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Howard Lake GND fishing contest will be Sat., June 26

June 7, 2010

by Chris Schultz

The 28th annual Howard Lake Good Neighbor Days’ Fishing Contest will be Saturday, June 26 on Howard Lake.

Registration will take place from 7 to 8 a.m., with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. The contest ends at noon.

Entries will be limited to the first 200, with the cost being $30 if entry forms are received by Sunday, June 20, and $35 for entries received after that date.

For an entry form, go to www.howardlakegoodneighbordays.webs.com.

For additional information, call Denny Decker at (320) 543-2992.

Firewood restrictions in effect on state land
From the DNR

Now that the 2010 camping season has started, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds campers that only firewood purchased at a state park or from a DNR-approved vendor may be brought onto any DNR-administered lands.

This is to prevent the spread of forest pests, such as emerald ash borer (EAB), which can catch a ride to new locations.

For a list of approved firewood vendors, visit DNR website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/firewood_vendors/vendors/list.html.

The receipt supplied by the approved vendor must be retained as proof of purchase.

Visitors bringing unapproved firewood onto DNR-administered lands, including wood brought from home, must surrender it and may be subject to a $100 fine.

More firewood information is available at www.dnr.state.mn.us/firewood/index.html.

Susan Burks, DNR’s Exotic Species Program coordinator, adds that Minnesotans should take the following steps to keep EAB and other forest pests from spreading:

• Leave extra firewood onsite and don’t bring it home.

• Never buy or move firewood that came from outside of Minnesota.

Those camping on state forest land outside of a designated campground may gather dead wood on the ground for campfire use onsite.

In state parks and designated campgrounds in state forests, visitors are prohibited from scavenging dead wood.

EAB in Minnesota

In 2009 EAB was found in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood of St. Paul.

This year it was found in the Prospect Park East River Road neighborhood of Minneapolis and the Upper Mississippi River Fish and Wildlife Area of Houston County.

As a result, hardwood firewood, ash trees and ash products in Hennepin, Houston and Ramsey counties are quarantined. Firewood originating from a quarantined county in Minnesota will be approved only for use in that county.

Firewood from counties contiguous to quarantined counties in Minnesota will be approved only for use in those counties.

To slow the spread of EAB, the quarantine also prohibits the movement of the following items out of quarantined counties and counties contiguous to a quarantined county:

• Firewood from hardwood (non-coniferous) species.

• Entire ash trees.

• Ash limbs and branches.

• Ash logs or untreated ash lumber with bark attached.

• Uncomposted ash chips and uncomposted ash bark chips greater than one inch in two of the three dimension.

Minnesotans should not buy firewood from people selling it door-to-door unless they are certain of the wood’s origin.

Details on the quarantine can be found at www.mda.state.mn.us/en/plants/pestmanagement/eab/eabquarantine.aspx.

EAB Background

While EAB spreads slowly on its own, it can hitch a ride to new areas when people transport firewood or other wood products infested with the larvae.

EAB in an invasive beetle that attacks and kills ash trees. Its larvae kill ash trees by tunneling under the bark and cutting off the tree’s supply of water and nutrients.

Since its accidental introduction into North America, EAB has killed more than 50 million ash trees in 14 states and Ontario, Canada.

“Minnesota is a prime target for EAB with more than 900 million ash trees,” Burks said.

More information about EAB is available at www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/terrestrialanimals/eab/index.html.

“Remember, the best firewood is local firewood,” Burks said. “Help stop the movement of forest pests.”

MN state parks to offer free admission June 12
From the DNR

Along with other parks across the country, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is encouraging families to answer the call of the wild and participate in National Get Outdoors Day by offering a variety of free activities statewide Saturday, June 12.

The DNR will also waive the requirement for a $5 vehicle permit and provide free admission at all 73 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas that day.

The goal of National Get Outdoors Day is to introduce first-time visitors to state parks, state trails, fishing piers, and other public lands.

In particular, it aims to reconnect youth – whose participation in outdoor recreation has been declining – to the great outdoors.

In the Twin Cities area, the main attraction will be the Take a Day OFF event taking place from 1 to 5 p.m. at Fort Snelling State Park in St. Paul.

The afternoon will include opportunities to experience more than a dozen free activities, such as fishing, canoeing, geocaching, and camping basics.

Experts from the DNR, REI, Conservation Corps Minnesota, and other outdoor recreation organizations will be on hand to help families design their next outdoor adventure.

Some Minnesota state parks are also offering free fishing clinics on June 12 in conjunction with Take-A-Kid Fishing weekend, such as a fly-fishing workshop for anglers of all ages from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at William O’Brien State Park.

For a list of activities at Minnesota state parks trails, and recreation areas, check the online calendar at www.mndnr.gov/parksandtrails or call the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367.

In the past, the DNR offered free admission to Minnesota state parks and recreation areas on the first Sunday in June.

The decision to switch to the second Saturday in June was based on the DNR’s desire to support the broader effort to promote National Get Outdoors Day.

In addition to getting free admission to parks and programs, families can pick up copies of the Parks Guide and an 80-page spring/summer Programs & Special Events catalog when they arrive on June 12.

For the past 10 years, Minnesota’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives have made the Guide possible with their generous financial support.

The Programs & Special Events catalog lists more than 300 things to do between now and Labor Day.

It also features an overview of what’s new in 2010 at Minnesota state parks and recreation areas, such as the loaner fishing equipment that can now be checked out for free at more than 30 parks and the Kids Discovery Kits (including activities, stories, and tips to help ensure that a child’s early outdoor experiences will be fun and memorable) that can be checked out for free at 20 parks.

DNR advises folks to watch out for loons
From the DNR

As Minnesotans enjoy being out on the state’s lakes, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) encourages people to remember to watch out for their state bird, the common loon.

Boaters, canoeists, and kayakers should stay at least a 100 feet from loon nests to avoid scaring the loon from its eggs.

If a loon leaves the nest, crows, ravens, or gulls could spot the exposed eggs and eat the eggs before the loon returns.

For information, call the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 in the Twin Cities area or toll-free 888-MINNDNR (646-6367).

DNR wants boaters to help ‘Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers’
From the DNR

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conservation officers and watercraft inspectors will take to lakes and rivers around the state to further step-up efforts to prevent the transportation of aquatic invasive species.

The DNR wants boaters to help “Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!” such as zebra mussels, from moving to new lakes.

The zebra mussel populations currently in Lake Mille Lacs, Alexandria chain of lakes (Le Homme Dieu, Carlos, and Geneva), Pelican Lake in Otter Tail County, Prior Lake in Scott County and Rice Lake near Brainerd are a particular concern as they can be key sources for zebra mussel spread.

Minnesota’s water resources are threatened by numerous aquatic invasive species such as the zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil and spiny waterfleas.

These species could be easily spread within the state if citizens, businesses and visitors don’t take the necessary steps to contain them.

“Invasive species can be easily transported from one lake to another, so by taking some simple precautions citizens can minimize the risk,” said Capt. Phil Meier, DNR conservation officer.

Meier offered boaters these suggestions:

• Draining bait buckets, bilges and live wells before leaving any water access is a good habit to develop.

• Removing aquatic plants from boats and trailers to prevent the spread of invasive species is required by law.

• Draining all water, including pulling the drain plug, as required by law when leaving waters that have been designated as infested with spiny water flea or zebra mussels.

Enforcement efforts will include an increased presence at public water accesses where officers will look closely for violators who could face fines of up to $500.

DNR watercraft inspectors will also be checking boats and informing boaters to inspect, remove and drain before leaving water accesses.

Billboards and newspaper ads are being used statewide warn boaters to clean their boats with a “Pick It or Ticket” message.