Outdoors

Fri
19
Feb

DNR Conservation Officer weekly reports

District 6 - Two Harbors
CCO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports less activity in the Ely area as the coldest weather of the year has arrived. The weekend saw high temperatures making it only into the teens below zero, and wind chills as low as below-50 were reported.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) focused on angling and snowmobile activity. Recent snow helped improve the state and local trails. Wahlstrom worked a detail with the Border Patrol.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) hit the ski trails checking ski passes and directing skijors to the correct trails. Anglers and snowmobilers were also checked. Manning is also following up on a report of anglers with unattended lines.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked primarily angling and snowmobile enforcement. A couple of traps were also checked. Enforcement action included fishing without a license, no shelter tag, under 21 consumption of alcohol, expired snowmobile registration, and loud/altered exhaust.

Fri
12
Feb

St. Louis County board approves funding projects to combat aquatic invasive species

The St. Louis County Board has approved the distribution of $654,530 of state funds for eight projects that will prevent the introduction and limit the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) in lakes and rivers in St. Louis County. Commissioners unanimously approved the list of projects during their meeting Tuesday in Virginia.
The approved projects and funding include:
$398,600 to the North St. Louis Soil and Water Conservation District to manage watercraft inspections, decontaminations and public education on Bear Island, Birch, Burntside, Crane, Ely, Gilbert-Pit, Johnson, Kabetogama, One Pine, Pelican, Shagawa, and Vermilion Lakes.
$98,000 to Wildlife Forever for marketing efforts for their Clean Drain Dry Initiative campaign aimed at public awareness and education, and behavioral change.

Fri
12
Feb

DNR Conservation Officer weekly reports

District 6 - Two Harbors
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports less activity in the Ely area as the coldest weather of the year has arrived. The weekend saw high temperatures making it only into the teens below zero, and wind chills as low as below-50 were reported.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) focused on angling and snowmobile activity. Recent snow helped improve the state and local trails. Wahlstrom worked a detail with the Border Patrol.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) hit the ski trails checking ski passes and directing skijors to the correct trails. Anglers and snowmobilers were also checked. Manning is also following up on a report of anglers with unattended lines.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked primarily angling and snowmobile enforcement. A couple of traps were also checked. Enforcement action included fishing without a license, no shelter tag, under 21 consumption of alcohol, expired snowmobile registration, and loud/altered exhaust.

Fri
05
Feb

Winter Severity Index good news for deer

We’re at the mid-winter point and so far it’s been a mild one.
Tom Rush, the DNR area wildlife manager, sent in the numbers for the Winter Severity Index (WSI).
The Winter Severity Index (WSI) is a general measure of winter conditions.
In Minnesota the WSI is calculated by accumulating one point for each day with an ambient temperature = 15 inches. End-of-season values = 120 indicate a severe winter.
The Tower area Winter Severity Index for the winter of 2020-21 is “mild” at the mid-point of winter.
Both Tower and Eveleth have zero Snow Points with less than 15 inches of snow on the ground. Both stations have fewer than 20 days below zero degrees.
Rush reported the entire state is in the mild category as of Feb. 1.
The northern St Louis County snow depth is 12-14” across the area as of Feb 1.
The northern Lake County snow depth is 16-20” following the weekend snowfall as of Feb 1.

Fri
22
Jan

Forest Service announces changes to BWCA quota permits for 2021 season

The Forest Service has updated the quota permit issuance process for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area for the 2021 season. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the USDA Forest Service will offer alternatives to issuing permits in-person and will conduct a “virtual” Leave No Trace (LNT) education program.
BWCAW quota permit reservations for the 2021 season will be available beginning at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021.
Last season saw unprecedented visitation to the BWCA and along with that an unacceptably high amount of resource damage, including cutting of live trees, human waste not being properly disposed, trash left in campfire rings, disruptive and oversized groups and campfires left unattended.
To ensure visitors new to wilderness understand and follow BWCA regulations and Leave No Trace Principles, the Forest Service has adopted new methods of delivering this information.

Fri
22
Jan

DNR unveils pollinator license plate to help preserve critical habitat

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Sarah Strommen unveiled the design of Minnesota’s newest critical habitat license plate, featuring native pollinators including a bee and butterflies. The new license plate is available now online and at deputy registrar and driver’s license offices statewide.
There is no need to wait for current license plate tabs to expire, as the license fee is prorated when a critical habitat license plate is purchased.
The $30 annual contribution to the Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) Critical Habitat Program helps to preserve important wildlife habitat and plant communities such as wetlands, prairies, old growth forests and endangered orchid sites. Contributions over $30 go toward buying and managing important natural habitats, which are preserved as public lands. These lands are open to compatible public use, like hunting, hiking and wildlife watching.

Fri
22
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
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.

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