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Johnson, Walz spar in first governor's debate since primary victories

Outdoor Notes for June 10

Smith nabs win in first Bass Snatcher tournament

With a catch of 13 pounds, 10 ounces, Jim Smith took first place in the Baxter Bass Snatchers first tournament of the season June 2 on Bay Lake.

Placing second was Nate Steinbauer with 12 pounds, 15 ounces, and third place went to Keith Tuma with a catch of 12 pounds, 14 ounces. The tournament Lunker Award went to Dave Branum, who caught a 5 pound, 6 ounce bass.

For the tournament, 28 anglers caught and released 159 bass.

Minnesota state parks to offer free admission on June 9

Gov. Mark Dayton is encouraging Minnesotans to get out and enjoy the state's outstanding outdoor opportunities by proclaiming June 2018 as Great Outdoors Month.

The proclamation cites the mental and physical benefits of spending time outdoors as one incentive to visit Minnesota state parks and trails.

As an added incentive, the Department of Natural Resources will continue its longstanding tradition of waiving the requirement for a vehicle permit (a $7 value) and providing free admission at all 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas on Saturday, June 9, which is National Get Outdoors Day, an event held annually on the second Saturday in June.

"Exploring Minnesota state parks is a great way to spend time with friends and family, get active, and enjoy our state's many natural wonders," Dayton said. "This Saturday, I encourage all Minnesotans to 'Get Outdoors' and experience a state park or recreation area near you."

Many special programs will take place throughout Great Outdoors Month and on National Get Outdoors Day to help make each visit memorable and fun for visitors, said Erika Rivers, director of the DNR's Parks and Trails Division. "Our goal is to connect new people, especially families with young children, to the outdoors."

Special programs taking place June 9 at Minnesota state parks include:

• Pop Can Casting, 11 a.m.-noon, Fort Snelling State Park in St. Paul. Make a fishing pole with a pop can. Bring a clean can with the tab still attached and meet at the fishing pier.

• Peregrine Falcons, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Gooseberry Falls State Park, Two Harbors. Drop by the Visitor Center Auditorium to see live falcons and learn about these remarkable birds from Jackie Fallon of the Midwest Peregrine Society.

• Outdoor Recreation Day, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Father Hennepin State Park on Lake Mille Lacs near Isle. Displays, demonstrations and activities, including stand-up paddleboarding, fish identification, and a kids fish casting range. There will also be a special appearance by Smokey Bear (11-11:20 a.m.), followed by Archery in the Park (1-3 p.m.) for ages 8 and older.

• Family Outdoor Fair, noon- 3 p.m., Whitewater State Park near Winona in southeastern Minnesota. Make a walking stick and visit activity stations, including archery, trout fishing, geocaching, canoeing, bird watching and more.

• Minnesota Zoomobile, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., Minneopa State Park in Mankato.Live animals, storytelling, and an ice cream social.

• Nature Photography, 2-3 p.m., Big Bog State Recreation Area in Waskish. Join a naturalist to learn some basic techniques. A limited number of digital cameras will be provided, or visitors can use other digital equipment (cell phone welcome, too).

For a complete list of statewide programs, with times and locations, visit www.mndnr.gov.

Free loaner equipment—Most parks allow visitors to check out GPS units, binoculars, fishing gear and Kids Discovery Kits (featuring activities, stories and tips to help ensure a child's park visit will be fun). For more information on where to find the free stuff—not just on National Get Outdoors Day but every day—visit www.mndnr.gov.

For more information, contact the DNR Information Center by emailing info.dnr@state.mn.us or by calling 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday).

DNR invites public to serve on council to help boost hunter, angler numbers

Efforts to increase the number of hunters and anglers in Minnesota will gain new focus with advice from a 15-member council that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is establishing to zero in on hunter and angler recruitment, retention and reactivation.

"Getting more people out in the water, in woods and fields is a significant challenge and worthwhile goal for all Minnesotans," said James Burnham, DNR hunter and angler recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) coordinator. "The outcome may decide the success of conservation efforts valued by Minnesotans whether or not they hunt and fish. But we need the public's help and guidance to move the needle."

Citizens can nominate themselves through Friday, June 22, to serve on the 10 open seats of the council, for two year terms, with meetings scheduled every three months.

The council will work with and advise the DNR on R3 efforts, programs and potential partnerships that will benefit the recruitment of new hunters and anglers, the retention of current outdoor enthusiasts, and the reactivation of individuals who have not been active recently in hunting or fishing.

This council will build on previous work from an R3 summit convened by the DNR in 2016 with a variety of interested groups. Out of the summit came a recommendation for creating a council made up of Minnesota residents to help shape R3 efforts across the state.

The DNR has invited groups to nominate members to help lead the council, including the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, National Wild Turkey Federation, Women Hunting and Fishing in all Seasons, Trout Unlimited and Pheasants Forever.

"We welcome anybody to apply who's interested in helping reverse a projected national decline in hunting and fishing and the corresponding shortfall that will follow in how we manage natural resources," Burnham said.

Applications and more information on R3 in Minnesota can be found at mndnr.gov/R3. Any questions about this process, or the role of the R3 council, can be directed to James Burnham at james.burnham@state.mn.us or 651-259-5191.

'No registration weekend' postponed until Sept. 7-9

Minnesota's "no registration weekend" for all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), which was scheduled for June 8-10, has been postponed until Sept. 7-9, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The change will allow for the completion of new trails, including a 159-mile route that will connect several communities in northwestern Itasca County and a trail that will connect Balsam and Bigfork.

On Sept. 7-9, Minnesotans with an ATV registered for private or agricultural use, won't need to pay the additional registration fee ($53.50 for three years) to ride the state's public ATV trails. Out-of-state riders can explore Minnesota ATV trails that weekend as well, without the need for a nonresident trail pass ($21 annually). This will be the fifth year Minnesota is providing ATV riders with free access to more than 3,000 miles of state forest and grant-in-aid trails.

There are a variety of great ATV-riding opportunities in the state, according to Mary Straka, off-highway vehicle program consultant for the DNR Parks and Trails Division.

Among them:

• The Iron Range Off-Highway Vehicle State Recreation Area, which is a 1,200-acre OHV park in Gilbert with 36 miles of scenic trails for riders of all abilities.

• The 100-mile trail system in Nemadji State Forest, which connects to the Matthew Lourey State Trail and the Gandy Dancer Trail.

• The 29-mile Spider Lake trail system in Foot Hills State Forest, where riders can curve around lakes and ponds, go up and down a variety of hills, and view overlooks from the ridges throughout the forest.

• The 200-mile Northwoods Regional Trail System in Aitkin and Itasca counties, where riders can use the Soo Line Trail to connect to great communities and trail loops.

The DNR advises riders to keep safety in mind when out on the trails. In particular:

• Safety training is required for ATV riders born after July 1, 1987, and it is recommended for everyone that operates an ATV.

• Kids under age 18 must wear a DOT-certified helmet.

• Kids age 16 and under must fit the ATV they are operating and be able to properly reach and control the handlebars and reach the foot pegs while sitting upright on the ATV.

Trail maps, updates on trail conditions, youth ATV Safety training and other OHV information can be found online at www.mndnr.gov/ohv.

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