National Park’s Week is upon us, and Minnesota’s National Park is ready to celebrate. Here’s a quick look at what Voyageurs National Park is doing. On Friday, April 21, 2017 there will be a Native Foods Cooking Demonstration. Students from the Indus High School ProStart Foods Class will prepare a delectable meal using locally available native foods. Samples will be provided. Be at the Rainy Lake Visitor Center on Black Bay at 2:00 pm for the demonstration.
Take the Ethno-botanical garden tour on Saturday, April 22, 2017 and Ranger Lisa Maass will explain the importance of native plants to the Ojibwe culture. The tour will start at the Rainy lake visitor Center at 1:00 pm. At 2:00 pm, Park Biologist Bryce Olson will discuss the reasons behind a cattail invasion and the multi-year project to reduce the cattail problem and restore delicate wetlands. The “Invasion of the Cattails” talk will be at the theatre within the Rainy Lake Visitor Center.
Sunday April 23, 2017 is National Park Prescription Day, and the prescription is to get out and hike in our park, it’s good for you and it’s fun. Hike to health passports will be available at the Rainy Lake Visitor Center all day.
Voyageurs is a water-based park and is so named because of the French Canadian Voyageurs that plied these waterways carrying furs from the interior for export to Europe and trade goods for the natives. The Park was established because of the vibrant history, rich natural resources and spectacular scenery in this north American waterways crossroads.
Boat tours will start on Rainy Lake in June and will take in some of the scenery, wildlife and history including a stop at Little American Island, the site of the biggest and most successful Gold Mine of the late 1800’s. You can hike the handicap accessible trail for about a quarter mile and see how the mine operated as your Ranger guide explains the process and the geology that provided the gold that was mined.
Walleye anglers in Minnesota are fishing the open water on Rainy River. The walleye season remains open on our border waters until April 14. The Northern pike, crappie and smallmouth bass seasons are open continuous. Today, March 27, the ramps at International Falls are being cleared. The Pat Roche Access is adjacent to the Voyageurs National Park Headquarters and provides access above the dam and below the Ranier Rapids. This is a lake like pool with excellent fishing potential. The Ron Hall access is below the dam just off Shorewood Drive in the west end of International Falls. Fish the swifter waters below the dam and downstream to the golf course. This part of the river is not subject to the debris and clouding downstream when the Little Fork and Big Fork Rivers let out.
You could learn more about Rainy River fishing and many more outdoor topics at the International Falls Outdoor Expo scheduled for April 7 & 8 at the Evangelical Covenant Church. The expo always draws a crowd for their workshops, competitions and speakers. John Godwin, known for his role in the A & E TV series “Duck Dynasty” will be the key speaker. You can get more specific information under the Events tab on this website.
Another popular outdoor event will be the annual Trails End Chapter MDHA Dinner. Minnesota Deer Hunters Association provides funds for all sorts of local projects and you can learn more about those under the events tab as well. MDHA is one of many organizations that advocate for the best habitat management practices. Minnesota has abundant habitat and wildlife amid woodlands that are also managed to produce raw material for the forest products industry.
Now is the time to get our and hike some forest trails, migrating birds of all types are returning and runoff from the snow melt will thunder through the area rapids and waterfalls. You might hear ruffed grouse drumming in their spring mating ritual. Or observe woodcock perform their aerial display called peenting, which includes a nasal “peent” call they make on the ground.
Anglers are waiting for ice-up to hit the hard water fishing. The Whitetail Deer Firearms Season is winding down. So far, registrations are behind last year, and that is not a surprise given the harsh winter that prompted a bucks-only season for Minnesota. However, there are reports of success and the closing weekend weather promisers to be pretty fair.
We have had some serious freezing weather and there are hopes Rainy Lake will support anglers within a couple weeks. An early start coupled with the extended walleye season on Rainy Lake and Rainy River makes for the longest ice fishing season in the state.
For the most up-to-date information you can call the International Falls, Ranier and Rainy Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1 800 325 5766