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!
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson”
That may be good advice for the adventurer or entrepreneur, but we recommend that you stay on the trails when hiking, biking, or ATV-ing the trails around Koochiching and St. Louis Counties. Whether on foot, horseback or ATV, exploring nature's woods and streams on one of the designated trails is an opportunity to make memories with family and friends, or to just get away by yourself. Spring trails will be open soon and are preferred by many as the weather is cool and the mosquitoes are few! It's always a good idea to bring a backpack with a supply of water, snacks and other basic items like a flashlight and outerwear. Let others know your planned route and when you expect to return. Spring is a good time to keep an eye open for Morel mushrooms, a blueberry patch to come back to later in the summer and signs of animal behavior. Be ready to snap some photos of interesting things along the way and you'll come back with a story to tell and an appetite for more.
While hunting grouse in the fall is the most popular of small game hunting activities in Minnesota, there is another way to experience the elusive bird in the Spring. Between mid April and the end of May grouse perform their mating ritual referred to as "drumming." It's when the male grouse shows off his stuff by standing on a fallen log and flaps his wings vigorously which makes a distinctive sound that can be heard by humans and the female grouse as well. Hiking trails in the Rainy Lake area near International Falls have abundant places where the grouse can be heard. While their feathers blend into the woods around them, making them almost invisible, their drumming reveals their whereabouts. Hunters can note these locations for better success in the fall and nature lovers can enjoy the effort of catching site of a male doing his best to attract a mate. This is hiking with a purpose. Maps of hiking trails can be obtained at area lodges as well as the Voyageurs National Park.