Phase 1 of the St. Louis River trail extends from Carlton to the Scanlon park and ride (southeast of Cloquet). Between County Road 3 and the Scanlon park and ride, five rocks have been set along the trail to indicate points of interest and to serve as reminders of the trail’s railroad-related history.
From south to north, the rocks are as follows:
1. Beaver tracks
2. Good water
4. Bad water
5. Axe and log
Phase 1 may be about 3.1 miles long. The 5 rocks are along approximately the northern 2 miles of phase 1.
Plans for phases 2 and 3 of the St. Louis River trail would extend to Dunlap Island in northwestern Cloquet.
Fall colors are here and so are the inexplicably impatient drivers. The locals are willing, even eager, to pass in No Passing Zones all year round, but the behavior of the foliage lookie-loos is hard to understand. To paraphrase Joe Soucheray, why travel to see multi-colored leaves whenÂ the whole fall color thingÂ will happen where you live soon enough. Whatever the reason, many people come to the area to look at the fall flora, but apparently they are in a hurry to do it. Even if one is driving on the twisty, turny, up and down road through Jay Cooke State Park on a quiet Sunday morning at the posted speed limit, expect to be tailgated and passed in No Passing Zones. It seems that if someone is driving through Jay Cooke State Park, by definition, that person is not in a hurry to get somewhere. There are much faster options with not quite as many deer hoping to hit a car. The obviousÂ explanation for some of the behaviorÂ may be that the person driving is selected forÂ the driving task because of a lack of interest in the scenery, but it still seems odd that a leisurely activity is undertaken at illegal and dangerous speeds. Apparently, part of the allure is endangering the lives and well-being of your passengers and anyone else who may be on the road at the time.
Turtle menacing a quarter
It appears that the local 2010 snapping turtle migration is overÂ and it was quite a disappointment. Last year, more than 20 turtles made the journey from driveway to stream, but this year only 4 newly-hatched turtlesÂ were observed.
Turtle about to destroy convertible
Newly-hatched snapping turtle from above
Why weren’t there as many turtles as last year?
There may not have been as manyÂ eggs as last year. Without disturbing the eggs, it is not easy to find out how many have been laid. Last year, some eggs were broken by a vehicle driving over the nest and this year, the mother turtle seemed to have as much time as she needed, so a reduced number of eggs seems unlikely, butÂ is possible. Maybe the number of eggs was about the same, but the hatch rate was reduced? The eggs are buried in the ground so weather shouldn’t be much of a factor and snapping turtles are found over a large area with considerable variability in climate, so weather probably isn’t a factor.
Maybe there were as many baby turtles this year as last year, but theyÂ just weren’t observed. This seems unlikely.Â The turtles have limited options as they make their way downhill from the nest to the stream. Unfortunately, they encounter difficulties no matter which way they choose. Even if the cold-blooded turtles made a mad dashÂ during a chillyÂ night, only aÂ small fraction of them could have completed the trip before daylight.
Maybe the turtles were eaten as they emerged from the ground. This seems like a cruel possibility, but it has to be considered. It also seems unlikely. The hole where the turtles emerged wasn’t enlarged by a predator. No non-edible turtle bits were found anywhere near the nest or along the path to the stream. Even if the predators were birds, they probably wouldn’t fly off too far with a little turtle and no little turtle bits were seen close to any likely perches.
Maybe next year will bring a snapping turtle resurgence.
The primary purpose of this blog is to provide information about public rock art in Carlton County. For those subjects which may have continuing interest, the rock art may be described in posts and pages. The posts will be organized by the order in which they are published, but the pages will be available across the header of the blog. The "etc." may cover a variety of subjects, mostly related to the natural world.