41st Anniversary - UPDATE June 9, 2020

Although our anniversary is today, Donna and I started celebrating 6 days ago with a trip to “The Lost Forty” a 40 acre parcel of virgin white pines 300 to 400 years old that got missed due to the good fortune of a surveying error over a century ago. Lynn by white pineLynn by white pineThe surrounding area was cut and came back aspen, birch, maple, basswood, and oak.

On the way, we saw that the U. S. Forest Service is still following my recommendation to spare white pines. All the white pines were spared in a clear-cut in the Chippewa National Forest in which all the aspens were cut. The aspens will quickly re-sprout from their root system, while white pines would have to grow from seeds and be shaded out by the fast growing aspens and be hampered by other factors. A century of near total removal of white pines changes the ecosystem in ways that make it difficult for white pines to regenerate after harvest.

Eagles at nestEagles at nestOne of Donna’s requests for our anniversary was to visit The Lost Forty. We took a 2 hour walk and saw towering white pines and evidence of the history of this stand that took root in the 1600’s when settlers were just beginning to arrive from Europe. Some trees were scarred by fire while others remained unscathed due to white pine’s thick bark. They were magnificent, growing on the richest soil in Minnesota—soil deposited millennia ago by the Des Moines lobe of an ancient glacier. Some of the trees were dead or dying, but in this untouched forest within the Chippewa National Forest they were left to do their ecological duties. A healthy forest is a functioning ecosystem that includes dead and dying trees to provide food and homes for wildlife. A dead white pine that topples over can become a mini-ecosytem that can last for over two centuries.

White Pines spared in aspen clearcutWhite Pines spared in aspen clearcut White Pine stump with fire scarWhite Pine stump with fire scar False Lily of the valleyFalse Lily of the valley


Donna got a nice picture of a False Lily-of-the-Valley plant in bloom, and she snapped a picture of me being a tree-hugger.

Her other request for our anniversary was to take a pontoon ride to see if the eagles were at their shoreline nest this year. They are, and both were there. Other treats were seeing a loon, a great blue heron, and a family of mallards cruising the shoreline snatching bugs from the vegetation.

Out the window, 4-year-old Lucy was popular, getting interest from Ursula’s 3-year-old son Wendell and her sibling Fred, but Lucy had her own agenda—food, and the males drifted off.

Common LoonCommon Loon Mallard femaleMallard female Mallard femaleMallard female


A nice anniversary day!

Thank you for all you do.
Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center

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