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?

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Land Deal Proposed to Conserve Forests!

This seems to be a great thing-the forest is protected from development, the timber can be logged sustainably (a word we need to examine more carefully) and payments from the DNR will help local tax bases.

Hope this can be done with the land north of highway B, and other sensitive areas in Vilas and Oneida counties as well.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Devil's river trail....

Interesting article in the Green Bay Press-Gazette. More good rails-to-trails news (in spite of the headline!)

Crater Lake, Oregon: two summers ago

On the switchback down to the lake. Taken with a disposable camera. I am surprised that Gina was able to free herself from my grip (fear of heights) long enough to take the picture.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Another snowmobiler against "NASCAR snowmobiling"

I am glad to see that family snowmobilers are speaking up. I am not sure I get the last point about businesses and taxes, As a silent sports person, even I would have to say that snowmobiling has fostered rather good cooperation between volunteers, towns, and businesses, and certainly is an important benefit to the northwoods economy. I am just against "screaming" snowmobiles. And family snowmobilers are against the reckless speed.

From Josiah Royce...

I know very little about Josiah Royce, but I read this quote of his fromWilliam James' wonderful essay "On a Certain Blindness in Human Beings". James and Royce were amiable antagonists, I guess. But I can't help but think that Royce thought of this while he was walking alone somewhere:

"What, then, is our neighbor? Thou hast regarded his thought, his feeling, as somehow different from thine. Thou hast said, 'A pain in him is not like a pain in me, but something far easier to bear.' He seems to thee a little less living than thou; his life is dim, it is cold, it is a pale fire beside thy own burning desires.... So, dimly and by instinct hast thou lived with thy neighbor, and hast known him not, being blind. Thou hast made [of him] a thing, no Self at all. Have done with this illusion, and simply try to learn the truth. Pain is pain, joy is joy, everywhere, even as in thee. In all the songs of the forest birds; in all the cries of the wounded and dying, struggling in the captor's power; in the boundless sea where the myriads of water-creatures strive and die; amid all the countless hordes of savage men; in all sickness and sorrow; in all exultation and hope, everywhere, from the lowest to the noblest, the same conscious, burning, wilful life is found, endlessly manifold as the forms of the living creatures, unquenchable as the fires of the sun, real as these impulses that even now throb in thine own little selfish heart. Lift up thy eyes, behold that life, and then turn away, and forget it as thou canst; but, if thou hast known that, thou hast begun to know thy duty."

Josiah Royce, "The Religious Aspects of Philosophy",pp;157-162 (abridged) quoted from William James "On a Certain Blindness in Human Beings", pages 257-258, in Pragmatism and Other Essays. Washington Square Press, New York 1970.

Ready for spring...

I had a great morning of magic skiing last Sunday. During the day, the snow had been melting, but refreezing at night. The alarm went off at 6 a.m., and two or three times I talked myself out of going. But I drove to the other side of the lake, walked up the icy hill, and headed off into the woods. With a nice crust on the snow, you are free of the constraints of a trail, and the whole woods is yours to glide through. No other silent sport can be this dreamlike and magical. It was only out about an hour. Soon, the magic crust would be gone.

This extra day of skiing was a nice bonus. Spring can now come!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

My father in law's silent sport...For Dad Dudek

My father in law passed away just over a week ago, and while my wife Gina said he had lived a fortunate life, death still sucks. My father-in-law wasn't a silent sports enthusiast, his saying was "do your work first, then sit". He did a lot of work-at the railroad all night, then home to milk cows, sleeping in the car in between. When it got cold enough, he woke up, and then it was time to milk. When Gina told me this, I wondered what he thought about out there in the cold driveway. Was he a secret silent sport enthusiast? I spent many years working nights. You experience something different about the world in that time, walking from car to building. "But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars. The rays that come from those heavenly worlds will separate between him and what he touches"-Emerson

Dad didn't talk like this, but another of his sayings was "you don't have to say everything you know".

Sunday, March 19, 2006

EPA regulations of small engines...

It will be interesting to see if the industry-sensitive EPA will reverse this decision. Perhaps we will see an end to blue smoke!

Friday, March 17, 2006

snowmobile speed limit

This is a good first step...however, the daytime limit needs to be set at 55 as well. I think Bev Dittmar's point is an interesting one-perhaps people aren't going 55 on the trails, only on lakes. (Don't know personally). So law needs to address recklessly fast snowmobiling, not just overall speed. Dittmar seems resigned that this law won't have much effect. I am not sure. I think there is a class of snowmobilers who are out there to race. They will look around for the place where racing is least monitored. If Vilas and Oneida counties have a more public enforcement presence, racers will go somewhere else.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Lakeland Times: Good Article on Snowmobile Deaths

A good article by Patti Wenzel on the problem of speed and the DNR's new enforcement strategy. The article didn't go one step further and talk about the missing piece: Snowmobile manufacturers encouraging people to see snowmobiling as a racing sport. Minnesota apparently has a day and a night speed limit. If I drive on highway 51 north of Woodruff, in a car with seat belts and airbags, I can only go 55...why should I be able to endanger myself and others by going faster on a machine with no protection?

Snowmobile piece from Wisbusiness

After all of the reports of snowmobiling deaths and the ensuing crackdown and cancellations due to enforcement fears, this fluff piece reminds us that snowmobiling is a big deal in northern Wisconsin. True enough, but "rivals summer tourism"? Didn't see any evidence in the article for that.

I am not against more snowmobiling. If they were half as loud, I would like to see twice as many.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The outdoor life network has...Arena football...

What could be more absurd than the Outdoor Life Network showing hockey? How about....the Outdoor Life Network showing arena football?

Are television and silent sports incompatible? OLN seems to cover hunting, All Terrain vehicles, and survivor reruns. To their credit, they covered the Tour de France. But why isn't there a show on bicycling in general? or cross country skiing? or kayaking?

Probably, the answer can be found in this Frontline episode called The Merchants of Cool:

According to this video, the few corporations that own cable channels are loaded down with debt, and anxious to capture channel surfers. That is why there is a premium on programs with "pop", gators and sharks eating things, bad weather, murders, mostly nude people, crashes, and sports that involve people slamming into each other. Those are the visuals that channel surfers stop for.

Quietnorth Link: Superior Broadcast Network

Check out this site by Nick VanDerPuy and Sany Lyon.

"It is the mission of Superior Broadcast Network to give voice in radio stories, CD's, print and pictures to the natural world and all who rely upon it for life. "

Wisconsin Buffer Initiative

The science behind buffers between human activity and lakes and rivers. This should help people who are confused by the Lakeland Times editor-scientists who seem to think that lawn down to the water is just fine.

Selling National Forest Land: forum in Wisconsin State Journal


A plan to pay for rural schools by selling off national forest lands. Only 80 Acres in Wisconsin, but thousands in Minnesota and Michigan. And once this starts, how will it stop? I encourage you to read both "sides" of this debate and you can figure out whose bread would be buttered by selling off our national treasure.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Letter: Paving a stretch of bike path north of Boulder Junction

I suspect money IS pretty tight right now in Boulder Junction. But it would be great to have that stretched paved. I wonder if a public/private partnership would work? What would a mile of paving cost? Would those of us who lived north of town be willing to pitch in financially? I would. Could we get a sponsor?

snowmobilers cancel vacations....

Interesting article, for what it doesn't say. Why, particularly, would so many snowmobilers be worried about DNR enforcing laws, if snowmobilers basically abide by the law and it is only a few "bad apples" that cause problems?

The real story isn't fear that the DNR is going to entrap people who had three beers and are driving 30 miles an hour in a place posted for 20. The real story is that people cancelled who wanted to be racing their machines on the lakes.