Outdoors

Fri
15
Jan

DNR Conservation Officer weekly reports

District 6 - Two Harbors
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports snowmobile trail conditions continued to get worse after another week of moderate use and no additional snowfall. Trout-fishing activity inside the BWCA continued to be high and success was overall good on several lakes checked. Violations included no fishing license in possession, failure to display current snowmobile registration and possession of motorized equipment inside the BWCA.

CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked anglers and a few snowmobile riders this past week. Fishing has been slow, with slush on most area lakes. Velsvaag also followed up on litter complaints and snowmobile complaints.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent the past week checking trout anglers in the BWCA. Anglers who ventured through the slush were rewarded with some nice lake trout in the bag. Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.

Fri
08
Jan

Ely Igloo Club gets trails, lakes ready for snowmobiling

A VOLUNTEER with the Ely Igloo Snowmobile Club cuts a downed tree on the Tomahawk Trail. The Igloo Club is responsible for clearing, brushing, grooming and maintaining the Tomahawk Trail which runs from Ely to the North Shore Trail. The Tomahawk connects to the David Dill Taconite Trail in Ely as well as to the Taconite Spur from Babbitt and the Yukon Trail from Two Harbors. Another connection allows riders to reach Finland. Photo by Mike Banovetz.

Fri
01
Jan

DNR Conservation Officer weekly report for the week of December 28

District 6 - Two Harbors
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) spent the past week focusing on angling and snowmobile enforcement. The snowmobile trails in the Ely area are still poor to fair, but most are useable. Violations included angling without a license in possession and operating a snowmobile with no trail sticker.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) reports a relatively quiet end to the fisher/pine marten season. The area finally got enough snow to allow for snowmobile operation, although riders should use caution on rougher sections of trail as the base layer is sufficient to conceal but not fully cushion some rocks. Manning worked with DNR Parks and Trails staff to improve signage on snowmobile trails, followed up on ATV issues, and answered questions about snowmobile operation, registration issues and angling.

Thu
24
Dec

Kawishiwi Lodge to be listed on National Register of Historic Places

by Nick Wognum
One of Ely’s oldest resorts will soon be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Kawishiwi Lodge, which opened in 1924, has been recognized by the National Park Service with having 18 structures of historic interest.
Located on the shores of Lake One, Kawishiwi Lodge is well known among canoeists traveling from the Lake One entry point to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
“The resort is a rare reminder of the small-scale, family-owned resorts that were once ubiquitous in the state,” the report states.
Owned and operated by Frank and Nicole Udovich, “The resort continues to offer a visitor experience reminiscent of a bygone era.”
For the Udovich family, the award recognizes the work done by the Zgonc family to build a resort when there wasn’t even a road to get there.

Thu
24
Dec

Eight new camper cabins to open for reservations at Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park

The new camper cabins at Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park between Ely and Tower are ready for visitors. Campers can begin making reservations at 8 a.m. Monday, Dec. 28 for stays beginning on Dec. 31 (four cabins) and Jan. 13 (the remaining four cabins).
These eight new cabins, which will be open year-round, reflect the latest in green-building practices. The cabins feature rustic tamarack interiors and are equipped with heat, electricity and Wi-Fi, and an outdoor food prep counter, fire ring, and table.
Outfitted with either three full-size bunks, or two full-size and two twin-size bunks, each cabin can accommodate up to six people. A new shower and restroom building, as well as an adjacent vault toilet, serve the cabins.
In honor of the history and culture of the area’s Indigenous people, the cabins are named with the Ojibwe words for the four seasons and four cardinal directions.

Fri
18
Dec

DNR Conservation Officer weekly report for the week of December 14

District 6 - Two Harbors
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked on Upper Red Lake with area officers and CO Lawler. High levels of activity were observed, and many violations were encountered such as extra lines, unattended lines, overlimits of walleyes, too many walleyes over 17 inches, possession of dressed fillets, unregistered recreational vehicles, no shelter tags, and drug paraphernalia. Additional time was spent checking anglers, grouse hunters, muzzleloader deer hunters, and ATV activity in the station, with enforcement action taken for insufficient blaze orange, land-use trespass, and youth ATV violations.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) attended in-service training and instructed firearm qualifications at Camp Ripley. He monitored ice fishing and followed up on complaints of early trout fishing and trapping violations.

Fri
11
Dec

Trail work continues until snowmobile season gets rolling

Reports from area trail administrators show work will continue on developing ATV trails until the snow is deep enough to groom for snowmobiling.
“Contractors are working on the Taconite State Trail from the Raven Lane crossing (2.5 miles west of Ely) going west on the trail for approximately four miles. Work will continue and this portion of trail will be closed until enough snow is received to pack and groom the trail,” said Brad Dekkers, Assistant DNR Area Supervisor.
The Taconite Spur from Babbitt is also under construction by Mesabi Bituminous as part of the Prospector Loop ATV trail system.
“We’re going to get as much done as we can as long as the weather holds,” said Prospector Alliance President Nick Wognum.

Fri
04
Dec

Deer harvest down heading into final weekend

The firearms deer harvest was down 23.1% in permit area 118, which includes much of the Ely area.
Tower area DNR wildlife manager Tom Rusch said, “Buck kill is down the highest in permit areas on the north and east end of the Tower area consistent with winter severity and deep snow winters over the last eight years.
“Hunting conditions improved considerably after the record setting high temperatures experienced on opening weekend. Colder temperatures improved day time deer movement and rutting activity after opening weekend
“Hunters who were persistent and continued to grind it out on stand had higher success rates than hunters on the opening weekend,” said Rusch.

Fri
27
Nov

DNR Conservation Officer weekly report for the week of November 24

District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports hunting success continued to taper off at the end of the regular firearms season as we drifted further from the peak of the rut. More issues with hunters wearing very little or no blaze orange were addressed over the week and became the No. 1 violation seen for the season. Hunters are reminded that although they may feel like they have a wide expanse of wilderness to themselves, other hunters may be closer than they know. Blaze orange and pink laws exist to protect hunters from accidents.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked deer hunters this past week.He also followed up on deer-baiting violations and had multiple questions on party hunting and using electronic devices while hunting. Hunting success was slow and a couple of people were seen out on ice fishing on thin ice.

Fri
20
Nov

Deer harvest down heading into final weekend

by Nick Wognum
Make no mistake, the 2020 deer season will go down as one of the tougher ones for firearms deer hunters.
The 2020 deer harvest is down 17.2% compared to 2019 in the nine Deer Permit Areas within the Tower DNR Area (117, 118, 119, 130, 131, 132, 176, 177, 178).
DNR wildlife manager Tom Rusch said the buck kill, the best indicator of population change over time, is down 16.4% in the same permit areas
Buck kill is down the highest in permit areas on the north and east end of the Tower area consistent with winter severity and deep snow winters over the last eight years.
In permit area 118, which encompasses much of the Ely area, there were 557 bucks shot at this point last year compared to 419 this year, a drop of 33 percent.
Buck kill is down the least in the more productive deer permit areas to the south and west consistent with winter severity and deep snow winters over the last eight years.

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