DNR advises checking status of boat ramps, campgrounds, roads, and trails before traveling

April 29, 2013

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

Before venturing out to campgrounds, trails and public water accesses statewide, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) advises people to check online or call ahead to avoid surprises.

“Winter weather is always a challenge to public water access,” said Nancy Stewart, DNR public access program coordinator. “Because of the late ice out this year, DNR crews have been unable to inspect and repair launch ramps or put the docks in at the DNR-operated public water access sites. We will get them ready as soon as possible, but we are at the mercy of Mother Nature right now.”

Meanwhile, at Minnesota state parks, the cold weather has kept water shut off and RV dump stations closed at many campgrounds.

“Winter conditions persist at Gooseberry Falls State Park and many other parks around the northland,” said Park Manager Audrey Butts. “We’ve had some folks arrive with camping reservations without knowing in advance what to expect – which has been unplowed roads and a foot of snow in their site.”

As for roads and trails, the DNR anticipates the need for temporary closures in state forests, state parks, recreation areas and wildlife management areas, due to wet conditions.

Road and trail conditions are deteriorating rapidly this spring, and many are not yet firm enough to support vehicle traffic without being damaged.

The temporary closures could remain in effect until sometime in May, depending on weather conditions.

For updates on lake ice out or conditions at specific state trails or state forest roads and trails, check the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov.

People can also call the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

For conditions at state parks, check the visitor alerts on the individual park pages at www.mndnr.gov or call the parks directly.

For ice out conditions: www.dnr.state.mn.us/ice_out/index.html.

State trails: www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_trails/list.html.

State parks: www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/list_alpha.html.

State forest roads and trails: www.dnr.state.mn.us/trailconditions/index.html.

Wright County engraved rifle

Wright County engraved rifle are available at All Seasons Sports in Delano starting at a cost of $577.99.

Engraved on affordable, American-made, stock Henry rifles, the Wright County Minnesota Historical Editrion Rifle combines meticulous research, original artwork, and finely detailed engraving to celebrate the history of Wright County.

The project is limited to 100 edition numbers. Personalization available for an additional charge.

Contact All Seasons Sports at (763) 972-3112.

Fishing Klinic for Kids set for June 15

All area youth and their parents are welcome to attend the 16th annual Fishing Klinic For Kids Saturday, June 15 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Sturges Park on Buffalo Lake.

Participants will enjoy fishing, as well as visiting with fishing pros. There will also be demonstrations, vendor booths, food, games, activities, fun, and prizes.

There is something for everyone at this family-friendly event.

This is the largest event of its kind in Minnesota. More than 20,000 youth have participated in this program over the years.

For more information on the organization and events, go to www.fishingklinicforkids.com.

DNR’s ‘PlayCleanGo’ program kicks-off new campaign to curb invasive species spread
From the DNR

Minnesota’s terrestrial (i.e. land-based) invasive species outreach program known as, “PlayCleanGo: Stop Invasive Species in Your Tracks,” is kicking off a new campaign, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.

“The campaign aims to do two things: encourage outdoor recreation on Minnesota trails, parks and recreation sites, and to educate and create awareness among outdoor recreationists about terrestrial invasive species,” said Sue Burks, DNR’s forestry invasive species coordinator.

A variety of media, including handouts, social media, online advertising, email marketing and events will be used.

The program will also continue to partner with government agencies, community groups and retail stores to further educate the public.

Campaign themes include “Give Invasive Species the Brush Off.” and “Wipe ‘em Off. Wipe ‘em Out!”

“PlayCleanGo” encourages outdoor recreation such as off-highway vehicle riding, hiking, biking and horseback riding on Minnesota trails, parks and recreation sites, while following these simple steps to help stop the spread of terrestrial invasive species:

• Arrive with clean gear.
• Burn local or certified firewood.
• Use local or weed-free hay.
• Stay on the trails.
• Before leaving, remove mud and seeds.

The campaign was developed in response to the increased emergence of terrestrial invasive species, which are land-based plants, animals and micro-organisms that are not native to a particular area.

They are also species that are capable of causing severe damage in areas outside their normal range, harming the economy, the environment or human health once they become established.

The term “invasive” is reserved for the most aggressive nonnative species capable of changing site or living conditions for the worse where they establish.

According to Burks, a few of the common invasive species found on land include earthworms,

Canada thistle, common buckthorn, wild parsnip and the two fungal species that cause Dutch elm disease and oak wilt.

Emerald ash borer is a terrestrial invasive species relatively new to the state that has the public concerned about the health of their ash trees.

The program is a joint effort of interagency and community partners including the U.S. Forest Service, University of Minnesota Extension, Minnesota departments of Agriculture and Transportation, Explore Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Visit www.playcleango.org for more information on stopping the spread of terrestrial invasive species and how to become a partner.

DNR urges homeowners to resist pruning or removing conifers with red needles until late spring
From the DNR

Conifers growing in Minnesota have had a long, hard winter with plenty of opportunities for winter injury, according to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

By now, many people have noticed conifers full of brown and red needles, especially along highways.

People might have seen the conifers in their yards, or along buildings and driveways, are turning red or brown.

In spite of their appearance, people should not prune or remove the discolored trees.

Chances are good that the trees are alive and healthy beneath their mask of red needles.

Buds were well protected during the winter and will grow once spring arrives, said Jana Albers, DNR forest health specialist.

The most evident damage, caused by de-icing salts, occurred on white pines growing along highways.

This salty water settles on the pines and is absorbed into individual needles, killing them back starting at the tips.

Other damage to conifers can be caused by winter drying, or needle dehydration.

“Throughout the winter, each passing car sends up clouds of salty water,” Albers said. “Winter injury is also caused by strong, dry winds, many days of bright sunshine.” and low relative humidity that dries the needles

Some trees or groups of trees seem to get winter injury every year.

It is likely the trees are stressed due to poor site conditions.

Native tree populations are adapted to their location.

Moving seeds or seedlings 100 miles north or south of their site of origin can result in damage due to winter injury.

Prevention techniques:

• When selecting trees to plant, choose species that are adapted to local growing conditions.
• Avoid planting white and red pines, balsam fir and white spruce within 150 feet of a highway to prevent salt damage.
• Avoid planting yew and arbor vitae on south or southwest sides of buildings or in sunny and windy locations.
• Erect temporary barriers around conifers susceptible to winter burn. They can be made of plywood, burlap, tar paper or plastics.
• Just after the snow melts and prior to bud break, rinse de-icing salts off both conifers and hardwoods.
• Reduce or eliminate the use of de-icing salts.
• Replace trees that have severe winter injury year after year. They are not in the right location and will only decline due to needle and twig loss over a period of many years.
• Keep conifers properly watered throughout the growing season and fall. Decrease the watering slightly in September to encourage hardening off. Water thoroughly in October until freeze-up.

For more information on tree care and forest health, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/treecare/forest_health.

DNR reminds landowners to identify property lines prior to starting construction projects
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds homeowners and landowners living adjacent to state of Minnesota-owned lands to learn where their personal property lines are located before starting construction projects this spring.

State law prohibits construction on state land.

“Any type of residential construction, such as homes, garages, drain fields, septic tanks, driveways or additional out-buildings, prohibits the use of these lands by the rest of the public,” said Dave Schuller, DNR statewide lands coordinator.

If a construction project occurs on state-owned land, the landowner may be charged with trespass violations.

If there is construction on state lands, the project is generally removed and the land is restored at the private landowner’s expense.

To avoid this, the DNR urges people to do their homework before building near any publicly-owned land.

Homeowners should contact their local zoning office to make sure they are in compliance with any property line setbacks.

Those who suspect they may have already constructed buildings or encroached on lands owned by the state of Minnesota should contact a local DNR area office.

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: Spring flooding season is fast approaching. How does the DNR monitor water levels in streams and rivers around the state?

A: The DNR operates more than 80 near real-time telemetry stream gages across the state that provide critical stream flow and level data to communities and agencies before and during floods.

Field crews are out all year maintaining these stations and more than 100 other stream gages, insuring the information will be available when needed.

The DNR maintains close contact with the National Weather Service and other agencies, coordinating and providing information not only during floods but during drought conditions as well.

CO weekley reports
From the DNR

• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers this past week.
CO Mies followed up on a deer case with a county attorney. CO Mies worked fish run.

• CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) gave a presentation to approximately 80 students at a Firearms Safety Class in Monticello.
Reller also attended a kids’ fair in Monticello put on by Minnesota Deer Hunters Association.
Angling activity was very slow due to the weather.

• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) attended in-service training at Camp Ripley.
He worked the turkey opener but the cold weather and snow made hunting difficult.
Creeks and rivers were checked for spring fish run.

• CO Jackie Glaser (Metro Water Resource Enforcement Officer) attended annual division training at Camp Ripley.
She also worked at a career booth at the Law Enforcement Opportunities Career Fair in Brooklyn Park.

• CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) due to the weather, trout stocking was delayed in the area till Tuesday.
Trout fishermen were checked during the week with some having good luck catching fish.
Cold, snowy weather continues to play a part in the spring turkey season.
Mueller spoke at a youth turkey clinic in Morton on Saturday.
Multiple commercial inspections were completed and a past inspection case closed with enforcement action for incomplete records and illegal possession of a pine marten.

• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) patrolled his area for spring fishing activity.
CO Oberg also instructed officers on firearms at the annual Camp Ripley in-service training.
Officer Oberg also gave a talk at the Gopher Campfire firearms safety class this week.