When the Taconite State Trail opened in 1986, communities along the 165-mile route from Grand Rapids to Ely celebrated the Herculean effort to create a snowmobile corridor that would become one of the most popular trails in northern Minnesota. Thirty years later, the communities of Grand Rapids, Side Lake and Ely are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the trail to affirm its importance to the winter tourism economy. Full Story
Taconite State Trail turns 30; communities celebrate with a weekend of events
Trumpeter swans continue to be a conservation success story
Results from a recent statewide trumpeter swan survey show that Minnesota’s population continues to grow. It is now estimated to be around 17,000 swans, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Nongame Wildlife Program. Full Story
DNR conservation officers receive awards
Six conservation officers with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources were honored at Camp Ripley, Tuesday, Feb. 2, for outstanding performance and service in 2015. Full Story
DNR to begin elk research project in northwestern Minnesota
A new research project on free-ranging, wild elk of northwestern Minnesota aims to improve understanding of elk movements and habitat use. Full Story
Now broadcasting: Squirrels of the Whitewater valley
Is hunting affecting long-term bushytail numbers?
By Harland Hiemstra, DNR information officer
Ryan Tebo pulls over to the side of the road to fiddle with the knobs on a small radio receiver propped up in the center console of the truck he’s been piloting slowly through the wooded hillsides along State Highway 74 in Winona County. Adjusting the volume as he changes frequencies, Tebo, a wildlife research biologist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, isn’t looking for any particular genre of music, though; you might say he’s trying to tune in a little squirrel talk radio. Full Story
Novice turkey hunters can register for mentored hunts
The deadline is Monday, Feb. 15, to sign up for mentored turkey hunts that give youth, adults and families opportunities to learn under the guidance of National Wild Turkey Federation volunteers. Full Story
Minnesota DNR to host listening session about Lake Michigan water diversion proposal
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will host an open house and listening session about a Waukesha, Wisconsin, proposal to divert water from Lake Michigan. The proposed diversion would be done to address declining groundwater levels and water quality concerns. Full Story
Tax time provides opportunity to help wildlife
The Feb. 1 deadline for employers to send statements of last year’s earnings to employees means many people are starting their income tax returns now. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources would like to remind them of an opportunity to invest in the future of nongame wildlife. Full Story
Conference celebrates waterfowl and habitat on Feb. 6
Waterfowl experts from a variety of agencies and organizations will discuss waterfowl and waterfowl habitat with the public at the Minnesota Waterfowl Symposium, a one-day conference from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6, in Bloomington. Full Story
Minnesota state parks and trails announce license plate design contest
Later this year, Minnesotans will have an option to purchase a special license plate to support Minnesota state parks and trails. State officials are calling on residents to submit design ideas for the new plates, which will provide free entry to all of the state’s parks and recreation areas. Full Story
A new generation of conservation officers on the job
A new generation of conservation officers with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recently joined the ranks of seasoned professionals responsible for statewide natural resources and recreational law enforcement.
DNR seeks comments on Grand Rapids area lake management plans
Citizens interested in commenting on Minnesota Department of Natural Resources strategies for managing Grand Rapids area lakes are encouraged to review draft management plans and ask questions or submit comments by Friday, February 19. Full Story
DNR announces 3 appointments to committee on natural heritage
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr has appointed two new members and one returning member to the Commissioner’s Advisory Committee on Natural Heritage. The committee advises the department on programs related to the state’s native prairies, forests, and wetlands and their native plants and animals. Full Story
Women can learn outdoor skills at DNR winter workshop
Women can discover the enjoyment of snowshoeing, cross country skiing, birding, wild ricing, dark-house fishing and hiking at a winter workshop offered by the Becoming an Outdoors Woman program of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Full Story
Paul Bunyan State Trail to remain open during Highway 371 realignment
The Paul Bunyan State Trail between Nisswa and Jenkins will remain open during the State Highway 371 North realignment project, but trail users should be cautious near construction activity and check trail conditions before traveling. Full Story
Novice turkey hunters can register for mentored hunts
On a spring morning, a novice turkey hunter holding a turkey call tries out a newfound skill of imitating the yelp of a turkey hen. From the field edge, gobbling ensues and a dark shape approaches. With the advice of a mentor in mind, the hunter holds still to avoid alerting the curious bird. Full Story
Get Wild hockey discounts with hunting or fishing license
Take a class: Snowmobile Safety Awareness Week is January 16-24
Snowmobile Safety Awareness Week from Jan. 16 to Jan. 24 is a good time to sign up or take a class on how to safely operate a snowmobile, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said. Full Story
Richfield resident wins 2017 turkey stamp contest
Richfield artist Timothy Turenne won the 2017 turkey stamp contest. The painting was selected by judges from among six submissions for the annual contest sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Turenne’s painting will be featured on the 2017 turkey stamp. His artwork was previously featured on the 2007, and 2010 turkey stamp, and he has also won the Minnesota pheasant, walleye, and trout and salmon stamps.
Four entries advanced as finalists and were selected Jan. 7 at DNR headquarters in St. Paul. Other finalists were Tyler Maddous, second place; Agnes Goudron, third place; and Thomas Sinnen, fourth place.
The DNR offers no prizes for the stamp contest winner, but the winning artist retains the right to reproduce the work. The 2017 turkey stamp will be available for sale Feb. 18, 2017.
The turkey stamp was authorized by the 1996 Minnesota Legislature at the request of turkey hunters. Stamp revenue is used for wild turkey management and research. The cost of a turkey stamp is now incorporated into the price of the hunting license – no additional purchase is required. However, a pictorial turkey stamp costs 75 cents and can be purchased with or without a turkey hunting license.
Turkey hunting licenses are free for 12 year olds; $5 for ages 13 through 17; and $26 for hunters 18 and older. More information is available on the wild turkey hunting page.
Reservations due by Jan. 31 for seasonal and monthly camping at Minnesota state parks
Those who just can’t get enough of the scenic beauty at Minnesota state parks in a week or two stay, should act now to nab one of the few campsites available for longer stays, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. At a limited number of state park campsites, visitors can stay for a whole month or even a full season. Reservations for these opportunities are due by Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016. Full Story
Leech Lake 5-year management plan finalized
A new five-year fisheries management plan for Leech Lake in northern Minnesota has been released by the Department of Natural Resources. The plan covers the period 2016-2020 and outlines management objectives for primary sportfish populations, as well as steps to reach these goals. Full Story
DNR to fly annual deer and elk surveys
Low-flying helicopters will be used for annual white-tailed deer population surveys by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources through March in central, west-central and southeastern Minnesota. Full Story
Citizens can apply to serve on Lake Vermilion Fisheries Input Group
Citizens interested in discussing Lake Vermilion fish and habitat can nominate themselves as volunteers on a newly forming Lake Vermilion Fisheries Input Group. Full Story
Minnesota DNR becomes member of the Forest Stewardship Council
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is the first state government agency in the nation to become a member of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which sets standards for responsible forest management. Full Story
Minnesota state parks and trails to celebrate 125th anniversary in 2016
State officials today invited Minnesotans to take part in a 125-mile challenge, a state park “Total Takeover,” picnics, summer “samplers” and other special events throughout the coming year as part of the 125th anniversary of Minnesota state parks and trails. Full Story
DNR names Rodmen Smith Enforcement Division director
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced today that Lt. Col. Rodmen Smith, assistant director and 19-year veteran of the department, will be the next director of the agency’s Enforcement Division. Full Story
DNR hires new big game program leader
The point person for management of Minnesota’s deer, elk and moose populations and hunting seasons for deer and elk will be Adam Murkowski. He starts Monday, Jan. 11, as big game program leader for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Murkowski worked in a similar position, deer project leader, in Vermont from 2012 to 2015. Since March 2015, he worked for the Wisconsin DNR as assistant deer, bear and wolf ecologist in Madison.
“Adam is passionate about deer and deer hunting, and I think he is particularly well suited to our big game job because of his strong interest in big game and his professional experience,” said Steve Merchant, DNR wildlife populations program manager. “He is also highly trained and experienced in wildlife science and engaging the public. He is well-positioned to continue our approach of using science-based information and effective public engagement processes to manage Minnesota’s white-tailed deer and other species.”
The primary responsibilities of the big game program leader are to manage deer and elk populations and harvest seasons, and to work with groups and individuals interested in big game management to address the expectations of a diverse public.
“We look forward to Adam joining the DNR to begin his big game management duties and to meet and work with people and groups interested in this work,” Merchant said.
Murkowski was born and raised in Wisconsin, where he attended the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and received a bachelor’s of science degree in wildlife management and ecology. He also has a master’s degree in forest resources (with a wildlife emphasis) from the University of Arkansas-Monticello where he worked on bear, deer, and elk research. He has held temporary jobs working on deer projects in North Carolina and Colorado.
He replaces Leslie McInenly, who left the big game program leader position in October when she was promoted to the DNR wildlife section’s forest habitat team supervisor.
Develop or enhance public archery ranges through DNR grant
Local governments can apply for funds to develop, improve or rehabilitate public archery ranges through a program that makes grants of $5,000 to $25,000 available from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Full Story
Reminder: Review turkey season changes, lottery deadline is Jan. 22
Hunters are reminded to review changes to the spring turkey hunting season, and that firearms turkey hunters wanting to take part in one of the first two hunting time periods have until Friday, Jan. 22, to apply to the lottery. The first turkey hunting time period begins Wednesday, April 13; the last ends Tuesday, May 31. Full Story
Winter is a great time to prune trees
Winter is the best time to prune trees to keep them healthy and protect them from disease, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Full Story
School forests give students appreciation for natural resources
2015 student highlights
Students learn and apply real-world skills in school forests across Minnesota, according to the Department of Natural Resources. Full Story
DNR made strides in enhancing outdoor opportunities in 2015
A record number of people visited Minnesota state parks and enjoyed trout fishing in lakes and streams in 2015, according to the Department of Natural Resources. Full Story
DNR access open at Lake Koronis for ice fishing season
The Department of Natural Resources public access off Highway 55 on Stearns County’s Lake Koronis is open for the ice fishing season. Full Story
DNR announces new special angling regulations
Following public review that wrapped up this past fall, fishing regulations will change on 17 lakes and one stream starting in March, while existing regulations on five lakes will become permanent, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said. Full Story
DNR extends comment period on elk management plan
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has extended the deadline for comment on a new elk management plan from Sunday, Dec. 27, to Friday, Jan. 22, to give people more time to weigh in. Full Story
No clear causes found in Whitewater fish kill last summer
A fish kill in a southeastern Minnesota trout stream last summer was likely caused by a combination of conditions following heavy rain on July 28, rather than any single chemical, biological or environmental cause, according to a state report released today. Full Story
DNR designates new wildlife lands for public use
Land added to Minnesota’s 1.3 million-acre system of wildlife management areas (WMA) this past fall means protection of more high-quality wildlife habitat and more opportunities to hunt, trap, hike, cross country ski and watch wildlife. Full Story
DNR Parks and Trails Division solicits park and trail grant applications
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails Division is now accepting applications for the following grant programs in 2016: outdoor recreation, local trail connections, federal recreational trails and regional trails. Full Story
Crystal Springs trout hatchery to temporarily close for clean up
The Crystal Springs trout hatchery near Altura in southeastern Minnesota will temporarily close on Dec. 18 so the facility can be depopulated and disinfected to remove a pathogen that causes furunculosis, a disease that forms boils and lesions on fish and eventually kills them. Full Story
DNR seeking watercraft inspection interns for 2016 season
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is seeking intern watercraft inspectors for the 2016 boating season. Inspectors are stationed at public accesses on lakes and rivers infested with aquatic invasive species such as Eurasian watermilfoil and zebra mussels. Full Story
DNR issues ice warning for aerated lakes
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources warns ice anglers, snowmobilers, skiers and other outdoor enthusiasts to use caution when going onto any lake covered or partially covered with ice, especially those that feature aeration systems. Full Story
Reminder: Still time to comment on draft elk management plan
People can comment about the elk herds of northwestern Minnesota, and elk management and research, during a public review and comment period that runs through Sunday, Dec. 27. Full Story
DNR accepting applications for coastal area grants
The Department of Natural Resources is accepting grant applications for projects through Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program. Approximately $450,000 is available, with funding provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office for Coastal Management. The application deadline is Mon., Jan. 25. Full Story
Spring turkey season changes create more hunting opportunities
Hunters this spring will get more time to enjoy being outdoors while trying to bag a wild turkey, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said. Full Story
‘Tis the season for a winter walk in the woods, grouse hunting
A ruffed grouse hunter walks through woods with young aspen and pines. While stopping for a moment on the sunny day, deep silence is broken by the sound of chickadees. Full Story