Last chance to complete winter clean up

March 31, 2008

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

As the spring thaw approaches, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds residents of open burning restrictions.

“When there is more than three inches of continuous snow cover, permits are not needed for open burning,“ said Ron Stoffel, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wildfire suppression supervisor. “If the snow cover is less than three inches, residents must apply for permits from the local fire warden or online. Only grass and brush may be burned.”

This year for the first time, people in many counties will be able to conveniently purchase burning permits on the DNR Web site at mndnr.gov.

During the spring, burning restrictions are put in place to reduce the chance of wildfires, since snow cover drastically reduces the chance of fire igniting unintended areas.

The majority of wildfires in Minnesota result from individual burns that escape and burn into the surrounding area.

If residents wait too long to burn, they may be told they cannot get a permit to burn their piled material until “greenup” in the spring or early summer.

Even with the recent snowfall, fire officials caution people to pay attention to where they are burning.

Parts of northern Minnesota are behind in soil moisture and this deficit may allow organic (peat) soils to ignite during burning operations.

Peat fires are difficult to extinguish once they are started and may burn underground, even under the snow.

Also, remember to closely monitor all burning brush piles, particularly on windy days; and evaluate any before lighting a pile.

To check soil moisture conditions, contact a local DNR Forestry Office.

Winsted Sportsmen’s Club annual hog roast

The Winsted Sportsmen’s Club will host its annual hog roast Saturday, April 5 at the Winsted Legion.

The hog roast will run from 5 to 8 p.m. with a cost of $7 for advance tickets, and $8 at the door.

Advance tickets can be purchased at Winsted Co-op, Winsted Floral, Keg’s Bar, and from Winsted Sportsmen’s Club Members.

Prairie Archers to host dinner at Dodge House

Prairie Archers will host a steak/shrimp dinner Saturday, April 5 at the Dodge House in Lester Prairie from 5 to 8 p.m.

Call in reservations before 6 p.m. Friday, April 4 to either Jim Richardson (320) 395-2721 or the Dodge House at (320) 395-2877.

Area firearms safety training courses

Several area communities are still accepting registrations for their courses. Below is the information for these communities, and any additional information.

• There will be DNR firearms safety classes at the Lester Prairie Sportsmen’s Club Monday and Thursday nights starting March 31, and running through May 1.

The classes will run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Class sizes are limited, so don’t wait to apply. To register, call Gary Godel at (320) 395-2561.

• The Watertown Rod and Gun Club will be hosting a firearms safety training class that starts Thursday, May 1, and runs through the month of May. Classes are Tuesday and Thursday nights.

For additional information, contact Patrick Cole at (952) 955-2911 or Tom Radde at (952) 446-1471.

Pheasants Forever banquet April 12

The McLeod County chapter of Pheasants Forever will host its 22nd annual spring banquet Saturday, April 12 at the McLeod County Fairgrounds in Hutchinson.

For additional information on the banquet or to register, call 888-462-6806 or (320) 587-0052.

Ducks Unlimited banquet April 8 at Blue Note

Ducks Unlimited will be hosting their 28th annual banquet and Crow River dinner Tuesday, April 8 at the Blue Note in Winsted.

For additional information on the banquet, call (612) 308-5275.

DNR urges OHV users to check trail conditions
From the DNR

Warm weather is on the way and many off-highway vehicle (OHV) riders are anxious to hit the trails.
But since state forest roads and trails are typically wet during the spring, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will temporarily close some areas.

“Motor vehicles can be hard on forest roads and trails in the spring,” said Keith Simar, DNR State Forest Recreation Program coordinator. “The spring thaw produces soft soils which are susceptible to rutting. And under state law, no one can operate a motor vehicle or snowmobile on forest lands in a way that causes erosion or rutting.”

The DNR will post signs at entry points and at parking lots in state forests.

Riders should check current trail/road conditions on the DNR Web site www.dnr.state.mn.us or call the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157, or toll free at 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367).

The DNR also reminds riders that state law prohibits ditch riding south of the agriculture line between April 1 and Aug. 1.

The agriculture line runs roughly from Moorhead to Taylors Falls along Highway 10 and Highway 95.

The purpose of this is to minimize disturbance of nesting birds and to protect the cover that ditches provide.

“We will lift road and trail closures as soon as possible,” said Simar. “In turn, we ask users to check before riding and to ride responsibly.”

DNR to offer prescribed burn workshop for landowners
From the DNR

Landowners with conservation land in need of management through fire are invited to a one-day workshop at the University Experiment Station in Lamberton on Saturday, April 5.

The session will be from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Cost is $8 and includes lunch and refreshments.

The workshop will cover burn site preparation, timing and effects of fire, conditions under which to burn and what to avoid, techniques for controlling and extinguishing fire, personal safety and use of equipment, and cost-share, equipment, and vendor information.

The day will include with an actual prescribed burn so participants are asked to wear 100 percent cotton or wool clothing, leather boots and gloves. Any form of synthetic or blended fabrics should not be worn.

Space is limited so interested persons should call (507) 752-5062 to register. Checks should be made out to the University of Minnesota.

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: Many landowners use ATVs strictly for agricultural-related purposes, where the machines never leave their property.

Do they need to purchase a three-year license for their ATVs?

A: Regardless of where they’re operated, all ATV’s must be registered in Minnesota.

However, landowners using ATVs solely for agricultural activities or harvesting wood – or exclusively on private property – can purchase a permanent registration sticker for their machine instead of the public use license, which is renewed every three years.

The one-time fee for a permanent license $14.50 and is valid until the ownership of the ATV is transferred.

The private use registration license is not transferable.

Additional licensing requirements for ATVs and other off-highway vehicles can be found in the 2007-08 Off-Highway Vehicle Regulations handbook, or on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us/regulations/ohv/index.html.