National Forest Survey starts today in Superior National Forest


October 1, 2015 - Duluth. Beginning today, and continuing through the coming year, you may see Forest Service employees wearing uniforms and bright orange vests in developed and dispersed recreation sites and along Forest Service Roads within the Superior National Forest. They will be near a sign that says "Traffic Survey Ahead". These folks are well-trained interviewers who want to know about your visit to the Superior National Forest. The information they are collecting helps the Forest Service understand visitor use on national forests.


Freemans set off for year-long BWCAW trek

by Tom Coombe

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is familiar ground for Dave and Amy Freeman.
But for the next year, the couple will also call it home.
Earlier this week, the Freemans paddled away from shore near Ely and began a 365-day trek through the wilderness, as part of an ongoing effort to raise awareness about - and rally opposition against - proposed copper-nickel mining projects in the region.
For a full year, the couple will live in tents, stay at as many as 120 campsites...
While they’ll be roughing it for a year, the couple will have modern conveniences including a computer and satellite terminal that will allow them to communicate with the rest of the world.
The couple applied for and received one continouus, 365-day permit to be in the BWCAW,... The Freemans will spend about $45,000 on their adventure...

Read the complete article in this week’s Ely Echo


Forest Service warns about foraging bears

Bears are really active right now—the Forest Service has received bear reports from the old Service Center on Central Ave. in Ely, to the Passi Road on Burntside to the large island in the South Arm of Knife Lake and even Lakes One and Two in the BWCAW.

Now is the time to put bird feeders away, secure garbage, and be extra mindful when camping in the BWCAW. Please remember, coolers are NOT bear resistant containers. Take extra care when hanging a food pack.

Once a bear gets hold of food or garbage it will return many times to the same site looking for more food. Bears that have found a source of food may damage your property and be a risk to you, your family and pets, your neighbors, or the next campers to use your campsite. Save a bear by securing your food, garbage, and bird feeders until the bears start their winter nap.


Hunting forecast: Grouse numbers are up, deer herd finally recovering

by Nick Wognum

A week from today is the start of the small game and archery deer hunting seasons. Bear hunters have been in the woods since Sept. 1.
DNR wildlife manager Tom Rusch sat down recently to discuss what to expect afield this fall.

The season starts Sept. 19 but what kind of year it’s going to be is still up in the air.
“Here’s my take on it, August is too early to make judgements,” said Rusch.
Last year 11 inches of rain in June put a huge dent in the population. The weather this year was much better in May and June for grouse.
“Drumming counts were 1.3, the same as the year before,” said Rusch.
Pressed for a prediction, Rusch said signs point to a good season.
“You couldn’t have designed a better prescription for upland birds to survive this year. I’m still optimistic. We’re at mid-cycle from the crash in 2009 so we should keep building,” said Rusch.


Record paddle of 212 miles across BWCA in 100 hours

by Ann Raiho
Two women, Claire Jencks and Ann Raiho, paddled from Crane Lake near Voyageur National Park to Lake Superior along the historic border route in 100 hours from July 20 to July 24, 2015. The purpose of this adventure was to paddle a classic wilderness passage unsupported and as fast as possible to claim the first well documented canoeing speed record for the route and challenge other canoeists to attempt to do the same.
In 100 hours, Claire and Ann sailed across Lac La Croix faster than 8 mph and completed over 40 portages. They slept four hours a night (16 hours total) paddling the Pigeon River to the Grand Portage after dark encountering moose, beaver, the northern lights, and a surprise water fall. For more details about preparation and the trip itself see www.border-route200.squarespace.com.


Superior National forest urges public to be bear aware

Superior National Forest managers urge the public to learn and practice Bear Aware principles for the protection of both people and bears. There are several things that people can do to reduce the potential for unwanted bear encounters like the recent instances that have been reported across the Forest.
Especially when camping, ALL food, cooking equipment, and garbage should be stored out of reach of bears or in a certified bear-resistant container. Be aware that bears may also find the smell of toothpaste, lipstick, scented personal hygiene products, sunscreen, clothing with food odor, etc. attractive. A bear can even smell a candy bar wrapper inside a tent. A clean campsite is much less likely to catch the attention of bears in the area. Here are some important points:


DNR to hold open house on plans for Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails Division will hold an open house at the Tower Civic Center, Tuesday, Sept. 1, from 5 to 7 p.m. to provide updates on development plans for Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park. The Tower Civic Center is located at 402 Pine Street, in Tower.
DNR staff will be on hand to provide construction updates on the new campground, public water access and water treatment facility, and answer questions about future development plans. The public is invited to participate and provide written comments.
“We are looking forward to sharing our progress to date and hearing feedback from visitors and residents,” said Park Manager Jim Essig. “This is the largest state park development project in the last 30 years, and we want the public to be involved in the development.”
When complete, the park’s main campground will accommodate:


Another conservative deer season set to rebuild population, Ely permit area 118 still bucks only

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.
In the Ely area, it’s mainly bucks only but the BWCA areas are designed as moose zones so the harvest there will be more aggressive.
The DNR still believes there’s a link between the declining moose population and deer. So, areas that have moose in them will be lottery this year for antlerless deer.
“All of the moose deer permit areas will be lottery,” said Tower area wildlife manager Tom Rusch. “They will be real low numbers but they will be lottery.”
The affected permit areas and number of doe tags are as follows: 117 (25); 127 (125), 122 (250) and 126 (400).
Permit area 118 which includes much of the area around Ely will be bucks only, even for archery and youth hunters.


The Trout Whisperer - Pike

Pike - a four letter word
As the undisputed king of catching brook trout in the boreal forest, I find it difficult to wrap my mind around the fascination with catching northern pike.
Pike, northern ones that is, in my estimation, are truly an ugly fish. They have as many, if not more, teeth that any alligator I ever saw.
They have to be the toothiest critters that swim and they have shredded some of my expensive fishing tackle just being their ornery savage self. I don’t think pike play well with others either.
Brook trout are beautiful in the water and in the skillet. They fin softly in streambeds. Brook trout are living water colors, so amazing to behold.


Role of peatlands is Nature Night focus Wednesday

University of Minnesota Duluth Professor, John Pastor will visit Ely to share his knowledge of peatlands at Nature Nights on Wednesday, July 8. Vermilion Community College hosts the Ely Field Naturalist sponsored Nature Nights presentations every other Wednesday during the summer. Each program is from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. in Classroom CL104 in the campuses Classroom Building. The program is free and open to the public.
Although many people think of peatlands as wastelands, those who explore and study peatlands know that they are unique ecosystems with a fascinating variety of unique and beautiful species. Northern Minnesota is the southern edge of the northland as peatlands are prominent on the landscape extending north to the Arctic in North America, Scandinavia, and Siberia. Small peatlands are also found in North Carolina, Borneo, and Bolivia.


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