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.


Ely Bikers join 500-mile ride for Habitat

2015 marks the 23rd anniversary of the Habitat 500 Bike ride, sponsored and coordinated by the state support organization, Habitat Minnesota, to help raise money to provide simple, decent and affordable housing for families that could not otherwise purchase a home. In total, 120 cyclists and 33 volunteers will start their 500-mile trek through southern Minnesota on July 12 this year. North St. Louis County Habitat for Humanity (NSLCHFH) is providing 12 of those riders, who are sponsoring our five 2015 partner families on the Iron Range.
Ely riders Caroline Owens, Debbie Hultman and Dave Bergum are exceptionally excited for this year’s Habitat 500 Bike Ride. Although this is Caroline’s 10th, Dave’s eighth and Debbie’s fourth ride, this is the first time since 2007 that they are riding for a house in Ely.


Burntside prescribed burns a success

FLAMES light up the shoreline of Burntside Lake during a prescribed burn this past week. Photo by Reynold Mack.


Canadian fires bring yellow sky to northern Minnesota

by Dan Kraker
MPR News 101.7 FM
Smoke from wildfires burning hundreds of miles away in Canada affected northern Minnesota’s air Monday and Tuesday.
Most of the smoke is trapped in the upper levels of the atmosphere, making it difficult to smell. But the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says it’s causing unhealthy levels of fine particles in Ely and other parts of Minnesota’s Arrowhead.
Officials say people who are sensitive to air pollution should limit their activity until the air clears.
“Essentially the jet stream aligned in this way where it lofted a lot of the smoke from much of Canada, and it moved it southward across northern Minnesota and into Wisconsin,” said Melody Lovin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth.

AND BY WEDNESDAY NIGHT the normal, beautiful sunsets returned to Ely as shown in this photo taken on the shores of Shagawa Lake by Hailey Worth.


Bird arrives, Total surpise

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

May 18, 2015 was just an ordinary spring day in Eveleth,
MN for the Sabettis. The most noteworthy events of the day were weather related. Cold, wind, and fast-moving clouds intermittently spitting snow defined the day. A good day to stay in and enjoy the active birds and chipmunks that were taking full advantage
of the feeders.
This surprise bird from either the southeastern or southwestern states wedged itself into the Sabettis life. Connie called members of the Ely Field Naturalists and three of us came to view, discuss and photograph the bird. The painted bunting would come to the feeder for a while and then leave for an hour or more.

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