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?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Paddle and Pedal in Boulder Jct....

For me, the first trip is the hardest. The sun was shining, it was nice and quiet sitting at the picnic table, and there were plenty of chores to do. I would have to get the canoe ready, find all of my gear, get the canoe on the truck, etc. Would it be so wrong to just sit for another couple of hours with a book and a cup of coffee?

Somehow, the scales tipped in favor of a brief paddle on the Manitowish. I parked my bike in downtown Boulder Junction, and drove back up to Fishtrap Dam to put in. This is a very nice "beginner's paddle". Wildlife sightings included a bald eagle, lots of redhorse running the river, and more turtles than I ever remember. You could see their heads sticking out of the water like little thumbs, only to disappear as you approached. Every log was covered with turtles.

Except for the occasional sound of a motorcycle or a truck backup signal, there are plenty of moments of northwoods quiet. I haven't begun my education in identifying birds yet, but I closed my eyes and just listened to all of the separate bird sounds I could hear. I hope that in the next few months, I will be able to pick them out when I listen to a bird identification CD.

Growing up in Boulder Junction, I spent many a day hanging out on the banks of Little Rice lake. It took a bit to match my memory to the contours of the lake. There are a few new houses, but they are actually set in pretty well, so most of the lake has a fairly undeveloped look. On the whole, it is the same lake I remember. High banks on one side, tamarack/spruce bogs on the other, where the Manitowish touches.

I actually don't know how a boat would get in and out of the boat landing-the channel between the landing and the lake is only a little more than two feet wide in places, and I had to push my Solo Plus through. I walked to my bike, and peddled the relatively flat run back to the put-in at Fishtrap dam.

After that trial run, my bike and canoe trips can begin in earnest!

Celebrate Lakes Day!

Trees for Tomorrow, Eagle River, June 6th, 2006. Come learn about how to protect the health of Wisconsin's treasure! Click on the link above to see a brochure...

Monday, May 22, 2006

Finally! I am up north for a while...

5 albino deer spotted on my way in Sunday night. ...Three loons doing a dance on in front of our pier... I heard, but didn't see, our friend the pileated woodpecker....I enjoyed the beautiful sunny day without letting the chores-t0-d0 get in the way. Though I did an hour or two of raking. To make up for it, I sat in the sun and read Loren Eiseley... It was a very quiet afternoon...

Tomorrow, I think a short canoe paddle on the Manitowish.

ATV Stakeholder's meeting, part two: Reported by Sue Drum

ATV Stakeholder's meeting, part two: Reported by Sue Drum:

Tim Miller emphasized the importance of the “3E’s”, Engineering, Education and Enforcement.

ATV advocates want a trail that connects with trails in neighboring counties and Randy Harden prefers trails with many curves that will keep speeds slow as opposed to long straight a ways that allow higher speeds.

Dave Phillips, from State Trails Council, suggested that motorized space provided by the state be mitigated in some other area of the state forest such as connecting wilderness areas to make them larger and more effective.

There was confusion as to whether some snowmobile riders and clubs wanted to join with ATV clubs and welcome ATV use of snowmobile trails. Phyllis Obrien, President of Iron County Chamber said snowmobile clubs in Mercer were mad at ATV riders for rutting snowmobile trails.

ATV advocates wanted a year ‘round trail but would settle for their second choice of summer/fall trail. The group will focus on a summer/fall trail."

part three in a day or two.....

Bike Trail north of Boulder, continued....

Last month, I posted some reasons why I thought a bike trail North of Boulder along M to the intersection with High-Fishtrap road was a good idea.

Today, I stopped in at the Homestead giftshop to sign the petition. I met the Hegemans, the owners of the shop, who had many good reasons-and good ideas-for developing a bike trail north of town. Molly Hegeman had a great idea for increasing visibility of silent sports enthusiasts-a green ribbon pin. Please stop in and sign the petition and pick up a pin! They have a very interesting store.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A report from the ATV Stakeholders Meeting, pt. 1

I will post this email from Sue Drum in three parts:

"Hi everyone,

We had our first ATV Stakeholders Meeting, Tuesday, May 9th, 2006 from 9:30 AM to 2:30PM at Reulands Catering on Hiway 51 in Woodruff. Thirteen (13) out of the 17 members appointed met to begin the process of finding a site for a sustainable ATV trail in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest. Dennis Leith is our Team Leader and Bill Klase, from UWEX, Rhinelander, is our facilitator

According to the NHAL State Forest Masterplan, the Natural Resources Board has directed the Stakeholders to act as a citizens advisory group and present final ATV trail recommendations to the Sponsor Team from the DNR-Division of Forestry by mid February, 2007. The DNR will review these recommendations and present them to the Natural Resources Board at their April 2007 meeting. Stakeholder decisions will be made by consensus and not by unanimous vote.

Tim Miller, WDNR-Regional Program Manager, Ladysmith, was the key person in developing the new (1 year old) DNR Guidelines for ATV trails on state land. The goal of these ATV trail criteria is to design, site and maintain ATV trails that provide a quality experience for the user and which are sustainable. If an appropriate site can not be found by consensus, an ATV trail will not be established.

There are seven trail siting criteria for state lands which include the following: adverse impacts on natural resources, rider safety, public opinion and minimizing impacts for other recreational users, impact on local economy, local cooperation and support, assess need and availability of law enforcement to patrol trail."

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth

I haven't written about global warming here.

I suppose I could say it was because the blog was designed to focus on local issues. But I also think I have been conflicted about my own use of greenhouse gas creating travel.

I do feel sick sometimes, following the long line of cars proceeding northwards.

What will the northwoods become if the temperature changes? What will happen to our pristine lakes and our beautiful white pine forests?

We have decided to make some investment in reducing our energy consumption. Gina keeps the houses very cool, even when we are in them. We bought a Prius, and usually keep the truck parked. We plan to make less frequent trips up north, but stay longer.

I want to investigate geothermal heating for our place in Boulder (anyone with experience with geothermal?)

I have written Toyota and Ford to tell them our next car will be a plug-in hybrid, whoever makes it.

At any rate, I was wondering if people have written specifically about what will happen to the northwoods in the event of global warming?

DNR plans ATV trail through Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Something to learn more about. Any silent sports enthusiasts from that part of the Northwoods?

"Jordan said the project is not anticipated to result in significant adverse environmental effects. The department has prepared an EA on the project proposal and made a preliminary decision that an environmental impact statement will not be required. "

Alrighty then! Nothing to look at here! Just move along!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Governer to Clarify Pier Rules

"Get Chicken Little Off the Pier"

Letter to the Lakeland Times... the legislature is still working against sensible pier regulations. Imagine what would be happening if we had a Governor beholden to the "astroturf" organization opposed to these regulations...

Dennis McCann Rails to Trails trip...

Apparently, Wisconsin leads the nation in Rails to Trails conversions.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Wierd Wisconsin Weather...

I drove up to Boulder Junction in a blizzard Thursday. Everything was quiet, even the peepers weren't peeping. Strangest of all, I didn't hear the familiar sounds of woodpeckers, even on Sunday, when the weather improved.

It has been a tough couple of months for us, with Gina's father passing, my father being ill and hospitalized. And last Tuesday, Oreo, our companion for over 15 years, passed peacefully at the UW veterinary clinic.

Oreo wasn't exactly an outdoor dog, except for the great joy he took in going for walks with us along Lakeshore Path in Madison and running in circles in a game we called "doing chase". For a little dog he could really walk, going four miles with us, then running ahead to the house and then couching down to pounce on us when we got there.

Everybody's dog is probably the bestest dog ever, but Oreo really was the bestest dog ever. By the way, the UW Vet clinic staff was incredibly supportive and professional.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Bird ecotourism in Wisconsin

I caught the last half of a wonderful documentary on Wisconsin Public Television last night called "Birds of Wisconsin". Check out the site to see when it will be on again-"

"That fascination for birds also raises an interesting marketing dynamic explored in the program -- the monetary windfall to be reaped from bird watching and Wisconsin's own version of eco-tourism. In fact, Wisconsin ranks third in such dollars and destinations nationwide, following Virginia and Minnesota, and tied with Alaska. "

People will pay big bucks to come to Wisconsin to enjoy nature. They won't come if the natural sound is broken up by racing machines.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

St. Germain Bike Trail...

Bike season is here! I have been a little late in getting the bikes ready. It is good to read about the St. Germain trail hook-up to the Sayner trail. I haven't taken the town road route, sounds like a good Boulder-to St. Germain trip this spring! Lots of restaurants and swimming holes on the way...

Here is a quote from the piece that caught my eye:

"This dovetails into a master plan being coordinated by Vilas County to have a trail that makes a continuous loop through the entire county. "

Anyone know if this plan is on hold? At any rate, lets keep it in the public eye!