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MINNESOTA DNR NEWS #70                                                                             Sept. 19, 2013 
All news releases are available in the DNR’s website newsroom at www.mndnr.gov/news.
Follow the DNR on Twitter @mndnr.

IN THIS ISSUE
DNR invites public input on Heartland State Trail extension
 from Park Rapids to Itasca State Park
DNR confirms zebra mussels in Maple Lake in Douglas County
DNR seeks applications for off-highway vehicle grants
Waterfowl season begins Sept. 21, remember safety

 

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

DNR invites public input on Heartland State Trail extension from Park Rapids to Itasca State Park

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is hosting an open house Wednesday, Oct. 2, for planning of the Heartland State Trail in Hubbard County. The open house will be in the Northwoods Bank Community Room at 1200 East First St. in Park Rapids.

People can stop by anytime between 5 and 7 p.m. to review and comment on the draft master plan, which includes a proposed 20-mile trail extension that travels north from Park Rapids to Emmaville and Itasca State Park.

DNR staff will be available to discuss the plan and answer questions. The master plan must be completed and approved before any funds can be used for trail construction.

As planned, a significant portion of the trail extension will travel through public lands. Recommended trail uses include bicycling, hiking/walking, dog walking, running/jogging, in-line skating, environmental education/interpretation, hunting, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.

A copy of the draft master plan is available online at www.mndnr.gov (www.dnr.state.mn.us/input/mgmtplans/parks_trails/open.html).

Those unable to review and comment on the draft master plan at the open house meeting can submit comments via email or phone to:

A 30-day public review of the draft plan begins Wednesday, Sept. 25. Comments will be accepted through Friday, Oct. 25.

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DNR NEWS - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                           Sept. 19, 2013

DNR confirms zebra mussels in Maple Lake in Douglas County
Turtle and Long lakes (Douglas County) and Lake Reno (Pope and Douglas counties) also designated

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has confirmed the presence of zebra mussels in Maple Lake in Douglas County after responding to a report of zebra mussels attached to the wheel of a boatlift in the lake earlier this month.

DNR staff searched several docks, lifts and near shore areas in Maple Lake and found numerous small zebra mussels attached to several pieces of equipment in the north end of the lake. Further searches found additional small zebra mussels at the south end of the lake.

While no zebra mussels were found in Lake Reno or Turtle and Long lakes, these lakes will be designated as infested waters. Water from Maple Lake can flow into Lake Reno, and both Turtle and Long lakes are located downstream from Maple Lake. Searches will occur on Lake Reno later this fall when docks and boat lifts are pulled from its shores.

These designations will serve as a means to get ahead of an infestation, thus educational and enforcement efforts to limit the spread of invasive species will increase in these waters. The designations also will mean that boaters can expect an increased presence of decontamination units and crews on these lakes.

“These recent discoveries reinforce the importance of practicing proper aquatic invasive species preventative methods,” said Joe Eisterhold, DNR invasive species specialist at Itasca State Park. “We want to remind folks to inspect all water-related equipment when it is removed from the water at the end of the season and report any suspected zebra mussel discoveries to the local DNR area office.”

Lakeshore owners should also keep in mind that moving docks and boat lifts from one lake to another is a serious issue. Boat lifts and docks are of particular concern because they sit in the water for extended periods, giving adult zebra mussels a greater opportunity to attach themselves.

State law requires that all boat lifts, docks and swim rafts removed from any lake, river or stream remain out of the water for 21 days before being placed into another water body. 

More information about aquatic invasive species is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/ais.

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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                Sept 19, 2013

DNR seeks applications for OHV grants

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking applications for off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails grants for projects and new trail proposals.

Application forms for projects on existing trails are due to a Parks and Trails area supervisor’s office each year by Nov. 30. New trail proposals are accepted throughout the year.

First authorized in 1984, Minnesota’s OHV trails assistance program is a cost-share program intended to help develop and maintain trails for use by all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), off-highway motorcycles (OHMs) and off-road vehicles (ORVs).

Known as the OHV grant-in-aid (GIA) program, it helps to establish and maintain recreational trails at the initiative of clubs and other organizations, with the support and participation of local government sponsors.

Organizations can apply for GIA funds through counties, cities or townships. All aspects of OHV trail development and maintenance are eligible for funding, including project administration, site planning, trail improvements, land acquisition for trail development, and trail maintenance. Proposals with a focus on maintaining or improving existing trails and trail systems will be assigned a higher priority.

Program and application information is available online at www.mndnr.gov (www.dnr.state.mn.us/grants/recreation/gia_ohv.html), or by contacting the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us or 651-296-6157 (888-646-6367 toll free) between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                Sept. 19, 2013

Waterfowl season begins Sept. 21, remember safety

With many duck hunters anxiously preparing for the Sept. 21 Minnesota opener, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is reminding everyone that safety never takes a break, especially during waterfowl season.

Since 2005, five people have died in duck hunting-related boating accidents. Overloading, swamping and capsizing are the most common causes, while lack of life jacket use is the most common contributing factor.

“The message is simple,” said Kara Owens, DNR boat and water specialist. “Life jackets save lives.”

A U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket is required for every person on board all boats, including duck boats.

For boats 16 feet and longer, there must be one U.S. Coast Guard-approved flotation seat cushion on board, to throw to someone in distress.

Life jackets are now made with the waterfowler in mind and are available in camouflage colors, including inflatable life jackets and belt-pack vests.

"They have mesh in the upper body that allows you to shoulder a gun," Owens said. "That way, you don't have to keep taking the vest off when you shoot."

The DNR offers these water safety tips for duck hunters:

  • Don’t overload boat; take two trips if necessary.
  • If wearing hip boots or waders, learn how to float with them on.
  • Stay near shore and avoid crossing large expanses of open water, especially in bad weather.
  • Share trip plans with someone and advise them to call for help if traveling party does not return on schedule.
  • In case of capsizing or swamping, stay with the boat; even when filled with water, it will still float and is more likely to be seen by potential rescuers.

The DNR has a free “Water Safety for Duck Hunters” publication. It is available by contacting the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us or calling 651-296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367. Publication is also available at http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/education_safety/safety/boatwater/duck-hunter-water-safety.pdf.
 
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