Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
As the first snow of the season arrives, Minnesotans start thinking about clearing snow and ice from pavement — sometimes with salt. But when the snow melts or it rains, the salt, which contains chloride, runs into storm drains and into nearby lakes, rivers, and groundwater.
Early cold temperatures and several inches of snow in parts of the state have many snowmobile enthusiasts excited to take their first ride of the season, but most trails will need more snow before grooming can begin. Most of the state's snowmobile trails are not yet ready for riding, according to the Department of Natural Resources. Minnesota's snowmobile trails officially open Dec. 1 each year and several conditions must be met before trails are open, groomed and ready for travel:
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed zebra mussels in Lake Bemidji in Beltrami County. In July, an adult zebra mussel was found in the stomach contents of a perch caught by a Lake Bemidji State Park volunteer while fishing on the north shore. DNR investigations at that time, including diving and sampling for zebra mussel larvae, did not lead to conclusive evidence.
All-terrain vehicle users registered for private or agricultural use can explore both the old and new trails without cost Sept. 7 through 9. Typically, they would pay the registration fee ($60 for three years) to ride the public trails. Minnesota has 3,000 miles of state forest and grant-in-aid trails available to ATV users. The state also has more than 200 miles of new trails that were completed this year. Out-of-state riders can explore Minnesota ATV trails that weekend as well, without the need for a nonresident trail pass ($30 annually).
Zebra mussels have been confirmed in Jewett Lake in Otter Tail County and Floyd Lake in adjacent Becker County, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Watershed district staff alerted the DNR to the discovery of an adult zebra mussel attached to a native clam in Floyd Lake. DNR invasive species specialists found several adult zebra mussels in three areas of the lake.
Brad Parsons, a 31-year fisheries veteran and current central region fisheries manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, has been selected as the new fisheries chief for the DNR. He begins his new duties Wednesday, July 25.
Before hitting the water for the first time this spring, boaters should ensure their boats, equipment and safety items are in legal and proper working order, reminds the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said. Boaters should also review regulations in the 2018 Minnesota Boating Guide or at www.mndnr.gov/regulations/boatwater .
The lingering cold weather is delaying ice-out on Minnesota lakes and rivers, which could make it difficult for DNR crews to have the 1,500 public water accesses it manages ready in time for the May 12 fishing opener. "I want Minnesotans to know that we are doing everything we can to get ready for the fishing opener," said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr, "but mostly what we need are warmer temperatures and sunshine." There are approximately 3,000 public water access sites statewide, and the DNR's Parks and Trails Division manages about half of them.
With cold weather returning across much of the state, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reminds ice anglers and other recreationists not to be fooled by any remaining ice on lakes and streams. Over the past week, public safety officials have reported more than a half-dozen ice emergencies across the state involving anglers and ATV riders breaking through thin or weak ice.
Registration for the 2018 I Can! programs that teach camping, paddling, mountain biking and fishing skills at Minnesota state parks and trails began March 27. The I Can! series helps beginners of all ages learn outdoor skills through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The programs start in June and continue through the end of August. • I Can Camp! — Develop (or brush up on) fire-starting and camp cooking skills and sleep on comfy air mattresses in tents large enough to accommodate two adults and up to three children.