Land of 10,000 THINGS TO DO
Note: Events are subject to change. Always check with the organizer before making plans. All events listed are in Park Rapids unless otherwise noted.
11-16: Hubbard County Fair, Shell Prairie Agricultural Association
20: Noon Hour Concert, Calvary Lutheran Church
20: 2nd Street Stage
21: Sounds of Spirit Lake, Menahga city beach
21-22: Nevis Muskie Days
27: Noon Hour Concert, Calvary Lutheran Church
27: 2nd Street Stage
28: Sounds of Spirit Lake, Menahga city beach
28-Aug. 5: Northern Light Opera Company, “Little Shop of Horrors”
3: Noon Hour Concert, Calvary Lutheran Church
3: 2nd Street Stage
4-5: Crazy Days, Park Rapids
5: Nevis city-wide garage sale
5: Water Ski Show, Halvorson Beach, Nevis
5-6: Antique Tractor & Engine Club Field Days
6: Taste of Dorset
10: Noon Hour Concert, Calvary Lutheran Church
10: Water Wars on Main Avenue
10: 2nd Street Stage
11-12: Northern Knights Run to the Rapids classic car show
12: Northwoods Triathlon, Nevis
12: Legends and Logging Days/ Backyard BBQ Challenge
17: Noon Hour Concert, Riverside United Methodist Church
17: 2nd Street Stage
18: Festival of Tables, CHI St. Joseph’s Health Auxiliary
19-20: Art Fair at the Winery, Forestedge Winery, Laporte
24: Noon Hour Concert, Calvary Lutheran Church
26: Veterans Tribute Program, Howard Maninga's home, Ponsford
31: Noon Hour Concert, Calvary Lutheran Church
The Heartland Lakes area teems with the sights and sounds of the great Minnesota northwoods.
Enjoy our towns and its people while surrounded by pristine lakes and tall pine forests.
This region offers a variety of opportunities – from scenic retreats and outdoor sports to rich cultural experiences, shopping, dining and entertainment.
Jump into the water for swimming, tubing, water skiing or fishing.
drive in any direction.
With more than 400 lakes, thousands of miles of trails and a wildlife refuge, the Heartland Lakes area is also a gateway to Itasca State Park, home of the Mississippi River headwaters. Local art galleries and museums celebrate the history and artistic talent of our communities.
Park Rapids and surrounding towns host many summer festivals with parades, music, kids games and more.
Halvorson Beach, Nevis
8: Nevis Bands & BBQ
13: Noon Hour Concert, Calvary
13: 2nd Street Stage
14: Sounds of Spirit Lake, Menahga city beach
15: CHI St. Joseph’s Auxiliary Garden Stroll
23-24: Art Leap 2023
31: Trick or Treat Park Rapids
24: Community Tree Lighting and Yuletide Sampler
Bike the famous Heartland Trail for a day of historic sights and healthy recreation. Explore the scenic North Country Trail.
Play a game of disc golf, tennis or softball or have a picnic at one of the city or county parks. Golfers needn’t go far to find top-rated courses within a short
From life on the lakes to exercise on the trails, shopping the unique stores or just kicking back with a good book beneath the Norway pines, the Heartland Lakes area offers it all.
Flip through this issue of Summer Scene and you’ll find what you are looking for in lake and pine country. We just know that you’ll enjoy your stay.
10 FUN THINGS
1. Grab grub at Nevis Sites N’ Bites
Nevis will host this year’s Sites N’ Bites on Sunday, June 11. The event showcases food from local restaurants along with work by local artists and crafters. Stop by the Nevis Chamber building and food shelf booth to purchase a Sites ‘n Bites Passport for $5 or five food shelf items. Get the passport stamped at locations on the card to be entered in a drawing for gift certificates to local businesses. Listen to music at the Shenanigan’s Stage under the water tower with Brock Beaulieu playing at 11:30 a.m. and Brothers Burn Mountain at 1:30 p.m. Hunter Schroeder will be performing at the Iron Horse from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
2. Admire creativity at Dorset festival
Dorset’s annual Boardwalk Art Festival celebrates Minnesota creativity.
This family-friendly outdoor event takes place along the popular boardwalk, which is lined with artists, craftspeople and authors. Join the street fair on Saturday, June 17.
3. Get your pic
Akeley’s 74th annual Paul Bunyan Days festival is planned for the weekend of Friday through Sunday, June 23-25. Most festival events will take place at Paul’s Patio in the center of town. Audrey’s Purple Plaid Run will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday to raise funds to help local cancer patients. The festival will also feature a kids’ fishing contest, a parade, bands, dances and more. Go to akeleychamber.com for more information.
4. Rock out on Main Street
Bring a lawn chair to Main Street, downtown Park Rapids and enjoy free, outdoor concerts from 6 to 8 p.m.
on Thursdays from June 15 through Aug. 17. The Park Rapids Downtown Business Association hosts the live concerts, featuring regional bands, a beer garden and family activities. More details can be found on page 18.
5. Sculpture Trail
Sculptures created by Minnesota artists dot downtown Park Rapids and Red Bridge Park. Stroll along the trail to enjoy a dozen new sculptures. All artworks remain in place for a year and are available for sale.
6. Nemeth Art Center
Turn a rainy day into a visit to the Nemeth Art Center. It shares space with the Hubbard County Historical Museum in a beautiful Victorian building that was originally built as a courthouse. More details can be found on page XX.
in May & June
7. Watch ski team antics
The Park Rapids Water Ski Team is holding free, family-friendly shows this summer at Halvorson Beach in Nevis. Shows start at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 24, July 8 and Aug. 5.
Ride the waves
Boating is one of the best ways to enjoy the Heartland Lakes Area. The larger recreational lakes around Hubbard County are popular for pontooning, kayaking, canoeing, fishing and water sports.
Hubbard County’s beautiful natural resources provide the scenery, while numerous trails offer outdoor enthusiasts the opportunity to explore year ‘round.
The Heartland Trail is a 49-mile,
multiple-use trail, open to nonmotorized use.
The Paul Bunyan Trail is 115 miles long, extending from Crow Wing State Park to Lake Bemidji State Park. It’s the longest of Minnesota’s state trails and the longest continuously paved rail-trail in the country.
The North Country National Scenic Trail is one of 11 National Scenic Trails in the U.S. and the only one in Minnesota. Anyone walking this trail is in for a treat as it meanders through forested hills and valleys interspersed with rivers, lakes, and numerous wetlands. Maps, events and suggested hikes are available at www.northcountrytrail.org
10. Ride the countryside
Hubbard County is an ATV enthusiast’s playground. There are miles of ATV and OHV trails around.
The Martineau Recreational Trails are found in the Paul Bunyan State Forest, near Akeley. These trails are made up of multiple loops, providing miles of incredibly fun, single-track OffHighway Motorcycle trails including tight, wooded technical trails for more experienced riders, and miles of smooth trails for beginners.
Located on a combination of state forest roads and trails in northern Minnesota, the Round River Drive Trail showcases the diverse terrain of the Paul Bunyan State Forest. Miles of trails twist and turn while climbing in elevation and narrowing past moraines and potholes.
The Forest Riders Trail in the Smoky Hills and Two Inlets State Forest is a 100-mile, scenic ride through Becker and Hubbard counties, on terrain ranging from rolling and hilly to level and smooth.
Cruising with the Let’s Go Fishing Headwaters ChapterBY SHANNON GEISEN Park Rapids Enterprise
Let’s Go Fishing (LGF) Minnesota, founded in 2002, aimed to enrich the lives of senior citizens by offering fishing and boat outings.
Today, they serve veterans, disabled adults, church groups, widows and widowers, senior citizens groups, social service agencies, nursing homes, assisted living centers, adult day care centers and youth.
The state boasts 17 local chapters with 21 pontoons.
The LGF Headwaters Chapter in Park Rapids has been cruising for more than 10 years.
They operate a 28-foot pontoon boat, providing several cruises a week on the area’s beautiful lakes, from June through August.
LGF Headwaters Chapter chairperson Fred Luckeroth said, “Picture this: A day at the lake, on a pontoon, catching a fish or two and creating wonderful memories. These are just some of the great benefits our guests and volunteers
enjoy through the Let’s Go Fishing program.”
Each excursion is approximately two hours. There is no cost to participants.
Staffed by volunteers, LGF’s operational expenses are supported by donations and fundraisers. Businesses and organizations who sponsor LGF have their logos displayed on the pontoon.
“We also receive monetary support
from several townships in the area,” Luckeroth said. “We’ve also established a capital fund for our long-term needs, which could include replacement in the future of our pontoon, motor, trailer and other equipment.”
They are always in need of more volunteers to staff the pontoon rides, he added.
To volunteer, donate or schedule a cruise, visit headwaters.lgfws.com.
It’s easy to get hooked on fishingBY SHANNON GEISEN Park Rapids Enterprise
Every spring, area fishing guides Jason Durham and TJ Erickson teach youngsters the joy of fishing at a free seminar.
Durham, a Nevis kindergarten teacher, has been a fishing guide for more than 30 years.
Erickson is a K-4 physical education teacher at Century Elementary School in Park Rapids. He’s been guiding for about six seasons.
Along with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), they offer valuable tips for a family to experience Minnesotans’ favorite pastime: fishing.
Where do you find fish?
In the spring, shore fishing is a wonderful way to enjoy a
Minnesota FISHING FACTS
Minnesota fishing facts
day at a lake without a fancy boat or equipment. As soon as the ice has melted off the lakes, sunfish and carpries are great species to seek, advises the DNR.
“The fish will go where there’s food,” said Erickson. “Fish will seek the warmest water in the spring and good oxygenated water.”
Durham suggests looking for shallow bays or dark bottoms because the sun penetrates and heats up the lake faster.
Erickson explained that fish like to hang around structures, so watch for rocky reefs, logs, lily pads, docks, fishing piers or weedy areas.
“Weeds provide good shade and good oxygen. Small fish hide there and that’s where bigger predator fish will be,” he said.
In summer, try fishing in the early morning or evening.
Big fish don’t live in the deepest, darkest part of the lake, Durham added, largely because there isn’t enough oxygen for them.
“Most of the time, we’re fishing in 20 feet or less of water to find these bigger fish,” he said.
Durham noted that the Park Rapids DNR has a map showing where anglers can fish from bridges or culverts.
“If you want to make it really intense,” he said, “there’s some spots where you can put in a kayak. With two people, you can float down the river and have someone pick you up.”
▶ The fishing opener refers to the start of fishing for walleye, northern pike, bass, and trout in lakes on inland waters of Minnesota.
▶ Seasons for some other species, including sunfish, crappie and channel catfish, are open all year.
▶ Muskellunge season opens on Saturday, June 3.
▶ Although not every kind of fish lives everywhere, 162 species of fish can be found in Minnesota waters.
▶ Walleye are the most sought-after fish in Minnesota, followed by northern pike and muskie combined, then panfish, bass, crappie and trout.
▶ Minnesota has 11,842 lakes that are 10 or more acres in size, 4,500 of which are considered fishing lakes. There are more than 16,000 miles of fishable rivers and streams, including 3,800 miles of trout streams.
▶ There are about 1.4 million licensed anglers in Minnesota.
Shannon Geisen can be reached at email@example.com.
Both guides also emphasized the importance of being safe on the water.
“Wear a life jacket, watch where you’re casting and take swimming lessons,” said Durham. “Safety comes first.”
“The most important thing is casting where the fish are,” Durham emphasized.
Both encouraged the young fisherfolk to practice casting into a 5-gallon bucket, without a hook, in their backyards.
He also reminded kids that the size of the fish isn’t as important as the experience of fishing.
Fun fish facts
The lateral line on a fish is a network of nerves, Durham explained. It helps them feel vibrations in the water so they
detect predators or prey. That’s why it’s important to stay quiet in the boat and not stomp your feet, he said.
Durham said there used to be tiger muskies in Lake Belle Taine – hence, the big statue in downtown Nevis. In the 1950s, there was a hatchery on the lake, he explained, but the fish never survived.
“There is a species that a lot of people don’t realize. It’s called the silver pike. Lake Belle Taine was the first place in the entire world that that fish was witnessed,” Durham continued. “A silver pike looks just like a standard northern pike, except it’s not green on the sides with white markings. It’s silver. Every scale is silver and outlined in gold. I call it the ‘mermaid of Minnesota.’”
It’s rare to catch a silver pike. “We catch maybe two or three a summer.”
Fishing regulation highlights
To fish in Minnesota, anglers 16 years or older are required to buy a Minnesota fishing license.
Minnesota fishing regulations, including those new for 2023, and more information can be found at mndnr.gov/fishing.
During Take a Kid Fishing Weekend – June 9-11, 2023 –Minnesotans aged 16 years or older who take a child fishing don’t need a license.
Big Mantraplake Mecca for
Area: 1,618 acres
Shoreline: 26.3 miles
Mean depth: 17 feet
Maximum depth: 68 feet
Mantrap Lake, a.k.a. Big Mantrap, is located 2 miles east of Emmaville in the heart of Hubbard County. With a littoral area of 849.5 acres, 46% of its waters are 15 feet deep or less. Mantrap has three inlets, draining from Mud, Bad Axe and Petit lakes. From its southern outlet, it flows into a chain of lakes including Upper and Lower Bottle, Emma, Big and Little Sand, Boulder and Belle Taine lakes.
Clear to an average depth of 13 feet through most of the summer, Mantrap Lake is excellent for recreation.
It boasts a high loon population, thanks to its many bays and points. Volunteers run a loon nesting program, providing rafts for threequarters of the loons that nest on the lake.
Eurasian watermilfoil was discovered in the lake in 2020. Boaters are urged to pull drain plugs and clean boats going in and out of the lake.
Mantrap is known for its muskie fishery, and is also a good place to catch northern pike, bass and crappie. The lake also boasts bullhead, sunfish, perch and walleye. Special fishing regulations on Mantrap Lake include a daily limit of five black or white crappie, immediate release of all northern pike from 24 to 36 inches, and a possession limit of three northerns with only one over 36 inches.
A possession limit of one muskie, 54 inches minimum, also applies.
WHAT’S IN A NAME
Map readers might guess Mantrap takes its name from the confusing twists and turns boaters must navigate from end to end. However, the name probably originated from baffled woodland travelers trying to pass by or around the lake. While the names Mantrap and Big Mantrap are interchangeable, there is a Little Mantrap Lake 12 miles to the west.
Information provided by the Big Mantrap Lake Association (mantraplake.org) and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Becca Larson / Forum Design Center
Prevent the spread of AIS in our pristine waters
While out on the water this summer, boaters should think about their own practices and the impact that each individual can have on our lakes and rivers.
In order to preserve these valuable natural resources for future generations to enjoy, Hubbard County operates a comprehensive aquatic invasive species (AIS) program.
Boaters and public water users should use AIS best management practices and should expect to see watercraft inspectors at many public accesses across Hubbard County.
Clean, drain, dispose
Public water users can cut down on the risk of spreading invasive species by simply remembering to clean, drain and dispose.
That means boaters must clean their watercraft of all aquatic plants, mud and prohibited invasive species; drain all water by lowering the motor, removing drain plugs and keeping them out during transport, and dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.
To keep live bait, a fisherman can drain
the existing bait water and refill the container with bottled or tap water.
Remember, that it is the law.
Know the law
Boaters may not do the following:
► Transport watercraft without removing the drain plug.
► Arrive at lake access with drain plug in place.
► Transport aquatic plants, zebra mussels, or other prohibited species on any roadway.
► Launch a watercraft with prohibited species attached.
► Transport water from Minnesota lakes or rivers.
► Release bait into the water. Boaters and public water users should use AIS best management practices and should expect to see watercraft inspectors at many public accesses across Hubbard County.
Free decontamination station
In addition, decontamination is an important step in preventing the spread of AIS. If trailering a watercraft from a
waterbody that is listed on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Infested Waters List, decontamination is a highly recommended protocol.
The decontamination process consists of three possible components: hand removal, hot water treatment and highpressure treatment.
Organisms that are too small to see, such as young zebra mussels, can be killed by flushing with hot water ranging from 100 to 140 degrees.
As a courtesy to the public, the county operates a free decontamination station, located at 812 Henrietta Ave. S., Park Rapids. Typically, it’s available seven days a week 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. by appointment. Call 218-252-6738 ahead of time to make an appointment. The station is staffed by watercraft inspectors who have special training and certification from the DNR. A typical decontamination is pretty quick, usually about 15 minutes.
If you have questions about the Hubbard County AIS Program or have suspicion of a new AIS infestation, call the Hubbard County Environmental Services Department at 732-3890 or stop in at 301 Court Ave., Park Rapids.
One CAMPER’S PERSPECTIVE
Josh Severtson of Park Rapids shared the wisdom of his experience as a camper in the headwaters area.
Severtson and company like to camp by parking their fish house in a nearby state park, where they can enjoy the amenities – air conditioning, oven and stove, microwave, fridge, freezer and a solid roof over their head – while also being able to cook out on the campfire, walk and cycle the trails, and put a fishing boat in the water.
“Easy, non-remote stuff,” said Severtson. “Easier for family.”
His fireside cookery often includes brats and wieners cooked on hot dog roasters, as well as sandwiches and pre-assembled s’mores wrapped in foil and shoved into the coals of the fire.
Severtson often starts fires using small sticks found nearby, but in case of wet weather, they always keep a supply of waterproof fire sticks in the fish house – basically, bundles of kindling coated in wax. For more low-tech, wilderness camping, he advises bringing flints along.
For those sleeping in tents, he said the challenge is keeping your sleeping place warm and dry, despite the weather. This may mean packing your sleeping bags or blankets in dry bags or totes. Also, a pad or air mattress may help make it easier to sleep on the ground.
For those who plan to spend a lot of time hiking in the middle of nowhere, Severtson advises carrying dehydrated food, which is light and easy to carry. “They’re doing all sorts of gourmet meals in the dehydrated packs nowadays,” he said.
Recognizing that parks like Itasca can be quite crowded, he added, “It’s a pretty friendly crowd. Every time we go out, wherever it is, it’s always a park full of enjoyable, happy people.”
Shell City Campground, south of Park Rapids, is a great alternative to heavily used state parks. Along with the nearby Huntersville State Forest Campground, it's a popular launch for tubing down the river. Both the Shell River and the Crow River provide canoeing and kayaking opportunities as well.
State parks, forests offer range of camping experiences
There are many options to consider when planning a recreational trip to the Heartland Lakes Area. Camping is an option that taps into the region’s natural beauty.
Two camping areas are the popular Itasca State Park, at the headwaters of the Mississippi River, and the newer La Salle Lake State Recreational Area, featuring the deepest natural inland lake in Minnesota, a coldwater stream and a stretch of the Mississippi.
According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), both parks feature forests and woodlands, cabins, campgrounds, fishing spots, research facilities and a unique ecosystem, including Itasca’s unique intersection of the coniferous forest, deciduous forest and prairie biomes. Make a reservation at reservemn.usedirect.com/ MinnesotaWeb/Default.aspx. Purchase a year-round state parks vehicle permit at www. dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/ permit.html.
State forest campgrounds
The surrounding area also boasts several state forests, including the Paul Bunyan, Two Inlets, Mississippi Headwaters, White Earth, Smoky Hills, Badoura, Foot Hills and Huntersville state forests.
There are campgrounds in the Two Inlets, Huntersville and Paul Bunyan state forests.
Located in the heart of Hubbard County, the Paul Bunyan forest encloses the Gulch Lake Campground and Lake 21 Day-Use Area, with nine campsites, one group site and a well, within a game refuge and non-motorized recreation area between Lake 21 and Bass Lake. It provides hiking, water access and picnic sites, plus carry-in boat accesses on both lakes as well as nearby Nelson Lake.
Just outside the Paul Bunyan lies the Mantrap Lake Campground, which has 36 drive-in campsites, two of them handicap accessible; picnic tables, drinking water, toilets
CAMPING: Page 16
From Page 14
and lake access for swimming and fishing. Mantrap is a designated muskie lake with carry-in boat access, a dock and nature trails.
A short hop across the
Top 10 tips
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources shares tips to help in planning an outdoor adventure.
1. Book campsites early, and be flexible if you can’t book early. Reservations for campsites in state parks and recreation areas can be made up to 120 days in advance. Reservations are in high demand for holiday weekends and at the most popular parks,
Becker County Line is the Two Inlets State Forest, with carry-in boat access on the west side of Two Inlets Lake. The nearby Hungry Man Campground features campsites, picnic tables, a toilet, drinking water, a drive-in boat ramp and good fishing and swimming opportunities on Hungry
Man Lake. In northern Wadena County’s Huntersville forest, the Shell City Campground is located along the Shell River and features a watercraft campsite with a boat trailer access and a horse campground nearby. Farther south along the Crow Wing River is
dispersed-camping.html. Included are tips about campsite selection, campfire safety, waste disposal and ensuring water is safe to drink. State forest maps are available at www.dnr. state.mn.us/state_ forests/list.html.
the Huntersville Forest Campground, also featuring a watercraft campground and carry-in boat access. Tubing on the Crow Wing River is a popular activity.
Information provided by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
5. Check equipment before you leave home. Broken tent poles or a leaky air mattress might ruin a camping trip or make it less comfortable.
location tracking so visitors can stay found, even off the grid. After you download the app and a GeoPDF map, no internet or cell service is needed. DNR maps can be downloaded for free. Get details on mndnr.gov/geopdf.
like those on the North Shore.
2. Looking for flexible camping options? Try camping in a state forest. If spontaneity is your style, try camping in a state forest where all campsites are available on a first-come, firstserved basis, and dispersed camping is allowed. Be sure to read the DNR’s rules and advice at www.dnr. state.mn.us/state_forests/
3. Buy a vehicle permit. A permit is required for each vehicle entering state parks and recreation areas. Permits can be purchased online or at park offices during open hours. The cost is $7 per day or $35 per year. If you’re camping just one night, a one-day permit will be valid until check-out time. State forests do not require a vehicle permit.
4. Pack smart. For a good starting point, the DNR provides a camping supply checklist at www.dnr.state.
6. Research events to enhance your trip. Events and programs are scheduled at state parks throughout the year, offering a wide range of activities from fishing and birding, to interpretive hikes, to crafting.
7. Check visitor alerts before leaving home. State park and recreation area websites post alerts to communicate important information related to safety, closures, construction projects and other helpful details.
8. Don’t get lost; navigate with a smartphone. The Avenza Maps app uses GPS
9. Watch the weather. Stay in the know by enabling severe weather notifications on your smartphone.
10. The DNR also stresses knowing and following the rules. See www.dnr.state. mn.us/state_parks/rules. html and www.dnr.state. mn.us/state_forests/rules. html, respectively. Finally, be sure to use only approved or local firewood to prevent the spread of forest pests. For the DNR’s full advice about campfires, visit www.dnr.state. mn.us/firewood/index.html.
Easy recipes for your next camping trip
Park Rapids Enterprise
A wide variety of recipes are available online that can be made on the grill or over a fire. Here are a few from a selection of easy camping recipes to sample the next time you take a camping trip in the north woods or want to cook out at the cabin.
• 1-1/2 pounds baby potatoes thinly sliced
• 2 tsp. olive oil
• 1 Tbsp. seasoning salt
• 1/4 tsp. pepper
• 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
• 1/4 cup bacon bits
• 2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese shredded
• 1 cup barbecue sauce divided
• green onions or chives and 4 Tbsp. sour cream (optional)
Preheat the grill to medium high heat. Lay out four large pieces of heavy duty foil then top each with a large piece of parchment paper or spray with non stick spray. Place equal amounts of sliced
potatoes and onions in the middle of each packet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt and pepper.
Place a chicken breast on top of potatoes. Brush each side of each chicken breast with barbecue sauce. Wrap up each foil packet by bringing two sides together and rolling it up. Then roll up each open end to seal the packet.
Place on a hot grill and cook (potatoes down) for about 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through (chicken should be 165 degrees). Cut open packet, brush chicken with more barbecue sauce if desired and top with cheddar cheese and bacon bits. Place back on grill (do not reseal) to melt for about 5 minutes. Garnish with sour cream and chives if desired.
Omelet in a bag allrecipes.com
• One large resealable freezer bag per person
• 2 large eggs per person and a choice of ingredients below:
• 2 slices ham, chopped
• 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
• 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh tomato
• 2 fresh mushrooms, sliced
• 1 Tbsp. chopped onion
• 1 Tbsp. chopped green bell pepper
• 1 Tbsp. chunky salsa (Optional)
Crack eggs into a large resealable freezer bag. Press out most of the air, and seal. Shake or squeeze to beat the eggs. Open the bag, and add ham, cheddar, tomato, mushrooms, onion, bell pepper, and salsa. Squeeze out as much of the air as you can and seal the bag again.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place the bag (up to 8 bags at a time) into the boiling water. Cook for exactly 13 minutes. Open the bag, and let the omelet roll out onto a plate. The omelet should roll out easily.
2nd Street Stage kicks off June 15
Join the great community gettogether’s 11th summer concert series, 2nd Street Stage, on Thursday nights from June 15 through Aug. 17.
The Park Rapids Downtown Business Association hosts the free, outdoor concerts from 6 to 8 p.m. with bands, a beer garden and family activities downtown. Bring your own lawn chair.
The beer garden opens at 5 p.m. for a social hour while you find your spot, listen to the sound check and greet neighbors and friends. Support this great event by buying an official 2023 button and receive $2 off all beverages at the beer garden.
To see the complete summer line up,
go to www.parkrapidsdowntown.com and follow us on Facebook at 2nd St. Stage.
June 15 - Joyann Parker
Joyann Parker and her band return to 2nd Street Stage to open the 10-week series. With roots in the church and a solid foundation of musical education, Joyann created her own blend of roots music that combines soul, R&B, gospel, jazz and traditional blues styles. Parker has been a steadily rising star on the Midwest music scene and now brings her full range of talent as an accomplished singer, pianist, guitarist and songwriter to national and international stages. Joyann’s “Out of the Dark” was released in 2021 and debuted at No. 11 on the Billboard Blues Chart and No. 1 on the NACC Radio chart. Her new album, “Roots,” is planned for a June 3, 2023 release.
June 22 - Ty Pow & The Holy North
Ty Pow & The Holy North is a Minnesota-raised Americana/blues rock/alt country band. They released the single “Shake On It” in 2022 and
their debut album, “Rhubarb ’93,” in June 2022. Influenced by 60s’ and 70s’ rock, soul and rockabilly, they have been playing in the cover and original circuit for over 10 years.
June 30 - Rich Mattson & the Northstars
Hailing from Sparta, way up in the great north woods of Minnesota, Rich Mattson and Germaine Gemberling have been writing, recording and performing together since 2010. Their six albums have received rave reviews and high praise from the indie rock/ Americana/jangle-core crowd. Their latest, “Out There,” was elected “Best Album of 2022” by the “Northland Reader.” With influences ranging from The Byrds, Neil Young, Petty, X and Link Wray, the group’s original “cosmic folk” has cycled back to a more rootsrocking Americana sound in recent years. The Northstars perform all around Minnesota and beyond. They have been invited to share the stage with such notable acts as the Minus 5, the Jayhawks, Drivin’ and Cryin’ and Trampled By Turtles.
Itasca is an international treasure
Park Rapids Enterprise
Itasca State Park draws over 500,000 visitors each year from all over the world.
Connie Cox has been a park naturalist at Itasca since 1995. She said international travel fluctuates with the economy and where tours are being promoted.
“One year we might get a tour group with people from Japan, Thailand and China, and another year we might get a group from Sweden and Norway,” she said. We also have international travelers coming on their own or in a family group to explore the park.”
The headwaters is a big draw
“Wanting to see the headwaters of the Mississippi River is one of the main reasons people come,” Cox said. “Water is important in people’s lives in many parts of the world and they want to see the beginning of this great river. When people from other countries visit, I have noticed that they have a different understanding of the importance of rivers. We have so much water in Minnesota with our rivers
and lakes. Some countries don’t have that luxury. Also some countries are very industrial. When I take an international group up to the headwaters and they see it for the first time, they often comment on how clean it is and how small the beginning of the Mississippi is. Some tell me how industry has led to pollution of the rivers in their country.”
She said visiting the headwaters is on the “life bucket list” of many visitors. Visitors are also interested in the history of the park.
“Oftentimes, when travel writers come they want to include the cultural and natural stories surrounding the park,” she said. “That can include the stories of the indigenous people of this area and how Itasca and the Mississippi were named. The connecting thread is always the Mississippi River.”
Other popular attractions
Even local people who haven’t visited Itasca in many years are often surprised at
May and June HIGHLIGHTS AT ITASCA STATE PARK
Itasca State Park naturalist Connie Cox said the park is alive with birdsong and wildflowers in May and June.
Some of the highlights for visitors are as follows:
▶ Songbirds are returning. There are 20 species of warblers who pass through the park, some staying for the summer.
▶ The best times for birding are just before sunrise until 11 a.m. and in the early evening when birds feed before roosting for the night. Right after sunset, visitors may hear the great blue heron croaking and ducks coming in to rest for the evening.
▶ The Mississippi headwaters area is a favorite spot for watching waterfowl. On cold mornings, insects are more active, hovering over the water’s surface. Watch for birds that are “hawking,” flying with their mouths open to catch insects.
▶ Another bird that can be found in the headwaters area is the northern parula.
“It sounds like the cartoon character Elmer Fudd,” Cox said. “That one sits on the top of spruce trees and is a beautiful blue, green and yellow with hints of red in its feathers. You have to use binoculars to see him, but you can hear him from quite a distance.”
▶ Pine forests, like the Schoolcraft Trail, are especially good for bird watching. The(Adobe Stock)
Dr. Roberts Trail has a bog, pine and oak trees and a lake. That variety of forest types appeals to different species of birds looking for nesting habitat.
▶ Walleye fishing is especially popular in May through the first week of June, mainly on Lake Itasca. Elk Lake along Wilderness Drive is a premier muskie lake. Fishing licenses are available in the park.
Any Minnesota resident can fish any lake entirely in a state park without a fishing license. Go to the DNR website for more information. At Itasca State Park, that includes Lake Ozawindib, Elk Lake, Mary Lake and Lake Itasca.
▶ Spring wildflowers abound in May and June. May is when the large-flowered trillium blooms. These large white flowers are visible on the main park drive from Preacher’s Grove to Peace Pipe Vista and up to the campground office. The Brower Trail is the best spot for viewing.
▶ Biking on the bike trail or along Wilderness Drive is another way to see both wild flowers and birds.
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the newer additions to the park.
“The Jacob Brower Visitor Center is one of those,” she said. “One of the comments I hear from both local and international visitors is how much there is to see and do at the park. Camping, climbing the fire tower, miles of hiking trails, biking, kayaking and pontooning. And in the winter, skiing and snowshoeing.”
The park’s busiest season is from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Visitors from around the world
In the past, an interpretive panel featuring great rivers all around the world at the Mary Gibbs center of the Headwaters had a place for visitors to list what countries they were from.
People also sometimes put where they are from when they sign the guest register at the visitor center.
“Looking through those records, there were over 120 countries represented,” Cox said. “The Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Jordan, Japan, Jamaica, Israel, Nigeria, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Sudan, Slovakia, United Arab Emirate, Turkey, Ukraine, Vietnam, the Virgin Islands and many more from all parts of the world.”
Sometimes Cox leads tours for international visitors. Others come with a tour group through a travel agency or explore the park on their own.
“Sometimes I work with a translator and other times they understand English,” she said. “One of the biggest groups I gave a tour to was 45 visitors from Sweden. I also have given tours to a group from Russia, a group of school teachers from eastern Europe, and the top military general to the president of Slovenia who came on a special tour with a reciprocal exchange program through the Minnesota National Guard.”
Sometimes travelers come from a university in another country to do research in the park.
“I also often work with international writers who are coming to the U.S. to do a story about the Mississippi River or other aspects of the park such as what visitors can do in different seasons,” she said. “When those run in magazines in that country, that inspires a surge of visitors from that country. We also work with Explore Minnesota on coordinating visits from other parts of the world. Someone came from Italy to do some video footage for a TV show once. A lot of the travel writers focus on the lodging and meals side of the park. They often visit Douglas Lodge in the summertime and write about the tour boat and other recreational activities in the park, such as the bike and boat rentals and fishing.
Travel writers also often feature the hiking trails in the park.
“Hiking is very popular in Europe and they want to explore the longer trails where you can go over 10 miles,” she said. “They want to know about the big hiking loops in the park as well as the North Country Trail that goes through part of the park.”
Cox said that international visitors are not easy to identify.
“Often we don’t know if travelers are international or if they are Americans whose family came from India who have been here for four generations,” she said. “It’s hard to tell. Many people maintain their native language and dress although they are living in this country.”
International visitors come all through the year.
“Looking through our guest registers, we have people from all over the world coming, even in the winter,” she said. “What draws them here to the U.S. we don’t know. Maybe they’re on vacation and this is just one part of their trip. Some come to see the fall colors. Others come here to watch and photograph birds, especially when they are migrating or coming to nest. The loon is one of the most popular birds in the park. They are a symbol of our state, our lakes and our need for clean water.”
Lorie Skarpness can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Park Rapids Enterprise
There are three species of herons that live in Hubbard County.
Marshall Howe is a retired biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who specialized in bird population studies and has been a resident of Hubbard County since 2010.
Great blue heron
He said the great blue heron is the largest heron species in the U.S. and its broad breeding range includes Hubbard County.
According to the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) (abcbirds.org), it s the largest heron in North America. At almost five feet tall, with a wingspan that can extend more than six feet, it is blue-gray in color with a black-striped head.
Great blue herons lay their eggs in a nest made of sticks and both parents incubate them for about a month.
The young leave the nest two to three
months after hatching but depend on their parents for food for another three weeks.
According to the ABC, “The great blue heron is the most easily observed member of the heron family, not only because of its size but because it forages
along shorelines on all of our lakes and often perches on docks,” Howe said. “The Great Blue Herons are colonial, meaning that many individuals nest in close proximity to one another.
HERONS: Page 22
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Their colonies are usually in tall trees. Because of the guano (excrement) that builds up over the years in a colony, the trees eventually die and the birds are forced to relocate. Birds will travel many miles from their nesting colony to feed. Unlike in the colony, these birds are solitary when foraging and actively defend their feeding territory against others of their species. They feed mainly on fish and frogs but
occasionally venture onto dry land and pick off unwary chipmunks. Many people confuse great blues with sandhill cranes (which are not closely related to herons). They are similar in general stature but cranes feed primarily in fields, not in the water. In flight cranes fly with their necks fully extended, whereas great blues and other herons curve their long neck back into a tight S shape with the head seeming to rest on the base of the neck. When they spot a prey item, they coil their neck back and strike with lightning speed. Great blues migrate to the warmer parts of the U.S. and Mexico for the winter, returning to Minnesota for April through October.”
Howe said while this species is also common in this area, they are much less conspicuous because they are our smallest heron. About the size of a crow, green herons do not nest in colonies.
“They are well camouflaged with their green and brown coloration, and when feeding they crouch low as they sneak along usually heavily vegetated shorelines,” he said. “Unlike the deep croaking call of the great blue, green herons when flushed will often emit a unique, loud, high-pitched shriek.
They hide their bulky nests well in trees and their nests are typically located close to their preferred feeding sites and often fly in pairs.”
Black-crowned night herons
The least common heron in this area are the black-crowned night herons.
“Because they feed nocturnally, they are rarely seen. In the day, they roost well hidden in low trees or shrubs,” Howe said. “They are also quite uncommon in our area. They are most easily found in extensive marshes, like those at Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge in Marshall County.
Howe said that while great egrets do not nest in this area, they are seen occasionally during migration, especially in the later summer.
“They nest in colonies, mainly in the far western and southern parts of Minnesota, but are prone to wandering considerable distances to feed after nesting is completed,” he said. “They are more apt to feed in swampy areas rather than on lakeshores. Because they are completely white, they stand out at a great distance.”
Lorie Skarpness can be reached at email@example.com
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