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Mosquitos in March?

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 Imgur.com with me. Thanks Kayla!

Minnesota Mosquitos

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The Eaglet has Pipped

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:  mndnr.gov/eaglecam  We also have a mobile website for users who prefer to watch via smartphones and tablets: http://www.webcams.dnr.state.mn.us/eagle/mobile.html
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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8 Rivers North Voyage Video

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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Double Dose of Voyageur

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.

1-888-CANOEIT.

 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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A Special Week

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.

MN DNR

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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Oh the Places We Will Go

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 7:53pm

And the things we will do. Sunday we left Grand Marais at 5:00am so we could get Abby to Duluth by 7:30am for her volleyball tournament.  We didn’t end up leaving the school until almost 7:00pm!

It’s amazing the things we will do for our kids. Or the places we will go for them. But soon they will be grown up and out of the house and then oh, the places we will go.

The things we will do. Like using an outhouse for the first 5 years of owning Voyageur Canoe Outfitters.

Oh the Places we will go. Like 10 sport and travel shows in the Midwest in one winter to market Voyageur.

Or the things we will do, like start a Half-Marathon on the Gunflint Trail.

Chapters of the book of our lives, being created at a break-neck pace only pausing long enough to replace the ink cartridge or add more paper to the printer.

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More to the Moose Story

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 3:17pm

I blogged a few days ago with the DNR Press Release regarding the Minnesota Moose Study.  The press release didn’t have too much information but an article by John Myers in the Duluth News and Tribune sure did. Thank you John for digging into the story and providing readers with some insight.

The DNR has learned something. It turns out wolves are killing moose. In 2008 a moose advisory group was put together by the DNR bu the DNR didn’t want to talk about wolf predation in any of the discussions. Is that because the answer was so obvious they wouldn’t be able to rationalize a full-blown moose study with collaring and killing calves if they admitted wolves were indeed killing moose?

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a biologist to determine moose were being killed and are being killed by wolves on the Gunflint Trail. The large number of calves they eat can and does affect the population.

The moose management and research plan was created by the 2008 moose advisory group and printed at the end of 2011. It is now 2015 and the plan is to capture and collar more moose calves even though they already know a large percentage of them die due to abandonment by the mother or because of guess what? Wolves.

According to Myer’s article, “Wolves have killed 69 percent of the collared calves, with bears a distant 17 percent. Most of the calves died within 30 days of being born. Other causes — such as disease, starvation, vehicles or natural abandonment — each accounted for just a few deaths each, Severud noted.

Correct me if I’m wrong but wouldn’t the adult human population decrease if 70% of the babies born were eaten by wolves?

The DNR doesn’t think wolves affect the adult population of moose but remember they didn’t even want to talk about wolves at all in 2008.  What’s that saying? “You’ve come a long ways baby.”

The study was almost shut down last year, bummer it wasn’t.

“We were at a point last summer when we almost shut it down. We were just getting hammered by some of the public and some legislators” because of the high rate of abandonment, DelGiudice said.

But DelGiudice, who spoke last week at a wildlife research symposium specifically on the problem of “capture-related mortality” in calf moose, said he and other researchers began to “figure out what works” by the end of last summer’s collaring effort.

If they continue to learn as quickly as DelGiudice then the only Gunflint Trail moose you see will be at the Minnesota Zoo. Some abandoned calves were taken there when their mother would no longer mother them after being collared.

Sorry for the rant but it really bothers me that moose calves are collared even though we already know many mothers will abandon them and 69% of them will get eaten by wolves. Move on, no more collaring moose calves.  And especially please stay the heck away from the end of the Gunflint Trail.

Moose on Sag Lake Trail

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Cold Days, Colder Nights

Sun, 02/22/2015 - 5:26am

It’s been a chilly February so far with many nights down into the negative double digits. We’ve had -28, -30, -34 and that is without windchill. The days have warmed up into the low double digits some days but at least those are above zero degrees.  We’ve had some nasty windchills too, here’s what we’re looking forward to today!

Weather Alerts Northern Cook / Northern Lake, Southern Cook / North Shore, Cook County Wind Chill Advisory issued February 22 at 3:09AM CST until February 23 at 10:00AM CST by NWS Duluth
Issued: Sunday, Feb 22 at 03:09 am
Expires: Monday, Feb 23 at 10:00 am
…DANGEROUSLY COLD CONDITIONS THIS MORNING AND LINGERING INTO
MONDAY MORNING…
.ARCTIC AIR MOVED INTO THE NORTHLAND THIS MORNING WITH
TEMPERATURES FALLING TO WELL BELOW ZERO DEGREES. THE COMBINATION
OF THE NORTHWEST WINDS AND VERY COLD TEMPERATURES WILL RESULT IN
WIDESPREAD DANGEROUS WIND CHILLS OF 30 TO 45 DEGREES BELOW ZERO.
THE WIND CHILLS WILL IMPROVE TO ABOUT 20 TO 30 DEGREES BELOW ZERO
THIS AFTERNOON…BUT DETERIORATE AGAIN TO 30 TO 40 DEGREES
BELOW ZERO TONIGHT AND EARLY MONDAY. THE COLDEST WIND CHILL
READINGS…BOTH THIS MORNING AND EARLY MONDAY…WILL BE OVER
NORTHERN MINNESOTA. SOME AREAS OF FAR NORTHERN MINNESOTA COULD GET
WIND CHILLS OF UP TO AROUND 45 DEGREES BELOW ZERO TONIGHT AND
EARLY MONDAY…SO ANOTHER WIND CHILL WARNING MIGHT BE NEEDED.
…WIND CHILL WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON CST TODAY…
…WIND CHILL ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO 10 AM CST
MONDAY…
* LOCATIONS…NORTHEAST MINNESOTA.
* TIMING…THE COLDEST CONDITIONS WILL BE THIS MORNING. CONDITIONS
WILL IMPROVE THIS AFTERNOON… THEN DETERIORATE AGAIN TONIGHT
AND EARLY MONDAY.
* WIND CHILL VALUES…35 TO 45 DEGREES BELOW ZERO THIS
MORNING…IMPROVING TO 20 TO 30 DEGREES BELOW ZERO THIS
AFTERNOON BEFORE DETERIORATING TO 30 TO 40 DEGREES BELOW ZERO
TONIGHT AND EARLY MONDAY.
* WINDS…NORTHWEST 5 TO 15 MPH…BECOMING WEST AND THEN SOUTHWEST
TONIGHT AND EARLY MONDAY.
* IMPACTS…FROST BITE AND HYPOTHERMIA CAN OCCUR IN A VERY SHORT
PERIOD OF TIME UNDER THESE CONDITIONS.

A WIND CHILL WARNING MEANS THE COMBINATION OF VERY COLD AIR AND WINDS WILL CREATE DANGEROUSLY LOW WIND CHILL VALUES. THIS WILL RESULT IN FROST BITE AND LEAD TO HYPOTHERMIA OR DEATH IF PRECAUTIONS ARE NOT TAKEN.

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Summer Thoughts

Sat, 02/21/2015 - 5:26am

Sometimes you have to think about summer just to get the chill out of your bones. We’ve had sunshine the past few days but it is nothing compared to the warmth of the summer sun. As the sun rises earlier and sets later it’s difficult to not think about summer when the days last forever and the nights are short. Even so the days past quickly especially ones when you’re camping in the Boundary Waters. Until I can lay on a granite ledge and soak up the warmth from the rock and the sun above I’ll have to settle for the fire in the woodstove and images of summer in my mind.

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Snow Sculpture for the BWCA

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 8:02pm

I absolutely love this snow sculpture!

A Perfect Snow Sculpture for the BWCA

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Visit the Ice Caves?

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 6:35am

Remember the craze over last year’s ice caves near the Apostle Islands? I do because I really wanted to visit them. The day I planned to visit them was super cold and windy and I ended up not making the ice hike out to see them. However, hundreds of thousands of people did make the trek, so many in fact the National Park Service decided to charge visitors for the experience this year.

When the announcement to charge a fee to visit the ice caves was made it rubbed me the wrong way. I felt like it was a little bit greedy. I know staff had to manage the parking lot and maybe pick up some garbage or give people directions or guidance but what else did they have to do? The fact the lake doesn’t always freeze over good enough to visit the ice caves anyway just made charging a fee seem a little bit ridiculous.

I know that it was just my personal opinion but sometimes Mike thinks I can cast a curse on things I don’t approve of.  So far this year no one has been able to see the ice caves because the ice to get there hasn’t been good enough.  I feel badly for the local businesses because they were able to make money in a normally slower time of the year last year and I’m sure they were hoping for a repeat of last year.

There’s not too much time left for the ice to form solid enough so visitors can pay their $5 each to see the ice caves this year. Is Mother Nature taking my side and trying to teach someone a lesson about implementing a fee?  Probably not, but I can think that anyway and if the ice does form, I’ll be in line with my $5 bill, reluctantly handing it over to make the voyage to the ice caves.

Ice caves on Lake Superior

 

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Vote and Vote Again for Grand Marais

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 2:35pm

Grand Marais, Minnesota is a cool town. This morning it was especially cool with a temperature of negative 11 degrees but that isn’t the “cool” I am referring to. I’m talking about the Budget Travel contest where you can vote on America’s Coolest Small Town. Grand Marais is close to winning the contest that ends next week but ponies and beaches in the state of Virginia are threatening to beat us out. In order to prevent that from happening everyone needs to cast their vote for Grand Marais, Minnesota today, and tomorrow and the next day and the day after that, and the day after that and so on until we are declared winners on February 26th, 2015.   PLEASE help us win the title, because after all, we really are cool, in so many ways.

Grand Marais, Minnesota

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Moose Population News

Tue, 02/17/2015 - 9:19pm

I haven’t been following the moose population study as closely as I normally do.  Hopefully I’ll have some time to read more about it but for now here’s the DNR press release with a link for more information.
Minnesota’s moose population remains at low levels

Data from the aerial moose survey just completed indicate that the downward trend in the statewide moose population continues, even though there has been no statistical change in the population during the past few years.

Results of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ annual aerial moose survey place the 2015 statewide moose population estimate at 3,450. This compares with estimates of 4,350 in 2014 and 2,760 in 2013.

“All wildlife population surveys have inherent degrees of uncertainty,” said Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager. “Long-term trend and population estimates are more informative and significant than annual point estimates.”

Overall, the number of moose is down approximately 60 percent from the 2006 estimate of 8,840.

The DNR has conducted aerial moose population surveys in northeastern Minnesota since 1960. A spotter counts moose as a pilot flies a helicopter across 52 randomly selected plots of 13 square miles.

“Survey conditions this year were generally good across moose range, although there was much less snow compared to last year,” said Cornicelli.

The DNR’s ongoing moose mortality research project also is providing important information on population status.

“This year, 11 percent of collared adult moose died, as compared to 21 percent last year.  Although adult mortality was slightly lower, which is good, the number of calves that survive to their first year has also been low,” Cornicelli said. “This indicates the population will likely continue to decline in the foreseeable future.”

The adult and calf moose mortality studies are in their third year. As part of several studies, researchers will radio collar an additional 36 adult moose in the next couple of weeks. Another 50 newborn calves will be collared this spring. Researchers hope information and insights gathered during the studies will help identify potential population and habitat management options that may stop or slow the long-term population decline.

Final decisions about moose hunting are made after the DNR consults with the affected Chippewa bands in the 1854 Treaty ceded territory of northeastern Minnesota. The DNR discontinued moose hunting in 2013 until the population could support a hunt.

The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and the 1854 Treaty Authority contribute funding and provide personnel for the annual aerial survey. Most of the funding for the ongoing moose research project is provided by the Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).

A copy of the 2015 aerial survey is available online at www.mndnr.gov/moose. The Web page also provides information on the DNR’s ongoing moose mortality research project.

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Great Snow on the Gunflint Trail

Mon, 02/16/2015 - 10:19pm

If you’re looking for a place to cross-country ski or snowmobile this winter then come to the Gunflint Trail. It’s a winter wonderland and there is plenty of snow to enjoy your favorite winter activities.  Folks have been out on the cross-country ski trails and are raving about the awesome condition of the trails. I have yet to get out and enjoy them my self but I’m thinking this is the week. The forecast looks favorable, I have my ski pass and I’m ready to go.  Now I just need to carve out a little bit of time so I can experience the wonderful trails myself.

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A Day Off

Sun, 02/15/2015 - 10:38pm

No school for the kids tomorrow so that means I don’t have to get up early. Yippeeeee! The older I get the more I value sleep. I can’t wait to sleep in.

Not sure what else is on the agenda tomorrow but with temperatures below zero I can’t think of any pressing reason to get up early!  Hope you enjoy your day off if you have it off.

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