June 14, 2018 - Herbicide applications to help reforestation efforts in the Tower area

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will begin herbicide applications on select state lands to improve reforestation efforts. Applications will begin around June 15 and continue through approximately September 15.

Signs will be posted on all herbicide treatment sites. Adjacent landowners within a quarter mile of the treatment sites have already been notified. Herbicides will not be applied within 100 feet of any water body, following DNR herbicide application guidelines.

“Herbicides will be sprayed on the ground to reduce competing woody vegetation,” said Dave Sopoci, Tower area forester. “This gives the tree seedlings a better chance to grow and survive.”

The DNR plants trees on state lands to reforest harvested areas, provide wildlife habitat, protect watersheds and maintain healthy state forests. Part of the reforestation process involves applying herbicides to the harvested areas prior to or following tree planting. DNR foresters determine the right tree species for the site and private contractors do the actual planting.

This past spring in the Tower area, the Division of Forestry planted more than 120,000 seedlings on more than 165 acres, and 460 acres were seeded. Statewide, more than 1.9 million seedlings were planted on state forest lands and more than 5,300 acres were seeded this year.

For additional information on sites treated with herbicide in the Tower area, contact Dave Sopoci at 218-757-3274, ext. 223.

More information about the DNR’s Forestry Division can be found on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/forestry.

June 14, 2018 - Online reservations to open for Blue Mounds State Park prairie and bison tour

Online reservations for a new Blue Mounds State Park prairie and bison tour in southwestern Minnesota will be available June 15, according to the Department of Natural Resources. 

Reservations are good for tours on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Labor Day. The tour vehicle can carry 12 passengers, with one space available to accommodate a wheelchair.

“This is an exciting addition to Blue Mounds State Park,” said park manager Chris Ingebretsen. “This enables park visitors to get unique views of our endangered ecosystem – native prairie. They will also learn more about the park’s bison herd.”

The herd of about 100 bison at Blue Mounds State Park is a part of the Minnesota Bison Conservation Herd, managed by the DNR and Minnesota Zoo. The partners are working together to preserve American plains bison and plan to grow the herd. The goal is a 500-animal herd at multiple locations. Genetic testing of the herd from 2011-2014 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.

Park guests on the tour will ride in an open sided vehicle and will be guided by a DNR naturalist who will explain the park’s distinctive features and the bison herd.

“In addition to the bison herd, our guests will learn more about native prairie and its value,” said DNR regional naturalist Alexander Watson. “Blue Mounds State Park is rich in unique landscapes, and we’re really happy to offer our guests this experience.”

The tours are 90 minutes long and can be reserved online at the DNR website. Tours for ages 13 and up cost $10, while children aged 4-12 cost $6.  Children under age 4 are not allowed on the tour for safety reasons.

A vehicle permit is required to enter all Minnesota state parks, which cost $7/day or $35/year.  Other tour information can be found at mndnr.gov/bluemounds.

The Prairie and Bison Tour is made possible with funding from the Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund and the Minnesota Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment.


June 14, 2018 - Gooseberry Falls State Park introduces new interactive exhibits and mobile app

New, interactive exhibits installed in the visitor center at Gooseberry Falls State Park along the North Shore are designed to give people a better understanding of the park features, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 

And a new mobile app, Gooseberry Falls Go, connects key elements in the exhibits to actual examples in the park.

A topographic map table visitors can touch helps them orient to the park. They can slide a lever to see how dramatically the color and volume of water in the waterfalls can change. And they can touch the rocks in the geology exhibit.

“The exhibit also highlights the Gooseberry River’s watershed, providing a sense of place and greater understanding the role watersheds play in our lives,” said Carolyn Rock, the park naturalist. “Once visitors have seen the exhibits, they can then continue learning out on the trails with the companion Gooseberry Falls Go app.”

Park staff expect the wolf diorama at the entrance to the exhibits to be a popular backdrop for selfies.

The app is available free from Apple and Android app stores. It uses a “GeoAlert” function to notify hikers with sound or vibration as they approach points of interest, such as rock formations and historic sites, along various routes within the park. For example:

  • The 1-mile CCC Camp Route explores park history and has hikers imagine what life was like for the members of the Civilian Conservation Corps, who built the park between 1934 and 1941.
  • The 2-mile Gitchi Gummi Route highlights the great views of Lake Superior and diverse habitats (i.e. for a nesting colony of gulls) on the park’s oldest trail.
  • Shorter routes for kids include tree and rock identification activities.
  • The Gooseberry Stroll route is wide, paved and accessible.

“Once you download the Gooseberry Falls Go app to your smart phone, you can take the interpretive route of your choice, and you can go at your own pace,” Rock said. “The app will help you notice things you might not otherwise have noticed, like a live naturalist would.”

The exhibits and the mobile app were made possible with funding from the Parks and Trails Fund, created after voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008. The Parks and Trails Fund receives 14.25 percent of the three-eighths percent sales tax revenue that may only be spent to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance.

A $100,000 matching grant was provided by NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management for Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program.  Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program is a voluntary federal-state partnership that directs federal dollars to fund local access, enhancement and protection projects along the inland coast of Lake Superior.

“We’re very grateful to NOAA for their generous support,” Rock said. “The Gooseberry Falls Go app and the new exhibits in the visitor center will give people who stop to see the falls a reason to stay and explore other parts of the park.”

For more information, visit www.mndnr.gov/gooseberry or contact the DNR Information Center by emailing info.dnr@state.mn.us or by calling 888-646-6367
(8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday).

June 11, 2018 - East Moore Lake in Fridley named one of the top 50 ‘Mom Approved’ lakes

Fishing fun for all ages and abilities is close to anyone in the Twin Cities area, where 66 lakes have easy-to-reach piers, family-friendly settings and fishing for bluegill and catfish through the Fishing in the Neighborhood (FiN) program of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 

“These lakes are for all ages and are great places for people of all ages to learn how to fish, or really for anyone who wants to relax and wet a line,” said Tim Ohmann, east metro area fisheries specialist. “From a pier, it’s often easy to see fish take your bait – that’s a highlight for a lot of kids.”

A national organization this week gave a nod to one of these waters – East Moore Lake in the north metro suburb of Fridley – which was singled out in a list of the top 50 “Mom Approved Places to Fish and Boat” by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation.

“We’re happy to hear a lake like East Moore is getting some national attention,” Ohmann said. “This helps us show how easy it is to go fishing here, since Moore is one of dozens we have that offer similar experiences for nearly 3 million people.”

For the award, outdoorsy moms in Minnesota were asked to vote on their favorite place to fish and boat based on a list of accessible fishing locations. Now the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation is taking votes to narrow the list down to the top 10. Anyone can vote at takemefishing.org/momapproved.

The FiN program puts about 25,000 bluegills into the 66 small lakes in the metro area each year. Anglers need not buy expensive tackle or boats to catch bluegills. A cane pole or inexpensive rod and reel set up with a bobber and a worm for bait will do the trick. Panfish also can be caught using crickets, bugs, small leeches, crankbaits, little jigs and by flyfishing.

A list of metro fishing lakes and more about the FiN program can be found at mndnr.gov/fin.

News & Events JUL 13th

2017 Weed Harvesting by Dockside

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Local News JUN 14th

Herbicide applications to help reforestation efforts in the Tower area

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will begin herbicide applications on select state lands to improve reforestation efforts. Applications will begin around June 15 and continue through approximately September 15. Signs will be posted on al...

Read More