DNR to hold open house on state forest trails in northern St. Louis and Lake counties

State forest trail use and management in northern St. Louis and Lake counties will be the topic of an open house, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 6-8 p.m., at Vermillion Community College, Room NS111, 1900 East Camp St., Ely.

During the open house, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources staff will provide maps of existing trails, answer questions and take comments and suggestions from the public.

Between 2003 and 2008, the DNR inventoried all routes and designated trails for various types of recreation within state forests.

This current project will reevaluate the designations made during the initial review of the Bear Island, Burntside, Insula Lake, Lake Isabella, Lake Jeanette and Sturgeon River state forests in St. Louis and Lake counties.


Visit Minnesota state forests near Ely for fall color driving tours

Finland State Forest

Driving a scenic route through a state forest is a great way to view fall color, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

“Routes through hilly or rugged areas dominated by deciduous trees tend to have the best mix of color,” said Jennifer Teegarden, DNR forestry outreach specialist. “And the dark green needles of conifers accent the yellow, orange and red leaves of deciduous trees in mixed forest.”
Northeastern Minnesota comes alive with fall colors each year as chlorophyll retreats from leaves to reveal underlying bursts of yellow, orange and red. With abundant public land and so many options for great fall color viewing, Minnesota’s scientific and natural areas (SNAs) are sometimes overlooked as a place to enjoy fall colors.


Ely Echo’s North Country 2016 Angler season ends

So many fish - So many anglers from all across the United States enjoyed the fishing and CATCHING in the Ely area. The Angler season ended with Labor Day, but there's lots of good fishing and hunting days ahead.

Here are the top catches from the 2016 Angler:

Catch & Release - Largest in 2016
24” Steve Kummer, Chicago, IL LaTourell’s Resort & Outfitters
30.5” Jim Haenke, Gilbert, MN Timber Trail Resort & Campground
51” Dan Tomczyk, Ely The Great Outdoors
40” Ryan McLean, Hayward, WI Babe’s Bait & Tackle


Forest Service green lights Prospector Loop ATV trail

The U.S. Forest Service announced Thursday it has approved the proposed Prospector Loop ATV Trail where it crosses federal land.
“This is a big step forward for the Prospector Loop,” said Prospector Alliance President Nick Wognum.
“This allows us to start preparing for future construction work on the section from Ely to Mattila’s Shelter. Once completed, that will connect Ely to Babbitt and to the North Shore,” said Wognum.
Kawishiwi District Ranger Gus Smith said in a letter he decided to approve the project “after considering public input and a thorough environmental analysis that occurred throughout the development of this project.
“This…will best meet the project’s purpose and need to accomplish safe and environmentally sound long-distance riding opportunities in this area of the forest.”
No objections were received during the 45-day objection period.


Rusch gives annual hunting forecast: Area deer herd now on the rebound

by Nick Wognum
Cooler nights are here already, a sure sign fall is right around the corner.
DNR wildlife manager Tom Rusch sat down last week to discuss what to expect afield this fall.
For the first time in 10 years we had back-to-back mild winters. Last winter our snow depth was never a significant factor on wildlife with less than 15 inches on the ground most of the winter.
This followed the winters of 2013 and 2014, both severe which put a hurt on the area deer herd.
With two mild winters, the number of fawns per doe is increasing, a main factor in rebuilding the herd.
“We have a lot of young deer out there but we don’t want to hit them too soon,” said Rusch.
Hunters can apply for antlerless permits in northeast Minnesota. For permit area 118, however, there are only 100 permits available.


Summer angling draws to a close in September

As the Ely Echo’s North Country Angler winds down for the summer of 2016, the largest fish are noted:
Catch & Release - Largest so far in 2016
24” Steve Kummer, Chicago, IL LaTourell’s Resort & Outfitters
30.5” Jim Haenke, Gilbert, MN Timber Trail Resort & Campground
47” Tyler Kikelly, Minnetonka, MN Packsack Canoe Trips & Log Cabins
40” Ryan McLean, Hayward, WI Babe’s Bait & Tackle

Caught & Kept - Largest so far in 2016
6-8 Joe Glass, Ft. McMurray Packsack Canoe Trips
14-0 Jay Williams, Flower Mound, TX Babe’s Bait & Tackle
11-8 Wesley Berninghaus, Montgomery, MN Silver Rapids Lodge
12-0 Danny Spaeth, Virginia, MN Babe’s Bait & Tackle

The Fishing Report by Captain Russ:


Snowmobile races in Winton August 13-14

The International Watercross Association will make a stop in Winton Aug. 13-14.
Snowmobiles will race on Fall Lake both days starting at 10 a.m. with live entertainment Saturday night.
“We are very excited to bring this event back for the 11th year in a row,” said committee member Kristi Mattila. “Having this here helps the economy with the racers and families that come in for the weekend.”
New this year will be a novice race on Saturday to encourage people to try racing snowmobiles on water.
“We’re calling to the Boundary Waters Cup, it’s a novice race to promote to get new racers in the sport. It’s just a $25 entry fee and as long as you have a tether on your sled, a helmet and a life jacket you can race,” said Mattila.
Anyone is interested in trying the Boundary Waters Cup they can call Kristi Mattila at 235-8940 for more information.
Returning this year will be the fundraiser race, Last Man Standing.


DNR offers tips to private forest owners dealing with storm damage

The recent blowdown in northern Minnesota caused major damage to state lands, as well as private forest lands. While landowners are not required to clean up downed trees and debris, the Department of Natural Resources is encouraging private forest owners and homeowners to consider salvaging and replacing damaged areas.

“Salvage and cleanup will likely be necessary to regenerate the forest and reduce the potential for wildfires and outbreak of insects and diseases,” said John Carlson, DNR private forest management coordinator. “The first step is to assess the extent of the damage and determine whether a timber sale is needed.”

Working in storm-damaged areas is dangerous; so Carlson strongly recommends that only foresters, loggers or tree care companies do the work. Consider hiring a consulting forester to help assess, sell and replant damaged forests.


ATV safety class offered by Minnesota DNR and Prospectors Loop Alliance in Tower this August

There will be a field day for the Minnesota ATV Safety Course on August 27 at 9 a.m. until approximately 1 p.m. at the Tower DNR Building.
A knowledge test and information session will be set up in the morning and a skills test on operating will be set up immediately after.
• Youth ages 11 and older can attend an ATV safety certification course and receive their certificate. The ATV Safety Certificate becomes valid at age 12.
• DNR ATV Certification is required of anyone born after July 7, 1987 to operate a ATV on public land in Minnesota.
The students will be asked to complete the online ATV safety course before the start of the class on Aug. 27.
Follow the links from the Minnesota DNR website at the top of the page click on (Education/Safety), from the drop down pick (Recreational Vehicle Safety Classes), next chose ATV Safety, from here you can read the options available.


Take a close look at Banded Jasper

by Bill Teftt. Photography by Ken Hupila of Snotty Moose Studio.


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