GRAND FORKS — Off-highway vehicle enthusiasts in northwest Minnesota are celebrating expanded riding opportunities with the launch of a two-year pilot project that opens the Moose River Dike Road in Beltrami Island State Forest to OHV access from mid-July to mid-September.
The Moose River Dike Road provides a connection for continuous access from the Fourtown, Minn., area on the south end of the forest to communities such as Roosevelt and Williams, Minn., on the north.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources owns the land, and the dike previously was accessible only to highway-licensed vehicles.
Members of the Roseau-Lake of the Woods Sportsman’s Club and the Fourtown-Grygla Sportsman’s Club gathered Monday, July 15, to celebrate the launch of the project, which DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen recently approved.
In essence, the 11.1-mile dike road connects trail systems maintained by the two sportsmen’s clubs, who work together as the Northstar Trail Alliance, said Tony Moe of the Fourtown-Grygla Sportsman’s Club.
They call it the North Star Connection, Moe said.
“This is what we’ve been working for 20 years,” he said. “It’s a nice riding experience for this time of year because it’s a high dike so you get a little bit of a breeze coming through, and there’s always something to look at.
“It’s just a nice open ride and connection without having to run down a county or township road or Dick’s Parkway,” a heavily traveled main road through the forest. “It’s just a real nice connection.”
There’s a 20 mph speed limit on the dike, Moe said, and cameras and counters along the road will record the amount of OHV traffic. Club members also will be keeping an eye on the trail, Moe said.
“It will be focused on,” he said. “We basically said if you see something that shouldn’t be happening, say something and get it done. Take care of it.”
Fishing museum update
Little by little, support is building for getting the Minnesota Fishing Museum and Hall of Fame back on track.
As reported Friday, July 12, the Little Falls, Minn.-based museum and hall is in danger of closing its doors without an influx of funds. Road construction on state Highway 27, which runs in front of the museum and hall, has hampered access to the site and cut into summer tourism.
As a result, the museum and hall faces a $35,000 deficit. That’s a deep hole for a facility that operates on a shoestring budget and has been self-reliant for all 21 years of its existence.
In an update Thursday, Brenda Perlowski of the Museum and Hall said attendance remains low, but donations are beginning to trickle in after news of the museum and hall’s plight came to light July 12 in a press release. “Mr. Walleye” Gary Roach has donated a fishing trip for two, and anyone who donates — or already has donated — $100 or more since the press release came out will be entered into a drawing to win the trip.
There have been other donations, as well, including a custom fishing rod and a $200 discount on a guided Lake Erie fishing trip that anyone donating $35 by July 31 has a chance to win.
As of Thursday, the museum and hall has raised $3,550 of its $35,000 deficit goal, Perlowski said. A GoFundMe page also has been set up and can be accessed by going to gofundme.com and doing a search for “Minnesota Fishing Museum and Hall.”
“We are extremely grateful to everyone who has been sending donations, publishing our story, sharing our press release and telling our story through podcasts and word of mouth,” Perlowski said.
Hall of Fame inductee
Speaking of fishing halls of fame, the latest inductee into the North Dakota Fishing Hall of Fame certainly earned the distinction.
As Blake Nicholson of the Bismarck Tribune reported, the late Bob Meter invented the Bottom Bouncer, a standard piece of tackle in the arsenal of walleye anglers everywhere, in 1964.
In simple terms, the bottom bouncer is a lead weight with a wire extending from the base and a horizontal wire arm with a snap near the top for attaching a spinner or snelled hook.
The idea, of course, is to keep the sinker from getting snagged up in rocks or wood. If there ever was a “Why didn’t anyone think of that sooner?” invention, it would be the bottom bouncer.
“His spinner kept getting hung up on the bottom, so he thought, ‘there’s got to be a better way,’” Meter’s son, Alan Meter, told Nicholson. “He came up with the bottom bouncer to get the spinner up off the bottom. It was the necessity of a problem leading to an idea.”
Meter, who died in 2014, was scheduled to be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Thursday, July 18, in Garrison, N.D., Nicholson reported.
More information on the North Dakota Fishing Hall of Fame is available at www.ndfishinghalloffame.org.