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OUTDOORS NOTES: Albrecht reappointed to DNR leadership team

ST. PAUL—Rita Albrecht of Bemidji was one of four regional directors reappointed by new Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Sarah Strommen.

Albrecht, who also is mayor of Bemidji, is the Northwest Regional Director for the DNR.

The other regional directors reappointed are Patty Thielen, northeast region (Grand Rapids); Keith Parker, central region (St. Paul); and Scott Roemhildt, southern region (New Ulm).

Rita Albrecht

Strommen announced the appointment of Shannon Lotthammer as assistant commissioner overseeing the divisions of Forestry, Parks and Trails and Operations Services. Lotthammer comes to the DNR from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, where she served as assistant commissioner for water policy and the agency's agricultural and tribal liaison, a release said.

Five of the agency's seven division directors will continue in their roles. Division directors who will stay in their current roles are Ecological and Water Resources Director Steve Colvin; Enforcement Director Rodmen Smith; Forestry Director Forrest Boe; Operations Services Director Laurie Martinson; and Parks and Trails Director Erika Rivers.

Fish and Wildlife Director Jim Leach, after a 37-year career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and nearly three years in his current role at the DNR, has decided to transition from the DNR into retirement.

Lands and Minerals Director Jess Richards was recently named as an assistant commissioner, therefore the agency will be filling director positions in both the Fish and Wildlife and Lands and Minerals divisions.

Northland Fat Bike Rally returns March 2

BEMIDJI—The Bemidji Area Mountain Bikers will take to the trails at Lake Bemidji State Park for the 5th annual Northland Fat Bike Rally on Saturday, March 2.

The rally consists of 28k and 10k race courses, both featuring a mass start on Lake Bemidji, a scenic climb up the Rocky Point trail and a challenging pedal through the pines of Lake Bemidji State Park, 3401 State Park Road NE, a release said. There will also be a short course children's race shortly following the conclusion of the 28k race.

Registration opens at 9:30 a.m.; pre-race meeting at 10:15 a.m.; race starts at 11 a.m.; children's race (following the conclusion of the 28k race) at 1:30 p.m.; and wrapping things up with a BBQ Social, raffle and awards at CK Dudley's at 2 p.m., the release said.

Riders of any level are welcome. Experts will be available to answer questions about their bike setups. No rentals will be available at Lake Bemidji State Park; however, BSU has fat bikes to rent through their Outdoor Programming Center.

Spectators are encouraged to attend the event to cheer on the riders, take pictures and enjoy the park, the release said. The Friends of Lake Bemidji State Park will offer refreshments inside the Visitor Center. Riders are required to have 3.8" fat tires and wear a helmet. It's recommended that riders carry water and wear adequately warm clothing for the weather.

The Northland Fat Bike Rally is a free event put on by volunteers of Bemidji Area Mountain Bikers in partnership with Lake Bemidji State Park. A Minnesota State Parks vehicle pass ($7/day or $35/year) is required to enter the park. There will be a free-will donation for the Trek North Middle and High School Mountain Bike Teams.

For more information on The Northland Fat Bike Rally by visiting the event page on Facebook at or by contacting the Lake Bemidji State Park office at (218) 308-2300 or email

Skeeter Beater 5K/10K Snowshoe Race

BAGLEY—Farm by the Lake will be hosting the Skeeter Beater 5K/10K Snowshoe Race on Saturday, March 2 at Bagley City Park.

Pre-registration is open now, or register at the race starting at 9 a.m. Categories for male and female, ages: 16 and younger, 17 to 35 and 36 and older. Cost is $30 for adults, $25 for students, and $15 for children younger than 16. Registration cost includes a T-shirt and chilli feed (with award presentation) at Fireside Grill and Patio after the race.

Register at:, email: farm(218) 694-2084.

Minnesota Finlandia Ski Day to be held Feb. 16

BEMIDJI—The Minnesota Finlandia Ski Events will be held on Saturday, Feb. 16, at Buena Vista Ski Area, 19600 Irvine Ave. NW. There will be cross country ski events from as short as a mild and leisurely 10k tour all the way up to a 50k freestyle race.

The day's events are put on by the Minnesota Finlandia Community Health Sports organization, which seeks to promote an active and healthy lifestyle in the Minnesota north woods.

Organizers say it is the best snow in many years and conditions should be ideal for a ski through the scenic woods adjacent to the historic Dickinson Farm. A large crew of volunteers has staged this event for many years and welcome any participation as a skier, spectator or volunteer. More information is available at