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, October 31, 2006

End of October regrets....

When it comes to regrets of things unnacomplished, I tend to divide the seasons into "snow" and "no snow" four seasons of regrets being too much to bear.

What did I accomplish this summer, from a silent sports point of view?

The Tri-it triathalon at the Nature Center, which I loved, my daughter Amanda...not so much. The men went first, which led to the absurd situation of fit atheletes starting behind me. It took me a month before the cry "passing on the left!" stopped echoing in my skull.

Unfortunately, that was the only competition I engaged in. It has been over a year since I ran a marathon. There is no "resting on one's laurels" over 50, and so I have to get myself ready for a spring marathon.

The canoing highlght was the three day trip down the lower Wisconsin River. (I reported on that in August). The temperature hit 100 degrees, which made it difficult to want to do much but float. But the scenery and the birdwatching was beautiful.

We also went into the Turtle-Flambeau flowage further than ever before. And I made a few exploring trips (way to few) up the Manitowish river.

More to follow....

Nature Mapping

A very cool idea!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Don't shoot the signs....

A snowmobile club member reminds people what they should know anyway, DONT shoot snowmobile signs. I post this link because mountain bikers and hikers share the trails with snowmobilers, but also to remind us mountain bikers and hikers of the volunteer efforts that snowmobilers make. If we were only organized....

Thursday, October 26, 2006

From Sue Drum: Please attend the November 10th meeting!

Dear Friends,

Again I would like to encourage you to testify before the Special Committee on State Trails Policy, Chaired by Senator Roger Breske. This committee has the power to make laws governing ATV and other state trails. Let me know if you can testify and I will send all the names together to Beth Piliorus, Roger Breske's secretary. You will only be given 5 minutes to speak.
November 10th, Friday at 10:00 AM
Merrill City Hall
1004 East First STreet
Merrill Wisconsin

So far these people have agreed to testify: Norm Poulton(ECCOLA), Jerry Woolpy, Al Eschenbauch, June Schmaal, Sue Drum and Alan Drum.

If you don't wish to testify, please plan to attend. We need many warm bodies to wear green ribbons as a show of force for silent sport and nature lovers.
Molly Hegeman in Boulder Junction has been selling green ribbons at her gift shop, Homestead, as a silent sport symbol to show merchants that this group is an economic force. Molly presented her idea on Channel 12 TV. I will ask her to make ribbons for us and hope that you can round up enough friends, at least 50 of us, to make a strong statement to the Trails Committee. See my attached rough draft of my testimony to see how I would like to use you.

Please come and bring friends who support silent sports and the preservation of nature. I will supply the green ribbons.
For more information on the State Trails Committee they have a website:
It is a 12 member committee: Senator Roger Breske, Chair, Senator Dale Schultz, Representative Alvin R. Ott, Representative Mary Hubler, Representative Mark Pettis, Ken Carpenter, Dave Marcouiller, Joel Patenaude, Jack Sauer, Richard Decker, Michael McFadzen, John Ruf

Sue Drum, Secretary, Northwoods Citizens for Responsible Stewardship
11384 CTH B
Presque Isle, Wi 54557

Sue's testimony linked from the title....

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

ATVs near the Manitowish River?


Take a look at the photographs at this promotion at the Artic Cat site. When people fork out money for an expensive machine, this is what they will be expecting to be able to do. After all, the site says "you can harness this winning ground clearance and durability on your favorite trails." At least some buyers are going to be disappointed that they can only legally go on a trail they could have ridden with a good golf cart. They are going to want to use their machine to go ALL TERRAIN- (its in the name, after all). It looks like fun to me, actually.

The ATV industry promotes responsible trail use when it wants new rights to trails, but promotes irresponsible use when it comes to sales, because THAT IS WHERE THE MARKET IS.

Mark Haag

How do you mitigate noise?

I am not a scientist, but I guess I have some training in empirical sciences. So when I read or hear a technical word being used, I try to ask myself what it means, and what it does. When I hear that the DNR's mandate is to find an ATV trail that will "mitigate" disruptions to other user groups, I have to ask: What does mitigation look like?

Some of us are looking into real world efforts to mitigate (or not) damage to wetlands, trails, etc. But what about users of quiet? Hikers, bikers, birdwatchers? How do you mitigate the consequences of the natural soundscape being disturbed? Are there any examples? Standards? Are there any proposals? Can we point to success in mitigating the sound of snowmobiles, for example? Anywhere?

Sandy Gillum to Gard, Green, Meyer; Can you hear us up here?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Sue Drum clarifies the mission of the Stakeholder's group

Sue Drum is on the Stakeholder's group. I posted her letter to quietnortharchives-you can link above. The mandate in regard to other forest users is much more stringent, but perhaps not stringent enough to make us comfortable. She is also alarmed at Dennis Leith's comments about other trails.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Action Alert! State Trails Committee Meeting

November 10th, 10 A.M. State Trails committee meeting at the Merrill City Hall, in Merrill, Wisconsin,

There will be lots of ATV interests there, encouraging the idea that ATV use is compatible with hiking and biking. Please attend the meeting, or e-mail Beth Piliouras at Elizabeth.Piliouras@legis.wiscon or calling her at 608/266-2509 in the office of Sen. Roger Breske, chairman of the committee.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Selling out the Manitowish River?

Read this article on the ATV Stakeholder's group examining a section of the Manitowish River for a possible ATV trail bridge. The article either contains an important factual error, or things are much worse than I thought. The article states the Stakeholder group's mission was to find a site that "would not displace established State forest users".

Something is wrong here. Where did that meaningless goal come from? Even a demolition derby alongside the Manitowish River would not "displace" paddlers on the river. The issue is whether an ATV trail would significantly interfere with other users. We can only hope the slippage in language is an accidental construction of the reporter. (I am checking on it) If not, it is an alteration of the original assignment because an ATV trail along the Manitowish won't pass the test of not interfering with paddlers on the river.

The rest of the article is scary, too, including Dennis Leith's statement that if an ATV trail is found to be "sustainable", other trails can be built. The committee has yet to define precisely what "sustainability" would mean in terms of other users of the forest, and we can be sure who that slipperiness will benefit. We learn, for example, that the "deadline" set for next April is not a firm deadline, which means there will be no end to this process until the ATV interests get what they want.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Early October, Oswego Lake

Do we really want to drive anymore? next installment

A year or so ago, I asked the question in this blog: Wouldn't it be better if cars drove themselves? I had seen someone in a sports car passing me doing at least 80, while they were highlighting some journal. I thought: You know, he could be doing that in a Ford Focus. I was thinking about the trouble drivers were getting in multitasking, and also how technology was inching up to the point where we wouldn't need to drive. So here is the next step in the process: A self-parking car. If we can get a car to park itself, how far are we from a car that can drive itself?

I would think htat the Wisconsin Tavern League would be investing heavily!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Shamelessly Using Manitowish River sounds....

This person was observed using the Manitowish River's sonic attributes. Specifically, as he remembered, he used the sounds of wood thrush, loons, pileated woodpeckers, and also the sounds of wind in the pines, lapping water, and occasional fish surprising the surface of the water.

At other times, he has used the sounds of otters, and once, a bear crunching through the woods.

The benefits of his exploitation of these resources are too numerous to mention.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

ATV documents..

I have posted three documents passed on to me concerning ATV trails. The first is the shockingly bizarre proposal in the Stakeholder's group to put a trail near the Manitowish river and the Circle Lily area. The second concerns a legislative "move" that could be the legislative "end around" I warned about. Click on the above link. I haven't had a chance to go over all of the documents, so I will have more to say when I do. The third is a letter from John Bates regarding the potential damage of an ATV trail in the Manitowish River Area.

Time to start writing letters and taking action!

ATV Alert....Important!

It seems that there is a lot of scary ATV news. I am linking you to some of the longer letters from Sue Drum, who sits on the Stakeholder's committee. Those of you who love the Manitowish River need to take note....the proposed river will hang about the Manitowish River and Circle Lily road in Manitowish....two segments from Sue, but please read the entire letters from the link......

" As you know one of the criteria the stakeholders were given was to find a trail that attached to existing trails. Iron County has the only ATV trails that come near the NHAL State Forest. The proposed trail route begins at the existing ATV trail along County J in Iron County and follows Cedar Lake Road until it hits Circle Lily Road across J. It follows Circle Lily road to the point where it runs along the County line between Iron and Vilas County and passes in front of about 17 homes on Circle Lily lake. The homes are on private land but the Town of Manitowish plows the road and owns it. The trail then jogs slightly into Vilas County following a powerline and curves back into Iron County following a powerline that runs along the North side of Hiway 51 and is also a snowmobile trail. The trail crosses Hiway 51 just East of Circle Lily Creek on state property that borders Lance's Repair Shop on 51. Still following a snowmobile trail the ATVs ride along Manitowish Access Road toward a Wayside on Hiway 51. When the road stops they have to bushwack a trail on the south side of 51 to the Wayside. This wayside has a canoe landing also used as an undeveloped boat landing, and an old bridge structure on the far side of the Manitowish River. They will build a bridge across the Manitowish to connect to Sandy Beach Road, which is a wide gravel town road and use a logging road to connect to an existing snomobile trail that runs parallel to Hiway 47 back toward Hiway 51 and picks up an existing ATV trails at Chuck's Bar on the corner of Hiway 51 and Hiway 47 and 182. There is a snowmobile bridge across the Manitowish near this corner."

"I don't see any clear action that our group can take at this point as far as Stakeholder meetings. Our next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 1st and the one after is Nov. 30th. They are open to the public and any of you who wish to come and listen can do so and can speak at the end of the meeting. As you can see from the attachments they are at Rueland's Catering on Hiway 51 just north of Hiway 70, from 10:00 to 2:00. If you would write a letter to Dennis Leith or Robert Dall expressing your views on the proposed trail and any trail in our State Forest that would be helpful.
Let me know your suggestions."
Sue Drum

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Two Octobers....

Two more pics. I have been trying all summer to get myself up early to see the sunrise. I had to wait till the sunrise was closer to my usual waking time! I was rewarded with a beautiful calm day and some surprises. Look closely at the middle of the picture.

And the other pic, taken this morning-Already melting, but I hope that it portends a lot of snow this winter!

Two Octobers....

3 or 4 inches on the ground in Boulder Junction. Very quiet last night driving in. Here are some contrasting pictures, one taken at the start of the month, and one taken today. I like the Jackson Pollock.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Confession in Swan shooting....

Two teens, it appears. Something Tolstoy once wrote impressed me, but I am unable to find the quote. We ought to note how variable a person can be, one moment a tyrant, another a saint. . I wonder: If circumstances had been different, maybe these teens would have met someone who could have taught them how to enjoy these incredible birds. Maybe someday, someone will.

Punishment is necessary, not out of anger, but to emphasize a point to these boys and to others. Lets hope a lot of parents will use the moment to teach there kids. But more than that, we need to find the lost threads of kids and keep them firmly tied to something good.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Silent Sports People: Don't Cede Use!

I am not familiar with the particulars of the Upper Mississippi U.S. Fish and Wildlife plan, or its criticism. Both candidates in the Governor's debate framed the issue as if the Wildlife Service consulted no users in making their decisions. I suspect that they consulted lots of people, but that some didn't like the outcome. I think waterfowl hunters as a whole are very thoughtful environmental stewards. But I don't like the way some politicians frame the debate as if it were between resource "users" and those who want to "keep" the environment from any human use.

Bird watchers, photographers, sight seers, hikers, and canoists use the environment just as much as duck hunters, anglers, and boaters. It is our resource, too!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

A moose in Cloverland!

My Mother once saw a moose near the Manitowish River in Boulder Junction. They wander down once in a while from the U.P. I am told that a deer parasite, and not lack of suitable habitat, is what keeps them out of northern Wisconsin. But it is a reminder, along with the wolves, that the Northwoods is, if not a wilderness, a wild place!

Kurt Krueger has a good article on the value of fallen debris in lakes at the same News-Review page.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Philosophy and the environment...why we should be optimistic but realistic.

Three views of the environment that results in inaction:

"Things are inevitably going to get worse."
"Things are only going to get better with an extremely radical change"
"Things will get better eventually because of market forces. Since we don't have perfect evidence, It is silly or foolhardy to try to predict or control anything."

One view of the environment that results in action:

Realistic changes in behavior can make things better"

So, which philosophy is more accurate? I believe the fourth one. I am thinking of the rapid healing of the ozone layer after legislative action worldwide to reduce flourocarbon use.

Now,as much as I like the idea of letting markets work their magic, market forces by themselves would not have "cured" the ozone layer. Legislation was proposed, industry balked, legislation was passed, the economy adjusted, and now, in 50 years, the ozone hole mayl be healed.

I am a strong believer in "techno-fixes" in this regard. I don't think we will stop driving cars, but we will be driving better cars. And just as legislation was necessary to build the roads for the automobile infrastructure, legislation will be necessary to help with the next wave of environmentally cleaner technology.

non-lead fishing tackle

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Deciphering Loons....

As you know, one loon remains on our lake this October. I heard her making the "where are you?" call this morning. So what is the story? This look is hanging around much later than the last two years.

My first thought is that its mate took off-One of John Bate's correspondents reported large numbers of loons gathering on Trout Lake. But why has this one stayed behind?

I went through my loonwatch information for a clue: The information guide says that adults fly off in mid september, but chicks hang around nearly until ice comes in, practicing flight. Could this be this year's chick? It doesn't seem particularly small. It is dressed in the "fall" loon colors. And I really didn't notice that our pair had any chicks this year. I didn't see the nest. I assumed that they just used the lake for fishing. They do behave territorially, however, chasing off other loons, not to mention swans, geese, and ducks.

I am going to study these folks a little more this coming year. I know so little, but I want to learn.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Beautiful fall weekend....

A solo loon remains on our quiet lake, although he/she is pretty quiet. While I was building a cart in the drive, I heard the famiiliar call of our friend, the pileated woodpecker. She headed for the tree next to the suet feeder, and moved her head this way and that, trying to get a clear picture of things. Was she wondering where her stump went? She eventually flew quickly and smoothly to the feeder. It was interesting that she came back the one time I was in the yard. I had noticed at other times that I hear her calling when I am lowering the garage door. She is very wary, but also reasonably comfortable around us.