DULUTH -- Minnesota Conservation Officer Jake Willis figured he would find a leftover deer carcass or two when he responded earlier this month to a report of dead animals dumped along Minnesota Highway 23 just outside the Duluth city limits. But what he found surprised him — a menagerie of dead birds and mammals, 41 in all, perfectly preserved with no signs of trauma. The animals had been killed and dumped into a ravine, fully intact.
BAYFIELD, Wis. -- The now famous Apostle Island National Lakeshore ice caves may be stranded in open Lake Superior water so far this winter and remain off-limits due to the federal government shutdown, but other ice caves on Red Cliff tribal land may soon be accessible to hikers. The lesser-known caves are located on Red Cliff Reservation land. They are not within Apostle Island National Lakeshore and are outside Park Service jurisdiction. Located on the east side of the Bayfield Peninsula, in more protected waters, the water around the Red Cliff caves froze over last week.
GRAND MARAIS — Considering how often a just-peeking sunrise, usually over Lake Superior, is captured in Bryan Hansel’s photographs, you’d just assume he was a morning person. “Oh no, not at all. It’s terrible,’’ Hansel said of his almost constant task of getting up early to capture the best images, the best light, the best composition for his photographs. Yet Hansel is out there — in the cold, as dark inches toward daylight, often right in his adopted little city on the shore — looking for something new, something different, something special to capture.
Jack pine often don’t get much respect. The sometimes scraggly, usually not-too-tall pine trees often lag behind their bigger cousins, the white pine and red pine, when it comes to favorite evergreens of the north woods. But a jack pine on Namakan Lake in Voyageurs National Park has gained some national notoriety. The 73-foot-tall tree, on the shores of Moose Bay, has been officially declared the largest jack pine in the U.S. and was recently added to the American Forests’ Champion Trees national register.
DULUTH — PolyMet Mining Co. said Thursday it has received notice from the U.S. Forest Service that the land exchange for the company's proposed mine north of Hoyt Lakes will officially close June 28, giving PolyMet title to the mine site. The company is trading nearly 6,900 acres of private forest within the Superior National Forest boundary to the Forest Service in exchange for 6,500 acres of land at the mine site.
DULUTH — Minnesota’s beleaguered moose herd may have held its own over the past year, with an aerial survey showing more animals than last year and about the same number as 2012. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and tribal wildlife officials conducted an aerial survey in January of several areas in the northeastern Minnesota moose range and used those surveys to estimate a total population of about 4,350 animals.
DULUTH — A frigid winter is pushing Lake Superior toward a complete ice-over for the first time since 1996, although there’s still a ways to go before you can skate from Duluth to the Soo Locks. Lake Superior had at least some ice across an estimated 91 percent of its surface as of Thursday, according to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. That compares to the 40-year average annual Lake Superior ice coverage for February of just 30 percent.