John Myers / Forum News Service
DULUTH -- Corey Verdoljak was a carpenter, building houses for 20 years, when he decided to do something completely different. The Superior, Wis., native and his wife, Brianna, pulled up roots from the Twin Ports to stake a claim in Alaska as a pilot. Only he found something he liked even better than flying. “Fishing,’’ he said without any hesitation.
ISLE ROYALE NATIONAL PARK - Isle Royale National Park officials on Wednesday, Feb. 6, reported that a single female wolf, one of three transplanted to the island for the Grand Portage Reservation in October, made its way onto the ice and back to shore in Ontario. That leaves just two transplanted wolves and two native wolves left on the island.
The new national reservation system for Boundary Waters permits opened Wednesday, Jan. 30, and then promptly crashed, with the U.S. Forest Service saying they will set a new date for permits to become available. Reservations for Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness permits were moved for the 2019 season to the recreation.gov site, the same site used for reservations at national parks across the country.
GRAND PORTAGE, Minn. — On a day when most schools closed and public health officials warned Minnesotans not to venture outside, eight hardy souls lead teams of sled dogs across the forests of Cook County, braving subzero temperatures and a 45 below windchill. Finland husband and wife mushing duo Blake and Jennifer Freking were the fastest among those competing in the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon.
DULUTH -- Six wolves from Ontario’s Michipicoten Island in Lake Superior will be moved to Isle Royale in coming days thanks to a grant intended to “shutdown proof” the National Park Service effort from future federal budget woes. The $50,000 grant from the National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation allowed wildlife agencies from both sides of the border to make plans in recent weeks for the wolf relocation, which could happen as soon as there are four straight days of stable, calm weather forecast.
DULUTH -- The unusual case of who killed 41 birds and mammals and dumped them along Minnesota Highway 23 just south of the Duluth city limits has been solved, and it turned out to be not as horrible as it might have seemed at first glance. After a story Saturday, Jan. 19, that Minnesota Conservation Officer Jake Willis responded to a call of 41 small mammals, rodents and multiple birds dumped in a ditch along Highway 23, officials at Wildwoods wild animal rehabilitation center in Duluth thought the specific number and variety of animals involved sounded familiar.
GRAND MARAIS, Minn. — It’s 3 miles off the Gunflint Trail to get here, and depending on the season, you may need a four-wheel drive truck, an ATV, a snowmobile, snowshoes or good boots. Or you can do what Erin Altemus and her husband Matt Schmidt do sometimes and use a dog team and sled.
DULUTH — The 2019 John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon will start Sunday, Jan. 27, just outside Duluth and wind its way to Grand Portage, about 100 miles shorter than previous years and, unlike every past year, it won’t be coming back to the start. Race organizers decided a shorter, one-way race could help breathe new life into Minnesota's most famous dog sled event, especially by attracting more entrants.
DULUTH -- With Minnesota wildlife officials scrambling this winter to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease among wild deer in southeastern counties, and 55 Wisconsin counties now identified as CWD sites, the impacts of the disease are hitting closer to the Northland. CWD, now confirmed in 25 states and two provinces, is always fatal to cervids — whitetail and mule deer, moose and elk. Studies show that once it infects more than one-third of the population, entire herds may be decimated.
ISLE ROYALE, Mich. — The lingering, partial shutdown of the U.S. federal government has reached out to touch another facet of Northland life — this time halting the Isle Royale wildlife study underway for 60 years on the big Lake Superior island. Researchers at Michigan Technological University have been told they can’t go to the island until the government shutdown is over. It marks the first time since 1958 the scientists won’t be on the island to conduct detailed population counts and do other studies of the wolves and moose that call Isle Royale home.