Fishing legally

Minnesota anglers, remember that your 2013 Minnesota fishing license expires this Friday. The 2014 licenses are now on sale at license agents, online at and by telephone at (888) 665-4236. All 2014 fishing licenses become effective Saturday.

Customers who purchase online with a smartphone won’t receive a conventional paper license. Instead, they’ll receive a text message or email that serves as proof of a valid fish or game license to state conservation officers.

Ice shelter permits for 2013 remain effective through April 30. Wisconsin’s 2013 angling licenses expire March 31.

Sledding pastor

While many of us may have been thinking of heading south this winter, the pastor of a church in Twig headed north — on his snowmobile.

Pastor Brad Shannon of New Life Covenant Church completed his nearly 2,000-mile ride from Twig to Churchill, Manitoba, at 6 p.m. on Thursday as planned, his wife, Brooke Shannon, said in a message via Facebook.

He had to backtrack a couple of times because of inaccessible routes, and he experienced cold weather, wind and snow and suffered minor frostbite, she wrote, “but all is well.”

Brooke Shannon and the couple’s three young children arrived in Churchill earlier after making the trip via a Chevrolet Suburban and by train after the road ended.

The journey, titled “New Frontier Expedition,” raised $23,000 toward the church’s drive to build a new home.

The family began their return journey on Saturday evening.

See Duluth with sticks on your feet

The Duluth XC Ski Club will hold its Tour Duluth XC Ski Event on March 8.

The event will wrap up with a gathering at the Hartley Nature Center at 5:30 p.m. and will have music by the Riverside Bog Stompers, beer from Thirsty Pagan Brewery, food from Duluth Grill and socializing with skiers from, we’re guessing, other skiers.

There is no cost to participate in Tour Duluth, though skiers 16 and older must have a Minnesota ski pass for city of Duluth ski trails. The dinner at Hartley is free for Duluth XC Ski Club members and $8 for guests, with $5 passes for guests ages 5-12.

Continental Ski & Bike and the Ski Hut are offering free rental skis for tour participants.

Trails & suggested start times
* 8 a.m. Magney-Snively (8K-14K classic and skate)
* 9:30 a.m. Spirit Mountain Nordic Center (1K-20K classic and skate) (hot drinks and snacks served)
* 11:30 a.m. Piedmont (1K skate, 1K-4K classic)
* 12:30 p.m. Snowflake Nordic Center (1K-12K classic and skate)
* 2 p.m. Lester (3K-11K classic and skate, plus 3K skijoring loop)
* 4 p.m. Bagley (1K-3K classic only) or Chester Bowl (3K advanced)
* 4:45 p.m. Hartley (1K-5K classic only)
* 5:30-7 p.m. Dinner and program at Hartley Nature Center

For additional information or to register for the celebration at Hartley Nature Center, go to


Stamp your passport

Duluth birder and birding author Laura Erickson has won the Roger Tory Peterson Award from the American Birding Association for “a lifetime of achievements in promoting the cause of birding,” according to the association. She’s the author of several books on birding and hosts the long-running “For the Birds” radio program. She also writes a blog that features photos of birds. She writes a column for BirdWatching magazine and is a contributor to the American Birding Association blog.

Erickson is the first woman to receive the Roger Tory Peterson Award, the ABA’s highest award. Peterson was the author of the “Peterson Field Guide to the Birds of North America.”

“When I was a college student, my mother-in-law gave me binoculars and the ‘Peterson Field Guide to Birds’ for Christmas,” Erickson said. “They opened the most amazing world to me, and ever since, I’ve made it my goal to open up that world to everyone else. I’m thrilled beyond measure that the American Birding Association gave me this honor, named for the very man whose field guide was the first I ever opened — my passport into the world of birds.”


Choose your adventure

Duluth Pack’s Outdoor Adventure Series 2014 is gearing up with offerings of adventure tales from six speakers over six consecutive Tuesdays beginning Feb. 4.

The most adventurous thing Eh? has done in the past month was hike during bitterly cold December weather all the way to the mailbox and quickly back. So, hearing tales of far-flung adventure — especially from warm climes, such as Feb. 11th’s “Appalachian Trail — A 6-month Thru-Hike” —will be a treat.

The talks are free and open to the public, and will take place at Duluth Pack, 365 Canal Park Drive beginning at 7 p.m. Feb. 4.

The full lineup:
* Julie Buckles, Feb. 4, “Paddling to Winter”
* Sara Mowchan, Feb. 11, “Appalachian Trail — A 6-month Thru-Hike”
* Mike and Kate Link, Feb. 18, “New Zealand-A Search for Closure”
* Mark and Katya Gordon, Feb. 25, “Big Waves, Small Boat, Two Kids — A Decade of Gordon Family Sailing Adventures”
* Erik Bruhnke, March 4, “Preparation for Raptor Migration”
* Martin Kubik, March 11, “Powwow – The Wounded BWCA Trail/Year II”

Snow by candlelight

Hartley Nature Center will host its eighth “Candlelight Ski, Skate and Snowshoe” from 4-7 p.m. Feb. 8.

A light taco salad dinner will be served 5-6:30 p.m.

The event is very popular and registration is urged because of limited space. Sign up at Hartley or call (218) 724-6735. The cost is $10 for Hartley member households and $20 for nonmember households.

Don’t forget Wisconsin

Grantsburg, Wis., has an evening filled with skis, snowshoes, hiking and light.
The one-mile trail behind Crex Meadows Wildlife Education and Visitors Center will have luminarias to light your way through the woods toward an opening with a campfire and s’mores. There’s rumored to be hot chocolate and donated baked goods.

This event is set to take place from 6-8 p.m. Feb. 1 and is free and open to the public. Snowshoes or skis will be available to borrow on a first-come, first-served basis, but guests always can bring their own. Flashlights might be a handy tool, as well.

For more information, or to volunteer for this event, call Kristi Pupak, at (715) 463-2739 or email prior to the event.

No bikes, hikes, pups

Duluth Parks and Recreation would like to remind the public that the city’s cross-country ski trails are off limits to hiking, pets and winter bicycles, commonly called “fat bikes.”

For those who crave time on their fat bike or time out for a hike, the city reminds all that the Lakewalk regularly is cleared of snow, making it a wonderful place for those activities.

The city has 55 kilometers of skiing on six cross-country trails. Those trails remain in good condition for cross-country skiers only if everyone does their part to follow trail etiquette, including skiing in the indicated direction, leaving pets at home, filling any holes and smoothing the track if you fall and using the trails only for cross-country skiing without pets.

Maps and brochures for each trail are available at the Duluth Parks and Recreation office at Duluth City Hall, 411 W. First St., or online at

They’re pulling for ya

Looking for an excuse to “move it” in the coming year? Have a dog that wants to pull you while you have skinny skis strapped to your feet?

See if your dog has what it takes to top the rest at Go Dog North Shore’s “Best in Snow Skijor Race” on March 1 in Grand Marais at the George Washington Pines Ski Trail.
The event will feature two timed races: A 2- and 4-mile race. Each race will be capped at 15 teams, so register early. Teams are limited to one dog per skier, and there is a $25 entry fee per team, per race. Prizes will be awarded to the top teams in each race.

If you don’t know what skijoring is, don’t worry, Eh? had to look it up. Skijoring is a winter sport where a person on cross-country skis is pulled by a dog. It’s sort of like a dogsled race, but with only one dog, and you’re the sled.

For those interested, there’s still time to train. But for those who don’t want to race, but still want to participate, volunteer opportunities and registration details are available by calling Cathy Quinn at (218) 370-9494, or email Cathy at

Happy trails for Northland snowmobilers

The C.J. Ramstad North Shore State Trail is in good shape for snowmobiling this weekend, said Joe Russell, area supervisor for the Department of Natural Resources parks and trails division.

“It’s 100 percent better this weekend than last weekend,” Russell said.
The trail is groomed from Duluth to Cook County and has from 18 to 36 inches of snow. The heavy snowfall brought down many trees on the trail, which had to be cleared before grooming could begin, Russell said.

“That sure tested our start-up,” he said.

For the latest conditions on the trail, call the North Shore Trail hotline at (218) 834-1439 or go to the DNR website,, and click “Snowmobiling” and “State Trails.”

Russell urged riders to use caution, keep right and ride safely.