Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Poplar Lake Meeting and Potlluck at Guesthouses

The Second Annual Poplar Lake Poplar Lake Annual Meeting and Potluck is scheduled for 1:00PM, Saturday, July 28 at the Poplar Creek Guesthouse Bed and Breakfast. A potluck lunch followed by a short business meeting is planned. Items on the meeting agenda are the Arrowhead Electric's power line clearing, the Gunflint Scenic Byways Ham Lake Fire reforestation's actions and Poplar -Little Ollie Lakes water flowage. County Commissioner Jim Johnson and fire chief Danny Bauman will also give a few remarks. All Poplar Lake residents are urged to attend. For more information contact Alice Weck at 218-388-388-0115

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Byways Forestry Committe Working on Ham Lake Fire Reforestion

With much of the upper end of the Gunflint Trail blacken by this spring's Ham Lake Fire, the Scenic Byways Forestry Committee along with the Seagull-Sag Home Owner's Association's Forestry Committee have formed a Reforestation Task Force to assist in coordinating the area's reforestation. The group is working with the USFS, Minnesota DNR and homeowners in this effort.

The "Task Forest" goals are to- 1. restore the upland jack pine/black spruce ecosystem to something approaching the acreage of the pre-1999 windstorm, 2. increase the acreage of red and white pine along the Gunflint Trail, 3. establish an intensive and sustained coordinated large-scale effort to control all non-native species, 4. assist in acquire adequate funding and "man power" to accomplish these goals. These goals have been presented to the USFS. Dennis Neitzke, Gunflint District Ranger, has agreed that these goals were a good starting point.

Thus far the group has held a preliminary meeting with the USFS and a follow-up meeting is planned as soon as the Gunflint Ranger District's Initial Fire Assessment is completed. This Assessment is expected to be completed sometime within the next few weeks.

Since the meeting with the USFS, the Task force has added the additional goal of selecting strategically located sites along the Gunflint Trail where reforestation would have significant scenic and/or recreational impact. In pursue of this addition objective the task force is now preparing a list of "target areas" along the Trail for this purpose.

While the DNR does not have jurisdiction over a lot of land in the fire area, they do have two site of some significant. These sites are- the burned over area north of the Gunflint Trail and Little Iron Lake, where the old dilapidated DNR cabin is located and the area south of the Seagull Guard Station. The Task Force has talked to the DNR about their land within the fire and they will be meeting with DNR in the near future about reforestation of State land that was burned.

Current members of this task force are: Jim Raml, Nancy Seaton, Diane Fitzgerald Leanne Adams, Ted Young, Bob Einsweiler, Barbara Bottger, Dave Gerkeusmeyer, Greg Gecas, Alice Weck and Doug Graham. The committee is open to others. If you would like more information or would like to join the committee call 218-388-4487.

According to Ted Young, author of this post "we realize what is implemented in the forest in the near future will effect what the Gunflint is going to look like not in a few years but decades from now. We are looking towards the future and hope to help create a Gunflint Trail future generations will be proud of."

Monday, July 16, 2007

Trees for the Gunflint!

Hedstrom Lumber is offering 200 free trees to Gunflint Trail property owners in May of
2008. They will also sell trees at their cost to those affected by the Ham Lake Fire.

What: White Pine, Red Pine, Jack Pine in quantities of 20 plugs.
Black Spruce and White Spruce plugs in quantities of 15 plugs.
Cost: First 200 free from Hedstoms, additional
at $4.00/20 plugs and $3.00/15 plugs
Delivery: Early May 2008,Order Deadline: Mid July 2007
Payment: Balance due with your order, Checks made out to Hedstrom Lumber
How to order: Contact: Denise Murray at Hedstrom Lumber- 218-387-2995 ext 10
1504 Gunflint Trail
Grand Marais, MN 55604

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Traffic Along the Gunflint Trail

According to the Cook County Highway Department the traffic along the Gunflint Trail is measured every 3-5 years for 1-3 days and the outcome determines the amount of highway funds given to the county. The last measurement was in 2005, so this should probably be our base line.

They take the data from the test period and determine an average daily road
load. The current road load per day is as follows:
  • From the city of Grand Marais to the Devil Track Road- 2500 vehicles per day
  • From Devil Track Road to Greenwood Road- 1350 per day
  • From Greenwood Road to Hwy. 92- 780 per day
  • From Hwy 92 to the Tuscarora Road- 500 per day
  • From Tuscarora to the end of the Trail- 135 per day
By multiplying each of the above numbers by 365, you would have the annual traffic for different sections of the road.

The county estimates that 5% of the vehicles are commercial trucks.

In addition, they create the "Traffic Factor". The current Gunflint Trail
Traffic Factor is 1.5 meaning that over the next 20 years, the county
estimates that the Gunflint Trail traffic count will increase 50% over what
it is in 2005. Next year's traffic is estimated by multiplying this years
traffic by 1.020. In the past, the Gunflint Traffic Factor has been 1.3
resulting in fewer funds for roads.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Tuscarora Canoe Outfitter's to Host Triathlon

The 3rd Annual Unofficial Tuscarora Triathlon will be held Friday, July 20th at 4:30pm. All participants receive attractive T-Shirt. After event dinner is available- suggested donation to cover cost of $3.50/person.
Full Course:
  • ¼ mile swim (halfway through it becomes shallow enough that you can walk for 100 yards or so)
  • 3 mile bike
  • 2 mile run
Modified Course
  • ¼ mile swim (use flippers/life vests/noodles—whatever)
  • 1.5 mile bike
  • 1 mile run
All are welcome! Teams or individuals. Please bring your own bikes.
Please RSVP on or before July 15- phone: 218-388-2221.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Gunflint's Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B Joins New State Birding Program

Most Minnesota Bed and Breakfast (B & B) businesses are certainly bird friendly and many have gone out of their way to promote bird activities. As examples- Suzanne Tweten, Loghouse and Homestead on Spirit Lake has set up bird feeding stations and bird houses throughout her B&B's extensive property and she actively promotes Detroit Lakes Festival of Birds held in May. For birders going to New Ulm's Swan Lake Wildlife Area, the Auf Deutsche Strasse Bed & Breakfast serves breakfast, as early as 4 a.m. or packs-up a "breakfast box" for bird watchers, who are "off" to an early start. Red Wing's Golden Lantern Inn has a special rate offered to birdwatchers attending the area's "Eagle Spot" Bird feeding stations are common at most Bed and Breakfasts, and B&Bs are enthusiastic promoters of their local birding festivals and guided bird tours.

The Minnesota Bed and Breakfast Association in collaboration with Explore Minnesota Tourism, are now developing a statewide birding program. This new program called Bed & Breakfast and Birding (BB&B) will actively promote bird friendly B&Bs. Some of the activities participating B&Bs will be offering are guided and/or unguided birding tours, bird viewing at bird feeding stations, the promotion of local bird festivals and special birding packages. Among those assisting Association members in formulating BB&B are noted state birders: Sharon Stiteler, the Bird Chick; Ron Windingstad, Audubon Minnesota; Bill George, Minnesota Ornithological Union; and Carol Hendrickson, Supervisor of Minnesota DNR's Non-game Wildlife Program.

Currently twenty-six B&Bs have undergone training for the program; more B&Bs are expected to join later. Poplar Creek Guesthouse, is one of the B&Bs that plans to take part in the program. Barbara Young, co-owner at Poplar Creeks states, "we are very excited about this new program. We plan to offer special packages for guided and unguided bird tours with B&B stays. Presently we are working with Minnesota Backyard Birds, to develop additional bird feeding stations and bird housing around our property."

According to the Association's Executive Directors and owner of Classic Rosewood B&B, Pam Thorsen, "we plan to officially launch this new birding adventure in the spring, 2008. If you are interested in birding or would like to learn more about this activity, expect to find it at Minnesota's B&Bs."

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Gunflint canoe races to benefit firefighters

Cook County News-Herald: The Annual Gunflint Trail Canoe Race Event is set for Wednesday, July 18, sponsored by the Gunflint Lake Property Owners Association.

The races have become a major fundraising event of the summer on the Gunflint Trail and helps raise money to equip and train the 25 volunteers in the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department.

“As everyone is aware, the Gunflint Trail has been experiencing major fires for the last three years,” write John and Jenny Hughes in a memo this week. “The Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department has been involved in all of these fires. In the past, the moneys generated from the fundraising events have gone to purchasing many types of equipment and provided both medical and fire training opportunities for the members of the fire department.”
This year the fire department is planning on purchasing two enclosed trailers for the portable wild fire sprinkler kits that were used this year on the Ham Lake Fire.

“Also on the wish list is a new CAFS Fire Truck,” write the Hughes. “This is a fire engine with a compressed air-foam system. This fire truck would be used in fighting wildfires that are threatening structures. The foam delivered to the structure would save it from a fire. It carries 400 gallons of water and is capable of delivering 1,600 gallons of foam.”
The association is soliciting race prizes to support the fire fighting capability along the Gunflint Trail. To make a donation, call 218-388-9935.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Minnesota's Yurt Guy

The St Paul Pioneer Press article, "Yippie for Yurts", by Beth Gauper, about yurts camping features Boundary Country Trekking's Yurt to Yurt Skiing Program. Gauper, first describe commercial yurt operation that have sprung-up around the country. Then she gets into Boundary Country Trekking's Yurts- how they came about in 1984 and how Ted Young, from the company has become know as Minnesota's Yurt Guy.