Happy Thanksgiving

We’re thankful for our wonderful guests, friends, family and beautiful place we live.  Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Posted in News

Christmas Trees

It’s around this time of the year we start seeing Christmas trees on top of vehicles heading south. Many people come to our neck of the woods to select their trees and not from the lot at the Holiday Station store. They head into the woods with a saw, axe or chainsaw in hand and a picture of the perfect tree in their head.  I hope to get a tree this weekend but will most likely find it on our own property. Here’s some information from the USFS on cutting trees from forest land.

Media Contact:
Kristina Reichenbach, Superior National Forest
(218)626-4393
kreichenbach@fs.fed.us
 
 
GATHERING GREENS – A HOLIDAY TRADITION ON SUPERIOR NATIONAL FOREST
DULUTH, MN  (November 21, 2014)  Gathering your own Christmas tree or balsam boughs on the national forest is a great way to get outdoors with your family and celebrate the holidays.  For many people this is an annual tradition.
Christmas trees: You may stop by any of our Forest Service offices to obtain a permit for a Christmas tree. A permit to cut one Christmas tree on the Superior National Forest costs $5.00.  Two Christmas tree permits are allowed per household per year.  These are not intended for commercial use.
Boughs:  Permits for bough gathering are only available at Ranger District offices.  Contact the Ranger District office closest to the area where you plan to collect.  A “personal use” permit for gathering balsam boughs on the Superior National Forest allows for enough boughs to make approximately 5 door-size wreaths and costs $20.00.  If you plan to harvest a large amount of boughs, a commercial permit must be purchased.
Be sure you use your permit in the right place. Parcels of state, county, tribal and private lands are intermixed with national forest lands within the Superior National Forest boundary.  Cutting of Christmas trees and boughs is not allowed inside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, plantations, recreation areas, or administrative sites. Visitor maps of the Superior National Forest which show land ownership are available for $10.00 at all Forest offices and also via internet.
You may use your Off-highway vehicles (OHVs), including ATVs and dirt bikes, only on designated trails and specific roadways.  Motor vehicle use maps are available at Forest offices and are posted on our website.  Snowmobiles may be used on designated trails and cross-country in most areas or on unplowed roads with a 4-inch minimum snow cover. Check with the Forest office issuing your permit about any restrictions in the area you plan to visit.
Superior National Forest office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, with the exception of federal holidays. Permits and maps may be obtained by mail but you must allow time for a check to travel through the mail and materials to be returned.
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Make your tree-cutting outing a safe and enjoyable experience by following these tips:

  • Arrive early at your cutting area as it may take longer than you think to find that special tree.Bring snacks and water as well.
  • Check the weather outlook and be ready for changing conditions. 
  • Carry tire chains, shovel, flashlights, and blankets in your vehicle, plus rope to tie down your tree. Many national forest roads are not maintained or snowplowed during the winter, so be sure that your vehicle is equipped for winter travel and has a full tank of gas.
  • Wear proper winter clothing and carry extras in case you get wet. You might be warm, dry and comfortable when you start, but you may get tired and cold as the day wears on.
  • Let someone know where you are going and when to expect you back. Check in when you return.
  • Don’t rely on your cell phone as it may not work in many areas of the forest.
  • Keep aware of your location.  Bring a map, compass or GPS technology and know how to use it.
  • Watch for other traffic – on foot, on the road, and on the trails and be aware that hunting season may still be underway.

For a printable flyer and additional information, visit the Superior National Forest web site at: www.fs.usda.gov/superior  
The U.S. Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a mission of sustaining the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The Forest Service’s Eastern Region includes twenty states in the Midwest and East, stretching from Maine, to Maryland, to Missouri, to Minnesota.  There are 17 national forests and one national tallgrass prairie in the Eastern Region. For more information, visit www.fs.usda.gov/R9.
The U.S. Forest Service manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live. For more information, visit www.fs.usda.gov/.
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Posted in Seasonal activities

No Venison this Year

I can’t say I am upset we won’t have venison to eat this winter, I don’t really like the taste of it. PLEASE don’t tell me when you cook it I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between deer meat and beef, that’s like telling me I wouldn’t be able to taste the difference between Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi. I have amazingly good taste buds and I can tell you if a bottle of Diet Coke is expired in just one taste.  And yes, no matter how you cook it venison still tastes like venison.

This year Mike’s family spent one of the weekends hunting on the Gunflint Trail. They saw just as many wolves as they did deer and none of the deer had antlers so they couldn’t shoot.  One highlight of the weekend is when Mike’s brother-in-laws’ father was sitting on a chair and heard a sudden noise.  He turned just in time to see a deer come within a foot of running him over. As he toppled over in his chair he saw the reason the deer was in a hurry, a wolf was in hot pursuit. He could also hear another reason nearby in the woods.

I’m not sure the wolves are going to even have venison this winter. There weren’t too many success stories coming from the Gunflint Trail. They may have to eat more moose, I heard they like that better than venison anyway.

 

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Posted in wildlife

Migration

One day I will see caribou migrating.  The crew that paddled this summer saw a huge herd with thousands of caribou of all sizes.  Until then I will have to be satisfied by watching videos and reading about it.

Question of the week

Q: I noticed the DNR eagle cam is back online. Do bald eagles in Minnesota migrate for the winter, or do they stay on their summer nests?

A: Many Minnesota bald eagles do not migrate. As long as they have access to open water, they can and do stay here all year. In fact, with the installation of the eagle cam, we have learned that eagle nests are rarely vacant. Eagles are bonded to their nesting territories, and staying around ensures that it will not be taken over by another eagle or pair of eagles.

The eagles along the Mississippi River and Hawk Ridge near Lake Superior during spring and fall are mostly migrating eagles. Most of the eagles come from Canada and use the Mississippi flyway to travel south to their wintering grounds.

Lori Naumann, DNR nongame wildlife program specialist

Wyoming’s Big Game Migrations and 50 Years of Wilderness from Biodiversity Institute on Vimeo.

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Thanksgiving Week

It’s a short week for the kids with only two days of school.  Thankfully there aren’t any hockey games to attend until next weekend either. With one in Silver Bay on Saturday and one in Moose Lake today I can use a break from the road. We’re staying home for the holiday this Thanksgiving and I’m looking forward to it.  If the snow holds off then a couple of hikes are on the agenda, if the snow doesn’t hold off then we’ll have to get the snowshoes out to hit the trails.

We’re also going to find ourselves a Christmas Tree to cut down.  With a little luck I may even get a Christmas letter written. I still have photo cards from last year that never made it into the mail so there’s no rush to get a photo taken and printed like in normal years. I hope your Thanksgiving plans are as stress-free as mine and I hope you have a short week too.

Posted in News

Minnesota Trees

I find it kind of strange the Red Pine is the state tree of Minnesota yet it isn’t very abundant in our state.  It doesn’t even make the top 10 list of abundant trees in Minnesota.

Q: Which tree species are most abundant in Minnesota?

A: Our most abundant tree species in Minnesota is the quaking aspen with an estimated population of more than 3.5 billion. The next most abundant species (in order) are balsam fir, black spruce, black ash, paper birch, tamarack, red maple, northern white cedar, sugar maple and balsam poplar.

Curtis Vanderschaaf, biometrician, DNR Forestry Division, resource assessment

Want to know why the Red Pine is the state tree?  Here’s why…

Tree

The red or Norway pine (Pinus resinosa) was made official in 1953. (Minnesota Statutes 1.143)

Through the efforts of the Friday Study Club in Minneapolis, and backed by the Minnesota Federation of Women’s Clubs, the Norway pine designation was passed in 1953. It was sponsored by Sen. Gordon H. Butler and Rep. George A. French, and signed into law by Governor C. Elmer Anderson on February 18, 1953. The language of Chapter 20 noted the sturdiness and majesty of the tree, and how it helped lay the foundation for the wealth of Minnesota.

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Posted in News

When the Wind Blows

The gales of November. The wind was gusting over 20 miles per hour most of the day today. The waves on Lake Superior were crashing constantly. It was -2 degrees this morning and if the temperature wouldn’t have warmed up it would have been seriously brutal outside this afternoon and evening. Luckily the warmer temperatures arrived just in time and it’s currently 27 degrees outside.

Tomorrow is the day. It’s the day to make sure everything outside is ready for the snow to come. Because after this weekend I don’t think we’ll be seeing balmy temperatures again until spring.

Did you hear about the town in Wisconsin that has received 81 inches of snow already this season? Buffalo is the lucky location in Wisconsin.  This early snow is great for them but unfortunately their snowmobile trails don’t open until December 1st. I guess folks have a little bit of time to get their snow machines running and cross-country skis waxed.

I’m hoping when the wind blows the next time it brings us a bunch of snow along with it.

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Zero to 21 in a Flash

This morning the temperature got down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit for a brief amount of time.  The wind blew fiercely throughout the day and it felt very cold.  This weekend the temperature is predicted to get up into the 30′s, that is going to feel warm after the bitter temperatures we’ve been experiencing already this winter.

I’m not sure how time can pass so quickly. Next week is already Thanksgiving and it feels like Halloween was yesterday. It feels like my niece Chelsea was born last year and today she turned 21 years old. 21 years old! I remember giving her a bottle and now she can drink beer from a bottle legally.

Temperatures and time always changing never constant.

Posted in News

Lake Effect Snow and the Lack of It

We haven’t been getting snow dumped on us and it’s kind of disappointing. Lutsen, the downhill ski hill in our area, is open but had to make most of their snow. I’m sure they would appreciate four feet of the real stuff right about now.  Cross-country skiers are biting at the chomp to hit the trails, including me, but it’s going to take a bunch of snow before the trails will open. Why aren’t we receiving lake effect snowfall? This article does a great job of explaining the process and if I had to guess at the reason we’re not getting big snowfall right now I would say it’s because there isn’t a big difference between the temperature of the water and the air on the North Shore. What do you think?

Science behind the lake effect

POSTED: 12:27 PM EST Nov 17, 2014    UPDATED: 12:40 PM EST Nov 17, 2014

It’s no doubt that parts of the area are going to be dealing with an intense wintry blast over the next several days causing many headaches. There are other parts of the Great Lakes region, though, that will have it worse.

One key ingredient to lake effect snow is something called fetch. Fetch is the distance wind travels over water. The longer the fetch, the more intense the snow bands.

Since the prevailing wind over this part of the country is usually west to east, the fetch over Lake Michigan is relatively small, although still significant enough to create lake effect snow.

However, Lake Erie and Ontario are oriented more west to east so the prevailing wind matches up with the longest axis of both of those lakes resulting in much longer fetch. It’s no surprise that because of this, parts of northwest Pennsylvania and New York are going to be measuring snow in feet!

What about Lake Superior? The west to east distance is even greater than that of Erie or Ontario. Lake Superior is a much colder lake so the difference in air/lake temperature is never as great as it is on Erie and Ontario. The greater the temperature difference between air and water, the greater the instability, and as a result, stronger snow bands develop.

With a north wind Lake Michigan can really produce intense snow bands because the wind will travel along Lake Michigan’s longest axis which is a north to south distance of just over 300 miles. This is what generates major lake effect snow events in areas like LaPorte county. Due north winds are far more uncommon, however, than a west wind, since west is prevailing across this part of the country.

Another reason the eastern lakes have enhanced snowfall is because of the very hilly terrain across New York and Pennsylvania. This terrain causes the air to lift (called orographic lift) which results in heavier snow. Northern parts of Michigan, especially the UP, often see enhanced lake effect snow due to the higher terrain in places like the Porcupine Mountains.

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Posted in Seasonal activities

Looking for a Canoe, Kayak or Stand Up Paddle Board?

Our friends in Clearwater, Minnesota may have exactly what you need.  They are located just a short drive from the Twin Cities and can set you up with a watercraft you’re sure to enjoy. Right now they are entering names of anyone who purchases a boat into a drawing to win a trip to the Boundary Waters, courtesy of Voyageur Canoe Outfitters.  This is right in time for the holidays so check them out today!

BRANDS OF PADDLE CRAFT THEY CARRY ARE:

Wenonah Canoes, Current Designs Kayaks, Pau Hana SUP boards, Jackson Kayaks, Native Watercraft Kayaks, NuCanoe, Liquid Logic Kayaks, Osagian Canoes, and periodically we get other used brands in.

 

Canoes, kayaks

Paddle board from Clear Waters Outfitting

 

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Posted in products
  • Happy Thanksgiving to all. We're thankful you are in our lives.

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