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OUTDOORS NOTEBOOK: Online oil impact petition, Long-term campsites etc.

<b>N.D. Junior Duck Stamp Contest winner:</b> A colored-pencil drawing of canvasbacks by Mark Staples of Harwood, N.D., was named as "Best of Show" winner in this year's North Dakota Junior Duck Stamp Contest. A junior at West Fargo High School, Staples, 17, estimates he spent about 50 hours working on his winning entry. Sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the North Dakota contest this year drew 1,184 entries. Staples' winning artwork now will compete at the National Junior Duck Stamp Contes...

N.D. online petition tackles oil impacts

An outdoor recreation enthusiast from Dickinson, N.D., has launched an online petition drive to bring awareness to the impact the state's oil boom is having on recreation, tourism, wildlife and agriculture.

Marc Landblom said the petition drive is necessary because too little is being done to protect the Badlands and other public lands. The impact of the oil boom, he said, has been a "disaster" for North Dakota's wild places.

"Oil wells are being placed near campgrounds, on top of the Maah Daah Hey Trail and near the National Park boundaries," Landblom said. "Wildlife is being pushed around or out of their habitats and being replaced by well locations, roads, substations, etc.

"I realize that I sound like a tree hugger. But this is the truth."

Landblom said the petition has attracted attention across the state and even led him to Washington, where he addressed the issue on Capitol Hill.

"It has caught the attention of a few outdoor and recreation groups and brought them together to address the issues locally," Landblom said of the petition. "And it has allowed individuals to stand up and speak out in defense of our public lands. But there are still many people in the state that don't know about the petition."

For more information or to sign the petition, go to www.change.org/petitions/protect-the-north-dakota-badlands.

-- Herald staff report

Report outlines impact of warming climate

RESTON, Va. -- A new report from the National Wildlife Federation outlines the impact a warming world stands to have on fish and wildlife resources. "On Thin Ice: Warming Winters Put America's Hunting and Fishing Heritage at Risk," tells how this year's warm winter impacted hunters and anglers across America and details steps to protect the traditions for future generations.

A few examples:

- America had its fourth-warmest winter on record.

- 27 states across the Northern Plains, Midwest, Southeast and Northeast had winter temperatures among their 10 warmest on record.

- Winter snow cover ranked as the third-smallest on record.

- Trout fishing is threatened by reduced snowpack that feeds cold water to rivers.

- Ducks are "shortstopping" migrations, traveling only as far south as they need to go to find unfrozen water.

- Declining moose populations are tied to a global warming-fueled tick explosion.

"America's sportsmen have a special connection to the outdoors, and for that reason, we're on the front lines of global warming. It's impossible to ignore the changes happening before our eyes -- you don't need to be a scientist to know something is seriously wrong," Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, said in a statement. "Climate change is also a threat to America's economy. The outdoor recreation industry supports 6 million jobs, contributes $730 billion a year in economic activity and delivers $49 billion in tax revenue."

Read the full report at NWF.org/CleanAir.

-- National Wildlife Federation

DNR offers long-term camping at eight parks

ST. PAUL -- The Department of Natural Resources is taking reservations until April 10 for seasonal and monthly camping opportunities at eight state parks, including Hayes Lake and Old Mill in northwest Minnesota.

Hayes Lake State Park, located southeast of Roseau, Minn., offers monthly or seasonal camping at seven campsites, all of which have electric hook-ups. Info: (218) 425-7504.

Old Mill State Park offers monthly or seasonal camping at five sites with electric and water hookups. Info: (218) 754-2200.

Other state parks offering the longer-term camping opportunities are Myre-Big Island, Lac qui Parle, Upper Sioux Agency, Big Stone Lake, Rice Lake and Kilen Woods.

Info: www.dnr.state.mn.us/

state_parks/extended_stay.html.

-- Minnesota DNR

Did you know?

- North Dakota's 2012 bighorn sheep auction license sold for $42,000 at the March 17 Midwest Chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation annual meeting in Bloomington, Minn. All of the auction license proceeds, plus an additional $10,000 donated by the Sheep Foundation, are used to enhance bighorn sheep management in North Dakota.

- The Minnesota DNR has placed a live webcam in a peregrine falcon box in downtown St. Paul to monitor a pair of nesting peregrine falcons. The webcam can be viewed at www.dnr.state.mn.us/features/webcams/peregrine.html.

- DNR state forest nurseries are taking seedling orders for pickup and delivery this month and May. By law, a minimum of 500 seedlings must be purchased and vary in price from $110 to $290, depending on the tree species. To order or for more information, call (800) 657-3767 or go to mndnr.gov/forestry/nurseries.

- Wildlife officials in North Dakota are asking the public to report whooping crane sightings as the birds migrate through North Dakota. Report sightings to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (701) 387-4397, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department's main office in Bismarck at (701) 328-6300 or to local game wardens around the state.

- The North Dakota Game and Fish Department's next guide and outfitter written exam is set for 1 p.m. May 12 at department headquarters in Bismarck: Info: Game and Fish enforcement office, (701) 328-6604.

Brad Dokken

Brad Dokken is editor of the Herald's Northland Outdoors section and also works as a copy editor and page designer. Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and joined the Herald staff in 1989. He worked as a copy editor in the features and news departments before becoming outdoors editor in 1998. He also writes a blog called Compass Points. A Roseau, Minn., native, Dokken is a graduate of Bemidji State University. 

(701) 780-1148
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