If this week's Beargrease events whetted your appetite for more mushing, head over to Iron River, Wis. on Feb. 16 for the first ever Northern Pines Sled Dog Race.

At least 50 mushers from around the region are expected to race, and mushers can sign up until Feb. 12.

The event is free, and a full day of activities are planned with five different races from 4.8 miles up to 16.2 miles long, set for Northern Pines Golf Course and Event Center at 69420 Airport Road. in Iron River, about a half-hour east of Superior. Food and beverages, face painting and more are planned at the site. (There's also a meet the mushers event on Feb. 15.)

For more information or to register your team contact the Iron River Area Chamber of Commerce at visitironriver.com, or info@visitironriver.com or (715) 372-8558.

Meanwhile the 24th annual Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race is set for next weekend - Feb. 2-3 - with racers entered from across the U.S. and Canada. Multiple races take place over the course of the weekend, with the teams completing a loop through the forests of the Bayfield Peninsula each day.

There are five races, including a 10-dog 80-mile race; an 8-dog 60-mile race; a 40-mile Sportsmen's Race; a 6-8 mile Family/Rec Race(Saturday only); and a 6-mile Youth Race (Sunday only.) Registration is open through Wednesday.

Races begin at 10 a.m. both days at the Echo Valley Gravel Pit, 11 miles north of downtown Bayfield at 30675 State Highway 13. The location serves as the start/finish line for each race and is an excellent place to cheer the teams on as they head out on the trail. There will be a warming fire, information tent, merchandise sales and concessions at the gravel pit. Go to bayfield.org or call (715) 779-3335.

Winter biking/camping trip for beginners

Are you a winter camping enthusiast who is starting to fat bike, too? Maybe you are a fat biking fanatic who would like to get into winter camping but have been reluctant to try? Either way the Spokengear bike shop in Two Harbors is hosting an event Feb. 2-3 to combine winter biking and camping.

The trip is planned to start north of Two Harbors on Saturday afternoon, ride about 10 miles to a remote cabin and then camp out overnight on Saturday night. The group will then break camp and bike back to the starting point parking area on Sunday morning. Participants are expected to spend the night outdoors, although the cabin will be available for emergencies. Participants also need to bring all their own food.

The overnight is aimed at both people new to the winter activities and hard core bikers who are thinking of trying an extreme race that combines camping and biking, like the Arrowhead 135.

You'll need your own winter-ready bike, sub-zero sleeping bag, shelter, cooking gear and food. Some items may be available for use. For more information call (218) 834-2117.

Minnesota DNR chief names top assistants

New Minnesota DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen last week named current Assistant Commissioner Barb Naramore as the agency's new deputy commissioner. Since 2013, Naramore has overseen three divisions - Ecological and Water Resources, Forestry, and Lands and Minerals - and worked frequently with other divisions.

Prior to joining the DNR, Naramore was executive director of the Upper Mississippi River Basin Association, where she worked with five states, federal agencies, and stakeholder groups on river-related programs and policies, including a groundbreaking aquatic ecosystem restoration and monitoring program.

Jess Richards, currently director of the DNR's Lands and Minerals Division, is joining the commissioner's office as assistant commissioner overseeing two divisions - Ecological and Water Resources as well as Lands and Minerals. As Lands and Minerals director, Richards helped lead the agency's Strategic Land Asset Management work, modernized its land records system, and navigated complex minerals development and environmental protection challenges. Before joining the DNR in 2012, Richards worked at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for 18 years, serving in a variety of leadership and staff capacities.

Randolph Briley will join the DNR as special assistant to the commissioner. Briley will focus on public engagement, outreach and building stakeholder coalitions.

Prior to joining the DNR, Briley served for over nine years in Washington, D.C. as then-Congressman Walz's agriculture and natural resources policy advisor and legislative director.

Assistant Commissioner Bob Meier will continue leading the DNR's legislative and governmental affairs efforts. Meier has been with the DNR since 2003, serving as legislative affairs director and as assistant commissioner. He was the legislative affairs director for the Office of Environmental Assistance from 1994-2003. He is an avid outdoors person, hunter and angler.

Grand Rapids' Kouffeld misses Extreme Huntress title

Meadow Kouffeld of Grand Rapids came up just short in the 2019 Extreme Huntress competition sponsored by the Dallas Safari Club.

The club's competition champion, announced at their annual convention Jan. 18, was Ulrika Karlsson-Arne from Sweden.

Kouffeld, who teaches at Itasca Community College and is a wildlife biologist, was one of four finalists for the title that pitted women in competition testing their hunting skills but which also involved online voting by the public and judge's voting.