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?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Woodpecker and her child...

You may remember me posting about this pileated woodpecker and her offspring, who was as large as mother but still being fed by her. The picture is taken through the screen porch, but is interesting nonetheless.

Remember the woodpecker stump?

This is the pileated woodpecker on her stump-her last place to look around before heading to the suet feeder

Announcing Quietnorth Archives...

Hello, everyone;

I created a new blog, Quietnorth Archives, to serve as a site for longer letters and documents that tend to crowd out blog-like posts, but still will be of interest to readers. I will refer and link to those longer letters here at quietnorth, quoting from them appropriately.

Please keep the information coming!

Mark Haag

They gave an ATV party and noone came...

Sue Drum writing to Northwoods Citizens for Environmental Stewardship visited Eagle River to watch the ATV parade last week. I posted the letter in quietnorth Archives (link above), but here is the money quote:

Dear Northwoods Citizens for Responsible Stewardship,

Saturday, June 22, I had a heart-warming ATV experience. I drove to Eagle River to observe the 9:00 a.m. ATV parade down main street. Remembering a similar ATV parade last year led by Frank Tremmel with positive ATV press coverage, I figured this parade would be a major event. They had the perfect set-up, sponsored by Randy Harden’s WATVA and Randy Harden’s NOHVIS insurance group, and riding for the charity, Angel On My Shoulder, a non-profit organization that helps those afflicted with cancer.

Guess What? They threw a parade and nobody came. About 20 people, shopping on main street stopped to watch. As they turned the corner and returned up the side street just off main street, not a soul could be seen on either side of the street..."

" Once more Vilas County residents and visitors showed that they had no interest in welcoming ATVs."

Sue Drum
11384 CTH B

Monday, July 24, 2006

Letter: Advocate for Conover-PHelps biking trail August 2nd

Property is still for sale...

I really hope the kind of person who reads this blog buys the property you see. I think you get about 600 feet of frontage on the lake, and nothing but State owned land around you. You are on a quiet, nonmotorized lake great for paddling and naturewatching. I have seen albino deer, fishers, eagles, trumpeter swans, blue heron, bear, pileated woodpeckers on the lake. A small lake actually means you see more. And No Jetskis! The previous owners built a house that is hardly visible from the lake, and they had a great view.


OK, I am learning to use a digital camera and a digital sound recorder. Forgive me while you live through my learning curve! Gina took this picture and the next The first is Oswego , from just above the dock. You can see the water levels are down, giving us quite a sandy beach:

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Why the future will be quieter...

There is no reason to imagine that because more people have more technology, the future will have to be noisier than it is now. Electric motors will be fast, but quieter. Think of how quiet the North would be without the internal combustion engine! Of course, we still have tire noise to deal with...

Monday, July 17, 2006

Trying out new toys while in Madison

Madison, WI 8:30 pm July 17th 90 degrees! Trying out Garageband, an Olympus recorder, and .mac storage. Forgive the sound quality, I am just playing for now. Cicadas, a cardinal, and an unidentified bird. Can any birders tell me what it is?


Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Visual and the Real....Mea Culpa

I have written in the past about how we tend to "favor" what we see over the other senses, and even sometimes over what is real and important.

An example: Cutting down all the trees in order to have a "view" of the lake, even if it hurts the lake itself. (I suspect that people often cut down all of the trees in front of their McMansions so that others on the lake can see them)

Here is an example to which I must plead guilty. The previous owner of left about 12 waist high stumps on the property. Other than being great places to set beer bottles, they weren't very pretty or functional for humans. We always intended to have them cut down.

But the truth is, one of the stumps was functional as a strategic lookout post for a pileated woodpecker before she would come to the suet feeder. To be fair to us, the woodpecker hadn't been back to the feeder for over 6 months. But it was one of those subtle examples of how, for nothing more than a nicer looking front lawn, we were willing to sacrifice part of the animal ecosystem.

And, yes, the property does look better with the stumps removed. Pictures will follow.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Tri-it Triatholon...

Forgot to mention that almost two weeks ago my daughter Amanda and I participated in the tri-it triatholon at Manitowish Waters. Let's just say that I am still hearing the phrase "passing on the left!" go through my head. Actually, I had a great time. I hope to be in better shape for the bike portion next year.

It had been a while since I was in the woods on a bike, so this race primed me for a few off road bike trips on snowmobile trails (thanks, snowmobilers). Really, silent sports enthusiasts should be supporting the snowmobilers in maintaining this wonderful trail system.

I discovered that sticking a couple of "Off " repellent disposable towels in the air flow grooves of my bike helmet really helps with the deer flies.

Wood Thrush....

One more post on the wood thrushes. The day after I reported hearing more wood thrushes than ever across the lake, I didn't hear any! How could that be? The weather was about the same both days. I need to learn more about this bird. (I couldn't tell you what they look like, only what they sound like.)

Friday, July 07, 2006

One more preachy post and I will quit for a while..

Should people be calling loons? I heard that there is actually a loon call that you can buy in local stores. I always thought that people shouldn't call loons, given that they are so territorially sensitive.

I remember once having a record of loon calls that specifically instructed listeners not to play the record in a way that loons could hear.

Northwoods Lakes Conference

Northwoods Lakes Conference coming to Minocqua
Join us July 20 and 21st at Lakeland Union High School in Minocqua for the Northwoods Lakes Workshop. Registration deadline is Friday, July 14, 2006.
Register online.
July 20: Three special workshopsAn evening with aquatic invasive species researchers features:
UW’s Susan Knight on Eurasian watermilfoil
Notre Dame’s Brett Peters on Rusty crayfish
Wisconsin DNR’s Craig Roesler on Spiny waterflea
UW-Madison’s Jake Vander Zanden on Zebra mussels
A panel discussion with all of these researchers
Clean Boats, Clean Waters Watercraft Inspection Training will trains volunteers to organize and conduct a boater education program in their community to prevent invasive species from entering into lakes.
The Pontoon Classroom (on Lake Tomahawk) will give participants an interactive, on-the-lake exploration of shoreland stewardship, aquatic invasive species, and fish and wildlife habitat.
Download information on special
Thursday workshops.
July 21: Northwoods workshopBoth keynote speakers have long-standing Northwoods Wisconsin connections. Jim Holperin, a long-time Northwoods resident (born and raised in Eagle River) currently serves as the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. He also served in the state legislature for 11 years representing Vilas and Oneida counties and served as director of Eagle River’s Trees for Tomorrow for 9 years. UW- Madison’s Stephen Carpenter has spent much of his 30-year academic research career in limnology (freshwater studies) focusing on issues surrounding lakes in Northern Wisconsin.
Choose from 21 sessions on topics such as: Building Effective Lake Organizations, Lake Science, Owning Lakefront property, Fun on the Lakes, Aquatic Invasive Species, Lake Wildlife, and Fishing and Healthy Fisheries.
program details (detailed session descriptions and speaker information)
Information and Registration
workshop brochure (schedule and paper registration form)
Register online

The Year of the Wood Thrush...

I am hearing wood thrushes like I have never heard them before across the lake. I also took a long bike ride yesterday north of Boulder Junction and heard many of them.

This clip doesn't do the sound justice-you have to be out on a summer afternoon, or even better, in the evening on a lake, to hear their call echo through the woods. This is the most underrated sound of the northwoods.

Commenting on Roadless Areas in Nicolet Forest

I guess most everyone missed the meeting last night, but the comment period is still open. I would like to know more about fire suppression arguments. Do we need to cut forests to prevent fires?

I think that areas of the northern forests should be lightly managed to become "old growth" forests over the next 100-200 years. We would be waving to future generations, "see what we did for you?" Unfortunately, "management" always seems so aggressive. There should be some large stands of white pine allowed to flourish as they did before the "big cut". The tourism potential over time would be huge.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Fires caused by fireworks-DNR estimate:

170 fires per year attributed to fireworks in Wisconsin. Not to mention the injuries, etc. I would be interested in any studies on the effects of fireworks on wildlife. Can it be good?

coyotes howling...fireworks are for the fourth...

We were sitting around the firepit last night when the wind finally died down.

The water was perfectly still, the loons were making the "where are you?" call, and you could hear wood thrushes playing the scales across the lake. Those are to me the sounds I think of most when I think of northern Wisconsin. Then, all of a sudden, we heard the coyotes howling. I was surprised how exuberant they sounded. It was perfect for a little while.

Then, the crappy sounds of fireworks erupted from various points around us. I think there should be a law against non-professional fireworks, myself (Oh wait-there IS a law against it!). But given that they are here, I say we have a "Fireworks for the Fourth" campaign. Fireworks can be set off the weekend closest to the fourth, then after that, "let the north be the north". After all, the only reason people launch fireworks here is because people would complain if they did it at home. Why should the rest of us be punked?

Anyone know how many fires are set by fireworks in Wisconsin?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Wolf vs. Coyote?

Last night, driving north on M around 11 pm, near Trout Lake: We saw what was either a very large coyote or a wolf on the side of the road. It happened so fast, that we didn't get a good look. And none of us knew enough about how to distinguish them.

What favored wolf? It was much larger than coyotes I have seen. It appeared to be very light or tan (colors hard to tell in the dark)
What favored coyote? sheer statistics-there are a lot more coyotes than wolves. I didn't get a good enough look at its muzzle or ears.

Does anyone know of a good set of side by side pictures of both mammals? Not just one picture, but several shots of each, comparing overall size, ears, legs, tails, etc?

From Sandy Gillum...Comment on the Chequamegon-Nicolet forest

Comment on Chequamegon-Nicolet forest management:

Your input is valuable in determining the future management of the roadless areas of the Chequamegon-Nicolet Forest. Even though these are federal lands, Washington has asked governors of each state to be a part of the decision making process in deciding the future management of these lands and Gov. Doyle has asked the DNR for information and the DNR is asking the public what they want the future of these lands to be. Via the website below you can register your comments:

Sandy Gillum

From Brook Waalen: How we can make a difference!

Very inspiring email From Brook:


Sterling Township in northwestern Polk County recently considered a resolution to open 60 miles of township roads to ATVs. This Township is in a sparsely populated region adjacent to the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway and thousands of acres of acres of state and county forestland.

Supporters of this resolution had all the votes they needed and it looked like a slam dunk but in the end ATVs were not allowed on these rural roads.

Reasons for the victory and lessons learned:

1) One opponent wrote a thoughtful letter to the editor one week before the Township voted which brought this issue to the attention of her neighbors. She received responses immediately from some of her neighbors as well as from the Township Chairman who supported the resolution and wanted to assuage her concerns.
2) The letter to the editor is how I found out about this proposal. I then contacted her and the one sympathetic Township Board Member. (Note: The information and materials I provided did absolutely nothing to help the cause other than to give these two people a grounding about local and state ATV issues.)
3) Opponents invited law enforcement, a DNR forester, the county forester, and the National Park Service to the meeting to comment and answer questions.
4) Opponents rallied their neighbors to attend the meeting and speak out against opening their local roads to ATVs. 40 people showed up to protest the resolution!

People power made the difference in this instance.


Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters
2596 State Road 35, Luck, Wisconsin 54853

Office: 715.472.5000 Cell: 608.658.0186