We have an iconic 91 year old sports columnist in the Twin Cities named Sid Hartman. Sid wrote his first column a month after WWII ended and was the general manager of the Minneapolis Lakers (now in LA) at the same time he was covering them for the Mpls Tribune. A Sports Illustrated writer once wrote that, "English appears to be his second language" and people love to rip him for his opinions that have little basis in fact. One of 'Grandpa Sport's' long running writing ploys is a section in his column called 'jottings'. This is usually rambling and disjointed thoughts on whatever flies into his brain or skirts the edge of it, with no discernible thread tying everything together. Well folks, today is going to be the blogging equivalent of a Sid column. Enjoy the ride.
On Sunday I got back into town and decided that paddling thing was kind of fun and wanted to do a bit more of it, especially since all my cold weather gear was in the car and the boat was on the roof. I decided on the pool above Coon Rapids dam since it was some of the only open water that wasn't moving at five plus knots and choked with large debris. Fortunately the launch area had a ribbon of open water which allowed me access to the main channel. As you can see from the above image, it had not been open long since there were still ice fishermen jigging on the frozen center. I worked pretty hard paddling upstream against the 3 knot current above the dam but it felt good and I must have flushed two dozen ducks in pairs and groups of 3-4. As I turned around for the quick ride back to the icy launch area, I remembered that this dam is supposed to be the uber carp barrier, the Maginot line (sorry, unfortunate analogy) of anti Asian carpdom that will keep these environmental disasters from the pristine and relatively carp free 10,000 lakes in our fine state. With the tourism dollars at stake and the general walleye mania among our residents one would think that this proposal would get legs quick but that's not the case. Consultants, the DNR, the National Park Service, our old buddies at the Corp of Engineers, and probably 6 other agencies are all engaged in studies, holding meetings, etc., thumbs firmly and solidly embedded in their collective nether regions. Guess I don't know what else I can say. There will probably be Asian carp patties for school lunch in a couple years. Maybe it will be subsidised by the Feds as part of the Federal Commodity Program as part of the obesity reduction effort. I had to eat carp for several meals when I was in the Soviet Union in the mid '70's. Trust me, a nice pasty white steamed carp fillet will inevitably result in weight loss.
Moving right along to lighthouses, the NPS is accepting comments on what to do with 5 lighthouses in the Apostles, Sand, Outer, Michigan, Devils, and Long islands. There is a lengthy pile of documents to wade through but its worth the wading if you enjoy stopping at the lighthouses, one of the most popular attractions in the park. I understand they may have a bit of history surrounding them as well, history that can be accessed on a daily basis by clicking on RangerBob's blog to the right of this post. This may seem pathetically simple as well, stabilize the lighthouses, throw a few bucks at the grounds, preserve historic character, etc., but significant bucks have already been thrown at the 'study' and the 'process', dollars that we simple visitors, not versed in the machinations and nuances of the federal dollar grinder, would possibly think could have been used to actually do the work. At the deer camp when the roof leaks or erosion threatens the sauna, we generally do two things: fix the roof and shore up the sauna. A much simpler situation I know, but I'd like to actually see something done on all of these federal projects before the Outer Island light is horizontal in Lake Superior and I'm sending in my entry form for the 10th Annual Lake Mille Lacs Asian Carp Fishing Tournament.
Finally, to finish this rambling post, a bit of positive news that you can even participate in! The president of Qajaq Japan and a Facebook buddy, Eiichi Ito, had a bunch of labels printed to help raise money for tsunami relief in Japan. He is selling them for $9 each and you can pay through PayPal. Free shipping to boot! They are 10cm x 10cm, 4" x 4" for we non decimal Neanderthals. Skinny stick aficionados need to stick together so lets support our fellow skin on framers in Qajaq Japan. I hope to see lots of these way cool samurai stickers at the Washburn, Grand Marais, Door County, WI, and especially the Traditional Gathering this fall. You simply send an email to Eiichi Ito [firstname.lastname@example.org] and he will hook you up and let you know about the Paypal procedure. You really can't go wrong.