Outdoor Notes - March 26

Lakeshore Conservation Club spring hours going into effect The rifle range is closed Saturday, March 25 from 12-3 p.m. Spring hours start April 1 Saturdays: Trap and 5-Stand 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (No skeet so the rifle range can be open) Sundays: Tra...

Climbers try their hand at rock climbing on Shovel Point. Photo courtesy MN DNR
Climbers try their hand at rock climbing on Shovel Point. Photo courtesy MN DNR

Lakeshore Conservation Club spring hours going into effect

The rifle range is closed Saturday, March 25 from 12-3 p.m.

Spring hours start April 1

Saturdays: Trap and 5-Stand 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (No skeet so the rifle range can be open)

Sundays: Trap and Skeet 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (No 5-stand as the high school teams need to shoot at this trap house).


The early membership drawing was held March 19 with five winners. They are Chuck Bergquist, Kevin Egan, Matthew Hoffman, John Prozinski and Craig Williams.

Registration is open for the 2017 I Can! programs

Looking for an unforgettable outdoor adventure this summer? Sign up for one of the I Can! programs offered by Minnesota state parks and trails.

Reservations are being taken for the following beginner-level programs, which start in June and continue through the end of August, according to a Minnesota DNR news release.

• I Can Camp!-Develop (or brush up on) fire-starting and camp cooking skills and sleep on air mattresses in tents large enough to accommodate two adults and up to three children ($60 for one-night programs or $85 for two-night programs).

• I Can Paddle!-Get out on the water for a guided canoeing, kayaking or sea kayaking adventure (prices vary).

• I Can Climb!-Experience the thrill of rock climbing with instruction provided by trained professionals from Vertical Endeavors Guided Adventures ($10/child, $20/adult).

• I Can Mountain Bike!-Learn riding techniques and explore mountain bike trails with guides from the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Club ($15/child, $25/adult).


• I Can Fish!-Kids will have fun casting into the water and enjoying the excitement when there's a tug on the line. ($5/person, children under 12 are free).

The I Can! series also includes the Archery in the Parks program, which is free and for which no reservations are needed.

"Not having the right equipment or know-how can be a barrier to spending time outdoors," said Erika Rivers, director of Minnesota state parks and trails. "The I Can! programs make it easy for families to enjoy camping and other outdoor experiences by providing tents, canoes, mountain bikes and other gear. Friendly instructors also provide plenty of tips and encouragement so that adults and kids can both have fun learning new skills."

Registration and more information

For more information including program dates, times, locations, and minimum age requirements-visit or contact the DNR Information Center at or 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday).

To register for a program, visit or call 866-857-2757.

DNR announces sign-up for 2017 frog and toad calling survey

Volunteers are needed to help the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources track population changes in the state's 14 frog and toad species as part of an annual survey.


"The frog and toad survey would not be possible without the dedication of generous volunteers," said Janine Kohn, project coordinator, in a news release. "Frogs and toads are indicators of habitat quality and provide valuable information on the condition of Minnesota's wetlands. Through this 21-year citizen science program, volunteers gather important data which helps us track the health of the state's frog and toad populations and, therefore, wetlands and water quality."

This year, some survey participants will pilot a new mobile app to send their field observations to the DNR, according to a Minnesota DNR news release. This is an addition to last year's new sign-up map. Volunteers drive to 10 designated stops on a route and conduct nighttime "listening surveys" on three evenings between March and July to capture seasonal variations in frog and toad species.

"People should sign up now, to connect with nature while participating in this exciting citizen science adventure," Kohn said.

The continued help of Minnesotans who volunteer their time and donate to the Nongame Wildlife Checkoff on their state income tax returns helps the DNR Nongame Wildlife Program perform important surveys and research studies like the annual frog and toad calling survey.

For more information, email Janine Kohn at or check out the Frog and Toad Calling Survey on the DNR's website.

Be aware of bears this spring; DNR lists tips for avoiding conflicts

Anyone living near bear habitat is reminded to be aware of bears this spring and check their property for food sources that could attract bears, according to a Minnesota DNR news release.

"Leaving food out in yards that can be eaten by bears can lead to property damage and presents dangers to bears," said Eric Nelson, wildlife animal damage program supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in a news release. "Pet food, livestock feed, bird seed, compost or garbage can attract bears."


As bears emerge from hibernation, their metabolism gradually ramps up and they will begin looking for food at a time when berries and green vegetation can be scarce.

Only black bears live in the wild in Minnesota. They usually are shy and flee when encountered. Never approach or try to pet a bear. Injury to people is rare, but bears are potentially dangerous because of their size, strength and speed.

The DNR does not relocate problem bears. Relocated bears seldom remain where they are released. They may return to where they were caught or become a problem somewhere else.

The DNR offers some tips for avoiding bear conflicts.

Around the yard

• Do not leave food from barbeques and picnics outdoors, especially overnight. Coolers are not bear-proof.

• Replace hummingbird feeders with hanging flower baskets, which are also attractive to hummingbirds.

• Eliminate birdfeeders or hang them 10 feet up and 4 feet out from the nearest trees.


• Use a rope and pulley system to refill birdfeeders, and clean up spilled seeds. Where bears are a nuisance, birdfeeders should be taken down between now and Dec. 1.

• Store pet food inside and feed pets inside. If pets must be fed outdoors, feed them only as much as they will eat.

• Clean and store barbeque grills after each use. Store them in a secure shed or garage away from windows and doors.

• Pick fruit from trees as soon as it's ripe, and collect fallen fruit immediately.

• Limit compost piles to grass, leaves and garden clippings, and turn piles regularly. Do not add food scraps.

• Harvest garden produce as it matures. Locate gardens away from forests and shrubs that bears may use for cover.

• Use native plants in landscaping whenever possible. Clover and dandelions will attract bears.

• Elevate bee hives on bear-proof platforms or erect properly designed electric fences.


• Do not put out feed for wildlife (like corn, oats, pellets or molasses blocks).


• Store garbage in bear-resistant garbage cans or dumpsters. Rubber or plastic garbage cans are not bear-proof.

• Keep garbage inside a secure building until the morning of pickup.

• Properly rinse all recyclable containers with hot water to remove all remaining product.

• Store recyclable containers, such as pop cans, inside.

• Store garbage that can become smelly, such as meat or fish scraps, in a freezer until it can be taken to a refuse site or picked up by refuse collector.

• Take especially smelly or rotting garbage as soon as possible to your local refuse facility so it can be buried.

Minnesota boaters urged to get educated before season begins

Just as the "rules of the road" are learned before getting behind the wheel of a car, the same should be done before getting on a boat and taking the helm.

The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) along with state, federal and nonprofit partners are encouraging boaters to enroll in a boating education course prior to the kickoff of the 2017 boating season, according to a Minnesota DNR news release.

During the week of March 19-25, as part of the Spring Aboard-Take A Boating Education Course campaign, Minnesota boaters will receive 50 percent off the cost of the online boating safety education course. Use promo code SPRINGABOARD17 at the completion of the course to receive the discounted cost.

The annual Spring Aboard campaign informs and motivates boaters to prepare for the boating season by providing information on how to enroll in a boating knowledge or skills based education course. The campaign emphasizes enrollment in courses verified as meeting the national boating knowledge or skill standard.

Boaters have multiple options from classroom courses offered by the Coast Guard Auxiliary and United States Power Squadrons to online offerings.

Minnesota requires anyone ages 12 to 17 years old, unsupervised and operating a boat over 25 horsepower to have a safety certificate. A safety certificate is also needed for anyone ages 14 to 17 and operating a personal watercraft unsupervised. For a summary of Minnesota's regulations and available courses, visit:

For more information about the Spring Aboard campaign visit

DNR designates Straight River Groundwater Management Area

The Department of Natural Resources designated the state's third groundwater management area this week. The Straight River Groundwater Management Area in northwestern Minnesota includes parts of southern Clearwater, northeast Becker, southwest Hubbard and northwest Wadena counties. Cities within the boundary include Park Rapids, Osage and Ponsford.

In addition to the designation, the DNR approved a management plan for it. The plan lays out five objectives with specific actions the DNR will take to ensure that use of groundwater remains sustainable within the area. The plan was developed over several years with the help of an internal DNR project team, an advisory team of external stakeholders, and additional public review and discussion.

"With more than 10,000 lakes, thousands of miles of rivers and streams, and many thousands of acres of wetlands, it might be natural to think that our water is essentially unlimited," said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. "But in some parts of the state, the unseen, underground aquifers that make up our groundwater resources are under pressure to meet growing needs for domestic water supplies, irrigation, industrial and other uses. These groundwater resources also are interconnected with lakes, streams and wetlands that we value for commerce, recreation, and water supplies. Those surface waters also provide the habitat needed by many animals and plants. If we are not careful in how we use water, both economic development and ecosystems could be put at risk."

The plan provides a framework within which the DNR will work with major water users, including municipalities and agricultural irrigators, to use groundwater sustainably. This cooperative effort will promote conservation, protect surface waters and water quality, improve the groundwater appropriations permitting process, and help resolve any conflicts that might arise among users.

This is one of three groundwater management areas being established around Minnesota. The other two are in the north and east metropolitan area and in the Bonanza Valley near Paynesville in west-central Minnesota.

More information, including plans and maps for the Straight River Groundwater Management Area, can be found at .

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