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Outdoor Notes - April 30

Group seeks to ensure funding for cross country ski trails Gov. Mark Dayton has proposed increasing the price of the Minnesota ski pass, but to date, the Minnesota House and Senate did not include a fee increase in their omnibus environment budge...

Find time to escape to the forest.Photo courtesy Minnesota DNR
Find time to escape to the forest. Photo courtesy Minnesota DNR

Group seeks to ensure funding for cross country ski trails

Gov. Mark Dayton has proposed increasing the price of the Minnesota ski pass, but to date, the Minnesota House and Senate did not include a fee increase in their omnibus environment budget bills (HF 888 and SF 723).

The proposed price increases to the Minnesota ski pass are:

• Daily ski pass: From $5 to $7

• One-year ski pass: From $20 to $25

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• Three-year Ski Pass: From $55 to $70

Minnesota ski pass revenues pay for about 1,000 miles of DNR Grant-in-Aid ski trail maintenance and grooming at over 90 locations statewide, including state parks, according to a news release from the Minnesota Nordic Ski Association. Lack of funding has already forced cutbacks in the number of state parks that groom ski trails, the release said. Further cutbacks in state park grooming are predicted with no new revenues.

Also, limitations on improvements and enhancements to all other trail systems are pending if the Minnesota ski pass system does not increase its revenues. This fee increase doesn't include ski trail systems that have elected to require their own ski pass.

View a list of ski trails statewide that depend on Minnesota ski pass funds at

The" target="_blank">www.dnr.state.mn.us/skiing/skipass/list.html.

The ski association is urging skiers to lobby the Conference Committee members to add Minnesota ski pass fee increases to the final Conference Committee report since this budget increase would be funded by skiers-not through general tax dollars. Teach a kid to trap shoot

The Lakeshore Conservation Club will host Teach a Kid to Trap Shoot from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Saturday, May 6 at Lakeshore Conservation Club.

The event is for novice shooters and open to all ages. One-on-one instruction will teach gun safety and trap shooting.

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The event is free and open to the public. Lunch will be provided.

For more information, contact 218-963-4003 or 218-851-8688.

DNR seeks input on proposed changes to sharp-tailed grouse hunting

Sharp-tailed grouse hunting in the east-central part of the state would begin about a month later under a proposal from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

"We would limit early-season fall hunting in an area already open to sharp-tailed grouse hunting where habitat changes have significantly reduced their numbers," said Dave Olfelt, DNR northeast region manager. "The change aims to boost survival of young-of-the-year birds and adult hens with broods, which could provide a benefit to the overall population."

Fall sharp-tailed grouse hunting is allowed in the northern third of the state. If approved for 2017, the sharp-tailed grouse season in a part of east-central Minnesota and east of a line from Floodwood to the northern border would be open Saturday, Oct. 14, through Thursday, Nov. 30. In the rest of the open hunting zone, the season would run from Saturday, Sept. 16, through Nov. 30.

People who want to provide input on the proposal can attend meetings in early May and give input through Thursday, June 1, online at mndnr.gov/sharptailedgrouse or via mail.

Public meetings with staff who can provide additional information are planned for:

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• 6-8:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 3, DNR headquarters, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul.

• 7-9 p.m., Tuesday, May 9, Cloquet High School, 1000 18th St., Cloquet.

To get a written copy of the input survey, contact the DNR Information Center by telephone at 888-646-6367 or email jason.abraham@state.mn.us . Written comments may be emailed, or mailed to Sharp-Tailed Grouse Comments, DNR Section of Wildlife, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN, 55155-4007.

Sharp-tailed grouse are somewhat larger than ruffed grouse and live in open grassy or brushy areas. The once-thriving population has declined sharply in the last 50 years due to loss of suitable habitat.

During spring mating, the males try to attract females by making coos and clucks, stomping their feet and clicking their tail feathers in a courtship dance at specific locations called leks.

The DNR maintains blinds that are available to the public in areas where the public can watch sharp-tailed grouse courtship. More information on sharp-tailed grouse viewing blinds is available at www.mndnr.gov/birds/sharptailedgrouse.html .

DNR celebrates the health benefits of trees with challenge

The Department of Natural Resources celebrated Arbor Day on Friday and Arbor Month in May by recognizing the health benefits of trees in Minnesota.

Trees and forests provide numerous health benefits such as:

• Helping reduce skin cancer.

• Decreasing mental stress and promoting healing.

• Cleaning the air and reducing childhood asthma rates.

• Reducing stressful noises by 50 percent.

• Providing healthy fruits and nuts.

"Getting your daily dose of trees is good for your health and easy to do," said Jennifer Teegarden, DNR forestry outreach specialist. "You can climb a tree, go camping, sit under a tree, take a hike or visit a forest."

To encourage people to get a daily dose of trees, the DNR is launching the #31DaysOfTrees challenge during Arbor Month. Simply post a photo or video while getting a daily dose of trees on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Use the hashtag #31DaysOfTrees and include @MinnesotaDNR when posting to Facebook. Participation will be tracked using hashtag #31DaysOfTrees.

Participants may win one of five state parks permits and have 10 trees planted in their honor in a Minnesota state forest. The more times a person posts enjoying their daily dose of trees, the more chances they'll have to win. Participants must be 18 years or older and a Minnesota resident to win a prize.

Visit the DNR's Arbor Month webpage at www.mndnr.gov/arbormonth to watch videos of Minnesotan's getting their daily dose of trees and how trees improve health. Additional details on the #31DaysOfTrees challenge and a listing of local Arbor Day celebrations can also be found on the Arbor Month webpage.

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