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West End News: January 10

Geologist John Green and Forest Service employee Mary Igoe install the new geology display at the Gunflint District Office.
Geologist John Green and Forest Service employee Mary Igoe install the new geology display at the Gunflint District Office.

WEN_Finalcut_20130110.mp34.5 MB

Back in the woods, winter is holding its own a little better than in the rest of the region.  Here at Sawbill, as of Jan. 9, we’ve had a season total of just less than 30 inches of snow.  Between normal settling and a couple of heat waves, there are 10 inches left standing on the ground.  It’s kind of sad, and a sign of the times, that we now welcome every inch of snow as a big event.  Not too many years ago, a four-inch snowfall was barely worthy of comment. 
Joe Fredrickson, from Silver Bay, who was injured in an accidental explosion at the power plant in Schroeder way back at the end of October, came home from the hospital on Christmas Eve after more than two months at the Miller-Dwan Burn Unit in Duluth.  His recovery has been painful, slow and difficult, but when he rolled into Silver Bay, the town’s people lined the streets to cheer and welcome him home.  Although it is a little hard to read, you can follow Joe’s progress at his Caring Bridge site by searching it for Joseph Fredrickson.  His steady progress and hard work will eventually bring him to full recovery, but it is a hard road that he has to walk.
I just received word that my friend, Tom Parent, originally from Schroeder and recently from Silver Bay has passed away at age 57.  The Parents are pioneers in Schroeder and trace their regional roots back for countless generations.  I’m sure I join the whole community in offering my condolences to Tom’s family and friends.
I’d like to add my congratulations to Art and Lavonne Anderson who were recently named Schroeder Citizens of the Year.  Their kindness toward their neighbors was mentioned in the recognition.  I can only say that they probably should have been named Citizens of the Decade, but otherwise the honor couldn’t be better placed.
The BWCA Wilderness overnight permit reservation system is slightly different this year.  All reservations for the entry points in Cook County can be reserved on a first come, first served basis starting at 9 a.m. Jan. 30.  Each entry point has a daily quota on the number of parties that can begin their trips that day.  The reservation system used to be a little more complicated, but now that almost all permits are reserved online, it has been streamlined and is really very easy and convenient.  The website is, which is the main portal for all federal facilities.  Once there, it is easy to find the BWCA Wilderness and follow the simple steps to reserve the permit for your canoe trip.  You only need to know for sure which entry point you will use and the date you will actually enter the wilderness.  Where you travel in the wilderness, how long you stay, how many people in your party and where you exit the wilderness can all be flexible right up until you actually start the trip.  If you don’t like booking things online, there is still a toll-free number available.  You can get it by contacting any U. S. Forest Service office.
The forest service office in Grand Marais has recently installed an interesting lobby display on the geology of Cook County.  Well-known geologist John Green created the display, which tells the rich and fascinating story of Cook County’s 2.7-billion-year geological history.  John’s credentials as an expert on our geology include a full career teaching at UMD, an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth and a Ph.D. from Harvard.  I can’t wait to see the display.  I’ve always wanted to know more about our geology, but could never make it through the geology textbooks.  Honestly, reading a geology textbook puts me to sleep faster than being hit over the head.  A lively display with actual rocks to pick up should save me from the embarrassment of keeling over and snoring right in the forest service lobby.