Winter Storm Warning

Three of the three high school  baseball games scheduled for this week were cancelled due to field conditions. I wonder what will happen next week?

Winter Storm Warning
Alert:
...POWERFUL SPRING STORM BRINGS WINDS AND HEAVY SNOW TO THE 
NORTHLAND TODAY... 
 
.A strong spring snow storm will bring wet, heavy accumulating 
snow and very strong east-northeast winds, starting today in a few 
waves of heavy snow before transitioning into more typical 
light/moderate snowfall tonight. The snowfall, combined with the 
northeast winds, will lead to near-blizzard conditions in some 
spots, especially near Lake Superior including the shoreline of 
the Twin Ports. Snowfall will start slightly later than previously 
forecast and amounts have been lowered slightly, but there is 
still expected to be periods of heavy snow and very strong winds 
today creating very hazardous travel conditions. Snow may turn 
into a wintry mix at times, especially in northwest Wisconsin this 
evening where a period of freezing rain is possible before a 
transition back to all rain/snow on Friday. Very strong northeast 
winds will cause blowing snow to significantly reduce visibility. 
Travel conditions could be life- threatening for a period 
Thursday afternoon. Wind gusts will range between 40 to 50 mph 
over a portion of the forecast area, with gusts approaching 55 or 
60 mph right along Lake Superior. 
 
...WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 7 AM THIS MORNING 
TO 1 PM CDT FRIDAY... 
 
* WHAT...Heavy mixed precipitation expected. Total snow 
accumulations of 5 to 10 inches and ice accumulations of around 
one tenth of an inch expected. Winds gusting as high as 50 mph. 
 
* WHERE...Portions of northwest Wisconsin and east central, 
north central and northeast Minnesota. 
 
* WHEN...From 7 AM this morning to 1 PM CDT Friday. Conditions 
will be worst Thursday afternoon and evening. 
 
* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Travel could be very difficult. Areas of 
blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. The 
hazardous conditions will impact the Thursday evening commute. 
Gusty winds could bring down tree branches.
Posted in News

Rain and snow, snow and rain

Spring is here and on the Gunflint Trail that means, “Mud Season” Of course the snow doesn’t magically disappear overnight replaced by bone dry ground come morning. If only it would be that easy. Instead the shovels remain propped against the side of the building right next to the rakes that are anxiously awaiting their season. It will be awhile before we can rake but just seeming them has a way of lifting ones spirits. Spring is here, summer is coming.

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Minnesota Moose Population

From MN DNR

Northeastern Minnesota moose population remains low but stable
8th consecutive year of stability means the overall number of moose aren’t declining

Results of the 2019 moose survey indicate northeastern Minnesota’s moose population remains stable but relatively low for the eighth year in a row, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

“We’re encouraged that the moose population is not in the steep decline it was,” said Glenn DelGiudice, DNR moose and deer project leader. “In the short to medium term, we’re likely to keep seeing moose in the forests, lakes and swamps of northeastern Minnesota. But their long-term survival here in Minnesota remains uncertain.”

Survey results estimate northeastern Minnesota’s moose population at 4,180, statistically unchanged from 2018’s estimate of 3,030. The results reflect a 90 percent certainty that the moose population is between 3,250 and 5,580 animals.

The last significant population decline occurred between 2009 and 2012. Since then, the number of moose in northeastern Minnesota has been statistically stable.

Since the DNR began its modern moose surveys in 2005, northeastern Minnesota’s moose population was at its highest in 2006, when survey results estimated 8,840 animals. Each subsequent year’s survey estimate is compared to 2006’s peak estimate to calculate the population decline.

This year’s population estimate is 53 percent lower than 2006, an improvement from 2018 when the estimate was 65 percent lower.

Reproductive success and adult survival have the greatest impact on the annual count and dynamics of the moose population over time.

“We know from our research that adult female moose are getting pregnant,” DelGiudice said. “The problem is there aren’t enough female moose that are successfully producing calves and raising them to one year. That’s a significant challenge in our efforts to maintain Minnesota’s moose population.”

Survey results indicate that calf survival from birth in spring to January continues to be relatively stable but consistently low. Field studies have indicated that survival rates are even lower by spring, translating to low numbers of moose calves living through their first year.

The DNR’s detailed field research has shown that wolf predation has consistently accounted for about two-thirds of the calf mortality and one-third of the adult mortality. In some cases, injuries suffered during predation attempts – not the predation itself – ultimately killed the adult moose. In others, sickness or disease likely made the adult moose more vulnerable to predation.

The annual population survey is the most critical aspect of DNR moose management. Tracking moose numbers and determining the gender and age makeup of the population allows the DNR to closely monitor the health and well-being of moose.

In 2012, the DNR made nine forested areas a permanent part of the moose survey. These areas include different types of forest, including forests disturbed by events such as wildfires, blow-downs and timber harvests. Higher population counts within specific areas may indicate that moose prefer certain types of habitat. The DNR and its partners can use this information to better target current and future habitat enhancement projects to provide better conditions for long-term moose survival in Minnesota.

DNR wildlife research also is in its seventh year of an extensive study to determine how winter nutrition affects moose survival and reproductive success.

“There are many things we still don’t know,” DelGiudice said. “But our understanding of habitat preferences, population structure, nutrition and predation has significantly improved. Our goal is to use this new information to identify management options that better the chances for long-term survival of moose in northeastern Minnesota.”

This year’s survey involved flying in 52 survey plots distributed across northeastern Minnesota’s moose range from Jan. 3 to Jan. 17. While the survey is statistically sound, there is inherent uncertainty associated with it, because researchers will never see and count all of the animals across the 6,000-square-mile survey area.

The DNR has conducted annual aerial moose surveys each year since 1960 in the northeast.  Adjustments made to the survey in 2005 made it more accurate and its annual results more comparable from 2005 to the present.

The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and 1854 Treaty Authority again contributed funding and provided personnel for the annual moose survey.

More information about moose is available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/moose.

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Moose Licking Car on the Gunflint Trail

Only on the Gunfint Trail! Had I known there was a car wash happening I would have gotten mine washed too. You can listen to another person’s account online at WTIP.

Richard Hoeg shared this post on Facebook.  If all the melting snow and slop has you in need of a car wash, just drive to the end of the Gunflint Trail and park your car on the side of the road in the burned out region between Gunflint and Saganaga Lake. The moose will be with you shortly … however it is important to have salt on your car as the moose do not accept cash for payment.

Just after dark yesterday evening while picking up my boys at Saganaga Lake after their successful trek from Moose Lake near Ely to the Gunflint. Three cars in succession got the “lick treatment” from two different moose!

moose sized salt lick

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Posted in Gunflint Trail

Ice and slush on the lakes

Snow and high winds made for dangerous conditions on Sunday afternoon.  That didn’t prevent some people from heading outside to fish or snowmobile. One group of anglers on the Gunflint Trail had to be rescued from Greenwood Lake when their snowmobiles got stuck in about 14 inches of slush.

Luckily the anglers were able to get in touch with Canadian authorities via cell phone service who then contacted the Cook County Sheriff’s Department.  Search and Rescue personnel were tasked with attempting to locate them on the 2043 acre lake in 50 mile per hour winds.

The group was located a few hours later a couple of miles from the boat landing and rescuers transported them back to land where the ambulance was waiting. Only one of the anglers was showing signs of hypothermia and was taken to the local hospital. Thankfully everyone made it off of the lake safe and sound.

 

Check out the ice coverage on Lake Superior this year as compared to last year at this time.

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Posted in Gunflint Trail

New date to reserve BWCA permits

NEWS RELEASE: For Immediate Release

Contact: Lisa Radosevich-Craig, Superior National Forest
P: (218) 626-4336
Lisa.Radosevich-Craig@usda.gov

Boundary Waters Permit Reservations Available March 4, 2019

DULUTH, Minn. (February 21, 2019) Beginning Monday, March 4, 2019 at 9 am CST, the USDA Forest Service will reopen the process to reserve Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness quota permits on Recreation.gov.

“Between now and March 4 we will continue website testing and conducting training with cooperators to ensure the website meets Forest Service and public needs,” said Superior National Forest Supervisor Connie Cummins.

As a result of unforeseen technical issues, many people were unable to access the BWCAW reservation process when it opened on Wednesday, January 30. With only a small number of people being able to reserve a permit, the Forest Service halted the process for applying for BWCAW permits, then directed Recreation.gov to cancel and refund any reservations that were processed.

The technical issues with the BWCAW permit sale software have been addressed and additional testing has been completed by reservation system programmers. The USDA Forest Service is confident that the reservation system will function correctly and that visitors will have equitable access to make permit reservations beginning March 4, 2019. Quota permits for the BWCAW may be reserved through the season to September 30.

The BWCAW, located on the Superior National Forest in Minnesota, is one of over 3,500 facilities across the country which utilize Recreation.gov to manage their reservation processes. Full details on the reservation process are located at https://www.recreation.gov/permits/233396.

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Posted in BWCA

Benefits of twenty degrees below zero actual temperatures

Besides the fun tricks you can do with boiling water when it’s -20 degrees outside there are a couple of other benefits. One big benefit the forest might see is a die off of the Emerald Ash Borer.

According to an article, “When temperatures get to about 20 below zero Fahrenheit, we see about 50% of the Emerald Ash Borer Larvae begin to die,” said Rob Venette, director of the Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center with the University of Minnesota…Experts say at 30 below and colder, as much as 90% of the ash borer larva could be dying off.

Unfortunately the warming trends we’re experiencing have allowed invasive species to thrive.  Some researchers claim the warmer and shorter winters are partly responsible for the decline in the moose population. Winter ticks have been especially bad in recent years whereas years back the tick population appeared to be cyclic.

moose in the BWCA

Moose on the Gunflint Trail

A study in an article about tick infestation on moose found this.  “In the study, published in the Canadian Journal of Zoology, researchers outline the screening of 179 radio-marked moose calves (age nine to 10 months) for physical condition and parasites in the month of January over three consecutive years from 2014 to 2016. They tracked new calves for four months each and found that a total of 125 calves died over the three-year period. A high infestation of winter ticks was found on each calf (an average of 47,371 per moose) causing emaciation and severe metabolic imbalance from blood loss, which was the primary cause of death.”

Another benefit of the severely cold temperatures is the amount of ice on lakes. Ice cover can prevent evaporation and thick ice that slows the ice melt can keep water temperatures lower longer.  This can benefit some fish species, reduce invasive species and slow down harmful algal blooms.
While we two-leggeds may complain about the nose hair freezing cold there are benefits that far outweigh having to turn the thermostat up another degree or add another log to the fire. Bring on the cold Mother Nature.
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Posted in environment

Boundary Waters Permit System to Open February 27

Forest Service announces tentative date for reopening Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness permit process

DULUTH, Minn.  (February 7, 2019) The USDA Forest Service anticipates reopening the process to reserve Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness quota permits on February 27, 2019. Prior to the tentative reopening date for the reservation system the Forest Service is working on the following actions:

fixing a technical problem in the BWCAW sale software;
additional planned training for permit cooperators who rely on the system;
and additional testing to ensure a smooth launch of the updated system.
Once the above schedule of actions is successfully completed the Forest Service will confirm the reopening date and move forward with broad public outreach to notify the public of the new reservation period.

“We deeply regret the difficulty this has caused, and I want to thank the members of the community who are working with us to make this transition to an online reservation system successful,” said Superior National Forest Supervisor Connie Cummins. “Our goal is to ensure the reservation system provides a fair and open means for the public to visit the Boundary Waters and support the local businesses that depend on this special place.”

The problem in the BWCAW permit reservation process last Wednesday resulted in many people unable to access the BWCAW reservation process when it opened. This lead to only a small number of people being able to reserve a permit. The Forest Service halted the process for applying for BWCAW permits, then directed Recreation.gov to cancel and refund any reservations that were processed.

The BWCAW, located on the Superior National Forest in Minnesota, is one of over 3,500 facilities across the country which utilize Recreation.gov to manage their permit reservation processes. Within the national reservation system, customers can simultaneously apply for and secure a reservation for a permit.

Full details on the reservation process are located at https://www.recreation.gov/permits/233396.

BWCAW permit reservations

BWCA camping

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Posted in BWCA

Boundary Waters permit reservation news

There has been a flurry of emails along with all of the snow flurries we have been experiencing in the northland. The emails are about what is going on with the permit reservation system for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness or maybe most importantly what isn’t happening.

The first thing not happening is the reserving of BWCA camping permits. After the system failed it was shut down and all permit reservations that had been made have since been cancelled. The other thing not happening is communication with outfitters located anywhere but in Ely, Minnesota. Some folks from the USFS, representatives from Senator Klobuchar’s office, Representative from Congressman Pete Stauber’s office, the contractors that run the permitting system and a large handful of outfitters in Ely had a meeting to work through issues with the reservation system. Apparently the opinions and ideas of outfitters located elsewhere including the Gunflint Trail are not needed nor wanted.

Gunflint Trail outfitters

Enjoying the BWCA

What is happening, besides secret meetings, is a public meeting everyone is invited to. It shouldn’t be a surprise the meeting will be held in Ely, MN. Congressman Pete Stauber will host a forum at the Grand Ely Lodge on Saturday, February 9th at 10am due to the large number of people who expressed their concern over the BWCA reservation system crash.  Are other meetings happening? Most likely but none that we have been invited to. I guess we shouldn’t feel bad since it doesn’t sound like any of our local USFS people are involved in the meetings either. Here’s what they sent to Gunflint Ranger District outfitters…

Hello Gunflint Cooperators:

I greatly appreciate your patience as the issues with the Recreation.gov site are being worked out.  That work still continues today.  Below is an update that went to all the cooperators on the Ely side of the BW.  Two main take-aways is this:

The Go-Live for Recreation.gov will happen sometime AFTER February 19; and
There will be trainings for cooperators coming soon.  We do not know in what format that will happen, so stay tuned.

So, it looks like it will be awhile longer before we start reserving permits for Boundary Waters Canoe trips, we’ll do our best to keep you posted.

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Posted in BWCA

Boundary Waters Permit Information

At long last, a Press Release from the USFS regarding the BWCA permit reservation system…

BOUNDARY WATERS PRESS RELEASE

“The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, located on the Superior National Forest in Minnesota, opened a quota permit sale to the public on Wednesday, January 30 on Recreation.gov. As a result of unforeseen technical issues, unrelated to volume of users, many people were unable to access the reservation process, resulting in only a small number of people receiving access to apply for a permit. For this reason, the USDA Forest Service halted the process for applying for BWCAW permits, and is withdrawing the reservations that initially were processed. We will be providing refunds for any cancellations made.

The USDA Forest Service deeply regrets this inconvenience to everyone, and we encourage people to apply again. Our goal is to provide a fair and open opportunity for visitors to experience this special location. We are urgently working with Recreation.gov to fix the technical issue.  Under the new system, customers can simultaneously apply for and secure a reservation for a permit, so that our visitors have ample time to plan their quality experience in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

We will soon name a new date for reservations requests in the BWCAW permit system. We will provide advanced notice of this date to ensure customers have ample time to make their reservations.  Full details on the reservation process are located at https://www.recreation.gov/permits/233396.”

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Posted in BWCA
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