Why I Came Calling

Why I Came CallingSince the Outdoor Bloggers Summit has been kind enough to invite some traffic my way, I thought I would post an answer to Kristine’s question of why I have decided to support the OBS for all those who have the urge to pay a visit.

Originally, the LPRB was a class project born from a return to academia, but it has progressively become more than that.  I have been affiliated with the outdoors industry in one way or another for most of my life, most recently as an employee of the nation’s largest outdoors outfitting retailer where I worked in various locations across the country for nearly eight years.  When I decided to leave that life last August in order to pursue some loftier personal goals, I spent the Fall in a dream season of sorts – hunting or fishing the Fall away everyday.  Although, I had left the “business” of the outdoors behind, I was not ready to sever my ties with the outdoors community.  The LPRB has provided a way to continue to share my passions for the outdoors and redirect my life towards those personal goals I had set so long ago.

This class project has also expanded to include something I would not leave behind, my mentoring responsibilities as a hunter education instructor.  I have started the Hunter Education & Firearm Safety Training blog to enhance the experience of the students in my classes as well as provide a possible resource of information and enlightenment for the hunting and non-hunting communities alike.

I originally came calling upon the OBS, and many sites affiliated with it, in an effort to increase my outdoors resources on the web for my own personal use.  But now the OBS and its members and supporters have become a source for communication, exposure, and building relationships as well as shared information, knowledge and a channel for my voice to be heard by the individuals who share my passions for the outdoors and our outdoors heritage.

I hope the LPRB will continue to evolve into a site the OBS is proud to display on its blogroll.  I have many ideas to continue to improve the site, like a “lake of the week” feature I am hoping to implement with the coming open water fishing season, and I am also learning from all of the fantastically talented individuals I have come across since turning down this new path.

Thank you to Kristine, Othmar, and Tom, who have already stopped by to say hello or link the LPRB into their blogrolls and send traffic my way.  And welcome to those I have not met yet, I hope you enjoy the LPRB as much as I have enjoyed looking around your creations while I’m discovering great new places and friends everyday.

A Living Monument

Josiah A. King and his three-man crewRecently I was finally able to visit a place that I had only heard about since moving here to Bemidji.  A place where towering giants live.  A place where majestic white and red pines have been spared the lumberjack’s ax and saw to become an old growth sanctuary.  This place is the Lost Forty.

It takes a little doing to get there as the name of this place would suggest.  Not exactly on the main route today, one can only imagine what the territory looked like 125 years ago.  A survey crew’s error in 1882 mapped the Lost Forty, which is actually 144 acres, as being underwater in nearby Coddington Lake.  Surveyor Josiah A. King and his three-Lost 40man crew had traveled over 40 miles from the nearest white settlement of Grand Rapids for the project of finishing one of the first land surveys of Northern Minnesota.  For a month, in the unsettling winds of November the survey team lived in canvas tents and on rations of flour, pork, beans, and dried apples.  An error at the time has created a testament to our North Woods heritage.

Today, with only two percent of Minnesota’s forested land considered to be old growth, this stand of virgin pine has Monster white and red pinesbecome a monument within the Chippewa National Forest.  These magnificent trees are between 300 and 400 years old.  That’s well over 100 years older than this great country itself, dating back to the 17th century and the first colonial settlements.  Many of the behemoths are up to 350 years old and are just now reaching retirement age as compared to our life span.  White and red pines can live to about 500 years old.  Between 22 and 48 inches in diameter, this old growth stand, and others like it, are valuable habitat for bald eagles, hawks, woodpeckers, weasels, red squirrels, and other wildlife.

A View to the NorthMy visit was not long, but I will make the trek back to this special place again, as walking the trails felt like I was entering the corridors of some great hall or temple that has stood the test of time.