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, November 29, 2006

The callow idiocy of snowmobile manufacturers

This is so sad it has to be true: Artic Cat does have a "hybrid" snowmobile-apparently a hybrid between a "powder" machine and a "power" machine-in other words, a snowmobile that can go even faster to kill and cripple more riders. Faster snowmobiles are a hybrid between stupidity and manslaughter.

Hybrid snowmobile update...

It is time to check in to see if we have gotten any further in developing the hybrid snowmobile. I will be the first to buy one. Which snowmobile manufacturer will be the first to have the foresight to bring one to market?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Carbon emissions trading-effective or the "mother of all indulgences"?

We put on a lot of miles each week. We "semiretired" our truck and use our prius and an old prizm to get around, but we still...put on a lot of miles. We keep our thermometer at 62 (if I get ahold of it) 60 (if Gina does). But we still heat a lot of space for two people.

So, should we feel less guilty if we buy "carbon offset" credits, or are we fooling ourselves?

mitigation as the standard?

It would be great to have a DNR policy that was at once more flexible, more enforceable, and more effective at preserving our resources. Focus on impervious surfaces and mitigation over "conforming" or "nonconforming" structures-is this the right approach?

The devil is in the details. "Mitigation" might be in the eyes of the beholder, unless it was well defined.

Monday, November 27, 2006

"You can rip up dirt or snow trails at breakneck speeds"

How absolutely cynical, given the number of people who did accomplish the "breaking your neck" part.

If you are a family snowmobiler, are you complaining about this kind of marketing? It is endangering your family's life!

Used Snowmobiles for sale

Hey, what’s with all of the used snowmobiles for sale parked along Wisconsin’s roads? As forlorn as unclaimed “Gard” signs. Some look old and outdated, but others are shiny and sharklike.

Victims of global warming? But wasn’t there lots of snow last year? Hot new models? But new snowmobile sales are down. Victims of bad economy? The first things to go when your job has been “downsized?” How about….boredom? Is riding on a rattling trail anywhere near as fun as a good video game? Sleek machines and ads portray an image that reality can’t meet. You just can’t go as fast on a trail as they show in an ad.

There is an important lesson in considering a viable long term economy in the northwoods. There will be pressure to make the northwoods a racing ground (or battleground) to "compete" with the world of videogaming. But what about "counterprogramming?" The northwoods as a "non-virtual space", to watch and listen to nature.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Tournament Fishing

“I am opposed to the July and August ban,” said bass fisherman Ted Heitschmidt of Tomahawk. “I buy a fishing license, I should be able to fish however I want during that period.”

The thought that will kill the northwoods contains the words "I should be able to (fill in the blank) however I want..."

Another Pic from Bruce-before Thawsgiving

This picture reminds me perfectly of what people in Northern Wisconsin have to be thankful for. I am thankful for every piece of earth too useless to exploit, and therefore more valuable than all the rest put together.


I got to Boulder Wednesday night, and the stars were magnificent. I wasn't happy with the warm weather, and I wasn't happy with the crappy rock music that drifted through the trees, taking away the silence that should go with the night. "Be thankful you can hear that well!", Gina says.

I get anxious at times about having this place, and this place having us. Over the next 20 years, more and more land will be developed north of town. Will there be more "frontier types", thinking that being up north will mean they can do what they want? Or will they be "wilderness neighborhood types", people who appreciate being here for the attributes the northwoods has?

I try to stay grateful for the moments of silence that I get. I can encourage, but I can't control. In the morning, when I refill the birdfeeders, I hear the nasal "Gonk!" of nuthatches.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"Three Lakes should be embarrassed"

I had the same reaction. It would be nice to think that communities, developers, and architects could be shamed, but they probably can't.

A danger to our loons! From Mike Meyer, DNR

"Dear Colleagues - I'll keep you posted on the situation described below, it could have an impact on Wisconsin's breeding loon population.

Kevin Kenow, USGS, found that nearly all Wisconsin loons fitted with satellite transmitters migrated through Lake Michigan during fall migration. The die-off described below has potential serious implications for Wisconsin's loon population as strong adult survival rates are critical to the long term stability of the population. It is likely many loons from the Michigan UP and Minnesota also stage in Lake Michigan during fall migration.

Original and complete post at the linke above...

Monday, November 13, 2006

Single Track Raven Trail?

I am not a "mountain biker" per se, so my comments here are based out of ignorance. Reconstructing trails to deal with erosion makes sense. I am not sure I understand how making a trail single track will help, though-I am skeptical of the "people will slow down, because of the technical difficulty". argument. Does a single track trail actually make the trail narrrower? Can that really be a good thing for a multi-use trail? I suspect that hikers and bikers may not be able to share some trails, if both sports become as popular as we hope.

Lets assume that we succeed in bringing more silent sports people to the northwoods-bikers, hikers, birdwatchers, orienteers and cache-ers. We may indeed have cross-sport conflicts that need to be addressed.

Grief, the original silent sport?

From Leonard Cohen:

"There is a crack in everything That's how the light gets in"

Monday, November 06, 2006

Walter Haag, my Father

My Father passed away last week, at home, after a long illness. My brother Fred, my Mother, and a good friend were with him when he passed.

I have had lots of thoughts about Dad, here, I will post some memories of this old school "silent sports" enthusiast.

When the environmental movement came on the scene, my Dad sounded skeptical: "If kids are concerned about the environment, let them start cleaning their rooms!" But on the very first Earth Day, Dad went with me to the "teach in" that my science teacher held at Lakeland high School.

Dad was very proud of his work as Boulder Junction town chair to restrict outboard motors on smaller lakes and to create an extra layer of protection by passing a 200 foot lakefront zoning rule. Dad worked for many years as the maintenance supervisor and unofficial mentor at the University of Wisconsin Limnology lab at Trout Lake. He made many good friends.

Dad skiied all over the northwoods of Boulder Junction as a kid, before anyone in the area had heard of waxing skis. When I bought my first true cross country skis, Dad was skeptical of the claims that wax would allow you could go up hill and not stick on the way down. But when he tried it, he was hooked. He skied well into his 60's, cigarette in one hand. I remember him telling us he followed a coyote up the Manitowish River. Now, that is a picture to remember my father by.

In the summers, he spent his free time walking old logging roads, for hours and hours.

Another animal story: When Dad lived in Boulder, he tried for a couple of years to grow a garden. He always railed about the hordes of rabbits, and he would say "I am NEVER going to garden again! But he was observed more than once just standing there, watching the rabbits chomping contentedly, as if he had grown the garden for them.

Dad never let anyone rest with their political opinions. He hated hypocrisy and cliches, and would call you out if you thought you guilty of them. But he would always come around to seeing something in an opinion that was different than his.

You couldnl't be around my father without being connected to him-he wanted to know about you, what you did, what you thought. He loved kidding, and being kidded. He loved reading, and wanted everyone in the world to read the play "The Iceman Cometh".