The volunteers of the Polar Polers Ski Club from International Falls have invested many hours to complete the new Tilson Creek Bog Walk located near the Rainy Lake public fishing pier on Hwy 11 East of Ranier. The new bog walk is situated on the first .75 miles of the Tilson Ski Trail. There is a resting spot at about the half-way point. The walk is like a floating sidewalk made from boards and is about 6 feet wide making it perfect for runners, walkers or even pushing a stroller.
The bog is an important eco-system supporting a variety of plants including the Tamarack tree (also called the Larch) At first glance, these trees look like other conifers, but they are actually deciduous as they lose their pine-like needles every fall. What makes a bog different from a swamp is bogs are made up of a floating mass of rotting moss resulting in a soil known as peat. The decaying process causes the peat moss to "burp" in the spring time as the moss releases gas into the atmosphere. It is recommended to wear mosquito repellent as the bog is a perfect breeding area for those pesky bugs. Surprisingly, some of the plants in the bog actually capture mosquitoes and other insects with their sticky leaves and are able to break down their capture as a source of nutrient.
The walk does not allow motorized vehicles. More energetic visitors can continue beyond the end of the bog walk into the ski trail system which is clearly marked on the map at the entrance and also along the way.
Check out this newly completed feature of the Voyageurs Park area soon!
They say "time flies when you're having fun." If the length of a day is equivalent to how much fun you can have then June 21 gives the most opportunity for fun! June 21, which is known as the Summer Solstice, is the first official day of Summer. In the Rainy Lake area of Northern Minnesota we consider Memorial Day the "unofficial" start of Summer, and some say Summer starts on fishing opener. That's because we want to stretch the summer season out to pack in as many activities as we can to make up for the long winter days when dark hours exceed the light ones. According to the MN DNR timetable we will enjoy just over 16 hours of daylight on June 21 which is almost twice as much daylight as the shortest day of the year in December. How will you spend the gift of more daylight time?
The ice is out on Rainy Lake so walleye anglers will be able to boat to the best potential spots with ease. The trick will be knowing where those spots are. The usual advice after ice out is to seek a rocky shoreline near one of the larger sand bottom bays. Troll the windward shoreline with a minnow on a spinner rig, that should help you establish the depth where the walleye are congregating, then anchor and jig with a minnow at that depth.
You might also come across schools of crappie and they will respond to smaller minnows on jigs or even bare hooks. Around the weedy edges of the bays, you can also encounter northern pike.
If you are planning to fish Rainy River for the opener, you should try the wide side of larger bends. You will do best with live bait and in the River, emerald shiners are always the favorite.
There are other outdoor recreations to enjoy. The "Bog walk" at the north end of the Tilson Creek Ski Trails will provide access to the trail system where you can hike with a good chance of seeing wildlife from the birds in the process of nesting to various forest animals that will be a little easier to spot with fewer leaves on the trees.
If you're not up to a hike, how about a drive, the forestry roads will also offer a good chance to spot wildlife and some will encounter fun points of interest. An example is the Flowing Well Road in southwestern Koochiching County. The flowing well has been running steady since the early 1900's. A pipe was sunk hundreds of feet deep to tap an underground source and supply water to ice the trails used to skid enormous loads of timber out of the forest each winter.
Speaking of big timber, you can follow a forestry road to the "Lost 40" hiking trails. the Lost 40 is neither lost, or 40 acres. It is really around 120 acres that was never logged due to a survey error. Some of the pine there have been growing for hundreds of years and are huge.
If you'd like directions to any of these sites, just ask! Email the Convention and Visitors Bureau at firstname.lastname@example.org (Photos courtesy of Elisa Winterland, Burgess Eberhardt and Pete Schultz)
International Falls, Rainy Lake and Ranier Convention and Visitors Bureau