I was very disturbed when I read a recent article regarding a study about trash in Duluth, MN. The study revealed alarming information about how many items that could be recycled end up in the landfill. According to the article 423 cans and 461 plastic bottles per house per year in the Duluth area aren’t being recycled.
I would think Minnesotan's would be especially good about recycling and would hope if a similar study were done in Grand Marais, MN we'd do way better. But realistically it shouldn't suprise me knowing how difficult it is to find recycling containers anywhere when you're traveling. With the majority of the hotels and gas stations not recycling I find my vehicle filled with plastic Diet Coke bottles to recycle when I get home.
How important is it to you that businesses recycle? To me it's a pretty big deal but I have yet to ask a hotel if they have recycling bins in their rooms before making a reservation. I think I will have to start so I can reward the businesses who are doing their part in recycling.
Peek at Northlanders' trash reveals a troubling surprise
Bottles and cans lead a lengthy list of items we're forgetting to recycle, which amounts to more than $700,000 per year in lost value of recyclable material.
Duluth-area residents and visitors are tossing more than 40 million beverage containers into the trash every year despite efforts to encourage recycling.
That’s the finding of a series of trash surveys conducted recently by the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District in Duluth.
In the latest effort, in October, WLSSD staff donned gloves and ripped open garbage bags on the tipping floor where garbage trucks dump their loads — sorting through about 49 garbage truckloads, more than 13,000 pounds of trash, over five days. They looked at a mix of loads from homes and businesses.
They found a lot food waste that should be composted, tons of paper that should be recycled and even a few microwaves and water heaters that are illegal to trash.
But it was plastic beverage bottles and aluminum cans that stunned the survey crew.
“We knew we had an issue with beverage containers. But when we did the math, it was shocking,” WLSSD spokeswoman Karen Anderson said. “It came to more than 18 million pop and beer cans, and another 19 million plastic bottles, every year.” And that only from Duluth, Hermantown and Proctor, she said.
That’s a lot of AquaFina, Mountain Dew and Bud Light — 423 cans and 461 plastic bottles per house per year in the Duluth area that aren’t being recycled.
During the holidays, more glass ends up in the trash, with wine, liquor and beer bottles topping the list.
Recycling not only saves landfill space but requires less energy and fewer natural resources to transform old containers into new products.
Failure to recycle also means a lot of money is wasted. The WLSSD figures the lost value of aluminum that could have been recycled here at $402,000 annually, with almost another $200,000 in plastic. In all, the estimated value of recycled material being trashed is more than $721,000 annually, just in the Duluth area.
It’s a statewide problem. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency last week said Minnesotans waste $285 million annually in the lost value of recyclable materials thrown in the garbage, and then they waste another $200 million to bury or burn the stuff.
While everyone is guilty, the biggest problems seem to occur in three areas: travel and events; apartment buildings and multi-unit housing; and rural areas that don’t have curbside recycling.
“There was a documented increase in the amount of recyclables we get (in the trash) from rural loads,” Anderson said. To help combat that problem, the WLSSD is trying to make it easier for people to recycle, with less sorting required at township recycling centers.
WLSSD also is working in 15 multi-unit housing complexes for seniors, students and families to test projects to see what will make people recycle more and throw out less. Making sure landlords provide the option of recycling, often with space limitations in the buildings, has been a challenge.
It seems when Northlanders are away from home, we either can’t find or don’t bother to find recycling containers. Sporting events, parks, schools and convenience stores are some of our most common locations to trash beverage containers.
“Back in the ’90s when we drank a Pepsi at our house, we drank it in returnable glass bottles,” said Tim Farnan, a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency recycling expert. “It’s been in the last 20 years or so that we’ve seen this huge increase in single-serving, nonreturnable containers. There are more of us drinking more, and we’re taking (beverages) out and about more than before, and it’s really changed the composition of the whole waste stream.”
A survey by the Recycling Association of Minnesota, an industry group, found that the average Minnesota gas stations sent nearly 3 tons of beverage containers to garbage dumps and incinerators every year. The WLSSD and PCA have been working on the problem, delivering (free of charge) 250 bottle-shaped recycling bins to more than 120 convenience stores in the Duluth area over the past year.
While the bins were free to the stores, the recycling service provided by garbage haulers is not. Some store owners grumbled, but the WLSSD’s solid waste ordinance requires businesses to separate their trash and recycle any recoverable materials.
“Without the ordinance few, if any, of the gas stations would have been willing to implement recycling services,” a PCA analysis of the WLSSD program noted.
As part of a class project, UMD engineering students have been observing how the recycling canisters are working – whether the stores are keeping them in key areas, emptying them when needed, and whether customers are using them. The results aren’t yet in, but there has been some success.
In one case, after the WLSSD preached recycling as the law, one convenience store moved from having a large dumpster for garbage and one, 96-gallon cart for recycling to now filling the dumpster with recycling and needing just a cart for garbage.
“They were finding that most of their garbage volume was actually recyclables,” Anderson said.
The explosion of beverage containers, some 5 billion units were sold in Minnesota alone each year, has renewed the effort to enact a beverage container deposit law in Minnesota. A group called Recycling Refund notes that the state recycles only 35 percent of its beverage containers, compared to 97 percent in Michigan. Since 1978 Michigan has required consumers to pay 10 cents extra for each beverage container, then refunds the money when the container is recycled.
Iowa, which requires a 5-cent deposit, recycles more than 90 percent of its beverage containers.
“It’s really an away-from-home problem that’s unique to beverage containers,” said Molly Pederson, government affairs director for Conservation Minnesota. “We’re buying more and more things in single-serving containers, especially out of the home where it’s not easy to find a recycling bin.”
This time of the year on the Gunflint Trail is normally very quiet. There's one exception to this rule and that's when the ice on the river moans and groans as it freezes. Every once in a while there will be a big crack or boom from the river and that is what I've been hearing this morning.
The temperature is dipping and that's why the river is so noisy today. When I took the kids out to the bus stop it was 13 degrees but now just after 8am it's down to 2 degrees. It's usually coldest just before sunrise and I guess the sun is rising later and later.
The days are getting shorter and colder and before long the big lakes on the Gunflint Trail will become solid. The forecast calls for some cold nights with daytime temperatures rising to the high 20's and possible snow flurries.
Yep, winter is here and the noisy river is just another sign that it's here to stay.
There's a blog I look at sometimes by Paul Douglas. I think he was a weather forecaster or meteorologist for a television station in the Twin Cities when I was growing up but I'm not positive. He puts together some interesting data about historical weather events.
In his latest blog he writes about the Arrowhead Region we live in. According to Paul October 27th is the average date our snow season begins and the Grand Marais/Lutsen area has 160 days out of the year that have an inch or more of snow on the ground. Our snow season on the Gunflint Trail starts earlier and lasts longer than the towns on the shore of Lake Superior so I'm guessing we have at least 175 days. It would be interesting if someone would keep track. For the record there is no snow in Grand Marais right now and probably a foot at the end of the Trail. We shall see how many days it takes for Grand Marais to have an inch of snow on the ground.
Another statistic Paul writes about is the probability of a white Christmas. The odds of us having a white Christmas on the Gunflint Trail are right around 95% and this year I'd say it's up to 100% with the amount of snow on the ground right now.
So if you're looking for a place to experience winter then the Gunflint Trail is the perfect place. Whether it's snowshoeing, ice fishing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing or just taking in the beauty of winter the Gunflint Trail is where you should be.
One thing I like about Facebook is it keeps me posted on where our past Voyageur Crew members are and what they are doing. I was however a little bit suprised to find out what Scott Ewen was doing on Thanksgiving. He worked for us probably 10 years ago and is a very active person. He's competed in ironman triathalons and is quite the experienced kayaker as well. Here's what Scott posted regarding his Thanksgiving Holiday while in Pokhara, Nepal.
" We survived the Madi Khola and boy was it a long one. Over 6 hours of paddling time with only a few hundred yards of flat water. It must have been over 15 river miles with 100+ class III/IV rapids with a couple of class V's thrown in for fun. With the view at the start and class V jeep/bus ride in and out of the valley, it was clearly the best river I've done. That was our Thanksgiving!"
Yesterday I enjoyed a walk without worrying about slipping on ice and snow. I went to the Trail's End Campground for a look around and startled two busy beavers in a pocket of open water. I also checked out the falls at campsite 19 and saw basically no water there or in the rapids. I enjoyed climbing all over the rocks looking for treasures and found a couple of lures and a pair of sunglasses in their case. Abby wasn't having fun and kept trying to hurry me along. She said, "Mom, you can come back and look tomorrow."
Little did Abby know there would be almost a foot of snow on the ground when I woke up this morning. I won't be climbing around the rocks or looking for treasures at the campground today. Who knows when the water level will be this low again if ever. Such is life when one door of opportunity closes another opens somewhere.
How are you spending the day after Thanksgiving? Are you shopping? Putting up a Christmas Tree? Back at work? I'm doing a little bit of all from the end of the Gunflint Trail today.
I'm not the type of person who shops in stores on Black Friday. I don't even like shopping on weekends because there are too many people to deal with. However there are a few inbox e-mail shopping specials I have to check out.
There's always work to be done at Voyageur. While my back is still too out of whack to buck up our cord of wood I'll have to focus on the lighter work. There's always emails to answer, paperwork to push and tasks that need completing.
The most exciting thing I want to get on today's agenda is getting our Christmas Tree. The challenge is it's across the river at our neighbor's cabin. She doesn't want the pine tree so close to her cabin and said we should take it for our tree this year. The state the river is in right now is what makes it challenging.
It's the time of the year when the river waffles between liquid and solid. It was primarily solid before this recent warm spell and now it looks quite unstable. I think it would be an adventure to attempt to walk/drag a canoe across to get the tree. We shall see if anyone else in my family is up for the challenge.
In case you are interested in doing a little shopping today be sure to check out our new Shopping website Jessica set up for us. It looks great and she has so many things on there you're sure to find something you want. There are maps(great gift wrap), clothing, gift cards and a great selection of books for both adults and children. If you place an order today then we'll include a free ornament with your purchase.
Whatever you are doing this day after Thanksgiving take some time to write a comment and let me know what you're up to. Happy Day after Thanksgiving everyone.
We're thankful for many things on this beautiful Thanksgiving Day. It would be impossible to include them all here in a blog. We're especially thankful for our families, friends and guests of Voyageur. We wish you a stomach filled with food and a heart filled with thanks this Thanksgiving Day and always.
Be thankful that you don't already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don't know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you're tired and weary,
because it means you've made a difference.
It's easy to be thankful for the good things. A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are also thankful for the setbacks.
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive. Find a way to be thankful for your troubles, and they can become your blessings.
The sun is shining brightly this afternoon and the temperature is 47 degrees. There is water dripping off of the roof, the deck is free of snow and there's the tell-tale sign of spring, mud. We call spring "mud season" on the Gunflint Trail and from the looks of my dog it's that time now.
In spite of the balmy temperatures of today and predicted for Thursday and Friday I know it isn't spring and this warm snap will not last long. It's just a little bit of teasing offered by Mother Nature, or perhaps she's just giving people like me a little more time to get my outside chores done.
I'll take the warm air and sunshine any day. I've put away my painting supplies, John hauled away the lawnmowers and the furniture is no longer on the deck so I think we're finally ready for winter at Voyageur. Like they say during Hide and Seek, "Ready or Not, Here I come." says Old Man Winter with a smile.
I knew him when... Nate Ptacek used to work on the Gunflint Trail at a canoe outfitting business and now he works as a photographer and videographer for Patagonia in California. I remember when he made a video of life at an outfitter years ago and I thought it was fantastic. I even begged for a copy but I don't think I ever got it.
It was such a pleasant suprise to find another one of his videos online. This one is from a recent trip into the Boundary Waters and it's fantastic.
The Fall Cooperator Meetings with the USFS centered around a couple of decisions. One not so important decision on the Gunflint Trail was the idea to do away with the Boundary Waters Lottery system. The lottery has never affected the Gunflint Trail because we always have plenty of BWCA permits available. It was a no-brainer to agree with the doing away of the lottery just as it was a no-brainer to not allow the public to be able to print out their own permits.
Allowing the general public to print out their own BWCA permits would have been a major step backwards in the protection of the Boundary Waters. Prior to user education and the BWCA video the wilderness was not as well taken care of.
Some people are not aware of Leave No Trace principles. Common sense comes in all sizes these days and in some instances only very small doses were handed out. Sometimes it takes hearing the same message over and over for it to click in one's brain. The detrimental effects of washing dishes or using soap in the precious BWCA may not seem important one year but then after hearing it again and again it begins to make sense.
It is very important to continue to educate the users of the Boundary Waters and if individuals could print out their own permits this opportunity would be lost. The Cooperators on our side of the BWCA were adamant about not allowing people to print out their own permits and the USFS people at the meeting heard us.
Kudos to the USFS for making a smart decision to not allow individuals to print out their own permits and for continuing to educate them prior to their wilderness canoe camping trips.
Yesterday was the first game of the 2011-2012 Silver Bay Squirt season. It was quite the opening game against a team from Two Harbors. Why is this an important event to me, who lives 120 miles from the arena? Because that's our son Josh's home rink.
When Josh first begged to play hockey we thought traveling to Grand Marais when he was in Kindergarten was a big deal. We kind of hoped he wouldn't want to continue to play hockey since we knew when he got older he would have to go to Silver Bay as Grand Marais can't support its own team. I guess we didn't hope hard enough because this is the 2nd year he's been playing in Silver Bay and I'm sure glad he is.
Regardless of the hours of windshield time Josh is loving hockey in Silver Bay. There are 4 other boys that play in Silver Bay so we share the driving duties and it really isn't that bad, especially for someone who is used to a 90 minute bus ride 5 days a week.
I rarely brag in my blogs but today I just have to. Two of the Grand Marais boys had hat tricks in yesterday's game and defeated the Two Harbors team 11-2! What a great way to start the season. Today we're off to Silver Bay again for a game against Cloquet and I can only hope those two boys get hat tricks again. Hopefully this hoping will work better than my hope that Josh wouldn't keep playing hockey because I really want to see Josh score another hat trick today!
It wasn't too long ago when the USFS told Cooperators there was no longer going to be a lottery for entry permits. The folks on the Gunflint Trail were not concerned because our entry points into the BWCA aren't as busy as those in Ely, Minnesota. The outfitters in Ely, Minnesota were not at all happy with the news the USFS wanted to do away with the lottery.
The USFS listened to comments and performed a test of the first come first served permit reservation option. It didn't go as well as they had thought so they will keep a lottery for the entry points most in demand which are Fall Lake entry D & 24 and Moose Lake F, G, & 25. Canoe campers will be able to submit their requests via the lottery system beginning December 19th and ending on January 19th. The lottery will run on the 20th of January 2012.
All other Boundary Waters permits will not use the lottery system. Folks can begin reserving permits on January 25th at 9am central time. If you'd like Voyageur to reserve your permit for you then please give us a call or drop us an email and we'll take care of it for you. It's never too early to start thinking about next year's BWCA trip dates.
According to a site with a day for everything November 17th is Take a Hike Day. The American Hiking Society doesn't appear to be celebrating it but it doesn't mean you can't.
The wind is howling and the temperature is in the 20's and I still wish I was hiking. There's a skiff of snow on the ground and that makes hiking all the more fun. With a fresh snowfall you can see the tracks of all sorts of animals and birds.
I like to look at tracks in the snow even when they are my own. When I take Rugby for a walk on his leash our tracks look like a perpetual dollar sign with only one line. My trail is straight while his snakes S like from one side of my track to the other in pursuit of good smells.
This morning John noticed some tracks at Voyageur. Fox tracks were obvious and at the end of our driveway he saw a pair of wolf tracks. I saw a wolf yesterday on my drive to Grand Marais but it was farther down the Trail.
Any day is a great day for a hike so take advantage of "Take a Hike Day" and get out there!
I have to admit I was quite shocked when I opened the door for the dog to go outside this morning. The deck was covered in snow and I had no idea snow was even in the forecast. When we went out to the vehicle to go to the bus stop I had to brush quite a bit of snow off of my Subaru. There was probably 1-2" of the white stuff on the ground and it was still snowing.
The roads were slick with the new wet snow but thankfully I kept the car between the ditches on both the way to and from the bus stop. Sometimes those first snowfalls and last snowfalls make the corners sneak up on you quickly when driving. We'll see how I do on my way to town today.
The snow has stopped falling but when I look out my window I see white in the trees. I can also hear the wind howling so it sounds ferocious outside. The temperature is just below freezing so it isn't really that cold outside.
It looks like winter may be here to stay. It's held off for quite awhile but I think we're going to be seeing white for the next few months. It's time to get out the winter clothes, snowshoes and cross-country skis and put away the canoe camping gear until spring.
It's America Recycles Day and Voyageur should be celebrating. Instead I'm patting myself on the back and telling myself what a good job I have done recycling. To the annoyance of almost everyone who works at Voyageur I'm a real stickler when it comes to recycling not just on America Recycles Day but every day.
I must confess I am a dumpster diver. We have a dumpster and if you ever see a set of legs sticking out of it then they are probably mine. Any time I see a plastic bottle, magazine, piece of cardboard bigger than a toilet paper roll or an item I think I can recycle somewhere or come up with a use for I go dumpster diving. I get my clothes dirty, my hands dirty and the satisfaction of knowing I prevented something from ending up in the landfill.
I also pick through our garbage cans and bags of garbage the neighbors bring over. If I'm relatively certain there aren't items in the bag that could have been recycled then I leave it be if not then I tear into the bag and sometimes the person who brought it over. I know who drinks what kind of beverage, smokes what type of cigarettes and can usually determine whose bag it is by the junk mail in it.
I even have the habit of jumping into the recycling trailer kept at our place. The plastic compartments fill up way faster than the glass, aluminum or tin especially when people don't smash their plastic containers to get the air out of them. In order to make more room for our recycleables I'll grab a big piece of flattened out cardboard and start jumping on top of the plastics to get them to compress. Of course if I'm in there and see a lid from a milk container that gives 5 cents to the school then I pull those off too.
Mike often complains about the amount of time I spend recycling. I'm happy to say I can't help it. On America Recycles Day and every day I'm recycling as much as I can.
Yesterday was a good day for hunters on the Gunflint Trail. Mike's Dad shot a nice buck and our brother-in-law shot a doe. Thank Goodness we have venison to make some wild rice sausage again this year. I'm not a big fan of deer meat but when it's made into the wild rice sausage it's delicious. Mike and Josh plan to make some jerky and they always save the loins for the next year's deer camp dinner.
The whiskey jacks just found some stale bread that I put out for them and are making flight after flight to store it away for winter. I imagine they will be happy with some scraps left from cleaning the deer. The neighborhood fox should be happy too. Our neighbor had four foxes at their house last night!
I was rather surprised when I went to a College Volleyball game at the College of St. Benedict a few weeks ago. My sister asked my niece to get her a bottle of water from the concession stand but she returned with a Diet Soda instead. "Here Mom, they don't have bottled water."
I thought this was strange considering the health benefits of water but then I noticed the water bottle filling station behind me. I guess these are the new thing in helping to reduce plastic bottle waste. I see how this can work if everyone carries around their water bottles in their purse like I do but what if they work as well as my reusable bags? I still can't get into the habit of using them in spite of the fact they have made their way from my car to my purse. It's just something I don't think of or am in too big of a hurry to pull out.
According to an article online the Grand Canyon was considering the ban of plastic water bottles until they met with Coca Cola. While Coca Cola may have ulterior motives for not wanting the ban on plastic water bottles I wonder if this is a smart move in a place where people suffer from dehydration on a regular basis?
What do you think about the ban of plastic water bottles?
Grand Canyon Abandons Bottled Water Ban, After Meetings With Coca Cola
Coca Cola got some brownie points yesterday for a plan to boost recycling at next year's Olympics, but today it's back to business as usual. Turns out the company has been using its dollars and influence to stop the Grand Canyon from banning disposable plastic bottles in the park.
Grand Canyon National Park officials were in the final stages of imposing a ban on the sale of disposable water bottles in the Grand Canyon late last year when the nation’s parks chief abruptly blocked the plan after conversations with Coca-Cola, a major donor to the National Park Foundation.
Coca-Cola, which distributes water under the Dasani brand and has donated more than $13 million to the parks, had registered its concerns about the bottle ban through the foundation, and that the project was being tabled. His account was confirmed by park, foundation and company officials.
Disposable plastic bottles make up about a third of the Grand Canyon's waste stream—the single most popular item, according to the park official who'd put together the plan, as quoted in The Times.
It's not like visitors to the park would go thirsty. PEER says that according to documents it obtained through FOIA, Grand Canyon spent more than $310,000 to build ten new water “filling stations” so that visitors using canteens or other reusable containers would have ample access to high quality water. Utah's Zion National Park and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park both already have similar bans in place.
With requests this summer for records from the National Park Service (NPS) director already ignored, PEER filed a lawsuit today "to obtain records on this policy u-turn after NPS declined to surrender them."
Better late than never, but it's better to never be late in my book. One of these days I'll get caught up but until then, you'll have to accept my shortcomings. I'm very appreciative of those who have served in the Military in spite of the fact I didn't mention Veteran's Day in yesterday's post. Here are a few things I thought I should share with my readers in honor of the day.
Any child of a military man or woman can probably relate to the many tidbits of wisdom my father passed down to me over the years. Having served two voluntary tours in Vietnam, Dad was chock full of wisdom and stories from years of being shot at and sleeping with his head in the dirt. Although many non-military children are taught a lot of these same values, my father was privy to experiences that are simply impossible to come by unless you've been on the front lines of a war or combat situation.
In honor of the Marine Corps Birthday (Nov. 10) and Veterans Day (Nov. 11), here are some of the basics of Military Family Boot Camp, which I participated in from the day I was born.
1. Loyalty. From the day he joined to the day he died, my father was a U.S. Marine, even though he was honorably discharged in 1970. If the rest of us showed this kind of staying power with our friends and careers, imagine what we could accomplish.
2. Cleanliness. If time in boot camp teaches a person anything, it's that we should respect our possessions and homes enough to take proper care of them.
3. Importance of family. Watching your friends get injured and killed really makes a person appreciate those he loves most.
4. Appreciate your bed! My dad and his comrades-in-arms slept, quite literally, with their heads in the dirt for years.
5. Traumatic situations take time to recover from. Wars don't just fade into the background once they're over. Veterans deserve our respect and understanding as they work through their feelings.
6. Marine Corps Green is the best color -- ever.
7. Most people have no idea how to salute. Seriously, don't try this in front of a soldier unless you've been schooled on the proper form.
8. A real Marine never loses his shooting skills. My dad once came home from the firing range all disheartened that he'd only shot with 99% accuracy. Most of the rest of us can't fire with 1% accuracy.
9. Why get up at 6 a.m. when you can rise at 5? I've grudgingly come to accept the old adage that "the early bird catches the worm."
10. Sacrifice. Plenty of enlisted men and women don't exactly long to be away from friends and family for months or years on end, but they do it to protect our freedom and the rights of others.
11. His birthday might have been February 9, but his true birthday is November 10 (the Marine Corps Birthday). Happy Birthday, Daddy! I shall eat cake in your honor.
12. War is the gift that keeps on giving. In 2006, my father was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that he probably contracted thanks to Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam. This and similar stories are all too common, which is why...
13. Veterans deserve every benefit they get, and then some. From healthcare to burial benefits, if the federal government ever tries to take anything away from our veterans I'll be the first one peacefully picketing the Capitol.
14. It is okay to acknowledge your weaknesses. Not everyone can be a general, just like not every excels at mathematics. He understood that I couldn't be good at everything, and was satisfied as long as I tried my best.
15. The only acceptable tattoos depict the eagle, globe and anchor (Marine Corps insignia). He never got one, but he appreciated others who did. Other than that, he thought the intentional scarring of one's body was ridiculous and unnecessary. To each his own, right?
16. Even small gifts are appreciated during deployment. Ever wonder if soldiers actually read those cards and supplies that you and your kids mail every so often? They do -- especially the soldiers that don't receive much from their families.
17. People make mistakes. The trick is in learning from them and not making the same dumb decisions over and over again.
18. Occasionally, your temper will get the best of you. Don't hesitate to apologize, unless you want to make things worse.
19. Discipline is key. Too many kids and adults run wild and expect to be able to do whatever they want. Life just doesn't work that way, unless your end desire is a not-so-comfy jail cell.
20. War movies rock. One wouldn't think a veteran would enjoy war films, but he watched every single one.
21. Fireworks sound like bombs. Every year on the 4th of July I feel terrible for veterans that are bombarded with the noise of incessant fireworks for days on end.
22. Education is vital. Thanks to the G.I. Bill and other military benefits, soldiers are given every opportunity to further their education both during enlistment and in the years following.
23. Exercise, exercise, exercise. Many military men and women value the lessons in physical fitness learned in boot camp for the rest of their lives, unlike many of the rest of us.
24. Enjoy life! Sure, the world is full of suffering and trauma, but we all need to take a step back and do the things we enjoy.
25. Mortality is fleeting. He knew that firsthand from his years in combat. When he died, not a single person who truly mattered to him doubted his love, which brings me to...
26. Children are the best way to ensure that you truly live forever. Even if you never have biological children of your own, passing down your values and wisdom to a niece, nephew or adopted child will ensure that a bit of you will last for years to come.
27. All pets should be given a Marine Corps-appropriate name. My father's bulldog Gunny lives with us now, and he is easily the most popular member of our household.
28. Military affiliation is similar to an athletic rivalry in that you must always good-naturedly rib someone from another branch, like the Navy or Air Force.
29. Sometimes we all just need to fall in line. Sure, there are times when we must stand out on our own, but not a lot would get done if people didn't follow leadership well.
30. It doesn't matter how much you oppose a specific war - you should never oppose the veterans who served.
As we were driving along the shore of Lake Superior last night I saw the lights of an ore boat in the distance. The lake was quiet and lit by the light of the moon. On a calm beautiful night it's difficult to imagine waves big enough to take an ore boat down. That's what happened on November 10th, 1975 when the Edmund Fitzgerald left the waved tossed surface of Lake Superior for the eerily quiet bottom of the lake below.
Gordon Lightfoot's song, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" makes me tear up every time I listen to it. Although the video below does not reflect recent changes to the lyrics it's a tribute to the lives lost and an epic tale.
Posted at 05:29 PM ET, 11/10/2011
Edmund Fitzgerald tribute song lyrics changed by Gordon Lightfoot
Every year on Nov. 10, one of the most famous American shipwrecks is recalled: the crash of Edmund Fitzgerald. It went down in 1975 when a storm rolled into Lake Superior, stirring up 25-foot-high waves and 80 mile-an-hour winds. The ship and crew, 29 men in all, sank beneath the waters. The Split Rock Lighthouse, in Two Harbors, Minn., shines it beacon every year to commemorate the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. (Paul M. Walsh/AP)
It’s remembered in part thanks to the evocative song “The Wreck of Edmund Fitzgerald,” by singer Gordon Lightfoot. Lightfoot once said it was his most important work.
Last month, though, 35 years after penning the tune, Lightfoot announced he would be changing the lyrics. Before performing the song at the Michigan theater, he told AnnArbor.com he tweaked a section he had taken poetic license with and altered it to honor the mother and the daughter of two of the deckhands who went down with the ship. The women, he said, “have always cringed every time they’ve heard the line. ... And they know about it and they’re very happy about it.”
The offending line went from “At 7 p.m. a main hatchway caved in, he said, ‘Fellas, it’s been good to know ya’” to “At 7 p.m., it grew dark, it was then he said, ‘Fellas it’s been good to know ya.””
The men would have been responsible for the hatchway and he did not want it to sound as if they had been to blame for the disaster.
I have two good reasons to be happy today! One is my baby girl turned 12 years old today and two is we got a great review on Trip Advisor! Thank you Dave P from Madison, WI! We appreciate you taking the time to give us a review, especially such a wonderful one. It's a happy, happy day filled with joy!
The folks that work at Voyageur are some of the nicest, most knowledgeable people on their craft. We didn't have much of a plan when we got there, just that we needed 2 canoes, paddles, and a map. We arrived after close and much to our delight there was a nice sign with our Name on it letting us know which bunk house we were going to be sleeping in for the night (Highly recommended and well worth the price). We woke up in the am, went to the lodge and had a big breakfast (the pancakes were great). After we stuffed ourselves we checked in downstairs, picked up some maps. The crew member working at the counter asked us where we were going and with the deer in the headlights look we responded "The BWAC?" After a little discussion on what we wanted to do the crew member suggested a few sites that we would want to see, a few great spots for fishing, and which campsites along the way were the best for what we wanted to do. After getting advice on everything from what kind of lure to use to the best areas to look for berries (they were just getting ripe) & which portage trails were easier, we went down to the dock, loaded the canoes and we were off on our adventure. Shortly after we left we realized why a lot of people take the tow across Sag. If your leaving on a windy day, expect the trip across Sag to take twice as long or get the tow so you can get dropped off at the point. The canoes were great, the paddles were perfect it was the wind that hindered our first day.
After 6 days out in the BWAC we returned to the dock, unloaded our canoes, walked up to the lodge and before we could say Hi we were handed our Car keys and a towel for each of us. We each took a shower (this was one of those great perks of getting a bunk house package, a place a sleep, breakfast before you go out and a hot shower when you get back) got dressed in clean clothes and stepped back in to settle up our bill. I just couldn't leave the shop before picking up a nice ballcap and a t-shirt. We had a great time and I thought the service provided for out group of 6 was excellent. Voyageur made my trip and I'm still constantly reading Sue's blog to keep up on what's going on in the area. She was also great in answering all my e-mail questions before we got up there.
I love Voyageur Outfitters and I'd use them again and would highly recommend them to anyone planning a trip in the BWCA.
Silly as it may sound visitors to our area are being asked to wipe their feet before hiking some of our trails. Boot brushes have been placed at trailheads in Cook County to help prevent the spread of invasive species.
Kudos to Cook County for creating a Cook County Invasive Team. I'm happy to hear there is a group working to prevent invasive species in our county and I'm hoping people will take the time to Wipe Their Feet before they hike our trails.
Cook County Invasive Team boot brush signs have been installed at seven trailheads in Cook County. Invasive plant seeds can be spread into natural areas by ‘hitchhiking' on shoes as visitors travel from infested to uninfested areas. To increase awareness of this introduction vector the Cook County Invasive Team has put together signs asking people to please ‘Clean Your Boots Before Entering'. These signs have been installed at Chik-Wauk Nature Center, Sugarloaf Nature Center, Eagle Mountain, Caribou Rock, Oberg Mountain, Magnetic Rock, and Pincushion Mountain trailheads. These signs provide general information about invasive species, threats posed by four specific species, and inform visitors of simple steps they can do to reduce the threat. These signs are organized with a hierarchy of information designed to target visitors willing to read the sign for 3 seconds, 30 seconds, or 3 minutes. Initial reaction has been very positive and they are already receiving heavy use. Next time you are out hiking don’t forget to ‘Clean Your Boots’ and let me know what you think of the signs.
I've blogged quite a bit about all of the preparations we humans have to do on the Gunflint Trail before the snow covers the earth. It's really an endless list because there is always something more we could be doing. As I write this blog I'm aware of the gutters for the lodge, the patio furniture on the deck and the piles of brush that still need to be pulled out of the woods but I'd rather focus on something more simple. The wildlife around Voyageur are also preparing for winter with pretty much one goal in mind, stockpiling as much food as possible.
The critters on the Gunflint Trail are just as busy as us two-leggeds as they get ready for winter. The red squirrels and chipmunks scurry about with their mouths packed full of food. Up a tree they go only to come back down the other side seconds later for another trip. The whiskey jacks flitter above until they swoop down for food to bring back to their hiding spot in a tree. I wonder how many times a bird is surprised when they land on a tree and find a hidden cache of food from another bird or a chipmunk?
I've watched closely as the fox find food and stash it for later. Sometimes they dig a shallow hole and cover the food with a twig or two and call it good. The next time they find food they leave for 5 or 10 minutes before returning for another round. I'm sure it would be quite interesting to have a camera on a fox and find out how much and how far a particular fox travels with all of their stashes of food.
Other wildlife on the Gunflint Trail is preparing for winter. The snow buntings are only here for a short time but they are busy nonetheless. The rabbits are hopping about with their half-white and half -brown coats of fur. Beavers, pine martens and bear are no doubt ready to settle down for the winter and the moose will welcome the colder temperatures and snow.
The preparations for winter continue for all inhabitants of the Gunflint Trail as the snowflakes flutter from the sky.
We don't have any railroads in the Boundary Waters but that isn't intefering with land trade negotiations between the State and Feds. There is land within the Boundary Waters that is owned by the State of Minnesota and the Feds would prefer to own it. Land exchanges aren't uncommon in our area and there are even a couple of resorts on the Gunflint Trail that are on Federal Land. They operate on a lease and don't actually own their property. This property isn't currently up for exchange but other property is. Thankfully we own our property at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters, it may not be Park Place but it's way better than that in my mind.
State, feds near deal for Minnesota land trapped in Boundary Waters
A deal is close that could end a decades-long dispute over state land within the federal Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
A deal is close that could end a decades-long dispute over state land within the federal Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
An advisory committee of state and federal officials, environmental groups, logging and mining interests and local government land officials has met quietly several times in the past year to forge a compromise on a combination land trade and purchase.
They’ll meet again in Sandstone on Wednesday as they near agreement on how to handle nearly 87,000 acres of state land locked inside the 1.1 million-acre BWCAW.
Under the deal, the state would trade about 43,000 acres inside the BWCAW for Superior National Forest federal land outside the wilderness.
The federal government also would purchase another 40,000 or so acres of state land in the BWCAW directly from the state. The money — estimated at about $80 million — would go into the state’s permanent school trust fund that funnels interest earned to school districts across the state.
Another 4,000 acres remain in question.
The state land became locked inside the federal wilderness after Congress drew the most recent boundaries of the BWCAW in 1978. At first, Minnesota officials said they welcomed the opportunity to manage their state lands as part of the wilderness. But over the years, state officials say the land has become de facto federal land, with the state unable to cut trees, mine or otherwise develop the property.
Much of the state land in the BWCAW is “owned” by the Minnesota Legislature’s Permanent School Fund. Money earned from school trust fund land, through such activities as logging and mining, goes to help schools across the state, and the fund was getting nothing from the BWCAW property.
For years, some Iron Range lawmakers and representatives of the timber and mining industries have pushed for a straight land exchange to expand state influence in the area while diminishing federally regulated forest.
But because the state land inside the BWCAW is waterfront property and more valuable, that option would have required more than double the amount of forest land in exchange. That would dramatically reduce the size of the Superior National Forest overall — a move favored by some and strongly opposed by environmental interests.
“A straight land trade just isn’t going to happen,” said Ron Nargang a former assistant Department of Natural Resources commissioner and former state director of the Nature Conservancy who serves as a leader for the advisory committee. “But I think we can make this hybrid plan work.”
The committee forging the agreement is an offshoot of the Permanent School Fund Advisory Committee that’s charged with maximizing return for school trust-fund land across the state, including thousands of the state acres in question in the BWCAW.
Any agreement would require approval from the 2012 Minnesota Legislature and money from Congress. Federal money to buy the state land probably would come from the Land and Water Conservation Fund that’s stocked with federal royalties from off-shore oil drilling.
Identifying parcels outside the BWCAW to trade that all sides could agree on has been the key issue, said Wayne Brandt, executive vice president of the Minnesota Timber Producers forest industry group.
“Both the DNR and the Forest Service have developed some reasonable criteria this time to identify candidate parcels for the exchange,” Brandt said.
Much of the federal land being considered for the trade is at the western, southern and eastern edge of the sprawling Superior forest.
The deal was delayed early this year after the influx of new legislative leaders on the overseeing committee, and again in July when state government shut down. But Nargang said the deal already has “buy-in” from the Dayton administration, Republican officials in the Legislature and from the state’s congressional delegation.
A similar plan for the federal government to purchase all the state land died in the mid-1990s when Iron Range lawmakers vetoed it at the last minute, demanding instead to receive land instead of cash in the trade.
“I think we’re as close to something both sides can accept now as we ever will be,” said Bob Krepps, St. Louis County land commissioner, who serves on the committee. “If we don’t do this now, I don’t think it will ever happen.”
Mining foes raise concerns
Some opponents of copper mining in the region have raised flags, saying at least some of the land that would be traded to the state is in areas of high interest for mining companies. Because the newly state-owned land would be under school trust fund management, mining opponents say there will be pressure to maximize return and ignore environmental concerns.
Indeed, one of the criteria that Department of Natural Resources negotiators have asked for is to receive National Forest land in the trade that already has mineral rights owned by the state. That reconnection of surface and mineral ownership would make the land easier to open for mining and remove any federal review from the mining proposals.
“We are deeply concerned about the long-term impact of removing federal protection from high-quality natural land” proposed for the trade, said Lori Andresen, mining chair for the Sierra Club’s North Star Chapter. The group favors a federal purchase of state land rather than a trade. “We believe that the existing level of protection provided to the Superior National Forest should be maintained, and that the goals of the Minnesota School Trust can be most easily achieved by a full federal buyout of trust lands within the BWCAW.”
Nargang and others said minerals exploration potential is considered but hasn’t been a major factor as the DNR and Forest Service sit down to pick parcels for the exchange.
“I don’t see any indication that the lands are being picked specifically or mining,” Nargang said. “The primary objective has been to get land (outside the BWCAW) that the state can manage, that’s contiguous with other state lands and has access … that can provide some sort of return” for the school trust.
Members of the working group on the BWCAW school trust land issue include Nargang, Krepps, Brandt, Betsy Daub, policy director for Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness; Jim Sanders, supervisor of the Superior National Forest; Craig Engwall, northeast region director for the Minnesota DNR; Dan Roark, DNR lands and minerals attorney; Frank Ongaro, president of Mining Minnesota, the copper mining industry group; and Tim Dabney, deputy Superior forest supervisor.
Lake, Cook and St. Louis counties also hold land in the BWCAW, as does the permanent University of Minnesota trust fund. Lake County is just completing a land exchange with the Superior forest for much of its land in the wilderness. Nargang said he would support settling the other county and trust land issues at the same time, if possible.
Looking back over the summers we've had at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters it's impossible to forget all of the wonderful summer crew we have had. The wall of fame in the lodge helps us remember a number of the Voyageur Crew. We have canoe paddles with photos and signatures of a number of the summer crews we have had but unfortunately not all of them.
It would be nice to know what each one of our Voyageur family members are up to after their summer in the BWCA. Facebook is one way we can get an idea of what some of them are up to. I am friends with some of them but not all of them. I see photos they post of themselves and their children! I can't believe some of these kids who worked for us are now parents but I guess that's what happens after a decade or two goes by.
I'd like to think I will have time to make a history of Voyageur Employees but since I haven't yet I think I'm going to assign Dr. Sheri Prom a job. Since she has worked at Voyageur every summer since we have owned it she should be able to make a list with everyone's names and years they worked for us. She's probably even friends with all of them on Facebook now. Wouldn't that be nice if she did this so I can share the information with you?
If you have any photos or stories of a Voyageur crew member from over the years then please share it with me. Together we can figure out what happens in life after a summer in the BWCA.
The high on the Gunflint Trail today was 48 degrees. There have been years where we've had quite a bit of snow on the ground for the opener, but not this year. Here's some interesting information from the web.
Minnesota Deer Hunting Opener. The Minnesota State Climatology Office has some interesting weather factoids about weather on the deer hunting firearm opener: "Minnesota's 2011 Firearm Deer Hunting Opener is Saturday, November 5. The normal high temperature for November 5 ranges from the upper 30s across northern Minnesota to the upper 40s near the Iowa border. The average low temperature is in the 20s. The historical probability of receiving measurable precipitation on November 5 is approximately 25%. Early November precipitation often falls as snow in the north, while rain is more likely in the south. An enduring, winter-long snow cover is typically not established until later in November, even in northern Minnesota. The 2010 Firearm Deer Hunting Opener on November 6 was quite mild and mostly dry throughout Minnesota. High temperatures were generally in the mid to upper 50's with lows in the mid 20's to around 30."
I'm one of those people who likes to give reviews. Whether it's good, bad or ugly I like to share what I thought of the food I've eaten, the places I've stayed in or the activities I've participated in. Sometimes I question why on earth I'm spending my time writing about somewhere else when I have so much other writing I'd rather be doing but then I remember.
I'm a business owner and I'm proud of the service we offer our guests. I know we are honest, fair, have quality equipment, great staff and provide the best there is for a canoe outfitting experience in the Boundary Waters. I feel bad when I email someone to find out how their trip plans are going and they say they have booked with another outfitter. I can't guarantee they will have a good BWCA canoe trip if they aren't outfitting with us. I wonder what else I could have done to convince them to outfit with Voyageur. Then I remember how powerful a review on a site like Trip Advisor can be.
I often look at Trip Advisor to plan my vacations. I want to make sure I choose the places with quality service where I know I'll get good value for my money paid. I don't think it's fair to give someone my money when their not doing a good job and there's someone out there who is doing an awesome job. Why leave my experience up to chance or someone else's when you can help guarantee someone has a wonderful time?
I know there are some reviews out there that don't sound real. There are some very harsh critics that bring scores down and some false high ones that bring scores up but overall I put my trust in sites like Trip Advisor and the comments people make. There are always days when a business might have a bad day or a really good day but I think those tend to average out over enough reviews. As a business owner you can always go on Trip Advisor and write to the people who are making the comments. That's a tell too because if a business is getting accused of bad service or terrible food and doesn't respond then they probably do have bad service and terrible food. That's why it's important to help give your favorite businesses a good review if they deserve it.
We know it takes time to give reviews and we really appreciate it when our guests do. If someone doesn't have a good time then we hope they have told us that in person so we can make it right if it was something we did wrong. We are always striving to do better and are open to constructive criticism. While we'd rather receive negative news via an email we'd still appreciate knowing your thoughts even if it was through a public review.
If you're looking for something to do on the internet some time then why not take a minute to give Voyageur Canoe Outfitters a review? We'd appreciate it and so would all of the other folks who depend upon reviews when making their vacation plans.
The region of Argentina and Chile known as Patagonia has always intrigued me. The lakes, rivers, glaciers and wildlife of the region are on a bucket list of mine of places to visit if I ever have an unlimited supply of money to spend. The clothing company of the same name has quite a few attributes about it that I like as well. It's a company I would love to buy clothes from not only because of their quality but also because of their environmental principles like their Common Threads Initiative.
With the arrival of the 7th billion baby on earth I think it's extra important to support companies like Patagonia. Their Common Threads Initiative focuses on the mantra, Reduce, Repair, Reuse, Recycle." They are a company after my own heart because I do everything in my power to reduce, repair, reuse and recycle in my daily life.
I have a difficult time throwing even the smallest items into the garbage and practically never throw any clothing item away. If the kids have grown their clothing then it is packaged and brought to town to someone who can use them or to the Thrift Shop. If it can no longer be worn as clothing then it becomes a cleaning rag or finds some other use somewhere else. According to Patagonia's website the average US citizen throws away 68 pounds of clothing annually and the USA discards 11.9 million tons of clothing, shoes and textiles per year. I find these statistics almost unbelievable because I can't imagine anyone throwing clothing into a garbage.
Patagonia allows people who purchase their items to send them back to be repaired or to be recycled. They have even entered into a partnership with Ebay to help promote the re-selling of their clothing. Through their Common Threads Initiative they are encouraging people to not buy what they don't need, fix what they can, sell or pass it along to someone who can use it and keep your stuff out of the landfill. You can be a part of it too, just visit theirwebsite and sign the pledge today.
I understand there are two separate and very unique countries bordering the Continental United States. The border to the south is with Mexico and the border to the north is with Canada. The number of letters in their names and the fact they share a border with the US are where the similarities between the two countries end so why would the US Government treat laws governing their borders the same?
I admit I am not that into politics and laws and I thought the "Bill" from the Schoolhouse Rocks video was as depressed as Eeyore on Winnie the Pooh but I do care about what happens in my backyard. I hope for the sake of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Quetico Provincial Park along with other wilderness areas sharing the border with Canada the H.R. 1505-National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act dies.
It has always seemed odd to me the Government would treat all areas along the border equally. The last time I checked we didn't have Canadians swimming across our lakes to get into the United States. Drug smugglers haven't been killing our Border Patrol Agents, residents or tourists in the area either. The challenges and problems that are demanding attention and increasing tension along borders primarily deal with the border between the United States and Mexico.
If I can see how absurd it is to treat two borders the same then why can't politcians? Hopefully the majority of the politicians can see this and will see to it this bill remains just a bill.
H.R.1505 -- National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act (Introduced in House - IH)
the To prohibit the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture from taking action on public lands which impede border security on such lands, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act'.
SEC. 2. PROHIBITION ON IMPEDING CERTAIN ACTIVITIES OF THE SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY RELATED TO BORDER SECURITY.
(a) In General- The Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture shall not impede, prohibit, or restrict activities of the Secretary of Homeland Security on land under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture to achieve operational control (as defined in section 2(b) of the Secure Fence Act of 2006 (8 U.S.C. 1701 note; Public Law 109-367)) over the international land and maritime borders of the United States.
(b) Authorized Activities- The Secretary of Homeland Security shall have immediate access to any public land managed by the Federal Government (including land managed by the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture) for purposes of conducting activities that assist in securing the border (including access to maintain and construct roads, construct a fence, use vehicles to patrol, and set up monitoring equipment).
(c) Clarification Relating to Waiver Authority-
(1) IN GENERAL- Notwithstanding any other provision of law (including any termination date relating to the waiver referred to in this subsection), the waiver by the Secretary of Homeland Security on April 1, 2008, under section 102(c)(1) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 1103 note; Public Law 104-20 of the laws described in paragraph (2) with respect to certain sections of the international border between the United States and Mexico and between the United States and Canada shall be considered to apply to all sections of the international land and maritime borders of the United States within 100 miles of the international land and maritime borders of the United States for the activities of the Secretary of Homeland Security described in subsection (b), including the construction of infrastructure, to achieve the operational control described in subsection (a).
(2) DESCRIPTION OF LAWS WAIVED- The laws referred to in paragraph (1) are the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.), the National Historic Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 470 et seq.), the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C. 703 et seq.), the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.), the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 (16 U.S.C. 470aa et seq.), the Safe Drinking Water Act (42 U.S.C. 300f et seq.), the Noise Control Act of 1972 (42 U.S.C. 4901 et seq.), the Solid Waste Disposal Act (42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (42 U.S.C. 9601 et seq.), Public Law 86-523 (16 U.S.C. 469 et seq.), the Act of June 8, 1906 (commonly known as the `Antiquities Act of 1906') (16 U.S.C. 431 et seq.), the Act of August 21, 1935 (16 U.S.C. 461 et seq.), the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (16 U.S.C. 1271 et seq.), the Farmland Protection Policy Act (7 U.S.C. 4201 et seq.), the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 (16 U.S.C. 1451 et seq.), the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 et seq.), the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.), the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 U.S.C. 668dd et seq.), the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 (16 U.S.C. 742a et seq.), the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (16 U.S.C. 661 et seq.), subchapter II of chapter 5, and chapter 7, of title 5, United States Code (commonly known as the `Administrative Procedure Act'), the Otay Mountain Wilderness Act of 1999 (Public Law 106-145, 113 Stat. 1711), sections 102(29) and 103 of California Desert Protection Act of 1994 (16 U.S.C. 410aaa et seq.), the National Park Service Organic Act (16 U.S.C. 1 et seq.), Public Law 91-383 (16 U.S.C. 1a-1 et seq.), sections 401(7), 403, and 404 of the National Parks and Recreation Act of 1978 (Public Law 95-625, 92 Stat. 3467), the Arizona Desert Wilderness Act of 1990 (16 U.S.C. 1132 note; Public Law 101-62, section 10 of the Act of March 3, 1899 (33 U.S.C. 403), the Act of June 8, 1940 (16 U.S.C. 668 et seq.), (25 U.S.C. 3001 et seq.), Public Law 95-341 (42 U.S.C. 1996), Public Law 103-141 (42 U.S.C. 2000bb et seq.), the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 (16 U.S.C. 1600 et seq.), and the Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act of 1960 (16 U.S.C. 528 et seq.).
There's an email I get on a daily basis from Gretchen Rubin. She's written some book about the "Happiness Project." Every 4th day or so her email has something worth reading in it so I keep subscribing to it. Saturday's email contained a post I found particularly interesting, "To be happier, look out the window."
This was a topic I could easily relate to because I love the view from my window. I see pine trees, birch trees, woodpeckers, chickadees, the sunlight sparkling off of the Seagull River and sometimes the neighborhood fox or pine marten. I love where I live and this always makes me happier when I am down.
Until Saturday I had no clue where Gretchen Rubin lived and after reading her post I have no clue how she can be happy. Here is an excerpt,
My office is in a teeny room on the roof of our building; it was converted from a storage room that had taken the place of a water tower. My window there looks out on air-conditioning equipment and the tops of ducts where they poke out of the tarred roof. Not much to see.
She goes on to say,
We don’t have any “views” from our apartment. We have great light, which is a real luxury in New York City (and if I had to pick between good light and a good view, I’d pick good light), but even though we face an apartment building, and another apartment building, and the top of a shaft, there are still beautiful things to see when we look out.
She also talks about the beauty of the ivy on the apartment wall across from her and watching the neighbor exercise in the window of that wall. I now see why she needed a happiness project and why her next book is called, "Happier at Home."
I am so very happy to live where I can look out my windows and not see a neighbor on an elliptical machine. I love to be able to listen to the loons, feed the whiskey jacks from my hands and breathe in the fresh clean air. I love the view from my window and the number of visitors to the Boundary Waters tells me other people do too.