cornicelli said: “To me that’s just egregious . … You’re teaching people how to feed a bear from your lips.”
Course instructions also included advice for “reasonable safe hand-feeding” of bears.
“Keep the food coming at a rapid pace, handful after handful,” Cornicelli read. The instructions, from 2011, advised participants to not feed bears one peanut at a time. Cornicelli continued reading from them: “Some bears may bite to tell you to keep the food coming. This might cause a bruise. … It is not an attack.”
After reading the instructions, Cornicelli added, “What’s ‘reasonably safe’?”
Beginning in 2012, Rogers stopped instructing participants to have contact with bears; he prohibits it. His most recent DNR permit doesn’t allow touching of bears by anyone other than a handful of specific people, including Rogers and his associates.
But Friday’s testimony and evidence are at the core of the DNR’s allegations that Rogers’ practices have created a public safety hazard and amounted to entertainment and tourism, not scientific research.
Last year, the DNR refused to renew Rogers’ longstanding research permit, which allowed him to affix radio collars to bears and install video cameras in dens. Rogers has challenged the DNR decision and on Monday, a fact-finding legal proceeding before the state’s chief administrative law judge began.
The procedure is similar to a trial, with state attorneys acting as prosecutors and Rogers’ attorneys acting as defense. Rogers’ side has not yet put on his case.
Rogers has maintained that hand-feeding bears is an essential part of building trust with them, allowing him to walk with wild bears in the woods of his study area between Tower and Ely in northern Minnesota. But the DNR maintains that trust not only acclimates bears to people, but also makes them see people as a source of food. Earlier in the week, several residents of Eagle’s Nest Township testified that they frequently have encounters with bears that approach them and their houses and refuse to leave unless pepper-sprayed.Biologst Lynn Rogers is pictured checking the heart rate of Jo, a 2-year-old black bear, in September, 2010. Rogers’ request that the DNR prohibit the killing of collared bears was recently denied, sparking outrage from supporters. Photo courtesy of the Wildlife Research Insitute.
On Friday morning, Dave Garshelis, the DNR’s main bear expert, accused Rogers of acting more like a zookeeper than a scientist.
“With food, (Rogers is) conditioning behavior,” said Garshelis, a nationally recognized expert on bears. “In zoos, they do this all the time. They actually train animals.”
Rogers has said the trust he builds with bears allows him not only to affix radio collars without the use of drugs, such as tranquilizers, but also to conduct observations and research that otherwise would be impossible. Under questioning from Rogers’ attorney, Garshelis acknowledged that habituated bears have sometimes allowed scientists to gain insight into bear behavior by following them in the woods, but he disputed that much of Rogers’ work gleans valuable information.
“Real science,” Garshelis said, referring to current DNR research projects, involves implanting heart monitors that record “every heartbeat” along with GPS data about an animal’s location. “Sticking your hand under a bear to get a pulse in front of a crowd of people is a stunt.”
Rogers declined to comment on Friday’s testimony, saying he expects to testify himself, perhaps next week.
People, often not wildlife professionals, pay thousands of dollars for his bear course. They learn bear biology and behavior in classroom settings and venture into the field to observe Rogers and the wild bears he studies. What has emerged in testimony, as well as photos and videos, is that participants feed, pet and pose for photos with bears on the porch of the Wildlife Research Institute’s field station, a house in the woods where participants sleep and eat. In some images, Rogers and others are feeding the bears through windows.
At least two photographs that show mouth-to-mouth feeding, which Rogers critic Jill Lindsey said Rogers called “the bear’s kiss,” have gone public.
Rogers defended the practice, saying it shows that habituated bears aren’t dangerous. He also has said that the wider public “wouldn’t understand” such images, which is why he requested they not be disseminated publicly. It’s unclear to what extent the courses are connected with Rogers’ research. A number of course participants Friday said in social media posts that the two are unrelated. However, the radio collars allow Rogers to quickly locate the bears in the woods, allowing participants an opportunity not only to see a wild bear on a porch, but in its element.
It’s unclear how many people hand- or mouth-fed bears over the years. Earlier in the week, DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr suggested it could have been as many as 650 since 2002, a figure apparently based on attendance of Rogers’ courses, which are offered at various times throughout the year.
Cornicelli said when he began receiving reports, images and videos of the activities in the courses several years ago he became deeply concerned.
“I was convinced he was not doing research. Now I’m starting to see all this public safety stuff,” Cornicelli said. “With Ms. Lindsey, she sent us a lot of pictures. But that was one person from one course. They run eight courses a year. … It makes me think, ‘What else is out there?’ It bothers me a lot.”
Someone recently shared this video with me and not only does it have wonderful scenery from Yellowstone National Park it has great wildlife too. Best of all, I learned something by watching it and I hope you do too.
Sunday is the Ridge Rider Snowmobile Club’s annual Trout Derby on Gunflint Lake. It’s always a good time with lots of prizes, food and fun. The fishing contest begins at 9am at the Gunflint Lake boat access. Imagine the thrill of pulling up a fish like the one on this video, it could happen to you!
As part of this month’s Active Living Policy Committee meeting, the group of decision makers from across Cook County and Grand Portage discussed why active living is important.
So, why is active living important? Here are some of the reasons discussed at the February 6th meeting:
- Improve quality of life
- Tourism – quality of experience
- Sense of well-being
- Community interaction
- For all people
- Offering cheap transportation (and not having to risk safety)
- Public safety
- Family friendly
- Aging population
- Economic reasons – reduced health care costs among others
- Increased business opportunities
- Potential for reduced costs on infrastructure
- Save wear and tear on vehicle
- Reduce gas consumption/limited resources
There are many reasons why active living is important, for our community and for each of us as individuals. Our local decision makers greatly value the input of citizens and now is the time to provide your comments about active living in Cook County.
Comment on this post or email email@example.com. What do you think is missing from this list? Or what do you personally find the most important? We will share your comments with the Committee as they discuss the future of active living in our community.
2/28/14 - Our fabulous guides, Dave and Amy Freeman, were featured today in Minneapolis Star Tribune article.