■ Duval hired as DNR
district manager in Brainerd
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has hired Michael Duval as the western district manager of the Ecological and Water Resources Division in the Northeast Region.
As the district manager, Duval will supervise Ecological and Water Resources Division programs, activities and policies over a five-county area to include Koochiching, Itasca, Crow Wing, Aitkin and Pine counties.
Some of the most recognized division activities include boat inspections, lake service provider training and lake treatments as part of the aquatic invasive species program, non-game wildlife programs such as the volunteer LoonWatcher survey, and public waters permitting.
“We are excited to have Mike on board,” said Pat Collins, the DNR’s Ecological and Water Resources Division regional manager. “He brings great perspectives to the complex challenges facing the state - whether it’s aquatic invasive species, nongame wildlife, watershed management or one of the many other issues important to northeastern Minnesota.”
Duval previously served as the lakes management coordinator for the section of fisheries over the past eight years and has worked with the department since 1999. During that time, he has guided development of a watershed-based fish habitat strategic plan for the section of fisheries and served as program manager developing and administering aquatic habitat grant proposals for the department through the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.
Prior to that, Duval was the assistant regional fisheries manager in the Northeast region.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in marine biology from University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and a master’s degree in fisheries biology from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
■ Emily-Outing Area Collaborating
Against Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS)
Local citizens, in cooperation with their local lake associations, local committees, and local units of government are collaborating with the DNR this summer in an effort to keep Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) out of local waters.
Buoyed by DNR matching grants to the city of Emily, Crooked Lake Township (Outing), and to the Roosevelt And Lawrence Area Lakes Association (RALALA), DNR-trained AIS Watercraft Inspectors will monitor public boat landings at Ruth Lake, Lake Emily, Lake Washburn, Leavitt Lake, Lawrence Lake, Smokey Hollow Lake, Lake Roosevelt and an array of the area’s smaller lakes.
Inspectors will be hired by a DNR-approved independent contractor, DNR trained for the task, and earn $10 per hour while keeping our lakes free of invasive species. Applicants must be dependable, outgoing, have a flexible schedule with the availability to work weekends and various holidays. Interested persons should apply online at ercstaffing.com or call 218-824-9675. DNR training is needed.
■ Paul Bunyan State Trail
a geocaching Mecca
Minnesota’s Paul Bunyan State Trail, named for the legendary large logger, is arguably the state’s favorite paved trail for hiking, biking, inline skating, snowmobiling, and is now destined to be a geocaching mecca.
Geocaching is a free outdoor treasure hunt where players try to locate hidden containers called geocaches, using a smartphone or GPS and can then share their experiences online. This rapidly growing sport is for those who love technology, nature and adventure. Participants of all ages navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.
Geocaching, the creators of the geocaching sport, Geoaching apps and the web site www.geocaching.com, has as its mission: to inspire outdoor play using location-based technology that supports outdoor recreational areas and brings online communities together in physical locations. The GeoTourism concept provided a great opportunity for the trail town tourism organizations of Visit Bemidji, Leech Lake Chamber-Walker, Pine River Chamber, Brainerd Lakes Chamber-Pequout Lakes, Nisswa Chamber and Visit Brainerd, with support from Explore Minnesota Tourism, to unite in marketing the area to visitors from around the globe to Minnesota’s Northwest Central Region.
The MN Paul Bunyan GeoTour stretches the length of the 110-mile rail-to-trail Paul Bunyan State Trail. Local geocachers have placed so many geocaches along it that it is known in the geocaching community as a “power trail.”