Travel, even through time, it turns out, can be a picnic.
The "Great Minnesota Picnic" - the annual State Parks Open House, which offers free access to state parks across Minnesota - is scheduled June 1.
"Each year the public is invited to visit state parks for free on the first Sunday in June," said Courtland Nelson, director of the Parks and Recreation Division for the DNR. "This year, to commemorate the state's Sesquicentennial, we are highlighting one of the activities that historically has been a park favorite over the years, the family picnic. On June 1, we invite everyone to bring a picnic lunch and come to any state park or recreation area to enjoy a day of old-fashioned fun."
Many of the parks host special events, programs and refreshments during the open house. More event news and details will be posted in mid-May on the DNR's state parks Web site at www.mnstateparks.info.
Although no vehicle permit is necessary during the State Parks Open House, fees will be charged for tours of Mystery Cave at Forestville, Soudan Underground Mine and Hill Annex Mine. The usual camping, lodging and watercraft fees also apply.
Don't forget new 2008 fishing regulations
As the fishing opener approaches, the DNR encourages anglers to visit the DNR Web site to familiarize themselves with the new 2008 Minnesota Fishing Regulations, which went into effect on March 1.
Changes that may affect area anglers:
Lind Lake, Cass County - sunfish possession limit is five.
Ten Mile Lake, Cass County - all northern pike 24- to 36-inches must be immediately released; one of more than 36 inches may be kept.
The 2008 Minnesota Fishing Regulations are available online at www.mndnr.gov/regulations/fishing or by contacting the DNR Information Center at email@example.com, (651) 296-6157 or toll free at (888) MINNDNR (646-6367).
Delayed opener set on two bays
To protect spawning concentrations of walleye and allow them to disperse, the DNR has announced a delayed fishing opener for two bays in the Tower Fisheries Management Area. Boat travel is allowed through the areas that are closed to fishing.
A portion of Pipestone Bay of Basswood Lake in Lake County will be closed to fishing from May 10 through May 16, and will reopen to fishing on Saturday, May 17. The portion of Pipestone Bay affected by the delayed opener is south of a direct line from Kosulainen Point to Gary Island to Caribou Point and then south to Pipestone Falls. The legal description of the affected area is Township 64, Range 11, and portions of Sections 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 21, 22. 23.
Pike Bay of Lake Vermilion in St. Louis County will also be closed to fishing from May 10 through May 16, opening to fishing on Saturday, May 17. The portion of Pike Bay affected by the delayed opener is from the Pike River Dam to a north-south line at the narrowest portion between Echo Point and Puncher Point. The closed area also includes East Two River and West Two River between Highway 169 and Pike Bay. The legal description of the affected area is Township 61, Range 15, Section 6; Township 61, Range 16, Sections 1, 2, 3; Township 62, Range 15, Sections 19, 30, 31, 32; Township 62, Range 16, Section 25, 34, 35, 36.
The Pike River from the Pike River Dam to Pike Bay just north of the Pike River Hatchery will remain closed through May 31.
ATV club to meet Saturday in Crosby
The Cuyuna Iron Range Riders ATV club will meet from 10-11 a.m. Saturday at the Spalding House, 1 West Main St., Crosby.
The group, which meets the second Saturday of each month at 10 a.m. at the Spalding House, seeks new members who are interested in family style ATV outings and in working together to enhance trail riding in Crow Wing County. The club promotes responsible riding, hosts monthly rides (weather permitting) and holds youth ATV safety training classes twice a year.
For more information, contact club president Ken Irish at (651) 451-3393 or firstname.lastname@example.org, vice president Russ Heittola at 218-825-0441 or Jeanine Ross at the Spalding House at (218) 546-6060, or go to the club Web site at www.cuyunaironrangeriders.com.
'Tour' of Crow Wing State Park scheduled May 13
On May 13, Paul Roth, Crow Wing State Park manager, will chronicle the park's rich history and give the audience a glimpse of its potential for outdoor recreation.
The Unlimited Learning program is scheduled from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Hallett Community Center in Crosby.
Members of Unlimited Learning attend sessions free of charge; non-members pay $6 per session. For further information on this and other programs, contact Larry Foote (218) 678-3034 or e-mail email@example.com.
As a follow-up to the "tour," individuals are invited to participate in Crow Wing State Park's "Canoe Day and Fur Trade Encampment" on June 1. Admission is free, and interpreters will be available to share information about the park. Go to www.co.crow-wing.mn.us/parks/programs.html or call (218) 825-3075 for further information.
Pine River-Backus Community Education presentation set
Ed Olson from the Longville area, a Pachamama Alliance facilitator, will lead a session on the Pachamama Alliance, a non-profit organization responding to the call of indigenous leaders in the Amazon region of Ecuador.
The Pine River-Backus Community Education presentation is scheduled from 6:30-8 p.m. May 12 in the Pine River-Backus High School Library.
There is no fee for the class and all are welcome to attend.
For more information, call PRBCE at (218) 587-2080. For more information on the Pachamama Alliance, visit the Web site at www.pachamama.org.
Local angler, son prevail in tournament
Local tournament angler Brian Brown of Breezy Point teamed up with his 10-year-old-son, Hunter, at the recent Fishers of Men tournament on the Mississippi River pools south of Red Wing.
A 4.24-pound smallmouth put the two on top and also tied them for big fish in the 40-team tournament.
Horse riders reminded to buy trail pass
The DNR reminds horse riders to buy their Horse Trail Pass. The pass, costs $21 for the calendar year purchased and is required on horse trails within state parks, state forests, state trails, and state recreation areas for anyone 16 years of age and older. Cost for a daily pass is $5.
Riders must possess a signed pass and visibly display it on their person or horse tack. Horse passes may be purchased from DNR Electronic License System vendors across the state.
For more information about horseback riding, call the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or (888) 646-6367.
Marchel wins monthly online photo contest
For the second time this year, Bill Marchel has won a monthly online photo contest at Nikonians.org.
Marchel, whose photos appear in the Dispatch's North Country section the first Sunday of each month, won the 2008 Wildlife Forum February Challenge with "Herds or Flocks" - an image of a giant flock of lesser snow geese in flight.
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