Moose Rut Time

A house at the end of the Gunflint Trail is a great place to live but I sure would have liked to have been visiting this house in Anchorage for the opportunity to see wildlife perform like this video shows.

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Busy Week Again

Sometimes I feel like we need an event coordinator to plan our week out for us. Who is going where when and for how long.

This week Josh has a busy football schedule and Abby has a busy volleyball schedule. Josh has a JV football game in Wrenshall on Monday(about 30 minutes south of Duluth) and a 7th, 8th and 9th grade game in Aurora on Tuesday. Aurora is over 2 hours from Grand Marais on the Iron Range. Then on Friday there is a Varsity game and thankfully that is in Grand Marais.

Abby has volleyball games Monday, Tuesday and Thursday this week and luckily those are all at home. It’s a Dig Pink Fundraiser on Monday, Parent’s Night Volleyball Game on Tuesday and just a normal game on Thursday.

With Mike coaching football, bottling beer at the brewery and trying to get things closed up for winter at Voyageur his schedule is crazy too.

It won’t be too long and the hectic fall sports schedule will be over. Play-offs are right around the corner but then again so are hockey and volleyball try-outs for winter.

The thing is, no matter how busy our schedule is I love our kids and their friends. It’s fun to see them grow up, play sports and spread their wings. Our empty nest is a few years away and I know I will miss the hectic schedule when it’s gone. So, like all stages of life I better enjoy it while I can because in the blink of an eye it will be over.

Posted in News

Field Trip to the End of the Gunflint Trail

Tomorrow is the day when the 7th Grade students from Cook County will visit the end of the Gunflint Trail. They will learn about Fire Wise, find a few geocaches, hike some trails and paddle over to Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center.

We’re hoping for a beautiful day for the kids to enjoy the end of the Gunflint Trail. You would be surprised to know how many people don’t explore all of the ends of our big county but our great local school tries to get the students out there.

They have a Passport Program with various places in our county marked as special destinations. Throughout Grade School and Middle School the students visit the Grand Portage Area near the Canadian Border, the Schroeder Area near the county line and the Gunflint Trail. They explore natural areas like the High Falls at Pigeon River, Cascade River and more and they also visit the Cook County Historical Museum, Commercial Fishing Museum and other informative places.

We are proud to be a part of the program and love to have the students visit us at Voyageur.

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Posted in Chik-Wauk

Homecoming Weekend

Friday night football game, Saturday volleyball tournament and Saturday night dance, it’s Homecoming Weekend in Cook County. Lots of kids, lots of photos and lots of fun!

Homecoming Parade

Two Harbors, MN Tournament
JV Volleyball Team Takes 1st Place
Homecoming Fun

Homecoming Fun

Abby and Josh

Abby and Josh

Posted in News

Motorboat, Motorboat in the BWCA

When the Boundary Waters became a wilderness area certain promises were made. One promise was motors would be allowed in certain lakes  and property owners on specific chains of lakes would be exempt from any permit quota. Businesses were promised things as well.

Unfortunately all of these promises were made long ago. There have been new business owners, new people in the USFS and new groups wanting to “protect” the BWCA.  Tow boat use is now under attack.

Whether or not tow boats should be allowed is irrelevant. Tow boats are allowed and originally there was no limit on the number of trips a tow boat could make, that came later. It’s unfortunate Wilderness Watch doesn’t focus on something that could severely affect all of the lakes of the BWCA, like mining.  Worrying about 18 of the over one thousand lakes in the Boundary Waters is quite insignificant in my opinion. If a person doesn’t want to paddle where there are motor boats then there are plenty of options where motors aren’t allowed, like 978 at least.

Environmental group: Throttle back motorized Boundary Waters trips

Motorized access has been at the heart of the controversy surrounding the Boundary Waters ever since the legislation creating the wilderness area took effect on this date in 1979. Nathaniel Minor | MPR News file

An environmental group is suing the U.S. Forest Service, arguing the agency is letting outfitters run too many motorized boats to Minnesota’s Boundary Waters.

The lawsuit by Montana-based Wilderness Watch alleges the Forest Service has allowed outfitters to top the cap on motorized tow trips allowed each year. The group wants the agency to implement a new permitting process in advance of each season to ensure towboat numbers are held to the legal limit.

Twenty-three outfitters offer towboat services into the Boundary Waters. Many canoeists use the tows for quicker access to Quetico Provincial Park just across the border in Canada. According to the suit, the Forest Service’s 1993 plan caps towboat trips at 1,342 per year. The group said data from its freedom of information request show the Forest Service allowed 1,639 trips in 2011 and 2,124 last year.

Towboat traffic is especially heavy on the Moose Lake chain east of Ely, Minn., said Kevin Proescholdt, Minneapolis-based conservation director for Wilderness Watch.

“On typical summer days, the towboats are zipping back and forth, quite a bit on that chain of lakes,” said Proescholdt. “And for those of us who prefer to paddle, it really diminishes the wilderness experience when there are these towboats zooming past us again and again and again.”

Superior National Forest officials say they can’t comment on pending litigation. But motorized access has been at the heart of the controversy surrounding the Boundary Waters ever since the legislation creating the wilderness area took effect on this date in 1979. Subsequent lawsuits have limited the number of lakes accessible to motor boats. Motors are allowed now on part or all of 18 lakes in the Boundary Waters.


Remembering the Boundary Waters battles, 50 years later

Bob Olson, who runs Canoe Country Outfitters in Ely, sees this complaint as another attempt by environmental groups to pull back motorized use.

“To me it’s just another way to take all of the motors out, which is their goal,” he said. “So they just keep picking away at it. It’s just a long line of trying to take things away.”

Proescholdt, who was involved in the effort in the 1970s to create the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, says that’s not the group’s goal.

“We’re not trying to end motorboat use. We’re not trying to end commercial towboat use,” he said. “We’re trying to get the Forest Service to follow the law.”

Outfitters pay the Forest Service 3 percent of their towing fees. At the end of each season, they submit detailed reports. But the lawsuit alleges some outfitters underreported the number of towboat trips made and the number of boats used. Wilderness Watch argues that some outfitters excluded certain tow trips from their reports. The group also says one outfitter reported single “trips” that included 18 boats and 72 clients while others counted separate drop-off and pick-up trips as one single trip.

Mike Prom, who runs Voyageur Canoe Outfitters at the end of the Gunflint Trail on Saganaga Lake, says the claims of a big jump in tow traffic into the BWCA don’t match what he’s seen and that trips have actually fallen significantly.

“I’ve been here 23 years, and just from personal experience, there’s less tows,” he said. “People don’t want a tow at 2 in the afternoon, they want a tow right away in the morning, 7 or 8 o’clock, or they’ll paddle.”

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It Really Was a Great September

I knew September was a beautiful month, at least for those of us who like warm weather. It was the warmest September recorded for Minnesota!

Minnesota had warmest September on record

By John Myers at 7:58 p.m.
The long, glorious summer of 2015 just kept rolling along into early autumn, giving Minnesota its warmest September in recorded history.

The Minnesota State Climatology Office says the average statewide temperature for September 2015 will come in above 64 degrees, smashing the old record of 63 degrees set in 1897.

The records go back to 1895, said Pete Boulay, state climatologist.

“In general, Septembers have been warming across the state, and this was the warmest September yet,” Boulay said.

The average temperature in Duluth this September was nearly 60 degrees, and nearly 6 degrees above the normal since records have been kept at Duluth International Airport, starting in 1948. That should be good for second or third warmest September on the list, behind the record 62.1 degree set in 2009.

Duluth still hasn’t seen its first official frost of the season with 36 degrees Wednesday the coldest morning so far. On average Duluth sees its first frost either Sept. 27 or Sept. 30, depending on what period of records are used.

Using the 30-year normals from the National Weather Service, Sept. 30 is now the average first frost, a full week later than it used to be, Sept. 23, just a decade ago.

The average monthly temperature in Duluth has risen a half-degree per decade since the 1940s, Boulay noted.

Many areas of Northeastern MInnesota away from Lake Superior saw frost or freeze levels Tuesday and Wednesday morning, including Cook, Hibbing, International Falls and Ely.

The average first frost for areas adjacent to Lake Superior usually comes in October, with the latest at the Duluth Harbor at Oct. 18.

September was the seventh consecutive above normal month for Duluth. Temperatures have been generally in the 70s or warmer — one measure of summerlike weather — since about June 7 in Duluth, marking some 14 weeks of summerlike temperatures.

Since May 27 there have been 33 days with temperatures in the 80s or warmer and only 23 days with highs in the 60s or cooler.

“It’s been a noticeably long summer in Minnesota,” Boulay noted. “That’s something we can all appreciate when winter comes.”

The National Climate Prediction Center is forecasting mostly normal temperatures for the Northland for the next week, with highs in the upper 50s or low 60s, and lows in the 40s and upper 30s. But almost every forecast beyond that — for the next month, for autumn and for winter — is predicting above-normal temperatures for the region, thanks in part to the continued El Nino warming of Pacific Ocean waters.

September was unusually wet in Duluth as well as warm, with 6.81 inches of rain. That’s 2.82 inches above normal and the 5th wettest record in city history.

Posted in News

September Leaves

It’s the last day of September and it’s hard to believe. Here are some September leaves to mark the occasion.

North Shore Fall Colors

Fall Colors

Grand Marais, MN

Leaves on the forest floor

North Shore Minnesota

September Leaves




Posted in News

Fall Paddling in the BWCA

It’s been a super Fall for canoe camping in the Boundary Waters this year. In addition to sunshine and warm temperatures we’ve had very few windy days. The wind is one thing I do not like to hear when I’m in the BWCA and waves are things I don’t like to see, especially if I’m on a solo trip. Experience and knowledge has made me more comfortable in waves over the years. I just read an article about how to paddle in waves and it was a good refresher.

Here’s my quick list of what to do when there are scary waves on the lake.

  1. Stay put. You’re always safer on shore.
  2. If you must travel then wait until evening when the waves will most likely die down.
  3. Load your canoe with all gear below the gunwales, evenly and equally distributed.
  5. Paddle close to shore in case you capsize(this is especially important when the water is cold).
  6. Kneel in the bottom of your canoe for more stability.
  7. Keep the waves at a 45 degree angle to the canoe.
  8. Keep paddling, dig into the wave and don’t quit.
Boundary Waters

Calm Day in the BWCA

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Polar Bear Cub Selfie

The mother polar bear likes her picture taken about as much as I do. She obviously doesn’t like the camera but I certainly love what the camera caught. I found this video on the Sierra Club’s website.

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Supermoon Total Lunar Eclipse

If you miss this eclipse you won’t have another opportunity to see one until 2033!

Space Weather News for Sept. 26, 2015

This weekend’s full Moon is a “supermoon,” the biggest and brightest of the year, and it is about to be eclipsed.  On Sunday evening, Sept 27th, sky watchers in North America will see the swollen lunar orb glide through the shadow of Earth, turning it a beautiful shade of sunset red. The same eclipse will be visible from South America, Europe, Africa and parts of Asia during the early hours of Sept. 28th.  The Coca-Cola Space Science Center is broadcasting the event live at .

For more information about the eclipse, and a big sunspot facing Earth this weekend, visit
Learn all about the occurrence happening on September 27th.

Posted in News

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