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West End News - April 5, 2018

West End News - by Clare Shirley    April 5, 2018

This weekend, April 6th through the 8th marks the last weekend that all four mountains at Lutsen Mountains will be open for skiing. As usual, a celebration is in order. The annual Mountain Meltdown starts at 1 on Saturday, with live music on the outdoor stage. The stage will be full until 5 on both Saturday and Sunday. When the sun goes down on Saturday night, White Iron Band will take the party indoors at Papa Charlies at 9:30.

It’s true that skiing season is winding down all around the West End. The Sugarbush Trail association reports that the Onion River Road is still in pretty good condition and is the only trail being groomed right now. There’s plenty of snow on the rest of the trails too, for the time being. It’s spring skiing so snow is often crusty in the morning and soft in the afternoon. Skiers are reporting good days skiing on waxless or skin skies. The Ober Mountain warming cabin will be open for maybe another week, so get your last fix on the trails in while the snow is good and the sun is shining!

The lake skiing is still good too. Sawbill Lake, for one, still has 24 inches of clear hard ice with 15 inches of solid hard-packed snow on top of that.

Many of you have probably heard of the very successful and helpful tech nights provided in Grand Marais where you can show up with all your technology questions and high school students will help guide you through the problem. But did you know there are also tech support opportunities at the Clair Nelson Center in Finland? Every Thursday from 1 to 3 pm you can get the same sort of support and information on how to use your new phone or computer. They do ask that you call ahead to make sure they have space for everyone. You can reach them at 218-353-0300 to make an appointment.

Many West Enders have been enthralled by the irruption of owls this winter, especially along the Shore. On Saturday, April 7th at 10 am Sugarloaf Cove Nature Center will have an hour and a half long program called Tracking Minnesota’s Owls. This program will talk about the Owl Monitoring project, which was developed due to growing concern about changes in the distribution, population status, and habitat loss for many species of owls. Most existing bird surveys don’t account for owls very well, so the Owl Monitoring project worked to fill that gap with a volunteer-based owl specific survey conducted in April every year, starting back in 2005. Dave Grosshuesch, Wildlife Biologist from the Tofte District on the Superior National Forest will be presenting. Come hear the answers to questions like which years were exceptional for northern owl species like great Gray and Boreal owls? What has the project learned about Minnesota’s owls? What is the Superior National Forest doing to aid the owl populations? It’s sure to be an interesting and informative time!

For WTIP, I’m Clare Shirley, with the West End News.
 

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