Dec. 2 Outdoor Notes
■ Aeration system in place
on Nisswa Lake
An aeration system will be in use through March 31, 2013, in Lake Nisswa, officials reported.
It will be located at 5159 Nisswa Ave. (former Nisswa Marine site). The purpose of the system is to protect permanent dock installations from ice damage.
Please use caution around posted areas.
■ Despite snow, snowmobile trails
not ready for riding
Despite the recent snowfall throughout much of northern Minnesota, snowmobile trails are not yet ready for riding, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Minnesota’s snowmobile trails officially opened Dec. 1; however, several conditions must be met before trails are open and ready for travel:
The ground must be frozen to allow for crossing of wet areas.
Adequate snow cover — about 12 inches — must be on the ground to allow for trail packing and grooming.
Landowner permits that allow trails on private land must be in place.
Trails must be cleared of dead falls, signs must be in place and gates must be opened; snowmobile clubs volunteers and DNR staff are currently working on these tasks.
“Although we have had a few cold days and many northern Minnesota lakes are forming ice, the ice is not yet thick enough on most lakes to support foot travel or snowmobiles,” noted Bob Moore, Grand Rapids area supervisor. “Ice thickness can vary greatly from one lake to another, and from different areas of the same lake.”
The DNR recommends a minimum of 5 inches of new clear ice for snowmobiles.
Snowmobile clubs and trails crews are preparing trails, but it could be a few weeks before those trails are ready. Work in many wet or swampy areas cannot begin until those areas freeze.
Many snowmobile trails cross private land. Landowners give permission for snowmobile use on the trails beginning Dec. 1. That permission is only for snowmobile use. Other uses are trespasses.
When the trails open, the DNR urges early season riders to use caution. Early season trails may have fallen trees or other debris across the trails, unfrozen areas, rocks or ruts, or standing crops and closed gates. Also, road ditches have obstacles to watch for under grass and snow, such as culverts, signposts and rocks.
Minnesota has more than 22,000 miles of groomed snowmobile trails; more than 21,000 miles of them are maintained by local snowmobile club volunteers. Maintenance costs are partially funded through snowmobile registrations, trail pass sales, and the un-refunded gas tax attributed to snowmobile use. Donations and volunteer work by trail clubs make up the remainder of the costs and efforts to operate these trails.
Trail users are encouraged to call in advance or research online to get local conditions for the area they plan to ride. State trail conditions are posted each Thursday on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov.
Trail information and local contacts are on the same website and on the back of the Minnesota DNR Snowmobile Trails quadrant maps. The maps are also available online.
Local trail conditions are often posted online by local tourist associations, chambers of commerce and volunteer snowmobile clubs. To find the nearest club, visit the Minnesota United Snowmobiler’s Association website at www.mnsnowmobiler.org.
■ 10 new conservation officers
begin field training
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) welcomed 10 new conservation officers to its ranks during a ceremony Tuesday, Nov. 20, at Camp Ripley in Little Falls. The ceremony marked three months of intensive training.
“When our recruits finish our academy, we know that they have received the best training available anywhere,” said Col. Jim Konrad, DNR Enforcement Division director. “We pride ourselves on selecting the best people available and giving them the best training in order to provide the highest quality service possible to the people of Minnesota who depend on us for natural resources protection.”
Training sessions at the conservation officer academy included confiscations and forfeitures; warrants and exceptions; emergency vehicle operation; self-defense; watercraft laws; recreational vehicle safety and regulations; game identification and enforcement; hazardous materials; crime scene management; evidence collection; and aquatic invasive species identification.
The new officers will spend the next four months afield with experienced conservation officers to gain on-the-job training in natural resources management and law enforcement before receiving their initial field station assignment.
These newest conservation officers are: Brent Grewe, Brian Holt, Caleb Silgjord, Chad Davis, Chris Tetrault, DJ Regas, Kee Vang, Lucas Belgard, Sean Williams and Steve Chihak.
■ DNR reminds hunters to not throw away unused either-sex deer permits
Hunters who failed to tag a deer or use their either-sex permit during the firearms season may still have a chance to put some venison in the freezer, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
“An either-sex permit from the firearms season remains valid for the muzzleloader season if you have the appropriate license,” said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader. “The either-sex permit is valid for either season, in the same area, provided you have a license for that season.”
The provision applies only to the lottery areas.
McInenly reminds hunters in the lottery areas that they are only allowed to tag one deer during the 2012 hunting season. They may not use bonus tags. They may be able to harvest additional deer in managed, intensive or special hunt areas.
Hunters who wish to take advantage of this change must have a license for the muzzleloader season. Licenses can be purchased at any of the 1,500 license agent locations in the state, via telephone at 888-665-4236 or online at www.mndnr.gov/licenses. A convenience fee is added to telephone and Internet license purchases.
The Minnesota muzzleloader season runs Saturday, Nov. 24, until Sunday, Dec. 9.