Promoting quiet recreation in Wisconsin.
Opposing the coming attempts to sell off Wisconsin's natural heritage.
Fighting denial about climate change. When are we hitting the streets?

Monday, December 19, 2005

Journal Sentinel: DNR crackdown on snowmobiles...

It is hard to tell from the article whether there are actually more resources being deployed than in years past, or just a rearrangement of existing resources and additional publicity. But even more publicity is a good thing. It will be interesting to see if accidents go down this year.

And kudos to snowmobile clubs, if they are being genuine here. People using trails as racetracks probably deters many family snowmobilers.

One problem: currently, there are no speed limits for snowmobiles. There is a bill to have a nighttime speed limit of 55, which if enforced might curtail the noisy night racing on lakes. But what about the day? Is there any reason a snowmobile should be allowed to go over 65 miles an hour? If I can't go over 65 in my car, with a seatbelt and airbags, why should I be able to do it on a snowmobile?

Another problem: Strict "Checkpoint" enforcement for drinking and snowmobiling is not being done anymore because of the political backlash. That would provide a much better deterrent, but wasn't politically palatable. The more actual enforcement these new teams do, the more political backlash they will get...

The article doesn't talk about cracking down on noise. I suspect that a lot of snowmobile noise is related to speed.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

99% of piers in compliance....

According the the News-Review, 99% of piers are in compliance with the new DNR guidelines-the other 1% (with an over 200 square foot deck) just need a three year review and permitting process. I think this seems pretty reasonable.

Dennis McCann in the Journal-Sentinel: Franchises and small towns

Great quote from Dennis: "No offense to chains - no doubt many locals there are happy to have them - but I'm not driving hours to Florence or St. Germain to eat where I could have eaten at home."

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

And one more...White Sand Creek

Not a great pic, but you can imagine the view. This is a great spot to take a deep breath, listen, and look. I like to imagine that this spot is here, every day, just the way it is, whether I am there or not. Of course we all know it disappears when I am gone, but I can imagine, can't I?

One more pic for those who can't wait to get out there

Across the bridge. Notice I wear the trendiest cross country ski gear. The red is for the last day of hunting season. Gina wanted me to wear an antler hat for some reason, but I declined...

Snow report from Joel Patenaude of Silent Sports...

Man, is it snowing as much where you are as it is in Waupaca? I can't wait to strap on the xc skis and dive in. In the mean time, I thought I'd share with you the following. Possibly my favorite issue of Silent Sports since I took the editor's helm just received a rather nice review at, a new online newsstand. You can read it here; Also worth checking out is the eclectic company we're keeping at

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours,


Big snow is coming! Hurray!

This shot is from around Thanksgiving. I am hoping for an old-fashioned winter, with way too much snow.

Silent Sports enthusiasts: there are a lot of places to ski and snowshoe here. And the restaurants are great!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Norway Spruce...

This is our little house in the big north woods...
just kidding.

This is what we see when we look out of our porch...the picture is small, but I hope it gives you a feeling of the majesty of Norway spruce when they are filled with new snow... I also think it gives you the feeling of the past.....that is a feeling I love about the old buildings on "The Compound."
More pictures to follow tomorrow...

Another pic-my favorite

The bridge over White Sand Creek.

Lumberjack trail pics

I took this picture on the first section of the Lumberjack captures how beautifully quiet and still it was that day...

Monday, December 12, 2005

Last weekend of quiet season....

I had a great ski around the lake Saturday morning on a beautiful pair of Asnes I picked up last year at a garage sale. I am not very clever about waxing, but sometimes I get it right by luck and when I do, there is nothing like it!

After circumnavigating the lake, I climbed into the woods to follow a logging trail straight northwest. I broke a skipole on the way up, sliding on some leaves (there really isn't enough snow for sensible cross country skiing, but I was "quiet hunting" and you have to go before the big snows!

The trail runs through a balsam lane, then into a mature aspen stand, then into a mixed pine forest, and finally into a beautiful old white pine forest. (At least old by logging standards!) I was discouraged to see the red markings indicating logging is going to take place there. I am assuming by what I have heard from the DNR that the big whites are not coming down, but we will see. I would prefer to see that area around Grassy Lake and Grassy Creek be left as wild as possible. If you get a chance, snowshoe into that area from Partridge Lane. It is quite rough at first, but well worth your while when you get to the White Pines.

Friday, December 09, 2005

sunny and clear, and tracks on the lake!

Things are looking good for some skiing after all tomorrow. There isn't a lot of snow, but enough for some exploring north of the lake. This morning, I walked down to the lake puzzling over animal tracks and I saw a solitary pair of ski tracks running along the lake...A kindred spirit out there? I am always a little nervous about going out on the ice this early, but since someone has beat me to it, I am heading out. Thanks, friend, whoever you are!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Additional Hunting season approved-during the quiet season!

OK, I really don't mind much. But this is often a good time to ski, if there is enough snow before the snowmobile trails opened, a person could get far out in the woods without hearing noise... I just wonder how it was decided that there was no evidence a December hunt wouldn't bother other sports enthusiasts? Were other sports enthusiasts consulted?

As long as I am complaining, why is Chicago getting snow and not us? Does that seem right to you?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Quiet forecast: Excellent!

I am in the middle of reading articles about sound measurement. Hard work! When I find something steady and useful to pass on, I will.

No skiing up North this weekend, but the forecast for "quiet hunting" will be pretty good as the snowmobile trails are still closed. But I don't want to be greedy-I am wishing snow for us cross country skiers and for snowmobilers.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

GreenDrinks Green Bay at Kavarna

From Kavarna's newsletter: "GREEN BAY GREEN DRINKS is a new monthly 'social space' with its ninth meeting Thursday Dec. 15, 2005 at Kavarna, in Green Bay's near westside downtown."
The "green" in this case stands for environment, not for the Packers!

I haven't been to the meetings, but Kavarna is a wonderful coffee shop/restaurant, and this sounds like a great idea. I will pop in next Thursday.

From Mike Sealander: Warden for Vilas County

This is from a great site run by Warden Mike Sealander called "Ask a Warden". Once again, the DNR is often much more open and helpful than some legislators and members of the public give them credit for. He is answering some questions I asked regarding snowmobile noise regulations:

"The number of devices and where they will be will largely be dependent upon funding. We have been using sound meters for years for boating and other violations along with snowmobiles in recent years. The new deal with sound meters deals primarely with a standardized testing procudure to be more easily used in the field. It does not take away the ability to issue citations for excessive noise when the machine has been altered in such a way which results in an increase of overall noise emissions. As for all the numbers on citations etc I am going to refer you to our madison office for those figures. "


It is good to know that wardens will be able to cite machines that have been altered without the devices. I still want to find out how often citations happen, versus the number of modified mufflers out there.

Monday, December 05, 2005

New snowmobile noise regs coming

You can read the 3 paragraph article by Shawn Johnson at the link above. I have a lot of concerns:

-88 decibels is twice as loud as the DNR's original recommendation-which was around 76 decibels. (remember that decibels are an exponential measurement)
-Why should the snowmobile industry representatives be allowed to determine what "too quiet" is? If a few machines didn't meet the previous test, why shouldn't the manufacturers change their machines rather than make the rest of us suffer? It IS possible to muffle a machine to cut down the noise. They choose not to.
-The new test will require decibel meters. Does that mean that each warden or officer will have one? And if they don't, will they still be able to ticket excessively loud snowmobiles? If there is no credible enforcement, we can expect snowmobiles to be even louder this winter.
-Finally, will wardens in the field still be able to make on the spot determinations that a machine has been modified to be louder, and ticket the snowmobiler?

Snowmobile noise regulations forthcoming?

I blearily heard something on Wisconsin Public Radio this morning about snowmobile regulations being set, but I wasn't awake enough to make sense of it...I have looked online to find any information, and haven't yet, as soon as I do I will post.