■ DNR Forestry Division begins upgrades to Pillsbury State Forest Road in Cass County
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Forestry Division will begin improving the Pillsbury State Forest Road, which is located approximately 3.5 miles northeast of Pillager in Cass County.
The project is scheduled to begin within the next week and will start at the south end of the Pillsbury State Forest Road and proceed 2.5 miles to the north. The road project will consist of loading, hauling, spreading and compacting approximately 5000 cubic yards of Class V gravel.
To address public safety, the road will be barricaded and closed on weekdays at its north end and north of Walt Stark Assembly Area. The barricade north of Walt Stark Assembly Area will allow horseback riders to access the assembly area from State Highway 210 during the closure. The entire Pillsbury State Forest Road will be free of closures during weekend days.
“The project is an investment in our state forest road system that improves the quality, longevity and safety of the road,” said Paul Lundgren, Backus area forest supervisor. “This investment will also improve state forest accessibility, which benefits citizens and local economies.”
The state forest road system is maintained by the DNR to provide access to the state land for recreational uses, forest protection and forest development. The Pillsbury State Forest Road is intended to be maintained to accommodate low-clearance highway licensed vehicles and logging trucks. The Pillsbury State Forest is closed to off highway motorized use.
For additional information regarding this project, contact the Backus Area Forestry Office at 218-947-3232.
■ Wet weather challenges hunters during first Camp Ripley hunt
Archers took a two-day total of 208 deer during the first bow hunt Oct. 18-19 at Camp Ripley Military Reservation near Little Falls, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The second two-day hunt is scheduled for Oct. 27-28.
“Wet weather greeted hunters and made it challenging for them to maximize their time in the field, with most of the hunters leaving by midday on Friday,” said Beau Liddell, DNR Little Falls area wildlife manager. ”Nevertheless, hunters still did well, resulting in the ninth highest harvest for the first hunt.
“For the ninth year in a row hunters were allowed to take up to two deer and to use bonus permits to increase harvest on antlerless deer,” Liddell said. “Harvest was above average. We are pleased that fawns and does comprised 61 percent of the harvest.”
The total harvest of 208 deer thus far is 14 percent above the long-term average harvest of 182 deer for the first hunt. “Unless we get poor weather, we’re on pace to register another top 10 harvest for both hunts combined,” Liddell said.
There were 2,502 permits issued for the first hunt, with 2,059 hunters participating, for a participation rate of 82 percent (down from 84 percent last year). Hunter success was 10 percent (identical to the long-term average for the first hunt). Seven hunters took their bag limit of two deer.
“With 14 consecutive mild winters in this part of the state and strong harvests since 2000, Camp Ripley’s deer herd is in good condition,” Liddell said. “Many hunters who provided comments indicated they saw numerous deer.”
Five adult bucks tipped the scales at or above 200 pounds. The largest buck registered weighed 215 pounds, taken by James Higgins of South Haven, Minn. Of adult does registered, the largest weighed in at 142 pounds, taken by Gerald Hartung of Clear Lake.
The DNR coordinates the hunts with the Department of Military Affairs, which manages the 53,000-acre military reservation.
■ Learn about off-highway vehicle trail grants at upcoming meetings
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Parks and Trails Division scheduled a series of meetings to provide information about the off-highway vehicle (OHV) grant-in-aid (GIA) program. These meetings are intended for groups with an active interest in all-terrain vehicles (ATV), off-road vehicles (ORV) such as sport utility vehicles and modified trucks, and off-highway motorcycles (OHM), but not snowmobiles.
Attending one of these meetings is recommended for groups currently receiving GIA funds and will be required in the future. The meetings also will be helpful to local units of government that sponsor GIA contracts and clubs that want to expand public OHV trails in Minnesota. DNR staff, including the Parks and Trails Division area supervisor and the OHV acquisition and development specialist, will explain the GIA application process, provide copies of the GIA manual and forms, and answer questions. Grant applications are due Dec. 15.
Meetings are scheduled at the following times and locations, with others to be added soon. Those who plan to attend should RSVP to help ensure adequate space and materials.
In Brainerd, the meeting will be from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday at the DNR offices, 1601 Minnesota Drive. To RSVP call 833-8710.
■ Conservation Corps Minnesota seeks applicants for
field work on public lands
Young adults, ages 18 to 25, are encouraged to apply for one of 150 positions available with Conservation Corps Minnesota and Iowa. All projects are completed on public land in cooperation with nonprofit organizations and government agencies, such as the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The priority application deadline is Monday, Dec. 3.
The Conservation Corps is accepting applications for AmeriCorps field crew leader and member positions for the 2013 program year. Positions are available statewide in Minnesota, as well as in central Iowa. These opportunities provide excellent technical field experience and professional certifications for future natural resource careers. Many DNR employees today got their start in natural resources with the Conservation Corps (formerly MCC), where they learned a strong work ethic and a first-hand appreciation of the environment.
Corps members receive on-the-job training in natural resource management and put those skills into practice working in the field. Typical project work includes exotic species management, prairie and oak-savanna restoration, stream bank stabilization, trail building and maintenance, prescribed burning, GPS/GIS mapping and wildland fire suppression. The work is physically challenging and involves camping near the project location about 70 percent of the time.
Crew members receive a living stipend of $1,210 a month ($1,565 a month for crew leaders), health insurance, student loan forbearance during the service term and a post-service AmeriCorps Education Award that may be used for college expenses or to repay qualified student loans.
Applicants should have an interest in working outdoors in a team setting, giving back to their community and exploring professional development opportunities.
To apply for the field crew program, and to view other available AmeriCorps positions with the Conservation Corps, visit conservationcorps.org/apply. For more information, contact Mark van der Linden, recruitment coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-209-9900, ext. 31.
■ Temporary OHV trail
closures begin in November
As a safety precaution, recreational use of off-highway vehicles (OHV) will be restricted in some areas during the upcoming firearms deer hunting season, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Vehicles affected by the restrictions include all-terrain vehicles, off-highway motorcycles and registered off-road vehicles such as four-wheel drive trucks that are not being used in conjunction with deer hunting by a licensed deer hunter.
The restrictions, which apply to state forest trails and access routes but not to state forest roads, aim to protect recreational riders from potentially unsafe riding conditions and to minimize conflicts between deer hunters and recreational riders who may inadvertently disturb them.
Licensed deer hunters may still use these routes in conjunction with their hunting activity:
• Before legal shooting time
• From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• After legal shooting hours
Effective dates of the recreational riding restrictions will be:
• Nov. 3-18 for the northeastern Minnesota 100 Series deer season
• Nov. 3-11 for the Minnesota 200 Series deer season
Because recreational OHV trails located in southeastern Minnesota close Nov. 1 each year, no additional OHV riding restrictions are necessary in that part of the state.
While many recreational OHV riders have voluntarily opted not to ride forest trails during deer hunting and small game seasons, recreational OHV riding has become a year-round sport for many. DNR officials remind everyone who visits Minnesota’s state forests this fall to put safety first.
For more information, see the 2012 deer season map online or call the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
■ Limited recreation motorized
use allowed during
firearms deer season
The Crow Wing County Land Services Department reminds off-highway vehicle users recreational riding on forest trails passing through Crow Wing County administered public lands is prohibited during the 2012 State firearms deer hunting season.
This restriction does not preclude the deer hunter, with a valid deer hunting license, to operate an off-highway vehicle (OHV) before the legal shooting time, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. or after legal shooting hours.
This restriction is in effect from Nov. 3-18, inclusive, in Zone 100 (north of County Road 1 and east of State Highway 6) and Nov. 3-11, inclusive, in Zone 200.
All recreational users of county forest lands are reminded to wear blaze orange while they are out in the field during this hunting season.