August 19, 2019 - DNR seeks comments on EAW for Cuyuna mountain bike trail

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is accepting comments through Sept. 18 on an environmental assessment worksheet for a proposed mountain bike trail development, consisting of two loops, in Crow Wing County.

Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew proposes to construct a total of 11.40 miles of recreational trails, consisting of the Cuyuna Connection Trail Loop and the Cuyuna Hills Trail Loop. The trails are designed to be used for non-motorized recreation access including mountain biking, hiking, trail running, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the Cuyuna area.

The EAW is available to review online at:

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/input/environmentalreview/cuyunacrewmtbiketrails/index.html

A hard copy may be requested by calling 651-259-5115

Additionally, the EAW is available for public review at:

  • DNR Library, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155
  • DNR Northeast Region Headquarters, 1201 East Highway 2, Grand Rapids, MN 55744
  • Hennepin County – Minneapolis Central Library, Government Documents, Second Floor, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1992
  • Kitchigami Regional Library, 212 Park Avenue, Pine River, MN 56474
  • Jessie F. Hallett Memorial Library, 101 1st Street SE, Crosby, MN 56641
  • Brainerd Public Library, 416 S. 5th St., Brainerd, MN 56401

The EAW notice was published in the August 19, 2019 EQB Monitor. Written comments on the EAW must be submitted no later than 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 18 to the attention of Cynthia Novak-Krebs, EAW Project Manager, Environmental Policy and Review Unit, DNR Division of Ecological and Water Resources, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4025.

Electronic or email comments may be sent to environmentalrev.dnr@state.mn.us. Please use “Cuyuna Connection EAW” in the subject line. Written comments may also be sent by fax to 651-296-1811. People who would like to receive a response that includes final documents should include their name and contact information.

Because all comments and related information are part of the EAW public record, any submitted names and contact information will also be published and publicly available.



August 19, 2019 - DNR invites public input on proposed forest trails in Rum River State Forest and nearby scattered forest lands

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources invites the public to attend a meeting on Oct. 21 to review proposed changes to recreational trail systems in the Rum River State Forest and nearby state forest lands. The affected lands are in Mille Lacs and Morrison counties. The meeting will be from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Onamia Lions Community Center, 806 W. Kathio St., Onamia.

Proposed changes include adding 5.9 miles of off-highway motorcycle, 5.1 miles of all-terrain vehicle (class one)/off-highway motorcycle and 1.1 miles of off-road vehicle. The draft proposals reflect feedback gathered during an open house in March 2018.

The forest is classified as “limited” with respect to motor vehicle use, which means that OHVs may only use forest roads and trails that are posted open. The DNR does not propose changing the “limited” classification.

The DNR invites people to attend the meeting to review maps of existing and proposed trails, discuss the DNR proposals, submit comments and suggest modifications to the proposed changes. The DNR will also accept written comments through 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 4.

Comments received at the meeting and during the public comment period will be used to develop a final recommendation that will be submitted to the DNR Commissioner for approval. Changes to state forest trail designations must be made by Commissioner’s order and published in the State Register.

Written comments may be submitted by fax to: 651-297-1157, by email to foresttrailplanning.dnr@state.mn.us, or by mail to: Joe Unger, DNR Parks and Trails, 500 Lafayette Rd, St. Paul, MN 55155-4039.

For more information, call:

  • The DNR Division of Parks and Trails central office in St. Paul, 651-259-5279.
  • The DNR Division of Parks and Trails area office in Sauk Rapids, 320-223-7861.

Information is also available online at mndnr.gov



August 19, 2019 - Grouse hunters asked to help collect samples for West Nile virus study

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is asking ruffed grouse hunters in northern Minnesota to voluntarily submit samples for a West Nile virus research project that the DNR is conducting.

Researchers will test hunter-harvested birds for exposure and active infections of the disease.

“We want to learn more about West Nile virus in ruffed grouse, because of concerns that it might be impacting the production of young birds, which make up a large portion of what hunters see in the fall,” said Charlotte Roy, grouse project leader with the Minnesota DNR.

The adult grouse population has been cycling around a stable 10-year average.

Minnesota is collaborating on this project with researchers in Wisconsin and Michigan.

This is the second year of the study and results from the first year are expected from the lab early this fall. The research is partially funded by the Ruffed Grouse Society and the Game and Fish Fund.

“Thank you to all our volunteers and hunters who help us collect these samples. Participation from hunters is critical to the success of the project,” Roy said.

West Nile virus has been present in Minnesota since the early 2000s, and cases have been found in wild birds, people and other mammals. Birds vary in vulnerability to the virus. Some bird species recover quickly and become tolerant to the virus while others, such as blue jays and crows, suffer higher rates of mortality. A study in Pennsylvania indicated the virus could impact ruffed grouse populations when combined with habitat stresses.

West Nile virus is carried by infected mosquitoes. Not all people or animals bitten by an infected mosquito will contract West Nile virus. There have been no documented cases of people contracting West Nile virus from consuming properly cooked meat.

How to participate
Hunters who would like to assist with the project will need to collect blood on filter paper strips within 30 minutes of harvest. They will also be asked to provide the birds’ hearts and few feathers for sex and age determination. Collection kits will be available for pickup at DNR area wildlife offices within ruffed grouse range after Labor Day on a first-come first-serve basis, and also at the regional DNR headquarters in Bemidji and Grand Rapids.

Contact information for wildlife offices is available at mndnr.gov/areas/wildlife and hunters are encouraged to call before stopping. Information can also be found in the Hunting Regulations Book. This year, the Ruffed Grouse Society is offering a shotgun and Pineridge Grouse Camp is offering a guided hunt as prizes in a drawing for participating hunters that submit samples correctly.

Hunters are also participating in sample collection at the Ruffed Grouse Society National Hunt in October, Pineridge Grouse Camp, Bowen Lodge, Hoot-N-Holler, and the Akeley Grouse Hunt. Private hunting guides and wildlife students at participating colleges will also contribute to reaching the desired sample size of 400 birds.

Return postage and complete instructions are included in the kits. Samples also can be dropped off at Pineridge Grouse Camp near Remer.

More information about ruffed grouse management can be found on the DNR website. 

Questions about the West Nile virus study can be directed to Charlotte Roy at 218-328-8876 or charlotte.roy@state.mn.us.

 



August 16, 2019 - 2019 DNR State Fair exhibit fact sheet

Theme – public lands – owned by you, managed by the DNR

Main building

  • Historic DNR building at State Fair is celebrating 85th anniversary this year
  • The 40-foot-high building opened Sept. 1, 1934.
  • Approximately 500,000 people visit the DNR building and surrounding park area each year.
  • Gate tickets in 1934 cost 25 cents. In 2019, a regular adult admission ticket costs $15.
  • Crews from the Civilian Conservation Corps erected the building in less than six months using machined logs.
  • Funding came from federal and state emergency relief administration and State Fair funds.
  • DNR building is open daily during fair from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Fish pond

  • Fish exhibit is one of State Fair’s most popular attractions.
  • Pond holds about 50,000 gallons of water. It is kidney-shaped and is about 100 feet by 50 feet.
  • There are about three dozen species of fish in the outdoor pond.
  • Fish pond talks take place at quarter to the hour daily, from 9:45 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Indoor aquariums

  • DNR renovated its indoor fish exhibit in 2013 installing five large aquariums inside the main DNR building.
  • Each tank shows fish in their native Minnesota habitat: trout of southeastern Minnesota; fish of the St. Croix River; and species of central, southern and northern Minnesota lakes.
  • Aquariums are built lower to the ground, making it easier for more guests to see the turtles, fish and other species.
  • Combined aquarium capacity of more than 5,000 gallons of water, the same amount of water the average family of four uses in a month.
  • When full, tanks weigh about 118,000 pounds or about the weight of 118 Minnesota moose.
  • Aquariums are open daily during fair from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.      

Fire tower

  • Specifically built for the State Fair to provide a wildfire prevention message to visitors.
  • Tower is 65 feet tall and there are 84 steps from bottom to top.
  • There is no charge to climb fire tower stairs to get birds-eye view of fair.
  • Fire tower is on the National Historic Lookout Register. It is number 10 out of 14 historic lookouts.
  • Tower originally opened in 1966 but was closed in 1978 because of safety concerns. It was repaired and reopened in 2006.
  • Open daily during fair from 9 a.m.-7 p.m., weather permitting.

State Park Camper cabin

  • Fairgoers can step inside the 24-foot by 12-foot camper cabin that’s on display.
  • Cabins are built to provide a “camping out” experience within the comfort of four walls.
  • There are more than 90 camper cabins available to rent in state parks and recreational areas around the state. Many of the cabins include electricity, and some are wheelchair accessible.
  • Cabins have two sets of bunks sleeping up to six people. Also includes a picnic table and fire ring with grill.
  • Camper cabin display is open daily during the fair from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Staff available at the cabin to answer questions when the building is open.
  • Camper cabin is located near southwest corner of the DNR building. 

DNR forestry display

  • Three interactive exhibit areas opened in 2017.
  • Step inside a giant hiking boot surrounded by huge leaves for a unique Minnesota photo. Just imagine what it is like to step into a real Minnesota forest!
  • Explore a life-sized white pine tree, complete with roots a person can walk on and learn how forests create clean water.
  • Gaze upon a wall of “tree cookies” 11 feet tall – all native, Minnesota trees.
  • Walk into a “forest” of interactive, informational trees on: forest stewardship, urban trees, forest products, fire and forests, climate change, and emerald ash borer.
  • Play with a puzzle of dimensional lumber to learn how much wood comes from a log.
  • Explore the tools foresters use in the woods every day – clinometer, increment borer and drip torch.
  • Exhibit is open 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. in DNR Building.

Legacy Amendment Display

  • Instagrammable 17-foot waterfall and other photo opportunities.
  • A children’s play area.

Smokey Bear

  • Smokey Bear is celebrating 75 years of reminding children and their parents about the dangers of wildfires.
  • Smokey Bear’s birthday party: 11 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 23, on the DNR stage.
  • Smokey Bear puppet show: 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 23 on the DNR stage.
  • Smokey makes daily appearances at DNR Park at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Wall of Shame trailer – Turn in Poachers

  • Mounted animals and stories about how they were taken illegally.
  • Display located on south side of DNR building.

Wildlife Wing

  • Fairgoers can learn about Minnesota species and wildlife habitat.
  • Special sound and lighting effects help create an experience of moving from day to night and through the four seasons, as visitors walk through the display.
  • Master naturalist volunteers available to answer wildlife questions.
  • Display located in DNR building and is open daily during fair from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Invasive species display

  • Learn about the invasive species present in Minnesota
  • Explore interactive displays to learn the actions people can take to prevent invasive species. People can clean, drain and dispose to stop aquatic invasive species and PlayCleanGo to stop invasive species on land.
  • Check out the PlayCleanGo pledge wall to pledge to clear gear to Stop Invasive Species In Your Tracks.
  • See examples of invasive animals and plants and the impacts they can have.
  • Talk with DNR staff and volunteers about invasive species questions.

 



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DNR News AUG 19th

DNR seeks comments on EAW for Cuyuna mountain bike trail

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is accepting comments through Sept. 18 on an environmental assessment worksheet for a proposed mountain bike trail development, consisting of two loops, in Crow Wing County. Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bi...

Read More