John Myers / Forum News Service
GRAND MARAIS, Minn. — Four tourists from North Carolina, including two women in their 70s, were rescued by Minnesota conservation officers Sunday night, Jan. 19, when their rented snowmobiles became mired in a swamp deep in the Superior National Forest. The group from La Grange, N.C. — two sisters, one of their daughters and the daughter’s boyfriend — were in northern Minnesota "to experience real winter," said Lt. Dan Thomasen, Minnesota DNR conservation officer supervisor for the Arrowhead region.
In the snowiest area of Minnesota, on the slopes of the Sawtooth Hills that rise above Lake Superior, a small group of skiers make waves in otherwise untrammeled drifts. They call themselves Superior Highland Backcountry and they are having a blast doing something most Minnesotans have never heard of.
DULUTH — The number of people buying Minnesota cross country ski passes has dropped dramatically in recent years, down more than 50% from peak winters, throwing the state’s trail grooming grant fund into the red. The problem is so severe that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is delaying payments to local clubs and cities, grants used to pay for trail grooming, until more money flows in.
DULUTH — The level of Lake Superior dropped a little more than 1.5 inches in December, only half its normal decline for the month, remaining precariously close to record high levels and spurring continued erosion problems along its shoreline. That was the report Friday, Jan. 3, from the International Lake Superior Board of Control that warned lakeshore residents to “prepare for potentially severe coastal impacts, especially during periods of strong winds and high waves.”
On a frosty winter morning, wood smoke wafted from the workshop outside Geoff Vukelich’s home north of Duluth, just up the road from the Rice Lake dam. What seems odd, however, is that he has a wood stove at all. Vukelich has such a love affair with wood that it’s hard to see him parting with any piece to burn. “Yes, I have saved pieces (of firewood) over the years that talked to me,’’ he admitted. Vukelich, 37, grew up here on the family homestead, and still lives next door to his parents with his wife, Katie, and two rescue dogs, Brie and Milo.
DULUTH -- The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on Monday, Dec. 23, imposed an emergency rule to stop the movement of farmed deer in the state in an effort to halt the spread of chronic wasting disease. The statewide emergency rule, which will be in effect for 30 days, is aimed at stopping the movement of potentially CWD-infected animals between farms in the state or into Minnesota from out of state.
GRASSTON, Minn. — Our mid-December pheasant hunt was over before it started, we just didn't know it until after our boots filled with snow and swamp water. At one point, Jared Wiklund, the media coordinator for Pheasants Forever, the national upland bird conservation group, simply disappeared from view, like a trap door opened in the snow and swallowed him up. In reality the thin ice beneath his feet gave way and he sunk into the cattail swamp up to his waist.
DULUTH, Minn. -- I drilled two holes with the auger but never needed the second one. I didn't have time to set up a second rod. That’s how good the ice fishing was on a recent morning on my favorite lake on a trip that wasn’t supposed to happen.
DULUTH — T. Dwight Kurz made his living in the Twin Cities investment banking and finance industry, but his passion is ice fishing. He's been fishing since he was old enough to walk and ice fishing nearly as long, so when Kurz retired a few years ago, he made his permanent home in Hackensack where he can find plenty of lakes to fish.
SOUTH RANGE, Wis. — Quinn and Cade Musch are plunging head-first into a business many people want shut down. The brothers are building a fenced deer farm about 20 miles south of Superior where they will raise trophy bucks with massive sets of antlers and then sell all-inclusive fenced hunts to customers for upward of $4,000 each.