Wildflowers focus of upcoming Kathio program

Wildflowers of Kathio will be the featured program 1030 a.m.-noon Saturday, May 18, at Mille Lacs Kathio State Park.

A slideshow presentation will illustrate many wildflowers that grow in the area will be followed by a ½-mile trail walk to see what's in bloom. Participants are invited to attend either or both parts of the program. Meet at the Interpretive Center.

Call for FY 2021 Funding Requests from the Outdoor Heritage Fund

ST. PAUL-The Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC) will accept requests for funding through 4 p.m. May 31, 2019 from the Outdoor Heritage Fund for FY 2021 projects.

All requests for funding that meet selection criteria will be reviewed by LSOHC members. The projects recommended by the Council for funding will go before the Minnesota Legislature for consideration during the 2020 legislative session. Money for approved programs that are signed into law will be available beginning July 1, 2020. The LSOHC anticipates approximately $100 million will be available for appropriation this funding cycle.

Projects that restore, protect, and enhance wetlands, prairie, forests, and habitat for fish, game, and wildlife are eligible for OHF money. The Council seeks requests for funding consistent with its 25-year framework, statewide priorities and the defined vision of each of the state's five geographic sections. This is a competitive process, open to all who wish to apply. The Council encourages all eligible programs and individuals to consider submitting a proposal.

"The Council encourages and welcomes habitat related projects from across the state. If you have proposal that can improve habitat for fish, game, or wildlife in you part of this state, we want to hear about it," said Mark Johnson, the executive director of the LSOHC. "Since this is a competitive grant process, the LSOHC staff is available to discuss your proposal ideas. Our goal is to do our best to help each proposal be successful."

To date, the state of Minnesota has awarded $940 million from the OHF for more than 310 programs statewide. More information about the timeline, submission, and evaluation process is available at the LSOHC website.

ATV riders can explore Minnesota trails for free June 7-9

Minnesotans with an all-terrain vehicle 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, Friday through Sunday, June 7-9. Out-of-state riders can explore Minnesota ATV trails that weekend as well, without the need for a nonresident trail pass ($21 annually).

"We see this weekend as a great opportunity to showcase the wide variety of state and grant-in-aid trails across Minnesota," said Erika Rivers, DNR Parks and Trails Division director. "There are many privately registered ATVs across the state that, during this weekend, can give the public trails a try for free."

This is the fourth year that Minnesota is providing ATV riders with free access to more than 3,000 miles of state forest and grant-in-aid (GIA) trails during "No Registration Weekend." The event falls on the second weekend in June each year.

Some places to explore include:

• The Iron Range Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) State Recreation Area. This 1,200-acre OHV park in Gilbert has 36 miles of scenic trails for riders of all abilities.

• The 100-mile trail system in Nemadji State Forest in Pine County, which connects to the Matthew Lourey State Trail and the Gandy Dancer Trail for more riding opportunities. Gafvert Campground offers first-come, first-served camping.

• The 29-mile Spider Lake trail system in Foot Hills State Forest, Cass County, where riders will 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 will use the Soo Line Trail to connect to great communities and trail loops.

• For more information about these and many other trails, check out www.mndnr.gov/ohv.

Always put safety first when out on the trails. Safety training is recommended for everyone who operates an ATV. It is required for ATV riders born after July 1, 1987. Anyone under age 18 must wear a DOT certified helmet while driving or riding an ATV.

Kids 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, full OHV regulations, and other OHV information can be found online at www.mndnr.gov/ohv.