John Myers / Forum News Service
DULUTH -- With Minnesota wildlife officials scrambling this winter to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease among wild deer in southeastern counties, and 55 Wisconsin counties now identified as CWD sites, the impacts of the disease are hitting closer to the Northland. CWD, now confirmed in 25 states and two provinces, is always fatal to cervids — whitetail and mule deer, moose and elk. Studies show that once it infects more than one-third of the population, entire herds may be decimated.
ISLE ROYALE, Mich. — The lingering, partial shutdown of the U.S. federal government has reached out to touch another facet of Northland life — this time halting the Isle Royale wildlife study underway for 60 years on the big Lake Superior island. Researchers at Michigan Technological University have been told they can’t go to the island until the government shutdown is over. It marks the first time since 1958 the scientists won’t be on the island to conduct detailed population counts and do other studies of the wolves and moose that call Isle Royale home.
ST. PAUL -- A task force appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton last May aimed at finding ways to protect, preserve and promote wild rice across Minnesota has ended with several recommendations but no new consensus on state regulations. The task force’s final report, made public Friday, Jan. 4, said the issue of protecting wild rice is too complex for the members to solve over a few months.
DULUTH — Bill Majewski sat in the garage workshop of his home in Duluth and fired up a small rotary tool sounding so much like a dental drill that it produced involuntary cringes among guests. But instead of fillings and caps, Majewski's work is turning wood into copycats of nature. He calls himself a carver but he’s also a sculptor, grinder, sander, burner and painter. He turns pieces of butternut, basswood, cottonwood, tupelo and other woods into wildly realistic replicas.
SUPERIOR, Wis. — Wisconsin residents are being asked to burn or bag some Christmas decorations after highly invasive tree-eating beetles were found on wreaths, swags and other holiday items made with real evergreen boughs. State tree inspectors on Wednesday, Dec. 26, said they found the tiny insects, called elongate hemlock scale, or EHS, on wreaths, swags and boughs as well as evergreen boughs used in hanging baskets, porch pots, mugs and sleighs sold at several big box retail stores statewide. It’s unclear how many infested items were sold.
DULUTH - The first thing you notice is that there is no brake. But then, after wind fills the sail and you are gliding across the ice, you really don’t care. Rapid acceleration. Freedom. Speed. Quiet. The click-clack of the runners on ice, but little other noise. Then a little panic as the first turn goes a little too fast. But there's nothing much to smash into, except the occasional portable ice fishing shelter or an ice skater. Or shore. Or maybe a fracture in the ice. Or, if you tip, the ice itself. Good idea to have a helmet on.
VOYAGEURS NATIONAL PARK -- When they aren’t identifying record large trees in the forest, Thomas Gable and Austin Homkes’ day job is wolf research, trying to untangle the complex, mostly unknown relationship between wolves and beaver in Voyageurs National Park. They live-trap wolves and place GPS collars on them in the early spring and then follow the packs around from April to October, checking out exactly what wolves eat.
DULUTH — The prospect of restoring elk to eastern Minnesota forests has strong, across-the-board public support in the region, according to a survey by University of Minnesota researchers. The survey found that 77 percent of the general public in southern St. Louis, Carlton and northern Pine counties supports the reintroduction of elk in the region. The survey also found a whopping 79 percent of landowners in the potential elk restoration area supports the idea.
DULUTH — Looking for a new ice auger — electric, gas, propane or battery — but still have some questions? The sixth annual Arrowhead Ice Fishing and Winter Show should have the answers. The show runs Friday, Dec. 7, through Sunday, Dec. 9, at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center with more than 150 exhibitors, panel discussions, special guests, prizes and more.
DULUTH — When Olympic gold medalist Jessie Diggins visited Duluth earlier this month she may have inspired a future generation of Nordic ski Olympic hopefuls, but she definitely inspired people to dig-deep for the sport’s future in the city. The Diggins event at the Grand Avenue Chalet at Spirit Mountain raised $150,000 in a single day toward the new Grand Avenue Nordic Ski Center.