"Eco weekend" activities are planned Saturday, May 18, and Sunday, May 19, to teach visitors and residents about the woods, water and wildlife of the Whitefish area.
Activities will include hiking the Uppgaard Wildlife Management Area with a naturalist; taking a pontoon boat trip to Big Island, an island within Whitefish Lake that has an undisturbed forest; and visiting the Crosslake Log Village to learn more about this region's existence during the pioneer days. Kids can learn how to build a birdhouse and take it home for free.
The Whitefish area is home to the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway, a collection of driving routes for bird-watching and learning more about the environment and history of the region. "Birds of the Byways" brochures will be available to help locate birding spots.
All activities are free to the pubic. Most events will be at the Ideal Township Town Hall unless otherwise noted. Ideal Township Town Hall is on County Road 16 between Pequot Lakes and Crosslake.
Following is a schedule of events:
9 a.m. -- Orientation. Learn about the Pine River Watershed Foundation, the Uppgaard Walking Trail within the Uppgaard Wildlife Management Area and Big Island in Whitefish Lake.
9:30 a.m. -- Presentation: "Walleye Stripping, Habitat Enhancement, Preservation" by Tim Brastrup, Regional DNR Fisheries supervisor. Learn about the DNR's 10-year plan to revitalize the fish population within the Brainerd lakes area. Brastrup will cover preservation of natural habitat to help fish in lakes, streams and rivers.
10 a.m. -- Kids' activity: Build a birdhouse. Kids can build a birdhouse while learning more about birds.
11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. -- Pontoon boat trip to Big Island. Board the boat at Towering Pines Resort, 35172 Clamshell Drive, approximately one mile west of Ideal Township Hall. Tour this undisturbed old-growth maple/basswood forest where 150-year-old trees tower up to 100 feet above the forest floor to form a dense canopy, sheltering a rich assortment of flowering plants. See trilliums in bloom.
11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. -- Nature walk of hiking trails at Uppgaard Wildlife Management Area on County Road 16, 1.5 miles east of Ideal Township Town Hall.
Noon-3 p.m. -- Environmental aspects and area history. Learn about the Brainerd lakes area and how the region has evolved from a logging community to a resort and recreational area by visiting the Trailside Information Center in Pequot Lakes (downtown Pequot Lakes at the corner of Highway 371 North and County Road 11) or the Crosslake Log Village at the corner of county roads 3 and 66 in Crosslake.
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