September 25, 2017 - Drive through a Minnesota State Forest to view fall color

With 59 state forests that cover 4.2 million acres, Minnesota state forests are a great place to view fall color, according to the Department of Natural Resources. 

“Forests with a mix of deciduous and coniferous trees offer a wonderful fall color experience,” said Jennifer Teegarden, DNR forestry outreach specialist. “The dark green needles of conifers accent the yellow, orange and red leaves of deciduous trees.”

Here are a few routes to consider:

Late September

  • Bear Island State Forest From Ely head south on State Highway 1 toward Isabella for about 20 miles. Take a right on New Tomahawk Road toward Babbitt for about 17 miles. Turn right on County Road 21 for 15 miles back to Ely.
  • Kabetogama State Forest From Orr head north on State Highway 53 for 4 miles. Turn right on County Road 180 to head east for 16 miles. Turn right on Forest Road 203 to head east for about 4.5 miles. Turn right on Vermillion Falls road to head east for 8 miles. Turn right on County Road 24/23 and follow to Orr for 26 miles.
  • White Earth State Forest starting at Roy Lake head east on State Highway 200 for 1.5 miles. Turn right on Strawberry Mountain Road to head south for 5 miles. At Norris Trail turn left to head east for 3 miles. Turn left on Height of Land Road to head north back to Highway 200. For a longer loop follow Strawberry Mountain road to State Highway 113. Turn right on State Highway 113 to head east. Turn left on Height of Land Road to head north back to Highway 200.

Early to mid-October

  • Croix and Nemadji state forests loop. From I35, take Hinckley exit #183 and head east on State Highway 48 for 19 miles. Turn left to head north on County Road 24 and follow as it curves east and north for 7 miles. Turn right on County Road 25 to head east for 9.5 miles. At Markville, head north on County Road 31 for about 12 miles. Turn left on Park Forest Road/Park Truck Trail to head west for 13 miles. Turn right on County Road 171 to head north for 2 miles. Turn left onto County Road 154/Kerrick Road to head west for 5 miles. At Kerrick, head south on State Highway 23 for 18 miles to I35 exit #195.
  • Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest From downtown Red Wing head south on Highway 61 for 10.5 miles. At Frontenac take a right onto Country 2 to head east for 9 miles. Take a right onto County Road 3 to head east for 4 miles. Take a right onto State Highway 58 to head north for 1.5 miles. Take a left onto Hay Creek Trail to head north for about 4.5 miles. Hey Creek Trail turns into Twin Bluff Road at Pioneer Trail. Continue on Twin Bluff Road for 1.5 miles and turn left on East Ave to return to downtown Red Wing.

Visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_forests/fall-colors.html for additional scenic routes and state forest information. Entrance into a state forest is free. State forest campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis for $14 a night.

Visit the Minnesota state parks and trails Fall Color Finder at www.mndnr.gov/fall_colors to find areas in Minnesota with peak fall color. The Fall Color Finder is updated every Thursday through the end of October.

 



September 25, 2017 - Grand Rapids area waterfowl hunters successful despite wet weather

Hunter success was just slightly below average the five-year average on three popular waterfowl lakes for the 2017 waterfowl hunting opener in the Grand Rapids area. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wildlife staff conducted waterfowl bag checks on opening day September 23rd on Big White Oak Lake, Mud Lake (both near Deer River) and Big Rice Lake near Remer.

Hunter success in terms of ducks bagged per hunter was 2. The average take the previous five years was 2.2 ducks per hunter.

Blue-winged teal, wood ducks and mallard ducks were the most common birds in the bag with blue-winged teal the most commonly bagged bird at all three lakes.

Based on vehicle counts at these lakes, hunter numbers were down about 25% from the five-year average.

“Hunters had to contend with an early morning thunderstorm which may have kept hunter numbers lower than in previous years. Some hunters delayed going out or decided to try another day because of the rain and lightning from the storm,” said Mark Spoden, acting area wildlife manager.

This year’s duck hunting season is 60 days in length. The duck bag limit is six ducks daily and may not include more than any combination of the following: four mallards (two may be hen mallard), three scaup, three wood ducks, one pintail, two redheads, two black ducks, and two canvasbacks. If not listed, up to six ducks of a species may be taken. The daily bag limit for coot and moorhen is 15. The daily bag limit for merganser is five, no more than two of which may be a hooded merganser.

More information about waterfowl hunting in Minnesota including weekly waterfowl migration reports can be found at online at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/waterfowl.



September 25, 2017 - Last chance for 2017: Minnesota Twins and DNR offer free hats

Anyone with a 2017 Minnesota fishing or hunting license can receive a free camouflage and blaze orange Twins logo cap thanks to a special ticket offer online at mndnr.gov/twins, with the final game in this offer coming up Saturday, Sept. 30, vs. the Detroit Tigers. 

As part of the Minnesota DNR Days partnership with the Twins, license holders can purchase a reserved game ticket and receive a special Twins cap.

Ticket prices vary by game and seat locations are either in the Field Box or Home Run Porch sections. All ticket holders under this partnership will pick up their cap at the game. Instructions for purchasing tickets are at mndnr.gov/twins.

Buy fishing and hunting licenses at any Minnesota Department of Natural Resources license agent, online with a mobile or desktop device at mndnr.gov/buyalicense, or by phone at 888-665-4236. Mobile buyers receive a text or email that serves as proof of a valid fish or game license to state conservation officers.



September 25, 2017 - Minneopa bison range hours changing for shorter daylight hours

New fall hours take effect Oct. 1

Hours for the bison range road at Minneopa State Park will change for the month of October due to decreasing daylight hours. Starting Oct. 1, the range road will be open Thursday through Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The road will be closed on Wednesdays for regular maintenance. 

Hiking trails around the bison range provide more bison viewing opportunities. Trails are open daily year round during regular park hours.

A vehicle permit ($7 daily or $35 year-round) is required to enter the park.

Bison range road hours will be adjusted again to follow daylight hours for the winter. Beginning Nov. 1, winter hours will be 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Minneopa State Park’s bison herd arrived in September 2015 and has been a popular attraction for the park since then.

The bison are part of the Minnesota Bison Conservation Herd, managed through a formal agreement between the DNR and Minnesota Zoo. The partners are working together to preserve American plains bison. The plan is to grow the herd to 500 animals at several locations, including Blue Mounds State Park, Minneopa State Park and the Minnesota Zoo. Genetic testing of the herd from 2011 to 2014 found them largely free of any genetic material that would have come from cross-breeding with cattle. Less than 1 percent of all American plains bison tested so far have been found free of cattle genes.

Bison viewing tips:

  • Bison may be difficult to spot at times. Visitors should drive slowly and keep a watchful eye as they go through the range.
  • Remain inside vehicle while driving through the bison range.
  • Bison should be given clearance of at least 75 feet from people and vehicles at all times.
  • Dogs can make bison nervous, so pets must be kept on a leash while in the park and hiking around the bison range.
  • Bison get nervous around loud noises or lots of activity, so keeping voices down and movements to a minimum may help keep the bison within easy viewing.
  • Hiking is not allowed inside the range, but there are hiking trails all the way around the outside of the range that can provide some fantastic views of the bison.

For information on the Minneopa State Park bison herd, see:  mndnr.gov/minneopa-bison.

Resources on bison can be found here:  mndnr.gov/bison.

For more information on Minneopa State Park, call 507-389-5464 or visit: mndnr.gov/minneopa.



News & Events SEP 22nd

CLPO Special Meeting

Saturday, Sept. 30th at 10 AM

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DNR News SEP 25th

Drive through a Minnesota State Forest to view fall color

With 59 state forests that cover 4.2 million acres, Minnesota state forests are a great place to view fall color, according to the Department of Natural Resources.  “Forests with a mix of deciduous and coniferous trees offer a wonderful fall color...

Read More