Minnesota CO’s Win Pistol Team Competition

The Minnesota DNR has again demonstrated it employs some very straight shooters.

For a record ninth straight year, the agency’s pistol team won the 45th Annual Basil Irwin Memorial Pistol Competition. The event was held Aug. 30 in Chatfield, Minn.

CO Greg Abraham of New Ulm captured first place in the individual, bull’s eye, and tactical course competitions, and second place in the modified practical pistol course. Abraham also set  course records in the individual and bull’s eye categories.

Other conservation officers receiving awards included Brent Ihnen of Waseca, finishing second in the bull’s eye; Kevin Neitzke of Fort Snelling, taking third  in individual competition; and Sam Hunter of Park Rapids, third in the tactical course. The DNR team also included conservation officers Mitch Boyum of Rushford, Thor Nelson of Bloomington, Greg Oldakowski of Wadena, and retired CO Fred Peterson.

“We’re very proud of the accomplishments of our pistol team,” said Col. Jim Konrad, DNR Enforcement Division director. “These awards are both an honor and a validation of the commitment of all of our officers.”

Basil Irwin was a longtime Minnesota “game warden” in the Sandstone area. In 1967 he challenged some Wisconsin wardens to a team pistol match. The inaugural event was called the “Minnesota-Wisconsin Wardens Pistol Match,” but renamed “The Basil Irwin Memorial Game Warden Pistol Shoot” after Irwin’s death in 1970.

Since then,  natural resource officers from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have participated in the event.

Link (Via: Star Tribune)

BWCAW Fire Spreads

The Pagami Creek fire continued to march south and east in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness on Sunday. Over the weekend, the estimated size of the fire-damaged area grew by more than 40 percent, from 3,200 acres Saturday morning to 4,500 acres Sunday.

Extremely dry conditions, high temperatures, low humidity and winds out of the northwest fanned the fire Sunday, according to Mark Van Every, a district ranger for the Lake Superior Forest.

Firefighters took action to keep the fire from spreading to the north and west, where it could have threatened private property in the Fernberg corridor.

However, Van Every said crews are allowing the fire to run its course to the south and east for now, monitoring the progress of flames. The fire was first detected Aug. 18 and was probably caused by a lightning strike.

“As with other fires, when this fire was detected, we evaluated the opportunity for fire to play its natural role in the wilderness,” said Van Every. “We made the decision to monitor it and contain it to keep it from escaping the wilderness.”

To ensure visitors remain safe, the Forest Service has temporarily halted all access to the BWCAW through Lake One, Snake River, the Little Isabella River, Bog Lake, the Pow Wow Trail, Isabella Lake and Island River. People with prior permits to enter through the lake are being redirected to other entry points. People already in the wilderness who wish to exit may still use these lakes to do so.

Assistance retrieving vehicles will be offered to paddlers who decide to exit from a different point than originally planned in order to avoid the fire zone.

Crews also are asking visitors to move off Lakes Two and Three, all the way east to Hudson Lake. Paddlers have been asked to avoid Fire Lake, Bridge Lake, Rifle Lake, the Wilders, Horseshoe, Pagami, Clearwater, Isabella Lake and the Isabella River. Several portages in the area of the fire have been temporarily closed, as well. Campsites on the south end of Bald Eagle Lake are temporarily off limits, too.

“The fire is not an imminent threat to any visitors right now, but we want to keep ahead of it,” Van Every said.

About 65 people are now working the fire, monitoring its progress and sweeping out to intercept and warn visitors to the area.

Because of recent drought conditions, campfires in the BWCAW are now restricted to between 6 p.m. and midnight.

Link (Via: Duluth News Tribune)

Where the Yellowstone Goes

Fourth generation Montanan and fly fishing guide, Robert Hawkins, is finally realizing his lifelong dream to float the entire Yellowstone River.

To make the trip a reality, Hawkins teamed up with friend and independent film director, Hunter Weeks. “Where the Yellowstone Goes” will be the fourth documentary Weeks’ has produced and directed. He owns a production company, Red Popsicle, based out of Seattle, WA.

Their journey began on August 23 in Gardiner, near the river’s headwaters in Yellowstone Lake. Their mission: to make it to North Dakota where the Yellowstone flows into the Missouri River within 30 days, while taking the time to truly show “Where The Yellowstone Goes.”

“It’s really the crown jewel of the rivers left in the U.S.,” Hawkins points out. “It’s the longest, free flowing in the lower 48.”

“And that’s significant,” Weeks adds. “We’ve dammed up most of our rivers all over the United States and that’s changing a lot of ecosystems out there and it’s changing our country. It’s creating less natural habitats.”

Hawkins is happy to see the Yellowstone River hasn’t changed much since his childhood days of fishing the river with his father, and he wants to keep it that way.

“It’s just kind of an example of what a river was like 100 years ago,” he says. “People can come here and see this river and go, ‘Wow! This is almost what it used to look like.'”

Throughout the next month, the cast of four, plus their crew of five, will highlight life and the people they encounter along the Yellowstone. All 680 miles of it.

Continue reading at KTVQ.