Outdoor Notes: FatBike race coming soon

45NRTH Whiteout Winter FatBike race set for Feb. 3-4 The 45NRTH Whiteout Winter FatBike race, part of the Great Lakes FAT BIKE Series is scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area and downtown Crosby. This race is on a "gr...

A youth and adult take part in flyfishing.Minnesota DNR photo
A youth and adult take part in flyfishing.Minnesota DNR photo

45NRTH Whiteout Winter FatBike race set for Feb. 3-4

The 45NRTH Whiteout Winter FatBike race, part of the Great Lakes FAT BIKE Series is scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area and downtown Crosby.

This race is on a "great loop" that is majority single lane racing.

The race includes three distances including 30k, 20k and 10k race ride. Participants must be at least 12 years old and those under age 18 need a signed waiver from an adult or guardian.

In addition to the races, all registered racers and their friends and family will be welcomed to join the following 45NRTH Whiteout event activities:


• A Friday night racer registration takes place from 6-10 p.m. at the Red Raven Bike Cafe in Crosby.

• Friday night ride and freewheel FatBike Demo from 7-9 p.m. at Sagamore Unit in Riverton.

• True North Basecamp Ring of Fire at 9 p.m. Friday night in Crosby. Assemble around the fire in preparation for the Saturday race.

• Follow up the race with the Whiteout Post Race Block Party from 4:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday on the block between Cuyuna Brewing and Spalding House. This block will be shut down to transit that evening to allow the party to take occupy street and those two businesses. This event will feature live music, food, product displays and more.

Complete event details including registration, full schedule, race rules and volunteer information can be found at

Special deer hunt ends; CWD found in 1 more deer

A special chronic wasting disease 16-day deer hunt in southeastern Minnesota concluded Jan. 15 with one additional case of the disease found among hundreds tested. Now, landowner shooting permits take effect in an attempt to further lower the deer population in the area and stop the disease from spreading, according to a Minnesota DNR news release.

The latest case of the CWD-infected deer was an adult female, taken near Preston very close to four other positive animals, providing another piece of evidence that suggests the disease is localized. This brings the number of CWD positive wild deer in southeastern Minnesota to six; results are still pending on more than 100 samples.


"The special hunt was designed to assess prevalence across the CWD zone, begin the process of lowering deer densities in the area, and remove infected animals from the population," said Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager.

In total, 873 deer were taken during the special hunt. Of those, 600 adults were submitted for CWD testing. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources staff also have been opportunistically sampling vehicle-killed deer, deer found dead and heads hunters brought in from the end of the regular deer seasons. Overall, 634 CWD samples have been collected since Dec. 31, and results are still pending for 114 samples.

Of the six wild deer that tested positive for CWD, none were described as behaving abnormally, which may be further indication that the infection is recent, Cornicelli said. If the infection is recent, early and aggressive action is the best way to eliminate the infection, he said.

Next phase

So far, almost 300 landowner shooting permits have been issued. These permits allow landowners to remove deer from their property.

"We work individually with landowners, go through the permit conditions and make arrangements for testing the deer they harvest," Cornicelli said. "DNR staff believe these permits will provide additional information regarding the extent of CWD in the area."

The DNR also has been working directly with landowners in and around the properties where the positive deer were taken. Landowner permits expire Sunday, Feb. 12. DNR staff will monitor the distribution and number of deer taken under landowner shooting permits and then make a decision regarding using the USDA to remove additional deer.

"The information we have right now points to a disease cluster, so we may look to the USDA to remove additional deer in that area," Cornicelli said.


If additional infected deer are discovered during the landowner shooting phase, those positive results will be posted on the DNR's website at . Once landowner shooting concludes, the DNR will issue a news release with final results and detail the next steps in the disease management process.

CWD is a fatal brain disease to deer, elk and moose but is not known to affect human health. Prior to the six recent discoveries, the only other wild deer with the disease found in Minnesota was harvested near Pine Island in 2010.

The DNR responds to and manages CWD in wild deer, while the Minnesota Board of Animal Health regulates farmed deer. The Board of Animal Health shares information with the DNR and works with the USDA as it investigates CWD cases in captive deer.

For more information, including a map of the disease management zone, locations of infected deer, landowner information, special deer hunt information, deer feeding ban, common questions and answers and hunter information, visit the DNR's CWD webpage at . With the rapid pace that information is generated, people are strongly encouraged to keep checking the DNR's CWD webpage for information.

Register for beginner fly-fishing weekend for youth-adult pairs

Registration is open for an event that teaches the basics of fly fishing to pairs of youths and adults, from evening on Friday, June 2, to afternoon on Sunday, June 4, near Lanesboro.

"The youth and adults are both beginners, so they can struggle and laugh and grow together," said Deb Groebner, a regional specialist with MinnAqua, an educational program of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

To participate, youth must be 11 to 17 years old as of June 2, and each youth-adult pair must have less than 10 hours of fly-fishing experience between them.


The registration fee is $130 per pair and includes meals, lodging, guiding services, equipment and additional materials. Sponsorships to offset registration fees may be available from angling and conservation organizations. This event is limited to 20 youth-adult pairs.

Apply online at . For more information, contact Groebner at 507-359-6049 or .

Non-native plant discovery: Don't release aquarium or water garden plants

The recent discovery of a non-native aquatic plant in Minnesota is a reminder that people should always dispose of aquarium or water garden plants or animals appropriately-not by releasing them into the environment, according to a Minnesota DNR news release.

Invasive species staff with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources identified java water dropwort in an isolated small pond in Le Sueur County. The wetland plant is native to Southeast Asia and is sometimes sold for ornamental purposes. DNR staff said the plant was likely released into the wild by someone who didn't understand the harm non-native plants can cause.

"People with aquariums or water gardens need to look for responsible ways to dispose or find a new home for unwanted plants or animals, instead of putting them in the environment," said DNR Invasive Species Specialist Allison Gamble. "It's important to teach this to children as well as adults, and it's a good opportunity to educate kids about invasive species."

Gamble said people should contact a retailer or veterinarian to find out how to safely and humanely get rid of aquatic plants and pets they no longer want. It is illegal to release most non-native species into the wild in Minnesota.

One option is the aquatic animal and plant surrender event on Saturday, Jan. 28, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Redemption Lutheran Church (927 East Old Shakopee Road) in Bloomington, sponsored by Minnesota Sea Grant and the Minnesota Aquarium Society.


The Minnesota Aquarium Society will also auction off surrendered fish, plants and equipment from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. People surrendering them receive a portion of the selling price.

Java water dropwort is sometimes sold as water celery or water parsley. It is rare in the United.

The DNR regularly finds plants and animals likely dumped from aquariums into the wild. In 2016, DNR staff spotted water hyacinth someone had just dumped in a pond near Mankato and removed it before it could spread. A DNR invasive species specialist confirmed that a 15-inch fish taken by an angler from the Mississippi River in Hennepin County last June was a freshwater pacu, similar to a piranha. Several public waters around the state have large numbers of goldfish, which are not native to Minnesota and can be destructive to native wildlife and their habitats.

The DNR has more information about aquatic invasive species at

DNR announces appointments to committee on natural heritage

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr has appointed four new members to the Commissioner's Advisory Committee on Natural Heritage. The committee advises the department on programs related to the state's native prairies, forests, wetlands, and their native plants and animals.

The new members are Alyssa Alness of Jordan, Kristen Blan of Cushing, Sarah Malick-Wahls of Ely and Michael Spry of Nevis.

Appointees advise the DNR on issues related to sustaining the state's natural heritage and biological diversity. Since 1966, the committee has made recommendations and given support to state scientific and natural areas. The committee also now advises other programs within the department's Ecological and Water Resources Division, including Nongame Wildlife, Minnesota Biological Survey, prairie protection, rare resources, wetland monitoring, and terrestrial invasive species.


The committee members have broad knowledge and experience related to natural area systems and represent the diverse ecological and demographic interests of Minnesotans. Landwehr appointed the new committee members in January for terms of up to 5 years.

Find a list of all committee members, a meeting schedule and other details at .

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