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Santa Claus was checking out new routes for his reindeer recently when he stopped in the Northland and tried his hand at ice fishing. Being Santa, he of course had access to some of the hottest new ice fishing gear available, including the Otter Cottage insulated flip-up ice shack and the Strikemaster 40V Lithium battery-powered ice auger.
Bob King, a name you’ve seen under News Tribune photos for parts of the past five decades, will walk out of the newspaper’s downtown office today for the last time as a full-time photojournalist as he transitions into retirement. But you haven’t seen the last of Bob King. King, who started at the News Tribune in September 1979, plans on continuing his Astro Bob astronomy blog, both online at duluthnewstribune.com and in the newspaper’s Sunday Pursuits section.
When they aren't identifying record large trees in the forest, Thomas Gable and Austin Homkes' day job is wolf research, trying to untangle the complex, mostly unknown relationship between wolves and beaver in Voyageurs National Park. They live-trap wolves and place GPS collars on them in the early spring and then follow the packs around from April to October, checking out exactly what wolves eat.
Jack pine often don't get much respect. The sometimes scraggly, usually not-too-tall pine trees often lag behind their bigger cousins, the white pine and red pine, when it comes to favorite evergreens of the north woods. But a jack pine on Namakan Lake in Voyageurs National Park has gained some national notoriety. The 73-foot-tall tree, on the shores of Moose Bay, has been officially declared the largest jack pine in the U.S. and was recently added to American Forests' Champion Trees national register.
The prospect of restoring elk to eastern Minnesota forests has strong, across-the-board public support in the region, according to a survey by University of Minnesota researchers. The survey found that 77 percent of the general public in southern St. Louis, Carlton and northern Pine counties supports the reintroduction of elk in the region. The survey also found a whopping 79 percent of landowners in the potential elk restoration area supports the idea.
Looking for a new ice auger — electric, gas, propane or battery — but still have some questions? The sixth annual Arrowhead Ice Fishing and Winter Show should have the answers. The show runs Friday through Sunday at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center with more than 150 exhibitors, panel discussions, special guests, prizes and more. As ice fishing continues to grow in popularity across the Upper Midwest, the ice show keeps growing, too, with 12,000 people attending last year and even more expected this year.
Leah Kampa approached the trap, set for fisher or marten, that was sitting on top of a horizontal fallen tree about 18 inches above the ground. "This one looks good. It's legal," she said as she got closer. Inside a small wooden box a conibear 120 trap was set, ready to grab one of the forest furbearers that are open to harvest for just six days each year.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers last week released a final draft of its plan to keep invasive Asian carp out of the Great Lakes by building barriers between Lake Michigan and the illinois River system where the carp are thriving. The plan to block the unwanted aquatic invaders at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam, about 60 miles south of Chicago, would cost about $775 million.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency on Friday said it issued a new water pollution discharge permit for the U.S. Steel's massive Minntac taconite iron ore processing center in Mountain Iron, the first unexpired permit for the facility since 1992. The permit will take effect Dec. 1 and sets long-range goals for U.S. Steel to meet to reduce pollutants — including sulfate — that are leaking out of the plant's 8,000-acre tailings basin and into nearby surface and groundwater.
Minnesota's snowmobile trails officially open Saturday, but as has been common in recent years, state officials and snowmobile enthusiasts warn that more snow is needed before the trails are passable. The Department of Natural Resources lists Dec. 1 as the date it opens the trails it manages each year, about 1,000 miles in all. More than 21,000 miles of grant-in-aid trails managed by 250 local snowmobile clubs across the state also officially open on Dec. 1.