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Posts Tagged ‘Parks’

I’m just getting over being sick, so I haven’t been outside exploring much. But I have already started to notice the Carotenoids and Anthocyanins becoming more apparent in the leaves around the house. That means fall is coming. One of my (and many people’s) favorite things about fall is the changing colors, so I thought I’d post some links to find good spots for fall color viewing in Minnesota.

  • The Minnesota DNR’s Fall Color Report does a great job of regularly updating reports for each of Minnesota’s State Parks. You can even upload your own pictures to share what you’ve seen.
  • Explore Minnesota’s Fall Color Report also gives updates from around the state with information from the MN DNR, Voyageurs National Park, the Three Rivers Park District, and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. They also suggest driving routes for fall color viewing.
  • The North Shore of Lake Superior is one my favorite routes for fall colors and you can get updates at North Shore Fall Colors. They also give updates on birds migrating south along the North Shore.
  • Something that I think is new this year is Ely’s Fall Color Guard where you find on a map where others have noted fall colors. You can also map your own finds. Be sure to check out the history of the Ely Fall Color Guard. Ely’s advertising campaigns always make me smile.
  • Lastly, if you enjoy keeping track of seasonal changes check the National Phenology Network. NPN is a citizen science program that always needs people to report in the seasonal or recurring life cycle changes in plants and wildlife they see around them. I will be writing more about this program in another post and sharing what I observe.
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Yesterday, Bear Head Lake State Park near Ely, MN was announced as America’s Favorite Park through online voting at Coca-Cola’s Live Positively campaign. As the winner, Bear Head received a $100,000 donation that they will use to build a new three season trail center. Up against state and national parks across the nation, Bear Head beat out the Great Smoky Mountains National Park by over a half a million votes. In comparison, Bear Head receives about 100,000 visitors annually while the Great Smoky Mountains receives more than 9 million!

So what makes Bear Head so special? I have been there many times and can tell you that it is a great park. The lakes and trails are beautiful. the fishing is good. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable, and it is close to Ely and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. But the real reason is the wildlife. Some of the more common sightings include white-tail deer, red fox, common loons, and bald eagles. In fact for many years, a pair of bald eagles had their nest right in the picnic area. If you are lucky you might even see a wolf, moose, or bear.

But it is two particular bears that occasionally use the park that helped Bear Head win this contest. Lily and Hope, a female black bear and her cub became internet sensations when a camera placed in Lily’s den allowed Hope’s birth to be viewed live on the internet. On Lily’s facebook page, fans of the bears coordinated voting efforts so that Bear Head (a.k.a. Lily’s Park) would win the grand prize. Some fans reported voting over 1000 times throughout the contest and over 300 times in one day (there were no limits on how many times one person could vote).

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