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Grand Marais Wins Coolest Small Town

Boundary Waters Blog - Thu, 03/05/2015 - 7:46pm

Congratulations Grand Marais, Minnesota! Grand Marais was named Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Town of the Year! The town is invited to celebrate between 4pm and 6pm at Voyageur Brewing Company! We’re super excited about the win and the fact they have chosen our place to celebrate at.

Grand Marais Wins Coolest Small Town Contest Grand Marais Named America’s Coolest Small Town POSTED: 11:08 AM CST Mar 05, 2015


After a five-week long battle for votes, Grand Marais, Minn., has won Budget Travel Magazine’s 10th Annual America’s Coolest Small Town Contest.

Fifteen cool small towns from across the United States competed for the title, with the stiffest competition coming from Chincoteague, Virginia.

However, Grand Marais supporters met the challenge by garnering 30 percent of the vote.

Voting closed at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4.

“Supporters genuinely believe Grand Marais is America’s coolest small town,” says Linda Kratt, executive director of Visit Cook County. “There isn’t any other small town in the Midwest that has mountains and views of Lake Superior, the Gunflint Trail/Boundary Waters Canoeing Area gateway, as well as great dining, shopping, arts and music. Our visitors, generations of families and friends truly understand the unique character of our quaint harbor village. We thank you for your sustained support.”

“Budget Travel loves the way Grand Marais residents and visitors have this amazing enthusiasm for outdoor sports and the rugged wilderness and also a real appreciation and cultivation of the arts, from guitar-making to plein air painting. It is truly a uniquely cool community!” says Robert Firpo-Cappiello, editor in chief of Budget Travel magazine (

Visit Cook County is planning a “Toast to the Town” party on Friday, March 6, from 4-6 p.m. at Voyageur Brewing ( in Grand Marais.

About Visit Cook County

Cook County, Minn. includes the communities of Lutsen, Tofte, Schroeder, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail and Grand Portage.

Visit Cook County inspires guests to rekindle their sense of adventure by boldly escaping the ordinary, from Minnesota’s tallest mountains to its greatest lake shore.

Stay in touch via, Twitter @CookCoVisitors or Facebook.

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3/5/15 - As promised, here are some YouTube clips of my recent television appearance on WDSE's "The PlayList" with my musical partner, Eric Frost.

Sawbill Newsletter - Thu, 03/05/2015 - 11:10am

3/5/15 - As promised, here are some YouTube clips of my recent television appearance on WDSE's "The PlayList" with my musical partner, Eric Frost.

If you are really interested, here is a link to the whole episode. Eric and I start at about 13:00. Many thanks to Karen Sunderman, Steve Ash and the whole "PlayList" crew for including us in their efforts to highlight the booming music scene up here in little ol' Cook County!

Two other bands from the area will be featured on upcoming episodes. I've played with both of them in the past, so I'll post the links when they become available. - Bill

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3.5.2015 Not much new to say — this snow isn’t going anywhere soon

Bearskin Lodge Ski Trail Reports - Thu, 03/05/2015 - 9:36am

Beaver Dam Trail on March 4. Photo from the Baumann family.

No news in March is good news on the Central Gunflint Ski Trails. It snows, we groom, it snows again, we groom again.   Nothing has changed significantly, other than that we get more snow every few days.

We’ve had some years where the snow melted during the first week of March.  You can safely believe that melting is not an issue for Bearskin at this time.  We had -28 degrees this morning.  It should warm up this weekend a bit, but it’s still unquestionably winter up here. This will be a fantastic weekend to be here skiing, perhaps perfect — fresh snow, warmer temps, and a nice forecast.

Don’t forget, Bearskin serves soup and chili in the lodge every weekend.  Plan a lunch date in with your ski trip!  Or stop in at either lodge for a big cup of hot chocolate — tastes great after a day out on our beautiful trails.

Here are the latest numbers from the Baumann family:

Central Gunflint Ski Trail Conditions on 3-4-15

New Snow Last 24 hours:  2.63”

New Snow Last 7 days:  2.63”

Trail Base, Staked:  13.5” average

Snow in Woods, Staked:  Low 24”  /  High 28”

Groomed with classic tracks:  70 K

Groomed for skating: 53.4 K

Surface Conditions:  Fresh Packed Powder

Last grooming day:  3-4-15

Snowshoe trails:  Open

Total snowfall since Nov. 1:  72.50”

Comments:  We received a little over 2.5” of fresh snow yesterday; all trails have been freshly groomed again today, March 4th. Beautiful “March” weather is expected in the upcoming days and through the weekend with temperatures in the mid to upper 20’s – what wonderful conditions to spend your time outside skiing! Trail conditions are still fantastic, both for skate skiing and classic skiing!

Please contact Bearskin Lodge (1-800-338-4170) or Golden Eagle Lodge (1-800-346-2203) for specific conditions and grooming information on each trail or route. Central Gunflint Ski Pass required

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Where did growlers get their name?

Voyageur Brewing - Thu, 03/05/2015 - 8:22am

A few months ago my brother asked me why growlers are called growlers, and I honestly had no idea. I did some online searching, and found the following answer by Jonathon Green at from December 2, 2011. At the end of this thorough history, I’ll describe some of the various growlers available for purchase at Voyageur Brewing Company tap room.

“The growler, in this context, started life in the late 19th century. It was a container, usually a covered pail with a carrying handle, in which beer was purchased at a tavern, then brought home for consumption; thus there developed such compounds as growler money, growler boy (who fetched the beer), and growler bag (a bag used to mask the growler’s contents and thus make it ‘respectable’ for women to run the errand). Perhaps its best-known use was in the phrase rush the growler (also chase the growler or work the growler), which described the act of taking the container to a tavern, having it filled with beer and then bringing it home for drinking.

Although there has been much debate about its origins (see, for instance Gerald Cohen, Studies in Slang VI (1999) pp.1–20) the etymology remains unknown. Suggestions have included the growling, grating noise of the can as it slid, full of beer, across the bar, or the ‘growling’ or grumbling of the children who were sent on the errand, or the drunken arguing that ensued among recipients of the liquor.

It was first noticed by the press in the 1880s:

1883 Trenton (NJ) Times 20 June: The growler is the latest New York institution. It is a beer can, the legitimate outgrowth of the enforcement of the Sunday liquor law. Young men stand on the sidewalk and drink their beer out of a can, which, as fast as emptied, is sent to be refilled where-ever its bearer can find admittance. It is called the growler because it provokes so much trouble in the scramble after beer.

1884 Forest and Stream (N.Y.) 4 Dec.: ‘Mister, please give me a penny to fill me mother’s growler.* I had six cents and lost one o’ them down a grating, and she’ll beat me if I go home without the beer.’ *Originally ‘growler’ was applied by city tramps to the empty fruit caps into which they emptied stale beer from the kegs on the sidewalk. This act was termed ‘working the growler,’ but the word now covers, in low life, any receptacle for beer.”

At Voyageur we offer a glass, half-gallon growler ($5 deposit); a 64-ounce Nalgene river growler ($19); a 64-ounce stainless steel growler ($45); and a 64-ounce black Hydro Flask ($56). We are also happy to exchange or fill any growlers you already own. Whatever your favorite beer or destination, we have the appropriate vessel for you.


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Fishing Through the Ice

Boundary Waters Blog - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 8:47pm

Monday was Winter Exploratory Day for the Middle School and Josh and Mike went ice fishing with another father and his three sons.  It was a beautiful day outside and the sun was warm.  There weren’t too many bites during the day but one resulted in a fish of a lifetime for a 6th grade boy.  Lucas pulled in a 39″ lake trout that weighed almost 20 pounds!

If you’re looking to catch one like it then make sure you have a new fishing license as last years have expired.

20 pound lake trout


Minnesota Fishing News – March 2015
Time to buy your 2015 fishing license
Don’t forget: Your 2014 fishing license is expired.
Fishing licenses for 2015 are available from Minnesota Department of Natural Resources license agents, online at and by telephone at 888-665-4236 FREE. All 2015 fishing licenses are effective Sunday, March 1, through Monday, Feb. 29, 2016.
Purchase online via smartphone and you won’t receive a conventional paper license. Instead, a text message or email serves as proof of a valid fish or game license to state conservation officers. A printed copy of the text or email also can serve as proof of a valid license. Sports licenses, which include some hunting privileges, also expire at the end of February each year.
New regulations, more opportunities for anglers
New regulations will provide more fishing opportunities – and in some cases bigger fish – for anglers who want to fish for bass, sturgeon, muskellunge, catfish and trout. Changes include:
Bass. New catch-and-release bass season is Saturday, May 9, until harvest season opens Saturday, May 23, in all but northeast Minnesota. In northeast (essentially north and east of U.S. Highway 53), no change in spring but fall closure is lifted, allowing smallmouth bass harvest in northeast through Feb. 28, 2016.
Sturgeon. New catch-and-release season for lake sturgeon is Tuesday, June 16, until April 14, 2016 on inland waters and Minnesota waters bordering North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa. No fishing for lake sturgeon each year April 15 to June 15, to protect sturgeon during spawning season. Seasons differ on Minnesota waters bordering Canada and Wisconsin. Anglers also will find new regulations for shovelnose sturgeon.
Muskie. Minimum length limit to keep a muskie is 54 inches. Previous limit was 48 inches. Exceptions apply for muskie-northern pike hybrids, also called tiger muskie, in the seven-county metro area, where minimum length limit remains 40 inches on certain lakes.
Flathead catfish. Season will close for winter. Season is Wednesday, April 1, to Monday, Nov. 30.
Trout. Expanded seasons for stream trout, both in streams and winter fishing in lakes.
See for season dates. For more details, and special regulations for individual waters, see the 2015 Minnesota Fishing Regulations booklet, available at any license agent or online at and

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3/4/15 - You may have seen some recent news reports about a proposed "Sawbill" radio tower.

Sawbill Newsletter - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 10:19am

3/4/15 - You may have seen some recent news reports about a proposed "Sawbill" radio tower. The tower in question is actually located 3.5 miles southeast of Sawbill, near Marsh Lake. It's part of a statewide public safety radio network known as the ARMER network.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is in charge of building the system and they requested a lease of county land to erect a 330' tower on the site. The Cook County Board of Commissioners voted last week to restrict the tower to be less than 200'. Not only will the lower height make the tower much less visible, but it will not be lighted.

The 330' option would have been visible, both day and night, from many lakes, campsites and portages within the BWCA Wilderness including Alton, Sawbill, Smoke, Burnt and Kelly lakes.

It was gratifying to watch the county commissioners carefully study the issue, listen to their constituents and settle on a solution that everyone can live with. - Bill

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A Grand Marais pep fest

Unorganized Territory - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 2:32pm

Unless you have been living under one of the ubiquitous ice-covered rocks along the North Shore, you know that Grand Marais is in the running for the Budget Travel magazine title of America’s Coolest Small Town. I’ve been voting as often as the magazine website will let me. I think it’s a well-deserved honor. I love our little harbor town.

Even in the recent cold spell—which could earn Grand Marais the title of America’s Coldest Small Town—I appreciate being here. I love that the drive down the hill from my house in the woods of County Road 7 to downtown Grand Marais is always different.

No matter what street I turn on to reach downtown Grand Marais, the lake and the sky are there to welcome me. But I never know what welcome I will receive. Some days the vista is pure blue, with no apparent separation between the earth and sea. Other days the sky is bright blue with huge cotton ball clouds or wisps of white hovering over periwinkle water. There are days when the sky is gray and the wicked water is darker gray with foaming white caps.

For quite a few days in February the water was hidden under a sheet of ice with a dusting of snow. Today though, the lake had changed yet again. When I turned onto 8th Avenue, I saw that the part of the harbor was open. The white ice sheets were stacked, floating almost in a circle around the west break wall.

The beautiful Grand Marais harbor!

With all the votes that Grand Marais has received in the America’s Coolest Small Town contest, it is apparent that I am one of thousands who loves Grand Marais. Or I’m one of thousands who is fiercely competitive. I want my hometown to beat the likes of Fort Myers Beach, Florida; Old Orchard Beach, Maine; Pismo Beach, California; Snohomish, Washington; or Washington, North Carolina. All with more residents than we have in our entire county!

Despite the larger size of those cities, I’m confident that we can win this race. The contest has become a pep rally of sorts, like the uproarious event before a big game. Casting my vote for Grand Marais makes me feel like I’m back in school, answering the cheerleaders’ call, “C’mon 7th grade, don’t be shy, stand & give your battle cry!”

“V-I-C-T-O-R-Y! That’s the 7th grade battle cry!” was the answer the 7th graders and 8th graders; the 9th and 10th graders, the juniors and seniors would shout. My friends and I would scream ourselves hoarse trying to be louder than the other classes.

The competitive drive was stoked when Grand Marais was oh-so-close to winning—ahead by about 4 percentage points—when Budget Travel extended the voting deadline from February 25 to March 4. The injustice of it all infuriated many voters. We were well in the lead as the February 25 deadline passed.

But voting has taken a nice jump since then. Just as each class at a pep fest got progressively louder, egged on by the chance of failure, Grand Marais supporters are hanging in there, persistently clicking to vote for Grand Marais as often as the system will let them. If you’re not clicking to claim V-I-C-T-O-R-Y, join us. Click and vote at .

If we don’t win, if one of the towns is able to mount a last-minute voting rush to defeat us, there will be a lot of disappointed people. But it’s okay. The consolation prize is pretty good. We get more than a pretty picture on the cover of Budget Travel magazine—we get to live in that picture!

I would like to spend my
whole life traveling,
if I could borrow another life
to spend at home.

William Hazlitt

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Please Stop Collaring Moose Calves

Boundary Waters Blog - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 11:00am

A friend and cabin owner at the end of the Gunflint Trail is fed up with the collaring of moose calves. I too am not in favor of the DNR collaring calves and she has started a petition on  To sign the petition you just need to visit the website and click the link. PLEASE help Save moose calves and sign the petition.

Here’s what the letter says…

Stop the DNR study which collars newborn moose calves. Staggering mortality of calves associated with abandonment by moms after researcher contact

We all love our Minnesota moose population.  They are a treasure to our state and a wonder to behold.  The Minnesota moose population has significantly decreased over the past 10 years and I agree that research plays a critical role in trying to identify causal factors for these numbers.  However this current research project by the Minnesota DNR under the lead of Glenn DelGiudice appears to be contributing to the demise of moose numbers. Collaring newborn moose calves resulted in 19 out of 25 calves being abandoned by their mothers or requiring rescue according to the Duluth News Tribune.  According to DelGiudice, no previous research had ever noted the high level of abandonment and he is using the sour results as a teaching moment.  ”We were the first ones to do this, ever, anywhere and we knew there were going to be issues…..we just didn’t expect them to be like this”  according to DelGuidice.  The 2013 study results were dismal, but the 2014 numbers were even less successful with much higher calf mortality / abandonment noted. They have received funding to continue the newborn calf collaring starting in May and want to increase their sample size which I believe constitutes a larger number of dead calves.   Below I included a link to the Duluth News Tribune article by John Myers from 2/23

Check out this article

I would like to think that the DNR should be part of the solution and NOT part of the problem with respect to our Minnesota moose population.  Interfering with newborn wildlife has NEVER been a successful endeavor and it appears that it still holds true.  Keep the research to the Adults and give the moose babies a fighting chance.

If you agree with this forum then please sign the petition and share with others.

Petitioning Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

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Making the North Shore Even More Beautiful

Boundary Waters Blog - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 10:18am

It looks like the US Forest Service is going to make our beautiful North Shore of Lake Superior even more beautiful with their newest project.  Read their press release for details.
Natural Resource Conservation Service and Forest Service
Team Up with Partners on Lake Superior North Shore Coastal Forest Restoration
DULUTH, MN  February 26, 2015 – As part of a national partnership, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service and Natural Resource Conservation Service are coordinating technical resources and funds totaling $200,000 to support forest restoration efforts along the North Shore of Lake Superior.
Since much of the North Shore is in private ownership, a concerted effort between public and private landowners is essential to achieving forest restoration at a landscape scale. Thanks to this new partnership, agency personnel will be jointly dedicated to coordinating small scale work on private land with larger scale activities on National Forest System land. Through consolidation, treatments will be more economical and seamless.
Will Bomier with the Natural Resource Conservation Service says:  “This project is a unique and critical opportunity to put ‘boots on the ground’ to engage private landowners while expanding restoration efforts on public land.”
In the North Shore project, restoring long-lived conifers and other native species is critical to developing a forest that is resilient in the face of climate change and other disturbances. By improving the health and resiliency of the forest landscape, this effort will help to protect the tributaries that impact water quality in Lake Superior, mitigate wildfire threats to landowners and communities, provide critical wildlife and fish habitat, as well as maintain the visual corridor along Highway 61, a National and State Scenic Byway.
This project is part of a larger landscape restoration effort along the North Shore of Lake Superior being led by the North Shore Forest Collaborative. The Collaborative is made up of more than 30 entities who are committed to large-scale restoration of the coastal forest, including:  Tribal, federal, state and county agencies; non-profit organizations; and private landowners.
“The North Shore Forest Collaborative is a great example of the synergy generated when public and private landowners work across boundaries to accomplish common goals. It is an outstanding model of private-public collaboration.” stated Richard Periman, Deputy Forest Supervisor, Superior National Forest.
The North Shore project is one of fifteen projects located across the country that were selected for a total of $10 million in funding as part of the Chiefs’ Joint Landscape Restoration Partnership in 2015. This is the second year of the national partnership between the Natural Resource Conservation Service and Forest Service that is intended to improve conditions on public and private lands.
In addition to USDA agency investments, partners are contributing more than $5 million in the 2015 projects over three years in financial, technical and in-kind services. These fifteen new projects, coupled with thirteen projects announced last year, will help mitigate wildfire threats to communities and landowners, protect water quality and supply, and improve wildlife habitat for at-risk species in high priority landscapes across the U.S. Summaries of all projects selected can be found at:
Funding of these projects was made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill. The 2014 Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life.

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Spring Cleaning

Gunflint Lodge - Sun, 03/01/2015 - 10:08am

It has warmed up today.  After a night at minus 30 and another at minus 25, to wake up to zero was really nice.  The other thing is that I am starting to notice longer days.  It gets light earlier and dark later.  Now we still have short days but there is hope for spring.  Also the warmer sun has helped melt the snow off the main road.  Bruce has even got interested in grilling.  Yesterday he spent some time shoveling the snow off our grill.  As you can see, there was quite an accumulation of snow.  Maybe we will grill some steaks for dinner. 
Even though tomorrow is March, that does not mean that the snow will stop coming.  In fact we often get a fair amount to snow in March.  It makes for great skiing because the weather is warmer, we have a great base and you can even get a tan while skiing.  It was so bright today while we were eating lunch in the lodge that you had to squint to see anything.
Another great sign of spring is that the birds are really coming back.  Today I have seen hairy woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers, gray jays, blue jays, pine grosbecks, chickadees, rose breasted nuthatches and red polls.  Mixed in with them are squirrels and one pine martin.  With them all flying about it keeps the feeders empty.
Another sign of spring is that I feel like I should really be cleaning the house.  This is not one of my favorite projects.  Dusting is really low on my list.   I am, however, making a valiant effort to improve things.  Bruce and I are usually pretty good about picking up stuff.  Getting the wash done and cleaning up promptly after meals is easy.  My mother drilled into me the need to make your bed every day.  All this leaves cleaning bathrooms, dusting and vacuuming on the list.  So I am making the great effort now.  Eventually I will get there.  The trouble is that then it is time to clean again.
Bruce just called and I went down to the lodge to give a little help at the front desk.
So it is now Sunday morning.  For the first time in a long time we had a morning temperature above zero.  We also have a dusting of snow.  It is hard to think of spring this morning with a few snowflakes in the air.
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Mosquitos in March?

Boundary Waters Blog - Sun, 03/01/2015 - 6:25am

There’s one good thing about living in the frozen tundra of the North Country, we don’t get mosquitos until May! Some places in the south get mosquitos as early as March. Planning to travel around the United States? Check out this mosquito chart first.

Kayla Matthews shared this chart created by Mosquito Magnet she found on with me. Thanks Kayla!

Minnesota Mosquitos

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The Eaglet has Pipped

Boundary Waters Blog - Sat, 02/28/2015 - 6:30am

I wanted to say, “The eagle has landed.” but that would not have been true. The eaglet has pipped is true and by now it may have even hatched. This is a super cool project you should check out, their Facebook Feed has some amazing photos like the one below.

Eagle eggs are hatching!

By now most followers have probably heard that the first eaglet pipped yesterday, Feb. 24 – right on schedule! The adults laid their eggs about a month earlier than last year, and experienced many days of subzero temperatures. Despite this, the adults have done an excellent job keeping the eggs warm, and it appears to be paying off. If you missed the pipping yesterday, several great photos and videos were captured that can be viewed on our Minnesota Nongame Wildlife Program Facebook Page (you DO NOT need a Facebook account to view these images).

The main EagleCam feed can be viewed at:  We also have a mobile website for users who prefer to watch via smartphones and tablets:
More Q & A

Q: What does “pip” mean?

A: Pip is the term used to describe the first crack and hole in the egg created by the eaglet as it tries to hatch. After pipping, an eaglet may remain in the egg for a day or two before emerging completely.

Q: How do eaglets know when to hatch?

A: Just like chicken eggs, eagle eggs have yolk that feed the developing embryo. The egg contains just enough nutrients to allow the embryo to develop into a young eaglet that is strong enough to escape the egg, survive a few days outside the egg without feeding, and take solid food from the parents. Do not be concerned if you do not see a recently emerged eaglet being fed right away.

Q: Is it too cold for the eaglets?

A: Minnesota’s wildlife are tough critters and are adapted to survive Minnesota’s frigid cold and sweltering heat. There are many challenges ahead for these eaglets, including extreme weather, but these adults have shown complete dedication to their offspring.

Q: I saw a dead bird in the nest, did one of the eaglets die already?

A: We have no reason to think the first eaglet has perished. The adults have brought a couple pigeons into the nest, including one that is within the nest bowl, and we suspect people are mistaking these prey items for the eaglet.

Q: Is DNR planning to name the eagles?

A: Because these eagles are wild animals and because the Nongame Wildlife Program is a scientific agency, we want to focus on observing natural behavior, and avoid emotional attachment to these wild animals.  Therefore, we do not feel it is appropriate to give them names.

Q: Do all eagles that hatch survive to fledging?

A: Estimates of fledging success vary for a wide variety of reasons, but in general nests experience some eaglet mortality before fledging.

Q: How can I help eagles?

A: There are many ways to help eagles in Minnesota and beyond. Donating to the Minnesota Nongame Wildlife Program is one way. Also using and encouraging others to switch to non-lead ammunition and fishing tackle.


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Where are We in February?

Unorganized Territory - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 2:56pm


Where are we?

Our January WHERE ARE WE? location turned out to be pretty easy. We had a few wrong guesses, but most people recognized the shoreline near Five Mile Rock, near Mile Marker 116. Thanks Kristi Silence for sharing the lovely photo.

And congratulations to Olya Wright of Grand Marais! Olya was drawn from all the correct entries and she and her parents will receive a free one-year subscription to the Cook County News-Herald.

Try your luck! Take a look at the February photo. If you think you know where we were when we took this picture, send us your answer. You don’t have to be the first to reply. The location will be announced next month and a winner will be drawn from all the correct answers.

Whoever is drawn will win a free one-year subscription to the Cook County News-Herald (a $32 value). Good luck!

Answer to the February WHERE ARE WE? must be received by March 16, 2015.

Send your entry to:
Cook County News-Herald
PO Box 757
Grand Marais MN 55604

Drop it by our office at:

15 First Avenue West
Fax: 218-387-9500
Questions? 218-387-9100

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Music and More from Voyageur Brewing Company

Voyageur Brewing - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 11:06am

We’ll be having live music again this weekend at Voyageur Brewing Company in Grand Marais, Minnesota.  On Friday night Pete Kavanaugh will be joining us from 8pm-11pm and on Saturday night Jim and Michelle Miller will be there from 8pm-11pm.  We hope you will join us for some great entertainment, tasty appetizers and delicious beer this weekend.

And for the more part here’s a neat info-graphic about Craft Beer Pubs in London from Carl Westwood.

Created by Carl Westwood

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8 Rivers North Voyage Video

Boundary Waters Blog - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 6:20am

Check out the beautiful scenery, amazing wildlife and real life Voyageurs in this video made by trip participant Kari Smerud. Oh how I long to paddle with the likes of them.

If you want to hear about their trip Kari and Tessa will be presenting at the Far North Symposium at Metro State University in St. Paul, MN on March 21, 2015. I wish I could go see them, someone should videotape it and upload it to Youtube so I can see it!

Take the time to view the video, it’s worth it.


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Top shelf research

Unorganized Territory - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 12:56pm

It is time to do the column I set out to do several months ago before I was distracted by coffee cups. I can hear my friend Dan in Florida laughing, “You and your coffee mugs!” but honestly, I did not set out to do a series of essays on cups. I meant to write an Unorganized Territory about a silly thing that takes place at the News-Herald office nearly every day.

As an introduction to the need for a scientific—or semi- scientific— study of our office phenomena, I recalled a silly investigative report on the Today show. Readers may remember that I spent several inches of column space sharing the results of a study done in Australia on whether or not the color of your coffee cup makes a difference in the taste of your java.

According to the people who conducted the study for Flavour magazine, the color does make a difference. But who really cares? Why conduct this coffee cup study?

No explanation is given in the report as to why Flavour magazine publishers felt this was important. So we will be left to wonder.

However, I do have a reason for wanting to do an investigation into the odd human response to a simple shelf in the News-Herald office. I want to do a study just because I want to know why!

So what is this intriguing behavior? It’s not the fact that nine out of 10 people call or come in to the office to renew their “prescription” instead of “subscription.” That makes perfect sense to me. The words just get jumbled up in the average brain.

No, the weird thing that happens day after day, year in and year out, has been noticed by all of us in the office. It isn’t just me. All of us at one time or another have chuckled and wondered.

The scene of the top shelf mystery…

Here’s the scenario. We have a metal shelf next to the front counter. The top shelf is slanted a bit, to better display whatever is on top. The other shelves are typical horizontal shelves. There are three horizontal shelves. Each week when the current edition of the News-Herald arrives, we move the newspapers down a shelf. So, at any given time we have four issues of the News-Herald on the shelves, with the most recent issue sitting on the very top, slanted shelf.

Sounds like a reasonable way to display the paper, right?

Apparently it is not. Because inevitably, someone enters the office to buy a copy of the News- Herald. They approach the metal rack. They peruse the shelves. And they reach for the older newspaper on the second shelf.

At least once a day, one of us in the office has to say, “The most recent issue is on the top….The very top…The top shelf there,” as we point to the current issue.

For a very long time I thought it just happened to me. Then one day, someone else mentioned that people never seem to want to take the papers off the top shelf. After that we all became aware of the odd habit of newspaper-buying people. And we all wonder why.

I think that we should conduct a study to find out why people are hesitant to take papers off the top shelf. Sillier things have been done.

Look at all the research that received the “Golden Fleece Award” from the late Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire. Studies by the National Science Foundation for comparing aggressiveness in sun fish that drank tequila versus gin; a Department of Defense study on how to buy Worcestershire sauce; or a NOAA study on whether or not marijuana is harmful to scuba divers and more.

Where do we apply?


Research is what I’m doing
when I don’t know what I’m doing.

Wernher Von Braun

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Be a Part of History!

Clearwater Lodge Tales - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 7:27am
With our upcoming centennial season fast approaching we want to offer the opportunity for past, present and future guests to honor a loved one, or celebrate and commemorate family memories at Clearwater with a Centennial Walkway paver.  These bricks will be used to fill in the existing walkway from the …

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Double Dose of Voyageur

Boundary Waters Blog - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 6:31am
Did you receive our email newsletter yesterday? If not then head on over to our website and sign up for our newsletter so you won’t miss out on any other emails from us.  We’ve got a deal from Voyageur Canoe Outfitters that includes something special from Voyageur Brewing Company! V.C.O. Complete Outfitting Wilderness Trip Special!  $100 off of our four-day Complete Outfitting Package. As a special treat for craft beer drinkers we’re including a BWCA friendly River Growler filled with a craft beer of your choice from Voyageur Brewing Company in Grand Marais, Minnesota.  Located on Highway 61 with a magnificent view of Lake Superior you’ll want to stop in before and after your canoe trip for a cold beer and delicious appetizer. Sale Ends 3/3/15.    $451  $351 for a Four Night Complete Outfitting Package + Growler + Fill Rates are per person. Click on text to purchase. The Details: Almost everything is included in our completely outfitted packages except permits and fishing licenses. We include all of the gear necessary to successfully experience a Boundary Waters or Quetico canoe trip. We also supply and pack the food, and we just updated our menu and have a tasty lightweight selection of meals for you to choose from. We even have vegetarian and vegan options available! This package also includes a cozy bunk stay the night before your permit entry date, a routing session and orientation, a hot pancake breakfast in the lodge and refreshing shower service upon return from your wilderness trip. We want to make your trip preparation as easy and painless possible, all you need to bring is clothes, personal items, toiletries and any fishing gear you may want and we will supply the rest!  The Fine Print:

Packages are only available for entry point 54 Seagull or 55 Saganaga. There is an additional shuttle fee for transportation to other entry points. You do not need to know your travel dates to purchase this special deal. You can purchase the voucher and then when you have decided on your trip dates call us so we can reserve your entry point into the wilderness.  Approximately one week prior to your trip we’ll email you the coupon for Voyageur Brewing Company which must be presented at their location in Grand Marais. There is no cash value for the coupon and it is only good during regular business hours. Due to the Minnesota State Law growlers may not be filled on Sundays.If you must cancel your reservation then we’ll credit the amount paid for the voucher to a future trip with Voyageur for the 2015 paddling season which opens when the ice goes out and ends September 15th, 2015.



Last Chance to Get Your Hands On Our Gently Used Gear!  Wenonah Ultra-Lite Seneca 3 Person Canoe (Used Two Seasons Only) Excellent Condition $1500 

In a Nutshell:

A full price deposit holds your canoe. Your deposit is refundable if after your inspection you decide not to purchase the Kevlar canoe. We can help make delivery arrangements to areas around the Twins Cities and possibly Wisconsin, Ohio, Illonios and Indiana. We can also make arrangements to store your canoe until next season. Please call or email us with any questions you may have.


 Gently Used Granite Gear Packs $125 1. Quetico 2. Superior One The anatomically designed harness system and foam padded back panel hugs your body and puts the weight of the load close to your back and on your hips. Heavy-duty side lift handles and haul loop make lifting the pack out of the canoe and putting it on your back a breeze! Granite Gear Quetico Pack (#3 Pack) Capacity- 82 Liters Dimensions-41 x 64 x 23 cm Granite Gear Superior One Pack (#4 Pack) Capacity- 121 Liters Dimensions- 51 x 63 x 30 cm
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2/25/15 - It's real winter here now, with roughly three feet of pure white snow on the ground and consistently cold temperatures.

Sawbill Newsletter - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 3:38pm

2/25/15 - It's real winter here now, with roughly three feet of pure white snow on the ground and consistently cold temperatures. The Sawbill Trail is beautiful, but mostly snow covered. Here is a picture of what happens when a long, snowy road is combined with -20 degree temperature.

The most common question we get during the summer months is "What do you do in the winter?" For me, playing music with my friends is one of my favorite winter (or any season) activities. Recently, Eric Frost and I were taped for appearance on the "PlayList" on WDSE - Channel 8, the public TV station in Duluth. Our set will be broadcast tomorrow, at 9 pm and repeated at 3:30 pm on Sunday. I'll post the YouTube version here on the newsletter as soon as it's available. - Bill

Here is last week's edition of the Cook County West End News from WTIP-FM, North Shore Community Radio.

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A Special Week

Boundary Waters Blog - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 3:31pm

I bet most of you didn’t realize we  are in the middle of National Invasive Species Awareness Week. It seems kind of strange to me to have picked February 22-28th, 2015 for the dates but maybe there wasn’t anything else going on to celebrate?

I guess there are other parts of the United States that are not covered in 3 feet of snow so there is still potential to spread invasive species. On the Gunflint Trail we’re pretty safe right now because even where there isn’t good snow cover most plant life ceases to exist with the freezing cold temperatures we have.

In any case, three months from now when the thaw begins we can look back on this special week and remember how to help prevent the spread of invasive species.


Q: I heard that National Invasive Species Awareness Week is in February. What can I do to prevent the spread of invasive species when I’m out on the trails this spring?

A: Whether you are hiking, running, biking, or riding your horse or off-highway vehicle, it’s important to make sure you don’t accidently move invasive species from place to place. The “PlayCleanGo: Stop Invasive Species in Your Tracks” campaign offers these simple steps to help prevent the spread of invasive plants and animals:

Arrive with clean gear.
Burn local or certified firewood.
When horseback riding, us local or weed-free hay.
Stay on the trails.
Before leaving, remove mud and seeds from your gear.
By following these steps, you can help protect your favorite recreation spot from invasive species.

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