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News and other information from Cook County

County agrees to lease state land to complete South Fowl snowmobile trail

Wed, 08/05/2015 - 9:55pm

Slow as the wheels of the government can be, they almost ground to a halt during the 12 years of environmental appeals and law suits filed by four environmental groups against the U.S. Forest Service in their efforts to halt the construction of a 2.2-mile snowmobile trail.

On July 28, 2015, Cook County Commissioners agreed to pay $1,380 to lease a small portion of land from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources  (DNR) so that the long-awaited South Fowl snowmobile access (Tilbury Trail) can be reestablished to connect McFarland and South Fowl Lakes.

The lease of .65 acres of state land is for 20 years.

The Forest Service is in charge of the snowmobile trail project, but will be assisted in building and maintaining the 2.2-mile trail by the Arrowhead Coalition for Multiple Use (ACMU) organization.

In 2003, then Gunflint District Ranger Dennis Neitzke closed the route after it was brought to his attention that the trail, which had been used by locals since the 1960s to access their cabins or to get to lakes so they could go ice fishing, encroached on the Boundary Waters Canoe Areas Wilderness (BWCAW) boundaries, which were established in 1978.

Neitzke sought to replace the trail, and the first public hearing was held in 2004. After 11 years of environmental studies and an estimated $100,000 in legal fees by the Forest Service, not to mention the dollars expended by Cook County, ACMU and the Conservationists with Common Sense, Judge John Tunheim ruled in favor of the Forest Service in February of 2015.

The trail was built through an area logged by Verl Tilbury in the ‘60s at the end of the Arrowhead Trail in Hovland, adjacent to what is now the BWCAW. Locals constructed and maintained the snowmobile trail connecting McFarland and South Fowl Lakes.

In 2015 the legal wrangling ended and the trail is now back on track to be opened.


DNR planning another conservative deer season

Wed, 08/05/2015 - 9:52pm

Hunters can expect another conservative deer season in 2015 as management continues to rebuild deer numbers across much of the state, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said.

"The 2015 deer hunting regulations will be quite similar to last year, with one-deer limits in most of the state," said Leslie McInenly, big game program leader for the DNR. "Hunters should check the 2015 regulations early, because in the majority of areas, hunters will need to apply for a permit to shoot an antlerless deer."

In 70 of Minnesota's 128 deer permit areas, hunters must be chosen in a lottery to shoot an antlerless deer. Only bucks can be hunted in 14 areas. In 29 areas, hunters have the choice of shooting a doe or a buck.

Bonus permits allowing hunters to shoot more than one deer may only be used in 11 permit areas and for some special hunts. In three southwestern areas, the DNR is restricting antlerless harvest to youth hunters only.

Hunters can buy deer licenses and apply to the lottery for antlerless deer permits starting Saturday, Aug. 1. Locally, lottery deer areas are permit areas 117, 126, 127 and 180. The deadline to apply for the lottery is Thursday, Sept. 10.

"Given the mild winter for most of the state and reduced harvest last year, we anticipate that hunters will be seeing more deer when afield, and we are already hearing from people that they are seeing more deer this summer," McInenly said. "We are continuing a conservative harvest approach in order to raise deer numbers consistent with our recent goal-setting process."

The 2015 season marks the second year of a management approach to rebuild deer populations based on goal setting and listening sessions that indicated a desire for more deer in many areas.

Grand Marais parks were "Picnic" busy

Wed, 08/05/2015 - 10:20am

The Rec Park was full, Harbor Park was busy, all in all the city’s park department was in high gear. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with park manager Dave Tersteeg about Fisherman’s Picnic.


'Dance ‘til there is No More' fundraiser for Violence Prevention Center, September 12

Tue, 08/04/2015 - 2:32pm

The Violence Prevention Center of Cook County is sponsoring a 2015 Dance Party Fundraiser: "Dance 'till There is No More!" North Shore Morning host Yvonne Mills spoke with the Center's Jodi Yuhassey and Marybeth Wilkes on North Shore Morning.

‘Dance ‘til there is No More’ is Saturday, September 12, at WTIP’s Radio Waves Music Festival. To learn more, contact the Violence Prevention Center at 387-1262.


Invasive Plants Workshop and 'Weed Pull' offered on August 9

Tue, 08/04/2015 - 12:12pm

If you’d like to learn more about identifying and controlling our local invasive plants, there will be a workshop and weed pull this weekend. WTIP volunteer Mary Manning spoke with invasive species coordinator Laurel Wilson on North Shore Morning. 

Date: Sunday, August 9, 2 pm – 4 pm
Location: Seagull Lake Fire Hall and Blankenburg Public Landing

Learn identification and control options for regional invasive plant species that invade our forests, in addition to hands-on experience helping to control invasive plants at Blankenburg Public Landing. Please bring gloves and wear a long sleeve shirt.

More information from Laurel at 387-3772.



Wood, Winds and Strings at Poplar Lake Fire Hall on August 9

Tue, 08/04/2015 - 11:58am

Plan a drive up the Gunflint Trail on Sunday afternoon, August 9, to enjoy music performed by local and guest musicians.  The Wood, Winds and Strings concert, a blend of contemporary and early music, will be held at the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department Station on Poplar Lake (Station 1) with a reception following, in the adjacent Schaap Community Center.  The concert starts at 4:00 p.m.

Featured this year is music by Bill Beckstrand, local composer and musician, who is widely known for his vocal and instrumental compositions.  His works are now performed throughout the country. You will also hear other delightful vocal and instrumental pieces, as well as music transcribed by Paul Jacobson for small chamber music ensembles.

This is an event for the whole family.  Tickets are $20/adult, $5/child ages 5-18.  Because of limited seating, tickets should be purchased in advance by contacting Susan Scherer ( or call 218-388-9494 to reserve seats.  

The concert is a benefit for the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department and the Gunflint Trail Historical Society.


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