Voyageur Country ATV



Bruce Beste

We started a new ATV club – Voyageur Country ATV – in late April.  We had 66 people at an organizational meeting on April 25 where all 66 joined the new club.  We have had tremendous support and interest from the local ATV community.  To date we have over 500 adult members.  We are in the process to add approximately 60 children of family memberships to our member count.  Children between 12 and 16 who have ATV Safety Certificates will become family members (we also want to know children of members between 12 and 16 who are interested in a safety course because our club will sponsor classes).

One of the instructors

Our membership includes folks from Orr, Leiding Township, Camp 5 Township, Crane Lake, Portage Township, Beatty Township, and Cook (plus other places).   Our mission is foremost to create an ATV trails system in Voyageur Country and promoting local business and commerce.  Then (secondly) to promote responsible riding on the system, and instruction for youth.

While there are many miles of ATV trails in the forests between Cook, Lake Vermillion, Crane Lake, Elephant Lake, Myrtle Lake,  Pelican Lake, and Orr, there is not a connecting system of roads open to ATV use.  Thereby, making it difficult to go from one trail to the other without trailering or loading machines onto trucks and trailers.  This method also creates a situation of several trucks and trailers parked along the forested roads. Read more »

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New maps make it easier to visit Minnesota state forests

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The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has produced six new, state-of-the-art maps that will make it easier and safer for people to explore, hunt, and recreate in state forests.  

“The DNR has updated six state forests with 53 more to go,” said Forrest Boe, director of the DNR Forestry Division. “This five-year effort will include updating maps for all of Minnesota’s state forests.”

State forest users now have two maps options. A geoPDF map will allow users to download a map onto a mobile device using a variety of map apps and then track their location as a blue dot on the screen. The new user-friendly, paper maps highlight the unique recreation features of each forest and include pop-out maps for popular campgrounds and day-use areas.

“The little blue dot that appears on the map on my phone goes with me whether I’m on or off-trail,” said Laura Duffey, DNR state forest map project coordinator. “This feature lets people know exactly where they are in a state forest—no more getting lost.”

The maps are also more detailed than previous versions and highlight the endless recreation opportunities in state forests, such as hiking, mountain biking, birding, berry picking, cross-country skiing, hunting, and horseback, ATV and snowmobile riding. Many state forests also offer campgrounds, fishing piers, boat launches, swimming beaches, and picnic areas.

The six new maps are available in time for fall hunting and cover more than 240,000 acres of state forest land and thousands of miles of trails.

New geoPDF and paper maps are now available for:

  • Paul Bunyan State Forest in Cass and Hubbard counties
  • Badoura State Forest in Cass and Hubbard counties
  • Croix State Forest in Pine County
  • Huntersville State Forest in Cass, Hubbard and Wadena counties
  • Lyons State Forest in Wadena County.
  • Chengwatana State Forest in Pine and Chisago counties

The Paul Bunyan and Badoura state forests are popular spots for hunters. Combined, they contain two campgrounds and day-use areas, four off-highway vehicle trails, five wildlife management areas (WMA), two ruffed grouse management areas, and four state game refuges. They also have hiking, biking, snowmobiling and skiing trails.

The Huntersville and Lyons state forests are popular with hunters. Each state forest contains four WMAs and several miles of trails and roads for off-highway vehicles. Additionally, the Huntersville State Forest offers two campgrounds, a horse campground, and 24 miles of designated horse trails.

The St. Croix State Forest offers a variety of year-round recreation opportunities. It has 20 miles of horseback trails and a horse campground with 56 campsites. In the winter snowmobilers can enjoy 42 miles of trails while in the summer mountain bikers can cruise 25 miles of trails. The Boulder Campground and day-use area has 22 secluded campsites and access to Rock Lake for swimming, fishing and boating.

The Chengwatana State Forest contains the Snake River Campground and several miles of off-highway motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle trails. Three state water trails run through the forest: Kettle River, Snake River, and St. Croix River. Snowmobilers also use the Matthew Lourey State Trail, which runs through the forest. The new maps also shows locations of National Park Service campsites along the St. Croix River.Digital, geoPDF maps are available on the state forest’s webpage at

People can get a free paper map at a local DNR office or the DNR Info Center by sending an email to or calling 888-646-6367, Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-8 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Source: Mn DNR

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Learn the rules for portable stands on wildlife management areas

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Hunters planning to use portable stands on wildlife management areas this season are reminded to check regulations to learn when they need to remove stands after hunting. 

“In most of the state, leaving stands overnight on WMAs is not allowed and they must be removed at the end of the day,” said Bob Welsh, Department of Natural Resources wildlife operations manager. “Users of most WMAs will not see a change in stand regulations this year, but there is a change in an area of northwestern Minnesota.”

In a specific portion of northwestern Minnesota, new legislation allows portable stands to be left out on WMAs from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31.

Minnesota has 1.3 million acres of land in WMAs, and an estimated 500,000 hunters are expected to hit the woods and fields during firearms deer season in hopes of harvesting a deer.

New in northwestern Minnesota
The new regulation allows WMA users to leave up to two portable stands overnight in any WMA in the northwestern corner of the state roughly north of Thief River Falls and west of Warroad. The area also is described as north of Highway 1 where it exits the Red Lake Indian Reservation to the western edge of the state, and west of a line from Highway 89 where it exits the Red Lake Indian Reservation to Fourtown, then north on the west side of Dick’s Parkway Forest Road, then north to Highway 5 to the northern edge of the state.

The DNR defines a portable stand as a stationary platform or blind designed and capable of being readily moved by hand by a single person in a single trip without the aid of a motorized vehicle, is secured in position and does no permanent damage to the natural environment.

Hunters leaving a stand overnight must label the stand with the hunter’s name and address; the hunter’s driver’s license number; or simply with the hunter’s MDNR number. The label must be readable from the ground.

WMAs elsewhere in Minnesota
In WMAs in the remainder of the state, stands cannot be left overnight.

“Every year we have people leaving stands overnight on WMAs, so it’s a common violation,” said Greg Salo, assistant director of the DNR Enforcement Division. “We have this regulation in place to prevent some users from preempting others from the opportunity to use WMAs on a first-come, first-served basis.”

Portable stands may be used on WMAs if they are removed each day at the close of shooting hours and do no permanent damage. Spikes or nails driven into trees are not allowed, but screwing or clamping devices are allowed if removed each day at the close of shooting hours.

“In addition to WMAs, there are a variety of other public land types and hunters should be aware that regulations governing the use of portable stands can differ depending on the type of public land they’re hunting,” Salo said.

Hunters should always wear a safety harness if using an elevated stand, added Salo.

“In addition to wearing a safety harness, check climbing sticks, steps or ladders for damage and always wait to load a firearm until safely in the stand,” Salo said.

Hunters need to be familiar with hunting regulations, which are available at any DNR license agent or online at Hunting questions should be directed to the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.

Source: Mn DNR

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Check for invasive species when removing docks and equipment for seasonal storage

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The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is reminding lake property owners to carefully check boats and trailers, docks and lifts, and all other water-related equipment for invasive species when removing equipment for seasonal storage. This is important as new zebra mussel infestations were initially reported by people making end of season inspections of docks, boats and boat lifts.

“These recent confirmations serve as a reminder of the importance of carefully examining all equipment when taking it out of the water,” said Heidi Wolf, DNR invasive species unit supervisor.

It’s especially important to follow Minnesota’s law and keep docks and boat lifts out of the water for at least 21 days before putting them into another body of water. This state law is central to the training DNR-permitted lake service provider businesses receive. Anyone transporting a dock or lift from the adjacent shoreline property to another location for storage or repair may need a permit, to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

The DNR recommends these steps for lake property owners:

  • Look on the posts, wheels and underwater support bars of docks and lifts, as well as any parts of boats, pontoons and rafts that may have been submerged in water for an extended period.
  • Hire DNR-permitted lake service provider businesses to install or remove boats, docks, lifts and other water-related equipment. These businesses have attended training on Minnesota’s aquatic invasive species laws and many have experience identifying and removing invasive species.
  • Contact your area DNR aquatic invasive species specialist if you think you have discovered an invasive species that has not already been confirmed in your lake.

More information is available at

Source: Mn DNR

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DNR accepting applications for coastal area grants

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The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is accepting grant applications for projects through its Lake Superior Coastal Program. 

About $450,000 will be available for projects to begin after Sept. 1, 2018. Applications are due Thursday, Nov. 30. Funding for these grants is provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office for Coastal Management.

The priority in 2018 is on protecting lives and property across the entire coastal area by minimizing risk from natural hazards such as storms, flooding and erosion. The priority also includes addressing hazardous situations at coastal public access sites.

Projects that positively impact the natural, economic, recreational or cultural resources of Minnesota’s coastal area are also eligible for funding. The coastal area covers portions of Carlton, Cook, Lake and St. Louis counties and the Minnesota waters of Lake Superior. Local, state and tribal governments, nonprofit organizations, area-wide and regional planning agencies, colleges and universities, public school districts, port authorities, joint powers boards, and sanitary sewer districts are eligible to apply.

Grant requests can vary from $10,000 to $100,000. Applicants must provide 50 percent of the total project costs from a non-federal source.

“Minnesota’s coastal area is an economic driver, important natural resource and recreational draw for residents and visitors alike,” said Amber Westerbur, coastal program manager. “By focusing our efforts on protecting lives and property through hazard mitigation, we can engage our local partners in finding local solutions that fit shared needs.”

Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program has dispersed more than $12 million in grants to more than 500 projects since 1999. Recent grant awards have funded projects such as updating community stormwater management plans and improving scientific understanding of coastal forest seeds for improved adaptive management.

Application materials and additional details are available at Questions about the grant process can be directed to Amber Westerbur, program manager, at 218-834-1445 or

For more information about Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program, visit

Source: Mn DNR

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Early antlerless-only deer hunting season runs Oct. 19-22

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Hunters in portions of southeastern Minnesota can harvest antlerless deer in an early antlerless-only season from Thursday, Oct. 19, to Sunday, Oct. 22, in deer permit areas 346, 348, 349 and 603 in Fillmore, Houston, Olmsted and Winona counties, according to the Department of Natural Resources. 

“This hunt aims to reduce the deer population because of high deer densities that damage agricultural crops and other resources in three of these permit areas,” said Steve Merchant, wildlife populations and regulations manager. “This year the hunt includes permit area 603 as one of several ways to reduce deer numbers to limit the spread of chronic wasting disease.”

Populations in permit areas 346, 348 and 349 have been over the population goals established in 2014 for multiple seasons. The antlerless-only season would help move populations toward established goals and provide additional hunting opportunity.

To participate, hunters must possess at least one valid unused early antlerless permit. Bonus permits may be used but hunters must possess at least one valid unused early antlerless permit.

Public land is limited in the early antlerless hunt areas and hunters need to ask permission to hunt private lands.

In the early antlerless deer hunt, only antlerless deer may be taken, and hunters may use up to five early antlerless permits. Deer harvested during the special season do not count toward a hunter’s statewide limit during other deer seasons. Early antlerless deer permits cost $7.50 for residents, $40 for nonresidents, and may be purchased wherever hunting licenses are sold.

Hunters in permit area 603 must have their adult deer tested for chronic wasting disease and cannot move the carcass out of the permit area until a negative test result is received. Properly cut-up deer and boned-out meat can be taken out of the area provided no brain matter or spinal column material is attached. Information on proper steps to follow after harvesting a deer in permit area 603 is available on the DNR website at

CWD testing during the early antlerless and youth season outside the CWD zone is not required.  Mandatory testing will occur on Nov. 4 and 5 during the first two days of the firearms deer season in these areas. Individuals can voluntarily have deer tested for CWD through the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab at the University of Minnesota for a fee. More information is available online at or by telephone at 612-625-8787.

The DNR has not yet made a decision about whether to have a late antlerless-only season in  permit areas 346, 348 and 349 this winter.

All deer harvested during the early antlerless-only season must be tagged with an early antlerless or bonus permit, or disease management permit if the deer was taken in permit area 603. Hunters also must have a valid archery, firearms or muzzleloader deer license to participate. The early antlerless season coincides with the four-day special youth deer season. More information can be found at

Source: Mn DNR

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Gov. Dayton, Lt. Gov. Smith set to open pheasant hunting season in Marshall this weekend

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Marshall to host the Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener for second time

Minnesota’s pheasant hunters will look to Marshall this weekend as the city hosts the Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener. 

It is the second time in the event’s seven-year history that Marshall, in southwestern Minnesota, has hosted the event.

Gov. Mark Dayton and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith will lead the festivities, which highlight the many community assets Marshall has to offer.

“I am proud of Minnesota’s great hunting traditions, and I have enjoyed pheasant hunting here for over sixty years,” Dayton said. “For the past seven years, we have held Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Openers, which have been very popular. I thank our wonderful hosts in the Marshall area for all of their hard work to make this year’s Opener such an outstanding event. I invite all Minnesotans to join us for this special Minnesota tradition.”

On Friday afternoon, a dedication of the James Meger Memorial Wildlife Management Area will take place at 4 p.m. The Department of Natural Resources worked with Pheasants Forever and more than a dozen other conservation groups and major contributors to make the WMA a reality. It is named for the late James Meger, a wildlife artist and Lyon County native who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for conservation groups through his artwork.

On Friday night, the public is invited to join Dayton and Smith at a community banquet at Southwest Minnesota State University. The event will run from 6-8:30 p.m., with social hour, dinner and a program featuring the governor as well as local community leaders. Tickets are $30 and available by calling the Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce, 507-532-4484.

On Saturday, hunters will take to the field for the pheasant hunt.

Marshall previously hosted the second Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener in 2012. The first Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener was held in 2011 in Montevideo.

With a population of 13,680, Marshall is located 150 miles southwest of the Twin Cities at the junctions of U.S. Highway 59 and state highways 19, 23 and 68. Marshall and southwest Minnesota actively promote hunting and outdoor recreation. Within 25 miles of Marshall, there are 37 Walk-In Access areas totaling just under 3,000 acres, 20 waterfowl production areas totaling approximately 3,779 acres and 132 WMAs totaling 24,407 acres. In Lyon County alone, there are 47 WMAs totaling 11,184 acres. All are open to public hunting.

Hunters spend $725 million each year in Minnesota in direct hunting-related expenditures like equipment, food and lodging. That is an average of $1,412 per hunter. Travel and tourism generate $14.4 billion in leisure and hospitality gross sales in Minnesota.

Explore Minnesota and the DNR are assisting the Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce in planning the event.

More information can be found at

Source: Mn DNR

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Zebra mussels confirmed in Kandiyohi County’s George Lake

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Found on dock being removed from water

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed zebra mussels in George Lake, near Spicer in Kandiyohi County. 

A lake property owner contacted the DNR when he found two zebra mussels on a dock he was removing from the lake. A neighbor reported a single zebra mussel on another dock nearby.

DNR invasive species specialists did not find any other zebra mussels during a search of that section of the lake. The DNR will consider whether to also add Nest Lake to the infested waters list, because it is connected to George Lake.

Zebra mussels are frequently confirmed when docks and lifts are being removed from lakes at the end of the season. Look on the posts, wheels and underwater support bars of docks and lifts, as well as any parts of boats, pontoons and rafts that may have been submerged in water for an extended period.

Minnesota law requires that docks and lifts be allowed to dry for at least 21 days before being placed in another body of water, whether aquatic invasive species are present or not.

Whether or not a lake is listed as infested, Minnesota law requires boaters and anglers to:

  • Clean watercraft of aquatic plants and prohibited invasive species.
  • Drain all water by removing drain plugs and keeping them out during transport.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

Some invasive species are small and difficult to see at the access. To remove or kill them, take one or more of the following precautions before moving to another waterbody, especially after leaving infested waters:

  • Spray with high-pressure water.
  • Rinse with very hot water (120 degrees Fahrenheit for at least two minutes or 140 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 10 seconds).
  • Dry for at least five days.

Zebra mussels can compete with native species for food and habitat, cut the feet of swimmers, reduce the performance of boat motors, and cause expensive damage to water intake pipes.

People should contact an area DNR aquatic invasive species specialist if they think they have found zebra mussels or any other invasive species that has not already been confirmed in a lake.

More information is available at

Source: Mn DNR

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Construction to begin at Camden State Park

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Bridges to be replaced over Redwood River

Visitors at Camden State Park can expect parts of the park to be closed temporarily during upcoming bridge construction projects. 

Work to replace three bridges on Lyon County Road 83, which runs through Camden State Park, is set to begin on Monday, Oct. 9, and is scheduled to be complete before June 1, 2018. While County Road 83 is closed for construction, there will be no access to the park’s beach, north picnic area and lower campground.

The outdated bridges were deemed structurally deficient and will be replaced with higher and longer bridges, eliminating bottlenecks the old bridges created during high water events along the Redwood River.

The bridges will not only improve safety and river flows, but will also be aesthetically pleasing, fitting in with the overall look of the park.

“The stone imprint designs that are planned on the bridge abutments will look consistent with many of the park’s structures that are made of stone,” said Camden State Park Manager Bill Dinesen. Those structures were built in the 1930s by Veterans Conservation Corp workers.

The three bridges slated for replacement were moved to Camden State Park between 1986 and 1990, however the bridges were used elsewhere when they were first built in 1925 and 1931.

Source: Mn DNR

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Minnesota state parks and trails and HealthPartners celebrate new ‘park prescription’ partnership

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Following a growing national trend, physicians at some Twin Cities HealthPartners hospitals and clinics are encouraging their patients to get active at Minnesota state parks and trails. 

They’re prescribing a healthy dose of kayaking, archery, fishing, geocaching, hiking, biking, and more at a special event on Saturday, Oct. 7, at William O’Brien State Park, about 20 minutes north of Stillwater via Highway 95.

The event celebrates a new pilot partnership between the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the local health care provider.

“William O’Brien State Park is excited to host this event with HealthPartners,” said Park Manager Wayne Boerner. “We hope this will show people that you don’t always have to hop on the treadmill or drive your kids to practice to be healthy. You can simply take a walk in the woods together.”

Since early September, physicians at HealthPartners hospitals and clinics within the St. Croix River Valley have been giving out “PowerUp in the Parks” guides to families at well-child visits, reminding families that parks and trails are fun and affordable destinations to get healthy and be happy.

“For kids and families, playing outdoors benefits body and the brain. That is why we are excited to be partnering with Minnesota state parks and trails to bring the PowerUp in the Parks prescription to our HealthPartners clinics in the St. Croix Valley,” said Marna Canterbury, director of community health for HealthPartners. “It makes an impact on kids when their medical provider talks to them about how important and fun it is to get outside and play.”

Activities will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the day-use area near Lake Alice, and free transportation will be provided. One bus will depart from Stillwater Medical Group (Stillwater Campus) at 9:30 a.m. and return by 1:30 p.m. A second bus will depart from Amery High School (North Lot) at 9 a.m. and return by 2 p.m. Bus riders receive free park entry. Park entry fees ($7/day or $35/year) still apply to attendees not riding the bus.

Event registration is recommended. Find more event details and the registration form at

Minnesota is among the first states in the country to launch a park prescription project. Learn more at

If patients and families respond well to this pilot, the DNR hopes to take the partnership statewide or build additional partnerships to help the state become healthier.

For more information, contact the DNR Information Center at or 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday).


About Minnesota state parks and trails
Minnesota state parks and trails is a statewide outdoor recreation system that includes 75 state parks and recreation areas, more than 1,300 miles of state trails, countless water recreation opportunities, and much more. Visit to learn more.

About PowerUp
PowerUp and BearPower are community-wide youth health initiatives that work to make it easy, fun and popular to eat better and move more, so that youth can reach their full potential.  It is supported by a designated fund of the Lakeview Health Foundation in partnership with HealthPartners. It operates across the St. Croix Valley in the region served by the area HealthPartners hospitals and clinics (Amery Hospital & Clinic, Hudson Hospital & Clinic, Lakeview Hospital, Stillwater Medical Group and Westfields Hospital & Clinic).

Source: Mn DNR

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