‘Operation Dry Water’ enhanced BWI enforcement in effect statewide, June 24-26

Conservation Officer Adam Block on patrol.

In an effort to curb alcohol- and drug-related boating accidents and deaths, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officers and hundreds of other public safety officers are ramping up patrols for intoxicated boaters this weekend, June 24-26.

The enhanced enforcement efforts are part of Operation Dry Water – a nationwide annual campaign designed to draw more attention to the dangers of boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and the strict penalties in place for boating while intoxicated (BWI).

“We have zero tolerance for anyone found operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” said DNR Conservation Officer Adam Block. “Drunk boating is drunk driving, and carries the same consequences. Intoxicated boat operators will not get a warning; they will be arrested.”


DNR will spray herbicide to improve reforestation

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will begin herbicide applications on select state lands to improve reforestation efforts.
Applications will begin around July 15 and continue through approximately Sept. 15 to 70 acres.
“Herbicides will be sprayed on the ground to reduce competing woody vegetation,” said Dave Sopoci, Tower area forester. “This gives the tree seedlings a better chance to grow and survive.”
Herbicides will not be applied within 100 feet of any water body.
Signs will be posted on all herbicide treatment sites. Adjacent landowners within a quarter mile of the treatment sites have already been notified.
The DNR plants trees on state lands to reforest harvested areas, provide wildlife habitat, protect watersheds and maintain healthy state forests.


It’s orchid time again

With 30 species of wild orchids found in the Arrowhead Region of Minnesota, along with the breeding bird checklists that get pulled from a file electronic or otherwise, orchid enthusiasts are reviewing their orchid list. From the early spring appearance of fairy slippers, one after another species comes into bloom. A number of other orchids will be blooming soon including the ever popular variety of lady’s slipper species that look like small moccasins.
1. Dragon’s Mouth (Wild Pink), Arethusa bulbosa
2. Tuberous Grass Pink, Calopogon tuberosus
3. Fairy Slipper (Calypso), Calypso bulbosa var. americana
4. Spotted Coral-root, Corallorhiza maculata
5. Striped Coral-root, Corallorhiza striata
6. Early Coral-root, Corallorhiza trifida
7. Stemless Lady’s Slipper (Moccasin Flower), Cypripedium acaule
8. Ram’s Head Orchid, Cypripedium arietinum
9. Small Yellow Lady’s Slipper, Cypripedium parviflorum var. makasin


MDA to start gypsy moth fight in Ely

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is preparing to treat approximately 570 acres near Two Harbors and 565 acres in Ely to eradicate gypsy moth infestations detected last fall. Officials will conduct the treatments starting sometime between June 1 and June 15, with the exact date determined by weather conditions and caterpillar development.
In 2015, MDA’s trapping program identified these two isolated pockets of gypsy moth in the northeastern part of the state. Because of their locations, officials believe the gypsy moths likely arrived at the Ely and Two Harbors sites because of human activity.


North Country Angler - Biggest bass this week

BIGGEST BASS this week was the 22” smallmouth caught by Jessica Shaver, South Range, WI on a minnow in Shagawa Lake while a guest at Silver Rapids Lodge.


Backpackers first in two years to hike BWCA Pow Wow Trail

At the trailhead, l-r, Susan Pollock, Paul Ebert, Paul Stelter, Martin Kubik


Minnesota state parks make all campsites reservable and begin taking same-day reservations

Gooseberry Falls State Park, Tettegouche State Park and other Minnesota state parks on the North Shore are currently “full” for Memorial Day Weekend, but if people don’t have reservations yet there’s another opportunity next week, when hundreds of previously unreservable sites become reservable. The additional sites will open up not just for Memorial Day weekend, but for the entire camping season at each park.

Starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday, May 3, the additional campsites will be made available in three “batches,” based on Minnesota’s tourism regions.

Tuesday, May 3: State parks in southern Minnesota and Twin Cities metro area.

Wednesday, May 4: State parks in central and northwestern Minnesota.


Spring comes to Superior National Forest

Signs of spring can be seen across the Superior National Forest. Snow is gone from most of the west and central parts of the Forest and disappearing quickly in the east. Lakes and streams are breaking free of winter’s icy clutch. Tree buds are swelling and fringes of green are rapidly expanding in grassy openings. Other sure signs of spring include the re-opening of campgrounds and the beginning of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) quota permit season.


End of the portage

END OF THE PORTAGE into the Kawishiwi River near Three Mile Lake in this picturesque photo by Snotty Moose Studio photographer Ken Hupila.


New, $1.5 million ecology hall now open at North American Bear Center

by Tom Coombe for Ely Echo PROGRESS EDITION


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