In a move to improve convenience and enhance public safety, the DNR has added more counties to its Internet-based burning permit system, including Crow Wing, Cass and Aitkin counties.
In addition, individuals can now receive year-long open burning permits in Beltrami, Goodhue, Itasca, Kanabec, LeSueur, Pine, Rice, Steele, Wabasha and Waseca counties. The Web address is www.dnr.state.mn.us/ burningpermits.
Traditional paper permits from local fire wardens also will continue to be available.
"This new system gives people an additional option for securing a permit," said Larry Himanga, wildfire prevention coordinator for the DNR Division of Forestry. "People can get a permit to burn without leaving their home."
A major benefit of the electronic permits is public safety. DNR fire managers and local emergency dispatchers can view the system and check the locations of active burning permits in real time. Also, since permit holders will have to check in with the system each day they want to burn, fire managers have an unprecedented opportunity to respond to local weather conditions and shut down burning on high fire-danger days.
Online permits will cost $5 annually, compared with the free paper permits of the past, and the online permit will be valid for a calendar year.
As part of this new system, all permittees within the county will be required to activate their permits each day they are going to burn. This includes the paper-issued permits as well as those obtained online. Activating the Internet permit may be done online or over the phone; those with paper-issued permits must call a toll-free number. After providing permit information, permittees will receive a message informing them of current burning regulations and advising them if they are allowed to burn that day. A confirmation number issued by the system is used to validate daily burning and must be recorded on their permit.
Enforcement officers will look for a valid activation number. If the number is not valid, the individual conducting the burn may be cited for illegal burning.
Elks Fishing Fling tickets available
Tickets are now available for the Elks Fishing Fling, scheduled April 24 at the Elks Club's new location at 215 S. 9th St., Brainerd.
Tickets are $50 and available by calling the Elks Club at 829-2643 after 3 p.m, or by contacting any committee member. Seating is limited to 175.
Social hour begins at 5 p.m., with dinner - choice of prime pork or chicken ala Smith - at 7 p.m. and program and prizes at 8 p.m.
Major prizes include an Aqua-Vu underwater camera, utility trailer, Mille Lacs launch trips, other guided fishing trips and more.
All proceeds go to the Elks Youth Activities Fund, which provides scholarships to area high school students and supports the State Elks Youth Camp on Pelican Lake.
Retriever club open house scheduled
The Marsh & Meadows Hunting Retriever Club has scheduled an open house from 1-3 p.m. April 20 at Hunts Point, 2142 76th St. SW (Cass County Road 29), Pequot Lakes.
The club is one of only three Hunting Retriever Clubs in the state.
Club activities are open to any vaccinated dogs intended for use as retrievers. And although a Hunting Retriever Club, it includes many members, both men and women, who are not hunters but love working with their dogs and enjoy the fellowship of others with the same passion.
The club also will host a hunt test June 21-22.
For more information on the club, open house or hunt test, call Roger Peterson at (218) 543-4682 or Jeff DeVries at (218) 568-5130.
Deer hunters donate 78,000 pounds of venison
In the first year of a new venison donation program, Minnesota hunters donated 1,977 deer, creating the opportunity for 97 food shelves located throughout Minnesota to distribute 78,000 pounds of venison.
The donations were made possible by a new venison donation program that allows hunters to donate harvested deer without having to pay processing costs. Managed by the DNR and Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the program's goal is to provide a sought-after food source to those in need while encouraging hunters to harvest additional animals to help manage the deer herd.
The hunting portion of the program is designed to allow hunters to harvest extra deer in areas where deer populations are above wildlife management goals. In 2007, permit areas that allowed individual hunters to take more than one deer provided 95 percent of the donations. Nearly 70 percent of donated deer came from permit areas that allowed the harvest of five or more deer.
The program requires that hunters donate deer only to processors certified by the MDA and that deer be free from signs of illness, field dressed with the hide intact, free of visible decomposition or contamination and properly identified with a DNR registration tag. In 2007,
New state outdoor recreation plan completed
The DNR has completed the 2008-2012 State Comprehensive Outdoor recreation Plan. The plan gives decision-makers and managers a focused set of priorities and suggested actions to guide them as they make decisions about outdoor recreation.
The National Park Service requires Minnesota to complete this plan every five years to maintain eligibility to participate in the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund program. This program distributes funds received from federal offshore oil leases to the states for state and local outdoor recreation projects. About $69 million has been provided to projects in Minnesota through this program.
An advisory group of representatives from state, regional and local governments, non-profit organizations, the tourism industry, the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota Historical Society and the National Park Service assisted in development of the plan.
The plan is available for review on the DNR Web site at mndnr.gov.
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