■ Cold water dangerous to boaters this Memorial Day weekend
Minnesotans are eager to hit the water for Memorial Day weekend, but the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is reminding boaters that warmer weather does not mean warm water.
“For boaters and swimmers, our current water temperatures can prove dangerous, or even deadly, if they don’t consider the effect cold water has on their body,” said Capt. Greg Salo, DNR Region 3 enforcement manager. “Water temperature below 70 degrees is considered cold.”
Water temperatures on Lake Minnetonka and the St. Croix River are currently in the 60s, even though air temperatures this week have been in the 70s.
Falling into frigid water can cause an immediate gasp for air and the shock of the icy water can also cause cardiac arrest, even for people in good health. Cold water robs the body of heat 25 times faster than air of the same temperature, Salo added.
So far this year, there have been no boating fatalities in Minnesota, compared to four deaths for the same period last year. “This is the first time since 2004 Minnesotans are going into Memorial Day weekend without a boating fatality,” Salo said. Fifteen people died in boating accidents in 2012.
The DNR offers tips for safe and responsible boating including:
• State law requires a U.S. Coast Guard-approved wearable life jacket for each person on board all watercraft.
• All children under 10-years-old are required to wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket while a boat is underway.
• Alcohol and boating don’t mix.
• If a watercraft becomes swamped or capsized, try to reboard or stay with the craft.
• Take a boater course and receive a boat education certificate.
For information on taking a boating course and other boating safety information visit, www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/boatwater.
■ Shingobee Bay public water access will be closed through June 28 for improvements
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will expand and improve the Shingobee Bay public water access site south of Walker, beginning Monday, May 13. The site, located off Highway 371 in an old rest area, will be closed during construction. The DNR expects it to reopen by Friday, June 28.
Planned improvements include ramp renovations, new storm water retention ponds, better drainage, an expanded paved parking lot with accessible parking, a portable toilet and facilities for preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species.
“This access will be expanded to make it much more functional, to serve as an overflow lot when other nearby sites become full and also as a sheltered access from high winds,” said Tony Walzer, acquisition and development specialist for the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division. “The upgrades will greatly improve the parking and launching facilities for many years to come.”
For alternative places to fish, the DNR suggests Walker City Park and Erickson’s Landing, both off Highway 371. Additional nearby access sites can be located on the Cass County public water access map at a local DNR office or online at www.mndnr.gov (http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/maps/water_access/counties/cass_north.pdf).
Information is also available by calling the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157, toll-free at 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
■ Outdoor Youth Expo set for June 8
The fifth annual Brainerd Lakes Area Outdoor Youth Expo will be held Saturday, June 8, at Lakeshore Conservation Club, 9911 County Road 77. Check-in time is from 10 a.m.-noon. The event runs from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Parking is available on Ski Gul property.
Events include duck and goose calling, blue bird and wood duck houses, trap shooting, .22-caliber and blackpowder shooting, archery, dog training station, fishing stations, trapping stations, DNR and youth programs and a BB gun gallery.
Additional information can be found at LakeshoreGunClub.com or call Amy Odegard at 218-820-9215, J.J. Levenske at 218-251-8826 or Wayne Harting at 218-831-2056.
■ DNR safety instructors honored
Three hunter education instructors with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are marking their 50th year of service.
Judith Schultz of Verndale, Stuart Anderson of Deer River, and Stanley Heldt of Mayer have donated thousands of hours and taught thousands of students hunting ethics, wildlife conservation, survival and firearms safety.
“These individuals’ commitment to the future of Minnesota’s outdoor recreation heritage serves as example to the more than 4,700 dedicated volunteer DNR safety education instructors throughout the state,” said Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR hunter education program coordinator. “Minnesota’s hunters and motorized recreation enthusiasts owe them a debt of gratitude.”
The agency presented an engraved watch to each instructor to commemorate 50 years of service.
Schultz, Anderson, and Heldt join 611 firearms safety, snowmobile safety, turkey clinic, bow hunter, and advanced hunter education instructors recognized this year for five, 10, 20, 30, and 40 years of service totaling 7,135 years of instruction. DNR’s safety programs train 23,000 students annually.
“Volunteer instructors are the heart and soul of the hunter education program in Minnesota,” Hammer said. “The service of these dedicated men and women has made a significant difference in ensuring safe, ethical, and responsible behavior while enjoying Minnesota’s outdoors. No one knows how many injuries have been prevented and lives saved because of their efforts.”
■ Memorial Day events at Kathio,
Father Hennepin parks
Here’s the Memorial Day weekend schedule for interpretive programs at Mille Lacs Kathio and Father Hennepin State Parks:
Mille Lacs Kathio State Park
• 10 a.m.-noon Saturday — Outdoor Photography Workshop. Professional photographer Steve Kohls will lead this special two-hourclass. Bring your camera. Learn how to use and “maximize” your individual camera while getting tips on techniques and equipment, from point-and-shoot to SLR. We will also go on an outdoor photography expedition. Meet at the interpretive center.
• 2 p.m. Saturday — How Arrowheads Were Made. This demonstration of flint knapping is an entertaining and educational look at what some say is the “oldest craft in the world,” making tools and weapons out of stone. Meet at the interpretive center. (1 hour).
• 8 p.m. Saturday — Special Program: Remarkable Reptiles. Jim Gerholdt will use live turtles, reptiles and snakes to illustrate this family-oriented program about reptiles of Minnesota and beyond. Meet at the Council Ring next to the interpretive center. In case of rain the program will be held inside the interpretive center. (1 hour).
• 10 a.m. Sunday — Camping at Kathio. Step back in time as we look at artifacts and take a short walk to areas where archaeologists found evidence of a village from the 1600s and a “campsite” from over 3,000 years ago. Meet at the interpretive Center. (1 hour).
• 2 p.m. Sunday — Kids’ Activity: Makin’ Tracks. Learn about animal tracks and tracking and take home a “track souvenir” you make yourself. All ages welcome. Meet at the interpretive center. (45 minutes).
• 10:30 Monday — Wildflowers of Kathio. This is a two-part program. A slide show illustrating many flowers that bloom in the park will be followed by a trail walk to see some of the first wild blooms of the season. The slide program will be 30 minutes long and the hike will take about 40 minutes. You are welcome to attend either one or both parts of the program. Meet at the Interpretive Center.
Father Hennepin State Park
4 p.m.–6 p.m. Saturday — Nature Table: Bones. Visit with a naturalist and learn how to tell the difference between predator and prey skulls, various species and more. Look for the Naturalist Table in the Beach Area.
10 a.m. Sunday — Kids Activity: Pop Can Casting. Learn about fish that people like to catch in the Mille Lacs area and take home a fishing rig that you will make from a pop can. The information and activity are designed for kids age 6 and older but it’s also good for younger children. Meet in Lakeview Picnic Area for this one-hour activity.
■ Adopt-a-Shoreline cleanup
beautifies Lake Mille Lacs
ONAMIA — Twenty-five volunteers removed about 450 pounds of trash from the shores of Lake Mille Lacs on Sunday, May 19, as part of the inaugural Adopt-a-Shoreline cleanup sponsored by Grand Casino Mille Lacs.
Volunteers received trash bags and work gloves from the casino and then collected trash that washed ashore following ice out. Organizers of the event believe this year’s participation is a good sign for the future of the event.
“It was great to see people from our organization getting involved in cleaning up the shoreline,” said Ronda Weizenegger, general manager of Grand Casino Mille Lacs. “The lake is an important draw to this area. We hope to build off the success of this first effort, with the ultimate goal of cleaning as many miles of shoreline around the lake as we can.”
Organizers from Grand Casino Mille Lacs hope to expand the program in the coming years by engaging local businesses and community groups from all areas around Lake Mille Lacs.