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DULUTH — If you're hoping for a campsite at Gooseberry Falls State Park over Memorial Day weekend, you're probably out of luck. Same for Jay Cooke, Split Rock, Tettegouche and most of the region's other most popular state park campgrounds — they're 100 percent booked for the three-day, unofficial opening of the summer camping season. But if you're willing to drive a little and maybe try some new locations, there are still available campsites in the state park system for the upcoming long weekend.
MINNEAPOLIS—We've known for years that tiny bits of plastic, called microplastics, have become ubiquitous in the oceans and across the Great Lakes. We've also known that so many of these tiny plastic particles are floating around that they are ending up inside fish. Another recent study found plastic particles in many popular brands of supposedly filtered and purified bottled water drawn from multiple sources, including wells and springs.
GRAND RAPIDS, MInn. — Rick Horton of Grand Rapids was just back from a spring turkey when he noticed the ticks, about a dozen of them, dug into his skin. "They were several on my back, between my shoulder blades. And several in places I can't mention," said Horton, who spent three days crawling around in Kansas prairie grass to shoot a tom turkey. "I was camping out. No shower. I was literally crawling on top of ticks for three days. And I didn't do anything to prevent it."
SUPERIOR, Wis. — At the height of the Husky Energy oil refinery fire Thursday, April 26, as a massive plume of smoke billowed into the sky for miles, Superior Mayor Jim Paine was asked by reporters if the air was safe for people. Yes, the mayor said, later repeating his claim. While Paine may have been right that the air at his location upwind of the fire was safe, multiple experts say the black plume of smoke from the refinery fire was almost certainly full of toxic fumes and carcinogens.
A series of explosions and fires rocked the Husky Energy oil refinery in Superior Thursday, sending a black plume of acrid smoke across the city, forcing massive evacuations and sending several people to local hospitals.
DULUTH — After 38 years as the Duluth News Tribune's outdoors writer, Sam Cook is retiring Friday, April 27, to pursue, well, pretty much what he's always pursued. He'll spend more time sleeping on the ground in tents. More time paddling with his wife, Phyllis. More time following his yellow dog around chasing pheasants. Maybe more trips out west. Only now, he won't have to rush back to the newsroom and write about it. That's our loss, his gain.
U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson says he has the votes on the House floor to pass a bill removing federal protection for gray wolves across the Great Lakes region. He just can't get the bill to the floor. His bill — with co-sponsors from both parties across the wolf range in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan — has cleared a committee but remains in congressional limbo.
The Senate vote on cloture — whether to stop debate and vote on the bill — needed 60 votes but failed by a 56 to 42 margin.
DULUTH — It has been the April of our cold discontent and the impacts of our frigid weather so far are going to last well into May, with near record late ice-outs expected across the Northland. That means if you have plans to fish open-water lakes in far northern Minnesota on May 12 — that's less than four weeks away now — you may want to remain flexible on where and how you fish. Maybe try a river. Or bring an auger.
CENTRAL LAKES, Minn. — A mile off the nearest gravel road in a stand of young aspen, balsam and birch, a four-man crew from the St. Louis County Surveyor's Office hopped off their tracked ATVs and loaded up their backpacks for a walk in the woods. They brought a chainsaw and hand saws, a compass and GPS units, metal signs and fence posts, shovels and post pounders, spray paint and bright pink ribbon, 200-foot measuring tapes and other tools.