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?

Friday, September 29, 2006

Superior Broadcast Network

While you are at it, look over Superiorbroadcast's site as well.

Laura Erikson's birder blog.....

Nick Vander Puy interviews Sandy Gillum re: Swan shooting

From Nick Vander Puy;

"Trumpeter swans are some of North America’s most elegant waterbirds. The birds are all white with long flowing necks, they stand up to four feet tall with a large wingspan. The birds pledge as mates for life and are devoted parents. Signs at the lakes warn about shooting these protected birds, but in late September a bird showed up dead on Seven Mile lake near Eagle River with two .22 caliber slugs in it’s carcass. The DNR is investigating. Sandy Gillum is a local biologist who cares for the birds. She talks with Nick Vander Puy from the Superior Broadcast Network about the dead swan."

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Loons and Mercury: Vilas County News-Review

Sent by Sandy Gillum, who writes: "Here is an excellent summary of Mike Meyers' mercury loon research accomplished locally"

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

feeling bummed....

I am not in the best of moods. I couldn't be in Boulder Junction for an important meeting, in which they are discussing the 200 foot zoning rule, and possibly not hiring a new police officer. Then there is the news about the trumpeter swan being shot. (see previous posts). And I am thinking about bigger things, global warming, the war in Iraq, my father's illness...

DNR vs. Legislature: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Its lobbying money vs. the environment. Can you imagine what it would be like with one party controlling the Legislature and the Governorship?

More details on the Trumpeter Swan death: From Sandy Gillum

"My head continues to spin thoughts of utter disbelief of what appears to be the deliberate killing of trumpeter swan P73. I have had the good fortune for a number of years to be of field help to Pat Manthey, the avian ecologist in charge of tracking and banding the re-introduced trumpeter swans in this area. Many of you have helped band the cygnets of P73 and X88.

The success of this pair, from introduction and in later years...spring arrival flights and nesting on their territorial lake to the adults guiding their young on their fall foraging has all been a delight to watch and to hear for now nine years.

Many of you have responded today. We appreciate all your interest, comments, and willingness to use this event as a teachable moment in stewardship.

The limited details relayed to me are: P73 was shot on Sevenmile Lake a little over a week ago with a 22 rifle. The warden recovered the bird and it has been X-rayed. He may have a lead on the shooter.

Details about this swan can be supplied by:

Patricia Manthey
Avian Ecologist, Bureau of Endangered Resources
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
3550 Mormon Coulee Road
La Crosse, WI 54601
Phone: 608-789-5651 FAX: 608-785-9990

Sandy Gillum
Wildlife Ecologist
1875 Bald Eagle Lane
Eagle River, WI 54521
Phone & FAX: 715-479-6051

Delete Reply

Monday, September 25, 2006

Bulletin: Trumpeter Swan killed from upper ninemile area...

I don't know all of the details, but apparently a breeding male trumpeter swan was killed with two .22 caliber bullets. After seeing and hearing the beauty of trumpeter swans this summer, this news is very depressing. If you know of anything related to this incident, email me at and I will let you know who to get in touch with. As I said, I don't have the exact details yet but I will let you know when I know more.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

From my friend Bruce Card: Madison Arboretum

taken in the early morning, several weeks ago-look closely. The UW arboretum is one reason we can't concede quiet areas to the Boundary Waters. Lets sqeeze unnecessary noise out of human activity...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Around the corner.....

A picture from last Thanksgiving...Lumberjack Trail....lets hope there will be some great skiing for you in Boulder Junction this year

Court reinstates Clinton-era roadless rules

Hurray! I haven't read how this will impact the Nicolet-Chequamegon forest-I will post when I find out.

Proposal for aspen management in the National Forest...

Interesting article by Kurt Krueger.

Letter: Fireworks don't belong on Northwoods lakes

A kindred soul objects to fireworks on lakes.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

DNR to crack down on invasives-Rhinelander Daily News

More on "loud pipes"

Wow, I don't know why I have never googled that phrase before, given some of my complaints in this blog. Apparently, loud motorcycles are bugging more people than me:

And this was mild...

What seems to be lacking is any citations to concrete research.

Many bikers in favor of loud pipes offer anecdotal evidence, but many other bikers don't buy it. Some said that "Loud Pipes Save Lives" is a philosophy. It isn't a philosophy, its an empirical statement that should be researched. Whether you care about showing off or enjoying the sound of roaring over other people's needs, that is a philosophy.

Do "loud pipes save lives?"

This article doesn't answer the question scientifically, but the author is very honest! Loud pipes are simply more fun! Thanks to derv, via an Althouse discussion thread...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

New John Bates Book!

Our favorite northwoods writer reviewed by our favorite Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Columnist!

From Ted Ritter: Another AIS infestation....


The Rhinelander DNR office has confirmed another Eurasian water-milfoil (EWM) infestation. This one is just below the Dam Lake dam in an area of the Sugar Camp Creek unofficially known as Eskimo Lake. Nicole Nikolaus of the DNR reported that boat trailers parked at an undeveloped, but seemingly popular, boat launch site contained substantial amounts of EWM. The infestation is apparently well established.

This confirmation follows the diligent efforts of Mr. and Mrs. Hodkiewicz who detected EWM on a trailer that was about to launch a boat in Muskellunge Lake in the town of Cloverland earlier this fall. The boat owner was fully cooperative when asked where the boat had been last and did not launch the boat without first cleaning the boat and trailer. While Eskimo Lake is not recognized as an Oneida County water body name, Mr. and Mrs. Hodkiewicz were able to determine the location of the lake and the undeveloped boat landing which in turn lead to the infestation confirmation. Kudos to Mr. and Mrs. Hodkiewicz.

It is hoped that this information will prompt appropriate surveillance of Dam Lake, the Sugar Camp Creek and other nearby water bodies for possible additional EWM infestations.

Ted Ritter
Vilas Co. AIS Coordinator
330 Court Street
Eagle River, WI 54521
Phone: (715) 479-3738
Fax: (715) 479-1978

Monday, September 18, 2006

And more on silence...

One small quibble with the Silent Sports article. You don't need to go into the wilderness of the Boundary Waters or even to northern Wisconsin to have silence. Turn off the television for an evening. Of course, silence in city areas is bounded by time and space. Right now, I am in a city, by the open window. The television is off. Inside of the traffic noise, silence curves through the house along with the wind.

More on silence...

While driving away from Northern Wisconsin, I was listening to WXPR. I can never remember the name of the commentator who lives on a lake"somewhere East of Eagle River", but I really enjoy him. He had a good quote from Seneca- Only on WXPR will you get a quote from Seneca: "Men trust their eyes more than their ears". I think Seneca was talking about rumours, but I think this applies to what I was feeling the night before. Acorns were being crunched. Should I turn on the light to see what was making the noise? Or, do I already have my prey: the noise in the night?

The battle between what we see and what we hear seems central in the northwoods. You don't really experience the northwoods until you stop focusing on sightseeing, and listen.

And that leads me to a great article in Silent Sports by Jim Jocque this last month called "The Search for Silence". I had a good quote from that ready to hand, as well, but now I can't find it. so pick up the magazine and you will also get a great article on the upper Wisconisn river, which gets a thumbs up this time from Mike Svob.

Missed a weekend... Yogi Berra comment of the day...

It looks like we missed a good weekend up North. The weekend before, we walked the Fallison nature trail, and experienced several moments where we stopped, listened, and heard no human sound. It does happen, but you have to be patient!

In the northwoods, quiet is the number one thing people look for.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Bike Path News...

I attended the first offical meeting of the North Boulder bicycle committee meeting. This is a committee to explore the possibility of a bike trail connecting north, first to High-Fishtrap road, then to Land O' Lakes or Presque Isle.

I was surprised by the scope and the interest. Of course, money will be more difficult!

I hope this sounds interesting to you! You can help by buying a bicycle ornament or a pin from Molly, Scott and Sally at the Homestead.

I see a bad moon rising....

I just discovered that some folks in Boulder Junction are considering getting rid of its 200 foot rule for lakeshore development. Unbelievable! I have to do some research on this. I have been clueless. My Dad helped write in the 200 foot rule over 30 years ago. It helped make Boulder special. What do silent sports people need to do to convince the town that this is a bad idea? More to follow....

Crisp as an apple weather....

We had a nice hike with friends on the Fallison nature trail, and we paddled around our lake. There is one lone loon on our lake now, dressed in its fall outfit, crying every night. Our guest saw a coyote cross the road in the early morning. The hummingbirds are gone now. We had a fire, but we will need a bonfire to start getting rid of all of the wood that has fallen.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

On using town roads as part of a connecting system

I think there will be a debate about using low volume town roads vs. new bike paths in building connecting bike trails between towns. For example, one could imagine building a new bike path north of Boulder along M all the way to B, then run a bike path along B from Land O Lakes to Presque Isle.

But the alternative would be to use the quiet town roads that exist as much as possible. In this case, Boulder would only have to build a trail to High-Fishtrap road, (about a mile), then follow High Lake road all the way to the end, then build another one mile loop up to highway B. All in all, with only two new miles of bike trail, you are making a connection to the future LOL-Presque Isle link. High Lake Road is very scenic, running by Grassy Lake and primarily rural countryside.

But there are problems. Cars use this road, probably more than other town road segments of bike trails. Personally, I would like to see motor vehicle traffic slowed down anyway, but the chances of car-bike accidents might be increased unless the road was widened. On the other hand, as the Boulder bike trail becomes more popular, these roads are seeing more bicyclists anyway.

Beautiful country roads have their charms, but do they have the appeal a separate bike trail brings? On the other hand, riding along a town road might be quieter and more scenic than a separate bike trail that runs straight north on highway M.

Lets carry this idea further. With a little work, could "Old B" work as a bike trail? What if it was resurfaced but not paved, like the Bearskin trail? It would provide a connection nearly all the way from Land O' Lakes to our one mile link to High Lake Road. We would only need one mile of paved road along B. The Bearskin has a surface that works for bikers and snowmobilers-couldn't we do the same for Old B? Old B is a beautifully scenic country trail. But it is quite remote in places. There are no places to get easily get to "new B" if you have a flat tire. There aren't any watering places until you get to Miller's (the start of the paved bike trail to Land O Lakes). And what about the romance and safety of paved bike paths?

Let the debate begin!

Missing Links in the System...

Next steps in the bike trail system? Look at a Vilas/Oneida map and dream with me:

Connecting Woodruff/Arbor Vitae to the Boulder Junction-Sayner-St. Germain Trail. That connects Vilas and Oneida County.
Connecting the Boulder Trail to the Presque Isle-Manitowish Waters Trail. This has been proposed, but has stalled.
Connecting Land O' Lakes, and Conover,to the Eagle River/three lakes trail
Connecting the LOL l and the Eagle River to the "big trail"

So who will step up to the plate? I have hopes that Boulder Junction will be next, so that it will contine to be the leader. A hub to Land O Lakes would be the easiest start.

From a strategic point of view, Woodruff and Arbor Vitae could easily become the Bicycle hub of the northwoods. It would be a great marketing tool! A bike trail north from Witches Lake Road to the Sayner bike trail (parallel to the Plum-Vitae road) would only be a couple of miles long. It would generate such interest that Lake Tomahawk would fight to connect along 47.. And St. Germain would have more motivation to connect via highway J.

Connecting the Boulder-Sayner-St. Germain trail to the planned Presque Isle-Manitowish Waters-Flambeau trail will be the difficult but very important next step. It will be connected to the south if LDF connects to Woodruff along 47, But that is a long way around, and people would probably want a central connection north as well. Ideally, Presque Isle, Boulder, and Land O Lakes will work a trail along B, and Boulder could connect easily with a link North of High Lake. Think of a grand circuit, or several grand circuits.

Where will the money come? 1) users fees. 2) Highway funds. Bicyclists buy gas for their cars, too. They want some of that money to go for bike trails. 3) wealthy donors. My guess is there are some individuals and corporations who would love to see bicycle tourism in the northwoods. 4) Businesses that would benefit from a bike trail. 5) fund raisers.

Jim Holperin praises St. Germain bike trail

Possible next steps from St. Germain: O to the south, or J to Oneida county. J to Woodruff would be an incredible choice. That would provide the link between the Vilas County and Oneida county bike trails. With a better city path through Woodruff and Minocqua, you would have a connection to the Bearskin trail all the way to Tomahawk! And you would give momentum to finishing a bike link along 47 from Lac Du Flambeau to Rhinelander. I don't think we get it quite yet. These bike trails are more than just an "add on" activity. They represent a fundamentally new form of tourism for northern Wisconsin.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Q: What is the opposite of fishing? A: A Fishing Derby!

Great article by Jim Doherty of the Wisconsin State Journal. Thanks to Sandy Gillum for sending it. The rest of the article is at the link above:

Derbies Anathema To Sport Fishing
Wisconsin State Journal :: OPINION :: A10
Saturday, September 2, 2006
"Years ago, whenever my son and I got up early at our family cabin near Lac du Flambeau to go musky fishing, we usually had the 140-acre lake to ourselves.
We didn't care if we caught anything. The point was to enjoy a beautiful Northern morning together.
The other day when Jimmy and his son rowed out to try their luck, they counted nearly 20 motorboats on the water. As they watched, one boater reeled in a fish, held it over his head and whooped. Then he cranked up his motor and showed his catch to a friend. Finally, after several moments had gone by, he released the fish by throwing it high into the air. The fish landed on its side with a splash and the boater resumed casting.
Welcome to the boorish world of the Musky Derby, a contest to see who can catch the biggest fish..." Rest of article at the title link....

Fees unfair for bicyclists? Interesting Lakeland Times article

Bike trail users pay per person, snowmobilers pay per machine. According the article, some bike user fees are paying for snowmobile maintenance. This article is sure to generate some interest! Of course, I think fees for silent sports enthusiasts should go up, if only to ensure we will be listened to. (That is the ATV user's strategy).


Driving south of Boulder Junction, just a block from The Granary, I saw a coyote wandering down the road. I have seen more coyotes just this summer than I had seen growing up in Boulder Junction. For a while, I heard of more coyote sightings around Madison than around Boulder Junction. (Gina saw one run by our street in Shorewood Hills!) Coyotes are back up north. Many summer nights, I have heard them. One explanation: For several years, Coyotes had been hit by the mange, and that disease is now on the decline.

Come to Vilas County, silent sports folks!

Most of the tourists have headed out. The bike trails are beautiful. There are no bugs. The weather is cooler for biking. A new stretch of the bike trail, from St. Germain to Sayner, is open.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Wisconsin River Pictures explained...

Top picture was our last night of camping-the temperature was 100 degrees. We were happy to find a site that was in the afternoon shade and out of the wind.

The next picture was a feline print taken near our tents. A bobcat, I suppose. Can you tell?

The next picture was typical of what you see on the river. Unfortunately, this photo does not capture the grandeur of these bluffs. My daugher and I usually quietly float by them, trying not to paddle at all. That worked until the afternoon winds came up.

The last picture was from our first night of camping, "the night of the cranes".

More details of the trip in the August quietnorth posts.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Lower Wisconsin River Trip Pictures....

I was disappointed in the pictures. First of all, they were disposable cameras. But our disposables took great pictures at Crater Lake, so I figured they would do. And, after all, I lost one disposable camera on the trip. But here are a few pictures that give you a little bit of flavor of what we experienced...

Friday, September 01, 2006

Lonely loon....more coyotes....quiet...

Up north after missing a week. I always shut off the radio and open the windows wide when I pull into the dirt driveway. One day, Gina and I surprised a number of deer, including a large albino buck, eating acorns. This time, only the quiet crunching of sticks. The white of the house and garage come into view. Nothing to envy, neither have changed much in 60 years, and they aren't preservation material. But I feel like I could be driving up in 1940 or 1950, and little would tell you different.

Some of my neighbor's light filters through the two big norway spruce, otherwise it is totally dark when I turn off the car light. There is that moment of uncomfortableness when I get out of the car and I sense I am in that in between world outside of human walls and light. As if to tease me, the oaks throw acorns loudly to the ground.

As always, I get to the house OK. I do a brief inspection. The basement is drying out from a water leak several weeks ago. A loon is calling, in fact, calls all night long. Coyote gangs are yelping excitedly. Acorns drop through the night. I fell more easily into the spell of quiet this time, my thoughts seem less scattered. I was able to sit patiently and very little happened.

In the morning, I walked down to the lake to see what what up with the loon, who was still calling. Were loons on the lake this long last year? I will have to revisit my archives. At any rate, this loon's mate seems to have disappeared. Often, they regroup on larger lakes in the fall. Is it that time yet? There is so much I don't know.