Fishing Season is Upon Us, get the LEAD out. Do You Enjoy Loons? How About Swans?

The following was written by  Carpenter Nature Center Education Intern Annabelle Barr

Lead sinkers are commonplace and traditional in fishing, but research over the past couple decades has revealed that lead tackle has devastating effects on wildlife. Waterbirds, especially loons and swans, have taken the hardest hit from these poisonous sinkers. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency references two long-term studies that found that lead poisoning was the cause of death in about 25% of adult loons. Another study from Canada in 1998 reported that 23% of loons died from lead poisoning, and that 125 to 187 million lead sinkers are left in Canadian waters annually. These waterbirds often ingest the sinkers when swallowing small pebbles to help grind their food, and after ingesting the lead, the bird will show physical and behavioral symptoms that impair its ability to fly and make it more vulnerable to predators. The birds often die … Continue reading

Come join me…

The Great American Canoe Festival
Ely, MN
JUNE 10-11, 2017

The third annual Boundary Waters Expo
Seagull Lake public landing on the Gunflint Trail
June 17-18th, 2017

Continue reading

Upcoming Paddlesport Events

I was remiss in not promulgating Canoecopia in Madison last March, and Midwest Mountaineering’s Adventure Expo, last April. I presented my “Tips from a Thousand Trips” and “Planning A Far North Canoe Trip” at both those shows. Many of my blog readers and past crew on my expeditions came down front and said hello. It’s always good to connect and reconnect, and the shows are fun, but if I have my druthers, I would rather be in the stern of a canoe than behind a podium. That said, I will be presenting at two upcoming shows and these shows are a little different in both size and location than the big city expos. Both are in the heart of canoe country and combine some possible paddling time with presentations. Being smaller creates easier space and extra time for more focused dialog and storytelling: The Great American Canoe Festival June 10-11 … Continue reading

Rob at 65

Last year, I remember commenting that on my sixty-fourth birthday I had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. Another year has passed and I am still standing and still feeling strong.  Amazing, especially considering that bull elephant in Tanzania.

On my birthday I would like to wish all my friends and family, new and old, fine health and good cheer. Those that follow my blog at thanks for your support. Those that were crew on my expeditions this year, thanks for being partners on our journeys together. Student leaders that opened their hearts in our circles together, bless you and bless the benevolent teachers who believe in you.

Sixty-five is a watershed year I guess, and although I will be grateful for the discount at Dennys, I have no plans to loosen my grip on the paddle, pen or podium. I still have … Continue reading


In Moab, just off a 120-mile canoe trip down the Green River from the town of the same name to its confluence with the Colorado River. The Green was a tame river even at 15,000 cfs (floodstage). Not sure where it got the name “Green” as it was perhaps the siltiest river I have ever paddled, but because the river was so high there was no mud on the banks. The landings were dry. Submerged willows and deadheads in the swift, flood-swollen river convinced me to stay focused when landing the “Spirit of Quinn” my faithful Royalex Wenonah. The scenery is incredible, unworldly, magnificent. Towering sandstone cliffs and phallic hoodoos delighted me. A giant’s pallet could not hold all the hues of reddish brown, and at sunset the canyons dripped with changing colors. Side canyons made for stunning hikes. Because of the high water some of the slots could be … Continue reading