DNR seeks public input on trail

Published 6:00am Sunday, December 29, 2013

Column: Woods & Water, by Dick Herfindahl

Another Christmas Eve is past, and as I pause to reflect on the latest one I’m also reminded of ones that have come before — each with its own significant memory. Yes, we need to enjoy the present but also cherish the fond memories of the past.

As we head into the new year, we must remember there is still plenty of hard water fishing to be done. Small game hunting for rabbit and squirrel also continues until Feb. 28, while archery season for deer ends on Feb. 31 and pheasant season ends on Wednesday.

I heard that the jumbo perch and very small walleye are still biting on the channel. Fountain Lake is once again producing some good panfish action by the old beach, and Pickerel Lake has been giving up pike, perch and panfish.

It gives me a good feeling as an outdoorsman to know that our area has plenty of good fishing waters to enjoy. That means a person doesn’t have to drive 50 or 300 miles to find fish because we have plenty of action in our own backyard. Someone who shows a good example of what we have available to us locally is my grandson, Trevor. This past year, he’s been able to successfully hunt and fish both open and iced-over water without ever leaving the county. I know of many area folks who fish only our local lakes with success. That statement would probably hold true for quite a few southern Minnesota communities, but I believe Freeborn County has much to offer area sportsmen.

Speaking of local happenings, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is seeking comments on EAW for Blazing Star State Trail, Myre-Big Island State Park to Hayward project

The DNR is accepting public comments during a 30-day public review period, which goes through Jan. 22, on an environmental assessment worksheet prepared for a proposal to extend the Blazing Star State Trail 2.4 miles from Myre-Big Island State Park to Hayward in Freeborn County, located east of Albert Lea.

The trail will consist of a 10-foot wide bituminous surface for pedestrian, bicycle and other non-motorized uses, and it requires a new bridge to cross Albert Lea Lake. The 100-foot single span pedestrian bridge will be adjacent and parallel to the existing railroad bridge.

A copy of the EAW is available online on the DNR’s public input page. Under “Environmental Review,” select “Blazing Star EAW” from the drop-down menu. Additional copies may be requested by calling 651-259-5157.

The EAW notice was published in the Dec. 23 Environmental Quality Board Monitor. Written comments on the EAW must be submitted no later than 4:30 p.m. Jan. 22 to the attention of Ronald Wieland, EAW project manager, environmental policy and review unit, DNR Ecological and Water Resources Division, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4025.

Electronic or email comments may be sent to environmentalrev.dnr@state.mn.us with Blazing Star EAW in the subject line. If submitting comments electronically, include name and mailing address. Written comments may also be sent by fax to 651-296-1811.

This is a great opportunity for us to give our opinion on the trail and the benefits it will provide locally.

Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers not only during this holiday season but throughout the year because they are the reason we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.

Dick Herfindahl’s column appears in the Tribune each Sunday.


Locations to review the Environmental Assessment Worksheet

• DNR Library, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155.

• DNR South Region, 261 Highway 15 South, New Ulm, MN 56073.

• Hennepin County – Minneapolis Central Library, Government Documents, 2nd Floor, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1992.

• Albert Lea Public Library, 211 E. Clark Street, Albert Lea, MN 56007.

• Rochester Public Library, Reference Dept., 101 Second St. SE, Rochester, MN 55904.