Outdoor Notes - July 17

Birders unite for Little Big Year NEW YORK MILLS--The Little Big Year is hosting the DNR's Assistant Wildlife Manager, Blane Klemek, at 7 p.m. July 21 at the Cultural Center in New York Mills. Klemek will be making a presentation about birding in...

Birders unite for Little Big Year

NEW YORK MILLS-The Little Big Year is hosting the DNR's Assistant Wildlife Manager, Blane Klemek, at 7 p.m. July 21 at the Cultural Center in New York Mills.

Klemek will be making a presentation about birding in northern Minnesota, which will concentrate on birding sites, habitat types and birding associations. There will be time for discussion, questions, and bird sighting stories.

No admission will be charged for this event, but a free will offering will be collected and donated to the DNR's Non-Game Wildlife Program. Refreshments will be served and there will be drawings for birdhouses and nest boxes.

Direct any questions to Alice Martin at 218-385-3245, or call the Cultural Center at 218-385-3339 or visit the Center's website at .


The Little Big Year is a program in its second year of existence, sponsored by the Cultural Center and organized by community member Alice Martin. Beginning on Aug. 1 and continuing for 12 months, the Little Big Year is a year-long quest to make an informal list of bird species sighted, as well as learn more about birding through events and presentations.

The Cultural Center in New York Mills is a rural center for creativity, community vitality, and lifelong learning in the arts. We offer visitors intimate opportunities to encounter art and artists in our 80-seat concert listening room, two art galleries in a historic building, a gift store featuring local artists, an artist residency program, a sculpture park, and a variety of opportunities to learn, grow and thrive. Since our incorporation in 1990, we have been passionate about connecting people to artists and rich cultural experiences in rural Minnesota, celebrating the local and being a window to the world.


Heavy rains flood some area campsites and trails

Heavy rains in portions of north-central and east-central Minnesota have flooded campsites and other facilities at some state parks, prompting closure of several off-highway vehicle trails and state forest roads, and creating dangerous river conditions, said the Minnesota DNR.

Although all state parks remain open, some campsites, trails and facilities are temporarily closed. Conditions across the affected region are changing rapidly. Anyone planning to visit a park or trail in the days ahead should check the DNR website for visitor alerts or call local park or DNR offices before leaving home. Where campsites are flooded, state park staff are notifying reservation holders and issuing refunds.

"By checking conditions online, state park visitors, and river and trail users, should be able to find alternative locations where they can still get out to recreate safely and responsibly," said parks and trails district supervisor Joe Alberio. "Closures will be lifted as soon as conditions allow and repairs are made. If unsure about the status of a campground, trail or river, the best option is to either check the DNR's website or call the local state park office."

Closures at this time include:


  • The campground at Interstate State Park,
  • Rock Lake Campground, Pillsbury State Forest,
  • Tamarack Horsecamp and Boulder Campground in the St. Croix State Forest,
  • OHV trails and some forest roads in the Nemadji and St. Croix state forests,
  • The Kettle River Bridge north of Rutledge and the Willow River Bridge on the Willard Munger State Trail.

Other state park, trail and facility closures may exist in areas of high water or storm damage.
Check online at for updates on current conditions before traveling.

While some state park and trail facilities may reopen, high water conditions can persist in rivers and lakes for an extended period of time following flooding events. Water recreationists should avoid flooded areas, stay alert for potential storm debris in waterways, and be sure to wear a life jacket at all times. For current river level reports, check

Additionally, some public water accesses may be inaccessible due to high water conditions and slow no-wake restrictions may be in place. To find alternate public water access locations, visit

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