The DNR offers water safety tips for the summer season

July 7, 2008

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

As the weather finally heats up for the Fourth of July weekend, people are heading to the beaches, lakes and pools around Minnesota for a little relief from soaring summer temperatures and humidity.

“As cool and refreshing as the water looks, folks must use caution and common sense to stay safe,” said Tim Smalley, DNR boat and water safety specialist. “While many people are anxious for some fun in the water, it is important to remember that even the most innocent-looking lake, stream or pool can pose dangers.”

The DNR offers these tips to help make it a safer summer in Minnesota:
• wear a life jacket when boating, because most boat-related drownings happen to people who can swim but aren't wearing life vests
• make sure boat running lights are working before setting out to watch fireworks or boat after sunset
• avoid becoming distracted with a book or cell phone and watch children the entire time they are near water, because downing is often silent, quick, and can happen when help is nearby
• take swimming lessons; many local parks and recreation departments and the American Red

Cross offer courses for children and adults
• don’t swim from a boat anchored in deep water without a life vest, even if a good swimmer
• swim with a buddy because even adults can get into trouble in the water
• swim in a designated swimming area with lifeguards whenever possible
• don’t rely on plastic arm “water wings,” inner tubes or water toys to save a child’s life because they may deflate or slip off
• consider a life vest for children, including recently-approved children’s bathing suits with built-in life vests
• learn child and adult CPR.

Smalley advises people to call 911 in an emergency. “A person can always cancel the call if it turns out to be a false alarm,” he said.

Smalley said a person should only attempt a swimming rescue if properly trained in lifesaving techniques.

He said people should know how to rescue a drowning person without taking additional risk.

“Throw a floating object or extend something like a paddle, towel or other item to the victim,” Smalley said. “Release the object and try another form of rescue if the victim attempts to pull the you into the water.”

Someone who has been totally submerged in water and then recovered should get medical attention.

“A small amount of inhaled impure water can cause severe lung infections, and even death, if left untreated,” Smalley said.

Consumption of alcohol increases risk. “Alcohol and water don’t mix,” Smalley said. “Hard alcohol and beer pose two of the greatest dangers to those swimming or boating. Never drink alcohol while supervising children.”

For more tips on boat and water safety, call the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll free 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367), or e-mail boatandwater@dnr.state.mn.us.

Watertown Lions BBQ; the final installment
From Gary Harding, Watertown Lions

This is my last article on BBQ for this year. I hope you have learned a little about BBQ and how you to can be famous on your own patio.

The Crow River BBQ Challenge and Watertown Rails to Trails are all about family fun. It’s a great place to gather and visit with friends and neighbors so look for me in the park Friday, July 18 and Saturday, July 19.

I want to end this series of articles by encouraging your interest in all things “Q” and to instill in you a sense of adventure and fun in your back yard.

So many people tell me “I do ribs” or “We only like chicken.”

I say if you can catch it, cook it! Obviously we all have experienced ribs, chicken, pulled pork or perhaps even brisket.

I ask you to consider fish, vegetables, cheese, lamb, prime rib, wild game and many other cuts of meat that taste so good when cooked low and slow with wood.

I know many of you have a comfort zone and hesitate to move into the unknown so here is some advice I learned years ago. Smoke it! Serve it! Make notes! And don’t lose them.

You will fail but your friends and family will gulp it down and seldom complain because they fear you might stop cooking and they don’t want to miss the next great adventure.

And when you do master a recipe and your serving becomes meltingly tender and deliciously flavorful your spouse, family and friends will look at you with awe and declare you “The Pit Master”.
Watertown will be the place to see the country’s greatest Pit Masters in action July 18 and 19.

They come from Tennessee, Missouri, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota and Wisconsin and of course Minnesota to see who will be the best.

They are friendly and fun and enjoy visiting with the people so bring the family and wander through the cookers to see the many unique smokers and meet such great BBQ’rs as River Rat Grillers from Delano, Kim Bob’s BBQ from Watertown, Rubmasters from Lebanon TN, The Quiet Riot from Minot ND, Bavarian BBQ Boys of Afton, The Hickory Chicks of Brooklyn Park or perhaps Big Bubba’s Road House BBQ of Coon Rapids.

Or find your own favorite team name. They are there, tucked into all the corners of the park.

Positive response to firewood restrictions on state lands
From the DNR

With summer camping and recreation in full swing this July Fourth weekend, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds everyone that firewood restrictions remain in place on state lands. The restrictions are designed to limit the spread of forest pests.

“The word is out,” said Chuck Kartak, DNR Parks and Recreation Division deputy director. “Most people visiting campgrounds in state parks and state forests can show that their wood was purchased from an approved vendor, or they expect to buy firewood at the state facility they are visiting.”

Legislation that went into effect in May 2007 prohibits visitors from bringing unapproved firewood onto state lands.

These restrictions prevent the importation of forest pests such as the emerald ash borer (EAB), known to hitchhike on firewood from infected areas.

Before the restrictions were put in place, surveys showed that about 50 percent of overnight visitors brought “outside” firewood to Minnesota state parks and state forest campgrounds annually. That put state lands at high risk for pest infestations.

As of May, the state can impose a $100 penalty on those who bring unapproved firewood into a state park, state forest or other DNR-administered area.

The DNR defines approved firewood as:

• firewood purchased from the DNR (if available at the site)
• firewood purchased from an approved vendor and accompanied by a proof of purchase
• kiln-dried, untreated, unpainted, unstained construction lumber free of nails and other foreign objects.

The EAB is a tiny beetle that is devastating forests and neighborhoods in several of Minnesota’s neighboring states and in Ontario, Canada.

In Michigan, EAB has killed more than 30 million ash trees since it became established there sometime in the 1990s.

It is also responsible for the mortality of millions of additional ash trees in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland.

Minnesota’s forests and neighborhood trees are at particular risk from EAB.

Ash was used extensively as a street tree to replace elms lost to Dutch elm disease in the 1970s and 1980s. It’s the third most abundant tree in Minnesota’s forests.

“It’s not only EAB that is associated with the movement of firewood,” said Kartak. “We’re also concerned with spreading other nonnative forest pests such as sirex wood wasp, gypsy moth and Asian long-horned beetle, as well as pathogens that cause Dutch elm disease, oak wilt and sudden oak death.”

To slow the spread of these forest pests throughout Minnesota, not just on DNR-administered lands, Kartak recommends two simple steps:

• don’t transport wood from a home area to a lake cabin or other recreation sites around the state
• buy firewood locally from someone who harvests Minnesota-grown trees.

For more information about firewood restrictions on state lands or to find an approved firewood vendor, visit the DNR Web site at www.mndnr.gov. People could call the state park or facility they will be visiting.

Federal Duck Stamp celebrates 75th anniversay July 12 in Owatonna
From Ducks Unlimited

The Federal Duck Stamp program, widely considered one of the most successful conservation efforts in American history, will note its 75th anniversary with a special celebration Saturday, July 12 in Owatonna.

Seven Minnesota wildlife artists who have won the Federal Duck Stamp competition, including 2008 winner Joe Hautman, will participate in the event at the Daniel C. Gainey Conference Center of the University of St. Thomas.

Activities (see below) will include an exhibit of the artists’ original works, the Postal Service’s first home-state cancellation of the 2008 stamp, and many hunting and outdoors-related workshops and demonstrations. The event is free and open to the public.

“It is time to honor the Minnesota artists and the Owatonna community for doing so much to advance wildlife and sporting art across the United States,” said William Webster, founder and former owner of Wild Wings Gallery in Lake City and a member of the event planning committee. “Minnesota artists have won the Federal Duck Stamp Contest more than any other state – 23 times – and now the public can meet them and thank them.”

Hautman, of Plymouth, is a three-time Federal Duck Stamp artist (1992, 2002, 2008) and comes from a family that has won the national contest eight times.

Brothers Jim Hautman (1990, 1995, 1999) of Chaska and Bob Hautman (1997, 2001) of Delano will attend the Owatonna event, as will David Maass (1974, 1982), Richard Plasschaert (1980), Phil Scholer (1983) and Scot Storm (2004).

Dozens of other Minnesota wildlife artists also are expected to attend and display their work, too.

A “home state” ceremony

A Federal Duck Stamp contest winner typically chooses to have his “hometown” ceremony in the city where he lives.

Hautman volunteered to move his ceremony to Owatonna and broaden its scope to include other Minnesota artists, to celebrate the contest’s 75th year and to bring attention to the University of St. Thomas’ efforts to establish a state wildlife art museum at the Gainey Conference Center.

The center is named after the longtime Jostens executive who bequeathed his horse ranch to St. Thomas, which established a campus and conference center on the grounds in 1982.

Many commercial artists at Jostens, formerly based in Owatonna, drew and painted game birds.

With assistance from entrepreneurs like Webster, the artists began to sell limited edition prints and other facsimiles of their paintings.

Webster, a 1950 alumnus of St. Thomas, approached his alma mater last year about creating a showplace for the work of Minnesota’s wildlife artists.

“There might not be a more fitting place for a state wildlife art museum,” he said, “than the Gainey Center and its 180 acres along the Straight River, which provides a natural habitat for deer, ducks, geese, pheasants, turkeys and a wide variety of song birds.”

July 12 Owatonna event

The July 12 event on the Gainey grounds will run from 1 to 5 p.m., rain or shine, and will include a 3:30 p.m. program.

Speakers will be Joe Hautman; Webster; Robyn Thorson, Midwest regional director of the Fish and Wildlife Service; Owatonna Mayor Tom Kuntz; Rep. Connie Ruth of Owatonna; Rep. Bev Scalze (a wildlife artist) of Little Canada; and Bill Anderson, president of the Minnesota Federation of Stamp Clubs.

Karen Killlen, wife of Owatonna wildlife artist Jim Killen, will be the emcee.

Activities on the Gainey grounds will include:

• An exhibit of original artwork by Minnesota’s leading wildlife artists, including the seven living

Federal Duck Stamp winners at the event

• An exhibit of all 23 Minnesota artists’ prints framed with their winning Federal Duck Stamp design

• Post Office home-state cancellation of the 2008 stamp and cachet

• Silent and live auctions of Federal Duck Stamp limited edition prints and wildlife art items

• Fish and Wildlife Service exhibits on the Junior Duck Stamp Program and the 50th anniversary of the Small Wetlands Acquisition Program

• Exhibits by the Owatonna chapters of the Izaak Walton league, Ducks Unlimited and the National Audubon Society

• Youth activities, including Watch Me Draw and painting workshops led by Bonnie and Rebecca Latham, past winners of the Junior Duck Stamp contest.

• A University of Minnesota Raptor Center demonstration

• Demonstrations of duck and goose calling by the Minnesota Waterfowl Association and dog training and retrieving by On-Line Retrievers and Oak Ridge Kennels

• A collectible history booklet on 75 years of Federal Duck Stamps and Minnesota’s role, available only at the event

A dinner will be held for Hautman, other wildlife artists and event sponsors.

For more information about attending the dinner or being a sponsor of the event, contact Ed Erickson (651) 962-6931 or Kristi Flanagan (651) 962-6999.

Creation of the duck stamp

The Federal Duck Stamp was the creation of Jay Darling, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper cartoonist, hunter and wildlife conservationist who published biting cartoons depicting the destruction of waterfowl and habitat.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed Darling as chief of the Bureau of Biological Survey (a predecessor to the Fish and Wildlife Service) in 1934.

Darling was aware of the 1929 passage of the Migratory Bird Conservation Act, which authorized the Department of the Interior to acquire wetlands and preserve them as waterfowl habitat, but the law provided no permanent source of money.

Darling’s idea: require all waterfowl hunters 16 and older to purchase a stamp that would generate funds to acquire and preserve habitat.

Congress passed the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act and it became known as the Duck Stamp Act.

Darling designed the first stamp at Roosevelt’s request, and 635,000 hunters paid $1 each.

Over 75 years, Federal Duck Stamp sales have generated $760 million to purchase or lease 5.2 million acres of waterfowl habitat, which are under protection in the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Ninety-eight cents of every duck stamp dollar goes to such purchases and leases, and last year 1.5 million hunters paid $15 each for a stamp.

“The Federal Duck Stamp program is one of the most successful conservation efforts ever devised,” says the 2000 book, The Duck Stamp Story. “It is a true national treasure.”

Nine million stamps have been sold in Minnesota, helping to acquire 13 national wildlife refuges and eight wetland management districts totaling nearly 500,000 acres.

Wetland management districts in the state include nearly 900 waterfowl production areas – small wetlands and associated grasslands – that are essential to the survival of waterfowl, grassland birds and other wildlife.

To read more about the Federal Duck Stamp program, see www.fws.gov/duckstamps.

Contest grows in popularity

After Darling’s first design, noted wildlife artists were asked to submit designs until 1949, when the first contest was held.

Fifteen Minnesota artists (see list below) have won 23 contests – far more than any other state.

The Hautman brothers, called a “dynasty” by the Washington Post, have dominated the contest with eight winning designs over the last two decades.

Joe Hautman started out to be a physicist, not an artist. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Michigan.

He did post-doctoral research, first at Minnesota and then at the University of Pennsylvania, and began to paint wildlife art on the side. By that time, his brothers Jim and Bob were establishing themselves as artists.

“They kept telling me that I should enter the Federal Duck Stamp contest,” Joe said. “They had seen my work and thought I wasn’t doing enough with it.”

In 1992, on his fourth try with only the fifth duck painting he had ever done, Hautman won the contest with a painting of a spectacled eider.

He moved back to Minnesota to become a full-time artist. He since has won the 2002 and 2008 federal contests as well as 10 contests or commissions for state conservation stamps in Minnesota, Connecticut, New Jersey, South Carolina and Texas.

Minnesota’s Federal Duck Stamp Artists

2008 Joe Hautman
2004 Scot Storm
2002 Joe Hautman
2001 Bob Hautman
1999 Jim Hautman
1997 Bob Hautman
1995 Jim Hautman
1993 Bruce Miller
1992 Joe Hautman
1990 Jim Hautman
1988 Dan Smith
1983 Phil Scholer
1982 David Maass
1980 Richard Plasschaert
1974 David Maass
1972 Arthur Cook
1967 Les Kouba
1962 Edward A. Morris
1961 Edward A. Morris
1958 Les Kouba
1954 Harvey Sandstrom
1949 Roger Preuss
1940 Francis Lee Jaques

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: Finding a place to ride an ATV or other OHV machine takes a little research. Minnesota offers a variety of trails.

Are there different “levels” of riding opportunities? And how can riders find the trail that fits their needs?

A: Minnesota is using the standard ski hill symbols to identify level of difficulty.

The symbols are: green circle – easy, blue square – moderate, and black diamond – technical or advanced.

Most public OHV trails are green with some blue levels available.

The Red Dot and Spider Lake systems are two sites that have some blue level trails.

At this point, the only public riding area with black diamond level opportunities is the Iron Range Off Highway Vehicle Recreation Area in Gilbert.

It is important for riders to know their abilities and know their machines.

Most of these trails do not provide alternative routes – once the course is started, it must be finished.
The more advance trails are generally one-way as well.