Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Snow on the Gunflint Trail

Last night, Thanksgiving, another two inches plus of snow fell along the Gunflint Trail. With the inch of snow from the day before at Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B we now a bit over three inches on the ground. Not quite enough for skiing but we are getting there! More snow is expected over the next two days.

The mid-size lakes are now frozen. Smaller lakes, such as Swamp, Little Ollie and Hooker have enough ice to venture out on by foot.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gunflint Scenic Byway to Prepare Vegetative Management Plan

Cook County Highway Department serving as the fiscal agent for the Gunflint Trail's Scenic Byway Committee yesterday hired Jim Raml, Seagull Lake resident, to draft a Vegetative Management Plan for the Gunflint Trail. The proposed plan, according to the Plan's initial proposal shall seek to:

• Identify the historic and current forest and non-forest vegetative composition and reasons for change. This would be accomplished through extensive research of past and current Superior National Forest and Department of Natural Resource management plans, environmental assessments and other documents, as well as on-the-ground inventory of tree and herbaceous species and age-class composition.

• Prepare maps, dealing with property ownership, forest age class and species composition, non-native invasive species distribution, desired future conditions, areas in need of some type of management and potential future project areas to be undertaken by government agencies, private contractors or Byway volunteers.

• Identify threats to the natural historic vegetative composition, such as invasive non-native species and climate change, as well as accepted practices to ameliorate such threats.

• Identify desired future conditions and strategies to achieve these stated objectives.

• Identify past, present and future resource extraction activities. Explain the need for such management activities, how this is accomplished and the end results of such practices.

The $15,000 funds to prepare the Plan came from the Minnesota Department of Transportation with a local contribution by the Gunflint Trail Association. Raml is expected to take about one year to write the Vegetative Plan. Several public hearings will be held on the Gunflint Trail to solicit public comments on the plan as it is developed. A Contact Committee composed of Jim Johnson, Nancy Seaton, and Ted Young representing the Byway Committee and Shae Kosmalski County Highway Engineer, Representing the County will supervise Raml's preparation of the Plan.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gunflint Trail Lake Ice Update

Mid size lakes are now ice covered- Poplar and other mid-size lake in the mid Gunflint Trail area froze over by last Thursday (November 20). The larger lakes- Gunflint, Sag, Clearwater, remain open although Seagull was mostly frozen over by last Thursday.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mid Gunflint Trail Lake Ice Report

The smaller lakes along the Gunflint are now covered with ice. Swamper, Road, Squint Lakes froze-over Tuesday followed by Little Ollie Lake on Wednesday. Poplar, the Bearskins and other larger lake as of today are still open but with the colder weather we are now having these lakes should be freezing soon. This morning the temperature was 4 degrees at Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B. The coldest since last winter.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

County's Lake Association Organization -2008 Report

Alice Weck, Poplar Lake- The Cook County Coalition of Lake Associations (CCCoLA) recently concluded its Summer meeting schedule. Listed below are our accomplishments for this period. And, by the way, our activities do not conclude with the last meeting. Your Board representatives may be active on a variety of projects throughout the year.

First, the Board thanks you and appreciates your membership in CCCoLA. We added the Seagull/Sag homeowners association to our membership this Summer bringing us to eleven member associations including Caribou, Hungry Jack, Gunflint, Leo, Mid Trail, Pike, Poplar, Tait, Trout, Voyageurs Point and West Bearskin. In total, CCCoLA represents over 1000 lakeshore property owners. Board members gave presentations at various property owners associations reaching over 250 people this Summer while newsletters and emails from Board members reached many more lakeshore property owners. And, news articles have kept CCCoLA’ s activities before the public.

Our major projects this Summer were:

*Co-sponsoring a Citizen Lake Monitoring Program (CLMP Plus) workshop. Represented and now monitoring for clarity, phosphorous and chlorophyll a are Seagull, Poplar, Caribou, West Bearskin, Hungry Jack, Onagon and Birch. Several lakes are being monitored for e coli also. Monitoring results can be found at Go to “Lakes Monitoring Data Base” and follow directions to find your lake.

*A CCCoLA initiative started 2 years ago to include a “point-of-sale” provision in a county individual sewage treatment system ordinance was successfully concluded this summer when county commissioners appointed a committee to write the new ordinance. CCCoLA is represented on the committee.

*CCCoLA is now represented on the county Water Advisory Committee which oversees the Countywide Water Plan.

*CCCoLA is represented on a statewide committee to review and revise the state shoreland management regulations. Sponsored by the DNR, it was important for Cook County to be represented on the committee as we are the only county in the state with bedrock as our prime building substrate presenting unique construction and runoff issues.

*CCCoLA has undertaken a study of the disposal of school trust lands wherein the lands to be disposed of include lakeshore or are located in sensitive watersheds. We will monitor DNR activity which involves these parcels.

*CCCoLA is co-sponsoring a sensitive shoreline study with the Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). Target lakes for this study are Hungry Jack, Poplar, Tait, Caribou, West Bearskin and Trout. The results of the study will inform decisions about development on unique shorelands.

*The Board is working closely with the county Water Planner and SWCD Conservation Technician in several of the above projects. CCCoLA has written letters of support for grant applications submitted by those staff which fund various county studies related to the CCCoLA mission.

*CCCoLA has actively supported member association mission related initiatives at Hungry Jack and Seagull/Sag. Member associations should call upon CCCoLA’s support for mission related projects.

*An educational initiative designed to involve youth in our programs was undertaken this summer. It is anticipated that local students and youth here for the summer could train to be monitors and data collectors. The education subcommittee will seek additional funds to support the program.

*Sometime this Fall CCCoLA information will be available on Boreal for broad distribution to the community. Stay tuned.

Your representatives have worked hard this summer on the above described activities and projects. We continue to be the only independent citizen organization in the county actively advocating for healthy lakes and sensible shoreland management. We encourage you to call upon your representative for information about our activity and to bring to the Board issues that relate to our mission which is to act as primary stewards of Cook County lakes.

Please be in touch with me with any questions or suggestions that you and your membership have about CCCoLA or for further information about the above projects. We are here to serve your associations. Have a fine winter!

Biz Clark, Chair, for the Board of the CCCoLA
130 Poplar Lake Lane
Grand Marais, MN 55604

Friday, November 14, 2008

Cook County Awarded $3 Million Grant for Wild Fire Sprinler

FEMA has aproved a $3,000,000 for Cook County residents to install or upgrade sprinkler systems. The grant was announced Wednesday by U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., and will help pay up to half the cost of sprinkler systems. For more information go to Stay toned on this one folks!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Join us at Midwest Mountaineering's Winter Adventure Expo in Minneapolis

If you are looking forward to winter and live in the Twin Cities area you should plan to attend Midwest Mountaineering's annual Winterfest This event is scheduled for Friday, November 21 through Sunday, November 23 at Midwest Mountaineering's Store located at 309 Cedar Ave, Minneapolis, and in large tents erected behind the store.

We at Boundary Country Trekking (BCT) will have a booth at the show and will be providing information about our winter Nordic Skiing program- including, ski and snowshoe vacations at the Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B and Ski-in Cabins, Yurt to Yurt and lodge to Lodge Skiing, and of course skiing the BWCA's longest tracked trail the Banadad.

This year we have spent on lot of time clearing the Banadad Ski Trail in anticipation of the ski season. With the assistance of eight volunteers from the Minnesota Conservation Corp (YCC), three-quarters of a mile of the Trail’s remote interior by “Moose Kill Hill” was widened. Brush was encroaching into the Trail along this section; after the YCC completed their work this section of trail looked great! In addition the old Olga’s Hut, midway along the trail and used as sleeping quarters for larger groups was replaced. This overnight stop along the Banadad will now be able to comfortably accommodate nine people again.

The Banadad Ski Trail is maintained and operated carbon neutral.

Attending the show for BCT will be Ted Young and his daughter Karla Miller. They would love to have you attend the show and stop at BCT's booth to say hi!

This announcement is brought to you by Boundary Country Trekking providing secluded lodging and Adventure Vacations on Minnesota's Gunflint Trail, BWCA, the Iron Range and Lake Superior's North Shore. For additional information go to Boundary Country or call 800-322-8327.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Geologist finds Evidence of Ancient Meteorite Impact what Local Stone Mason Already Knew

Ted Young, Poplar Lake-Fallout from a meteorite that struck the earth some 2 billion years ago near Sudbury, Ontario may have been found by geologists near Gunflint Lake but they certainly were not the first to make this discovery.

About thirty years ago I was working for Herb White, a stone mason who live on Road Lake and later in the house which is Loon Nest Gift Shop. While picking rock for fireplaces with Herb I can remember more then once when Herb would pick up a rock and explain to me that the small "spheres" in that rock were from a meteorite.

Well Herb may not have got it entirely right since according to geologist those spheres were actual molten ajecta thrown out into the atmosphere from the meteorite impact and then deposited back on earth many miles away including near Gunflint Lake. At least Herb was on the right track.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Blackbacked Woodpecker Sighting

Lee Foster, Birding Guide-I was wandering around Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B property with my binoculars yesterday, the 30th of October, in the vicinity of ongoing beaver activity on poplar creek when I saw a woodpecker amongst the dead birches along the slope. I identified it as a Blackbacked Woodpecker. The head had a yellow top knot and the back was completely black with no white as would be seen on the three toed woodpecker. It was hammering away at the scaly bark of the dead birch and curiously, a downy woodpecker had arrived, and had perched itself about ten inches below the Blackbacked on the tree as if waiting for a morsel to fall, or maybe it was just out of curiosity. A moment later both were gone.

Normally the Blackbacked is seen in recently burned over areas. With a section of the May 2007 Ham Lake Fire burn only about five miles west of Poplar Creek this bird had apparently just ventured into our area and finding a dead tree here to its liking made itself at home.