Wisconsin Bat Festival flies into Ashland Aug. 25

ASHLAND, Wis. - The Wisconsin Bat Festival is moving north this Aug. 25, giving Northwoods residents and visitors a chance to see live bats up close, learn about them through science presentations and displays, and enjoy a host of family friendly activities aimed at demystifying this flying mammal and staple of Halloween celebrations.
The festival is free and runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center, 29270 County Highway G, Ashland. The event is sponsored by the visitor center, the U.S. Forest Service, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Bayfield County Tourism.
"We're very excited to be able to bring the Wisconsin Bat Festival to northern Wisconsin," says Jennifer Redell, a conservation biologist with the Department of Natural Resources' Wisconsin Bat Program. "We invite people to come and celebrate the important and unique role that bats play in our world and learn more about how they can be part of helping bats."
The Wisconsin Bat Festival was started in 2011 to help raise awareness of the importance of bats and the threats they are facing from white-nose syndrome, a deadly disease of bats. White-nose syndrome does not affect people or other animal species, but causes hibernating bats to frequently wake, depleting their energy and causing them to die from starvation, dehydration or exposure to the elements. Since the discovery of white-nose syndrome in 2006 in New York, more than 6 million bats have died and the disease has spread to 33 states.
White nose syndrome was first detected in Wisconsin in 2014 and has since spread rapidly and ravaged bat cave populations in Wisconsin.
The free festival will feature bat-themed crafts and games for kids, a 70-foot inflatable cave that can be crawled through, bat houses, educational exhibits. Attendees have the opportunity to see live bats up close, including both Wisconsin bat species and a fruit bat native to Africa. They also will get the chance to interact with local bat experts using technology to study bats and capture bats using mist nets.
Redell hopes the festival will also help recruit new volunteers to help the DNR and partners track bat populations in the wake of white-nose syndrome. Volunteers can help count bats as they emerge from bat houses and other roosts at night, and can use bat detectors to "listen" for bats along pre-set routes they drive, paddle, or bike.
"Volunteers are the eyes and ears of the Wisconsin Bat Program," Redell says. "Many northern Wisconsin residents, including lake home and cabin owners, have bat colonies. We are excited to take the festival to a new location and for the opportunity to engage new groups of people who are interested in bat conservation."
For more information on the Wisconsin Bat Festival see the Wisconsin Bat Program website.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Learn mountain-biking basics at Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area

Anyone looking for summer adventure may want to explore the mountain bike trails at Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area during one of the three I Can Mountain Bike! programs on Saturday, Aug. 11, from 9 to 11:30 a.m., from noon to 2:30 p.m., or from 3 to 5:30 p.m.
During the first half of the program, participants will practice shifting, braking and body position in a wide open setting. During the second half, they’ll take a guided ride and explore the single-track mountain-bike trails.
Use of bikes and helmets will be included with the registration fee ($15/child and $25/adult). A Minnesota State Parks vehicle permit ($7/day or $35/year-round) is also required to enter the park.
Children should be at least 10 years old to participate and should be able to comfortably ride a bike on pavement prior to attending this program. Anyone under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Reservations are required and can be made online or by phone at mndnr.gov/reservations (24 hours a day).
Call 866-857-2757 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily, excluding holidays.
I Can Mountain Bike! is part of a series of skill-building programs offered by the DNR’s Division of Parks and Trails. Other programs in the series introduce camping, fishing, paddling and archery.
The I Can! programs are made possible with support from the Parks and Trails Fund, created after voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008. The Parks and Trails Fund receives 14.25 percent of the three-eighths percent sales tax revenue that may only be spent to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance.
Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, near Brainerd, features 25 miles of single-track mountain bike trails. It also has an eight-mile paved trail.
For more information about any of the I Can! Programs, including program dates, times, locations, and minimum age requirements. Visit www.mndnr.gov/ican or contact the DNR Information Center at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday).

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

DNR to open public range in Columbia County July 24

POYNETTE, WI - For the first time in more than 20 years, southern Wisconsin target shooting enthusiasts will get a new no-fee public shooting range on public land when the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources opens the Columbia County Public Target Range on July 24.
DNR Secretary Dan Meyer will cut the ribbon at 10 a.m. to welcome all to the new facility at the Mud Lake Wildlife Area just off King Road - about halfway between Poynette and Rio. County and local partners will be in attendance and the public is invited.
The facility features 100- and 50-yard rifle ranges, a 50-yard shotgun patterning range and a 25-foot pistol range; earthen backstops and side berms and overhead baffles in shooting sheds to ensure everyone's safety.
"This fully accessible range is another great example of public-private partnership and teamwork," Meyer said. "It will provide the public with an environmentally friendly and safe area to shoot and sight-in rifles and handguns.
Funding for the Columbia County range comes from the DNR and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service funds through the Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration grant. The funds come from an excise tax on firearms, ammunition and archery equipment. Matching donations came from private partners including the Columbia County Sporting Alliance and the Wisconsin River Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.
"Promoting hunting, shooting sports and hunter safety is a long-standing objective within the Department of Natural Resources," Meyer said. "This target range is one more element in meeting that goal."
The facility's construction completes the process initiated in 2013 to establish a public shooting range in Columbia County. The Mud Lake Wildlife Area site was selected from several other Columbia County wildlife areas following a lengthy process involving many partners in county and local government who formed a range advisory committee. The committee identified several possible locations then held public hearings, a public comment period and conducted surveys before making its final recommendation to the DNR. DNR accepted the recommendation and in collaboration with the Department of Administration, coordinated the contracting and construction of the range.
To learn more about the state's public target ranges, visit: dnr.wi.gov and search keywords: Shooting Ranges.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

DNR invites public input on proposed forest trails in St. Louis County

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources invites anyone with an interest in recreational trail systems and motorized recreation in the Kabetogama and Sturgeon River state forests in St. Louis County to attend a public meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 26 in Cook. Attendees will be able to review a set of proposals that include changes to trail systems in the state forest. The meeting will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Cook Community Center, 799 Third Ave. SE, Cook.
Draft recommendations include new all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and off-highway motorcycle (OHM) trails, permitting ATV/OHM use on portions of snowmobile trails, designating portions of the Taconite State Trail to allow ATV/OHM use and designating existing hunter-walking trails.
The DNR invites the public to visit the meeting to review maps of existing and proposed trails, discuss the DNR proposals, submit comments and suggest changes to the recommendations. The DNR will also accept written comments through 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11.  
Comments received at the meeting and during the public comment period will be used to develop a final recommendation that will be submitted to the DNR commissioner for approval. Changes to state forest trail designations must be made by commissioner's order and published in the State Register.  
Written comments may be submitted by:
Email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Fax to 651-297-1157.
Mail to Joe Unger, Parks and Trails Division, DNR, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN  55155-4039.
For more information, call The DNR’s Parks and Trails Division, Central Office in St. Paul, 651-259-5279.
The DNR’s Parks and Trails Tower area office, 218-300-7842.
Information is also available online at mndnr.gov.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Outdoor skills workshop for women scheduled Sept. 14-16

Women can hike to spectacular views of autumn colors and Lake Superior on the horizon during a three-day fall workshop that teaches a variety of outdoor skills through the Becoming an Outdoors Woman program of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Getting to that view includes 330 feet of elevation gain on the Superior Hiking Trail – the kind of physical and mental challenge known well to Jo Swanson, trail development director for the Superior Hiking Trail Association and the keynote speaker for the fall workshop.
“One of my themes is empowerment – learning to overcome fears of adventuring in the outdoors,” Swanson said. “We live in a culture of fear and people react strongly when women go on outdoors adventures, especially when they go alone. The truth is that with planning and preparation, the outdoors can be a very safe place.”
The fall workshop is Friday, Sept. 14, through Sunday, Sept. 16, in a new location this year at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center near Finland, MN. Attendees will hear from Swanson and Minnesota state park naturalists. Session topics include Ojibwe heritage, Voyageurs, archery, canoeing, and the animals, plants and geology of the North Woods.
Linda Bylander, coordinator of the Becoming an Outdoors Woman program, said that along with the new location, the workshop offers a new selection of classes this year.
“Women who attend the fall workshop gain a whole range of experiences in a supportive environment,” Bylander said. “We chose dates when the fall colors should provide a beautiful backdrop.”
The workshop is designed for women ages 18 and up, but girls ages 14 to 17 are welcome to attend with parents or guardians. Visit mndnr.gov/bow for more information and to register.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Artists may submit designs for waterfowl stamp

Wildlife artists can submit entries for the 2019 Minnesota Migratory Waterfowl Stamp contest from Monday, Aug. 20, through 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31.
The waterfowl stamp validation for hunting is $7.50 and for an extra 75 cents purchasers can receive the pictorial stamp. It also is sold as a collectible. Revenue from stamp sales is dedicated to waterfowl management and habitat work.
The gadwall is the only eligible species for depiction on the 2019 waterfowl stamp.
Artists are prohibited from using any photographic product as part of their finished entries. Winning artists usually issue limited edition prints of the artwork and retain proceeds. Judging will take place at 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6, at DNR headquarters in St. Paul.
To see more information on stamp contests, guidelines for submitting work and to sign up to receive regular email updates on the stamp contests, visit mndnr.gov/stamps. Contest guidelines are also available from the DNR Information Center by calling 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Paddle the Chippewa River with Ranger Ed

Paddlers are invited to join refuge ranger Ed Lagace for a free paddle on Saturday, July 28, from 9 a.m.-noon.
The trip begins on the Chippewa River and returns through the Nelson-Trevino Bottoms of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. Because of river current, this trip is recommended for experienced paddlers.
Registration is required by 4 p.m. Thursday, July 26, by calling or emailing Lagace at 507-494-6236 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The refuge is providing canoes, paddles and PFDs, or people can bring your own equipment.
The Chippewa River Landing is located on the eastern shore of the Chippewa River just north of Hwy 35 between Nelson and Pepin, WI.

SOURCE: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service