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Notebook: Sportsman's Lodge on the Rainy River has new owners; Hennums to continue running Oak Island resort

In other news, River Keepers honors Audubon Dakota, Polaris expands rental program

Sportsman's Lodge, summer (6).JPG
Sportsman's Lodge on the Rainy River near Baudette, Minnesota, is under new ownership. The Hennum family, who had owned the lodge for 30 years, announced the change of ownership Thursday, April 21, 2022.
Contributed / Lake of the Woods Tourism
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BAUDETTE, Minn. – The Hennum family, longtime owners of Sportsman’s Lodge on the Rainy River near the south shore of Lake of the Woods, announced Thursday that they have sold the lodge, marina and adjacent Bur Oak Campground to a family from Minnesota and a family from Winnipeg that have partnered to own and operate the establishment.

The Hennums have owned Sportsman’s Lodge for 30 years, they said in an email and a post on the resort’s Facebook page. The Hennums will continue to operate Sportsman’s Oak Island Lodge, they said, and recently purchased the adjacent Angle Inn Lodge on Oak Island.

The new partners became friends when their daughters attended school together and now are business partners. “They come to the resort highly experienced in the resort industry and look forward to serving you,” the Hennums said in the email.

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The sale of Sportsman’s Lodge on the Rainy River won’t have any impact on reservations or deposits, the email indicated, and all gift cards and loyalty points remain valid.

– Herald staff report

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River Keepers honors Audubon Dakota

FARGO – Audubon Dakota has received the River Keepers Environmental Award from Fargo-Moorhead group River Keepers for its Urban Woods and Prairies Initiative. Audubon Dakota, along with local landowning partners, established the initiative in 2014 as part of an effort to restore and enhance riparian grasslands, wetlands and woodland habitats in urban settings.

Partners include the Fargo Park District, city of Fargo, city of Moorhead, Buffalo Red River Watershed District and North Dakota State University.

There are 19 UWP Nature Parks in the Fargo-Moorhead area along the Red River, which are supported by several partners, including North Dakota’s Outdoor Heritage Fund, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, the Minnesota Conservation Partners Legacy grant program, Starion and more.

The nature parks support wildlife habitat and provide public access for hiking, birding, cross-country skiing and other outdoor activities.

– Herald staff report

Wildlife Society honors Link, Kading of NDGF

BISMARCK – The North Dakota Chapter of The Wildlife Society has honored Greg Link and Kevin Kading of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department for their efforts to establish the Meadowlark Initiative.

The initiative, which aims to enhance and restore habitat for meadowlarks and other grassland species, is funded by $12.4 million in partner funds and $7.1 million through a Regional Conservation Partnership Program grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Link is the Game and Fish Department’s conservation and communications chief, and Kading is the department’s private lands section leader. They were honored with the Wildlife Society Chapter’s Special Award for their efforts on behalf of the initiative.

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“(Link and Kading) rose to that call for help and have led in the development of an initiative that has strengthened our conservation partnerships across the state and created a concerted effort by all to bring back our grasslands,” the chapter said in a statement on its Facebook page. Link and Kading, the chapter said, have “gone above and beyond for the natural resources of our state, specifically our prairie grasslands.”

Funds provided through the Meadowlark Initiative will allow partners to provide landowners with programs and practices to help protect, establish and manage diverse native perennial grasses, install grazing infrastructure and develop working grasslands for sustainable livestock grazing.

“We know the weight is heavy, the frustrations many, but you two have rose to the occasion for such an important resource,” the TWS chapter said.

– Herald staff report

Polaris expands vehicle rental program

MINNEAPOLIS – Polaris this week announced the expansion of Polaris Adventures Select, its new pay-by-the-month membership program. With the expansion, the program now is available in Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, in addition to existing programs in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and Utah, the company said in a news release.

Polaris Adventures Select allows members to rent vehicles without the cost and long-term commitment of ownership. Membership starts at $149 a month, and vehicles can be reserved for pick-up, delivered directly to the member’s home or reserved for an outdoor experience through a Polaris Adventures outfitter. The membership fee includes fuel, safety equipment, insurance and maintenance.

“The only thing more thrilling than driving the latest Polaris vehicle is being able to drive them all,” Vic Koelsch, senior vice president, chief digital and information officer at Polaris, said in a statement. “We recognize that consumers are continuing to search for new ways to explore the outdoors and, through Polaris Adventures and the Polaris Adventures Select monthly membership program, we are making it easier and more accessible to adventure all year long. Members have complete freedom of where they want to go, the ultimate flexibility of how they want to ride and more value from an exclusive membership with endless benefits and perks.”

Bookings for the new outfitters in Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin now are available, and riding will begin May 18, depending on the weather.

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Minnesota outfitters are Power Lodge Adventures in Brainerd, Lake Darling Resort in Alexandria, Your Boat Club Waconia in Waconia and ERX Motor Park in Elk River.

– Herald staff report

NRA joins groups to appeal court ruling

FAIRFAX, Va. – The National Rifle Association has joined with Safari Club International, Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to appeal what it calls “an erroneous decision” by the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana to deny the pro-hunting organizations’ efforts to intervene in and defend the expansion of hunting opportunities on federal lands.

In a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Center for Biological Diversity challenged a 2020 USFWS regulation that expanded hunting and fishing opportunities on almost 100 national wildlife refuges around the country.

In the appeal, the NRA and other hunting organizations aim to demonstrate that the district court erred in ruling that hunter advocacy organizations do not have a legal interest in maintaining a rule that expanded hunting access.

"The NRA has always fought to ensure America’s sportsmen and women have ample access to this country’s great outdoors, and the district court’s ruling deprives them of the opportunity to be heard in this case,” Amy Hunter, NRA spokeswoman, said in a statement. “On behalf of our 5 million members, we urge the appellate court to reverse this ruling."

– Herald staff report

Minnesota Twins, DNR partner to offer free hats

ST. PAUL – Anyone with a 2022 Minnesota fishing or hunting license can receive a free camouflage and blaze orange Minnesota Twins cap through a special ticket partnership with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Minnesota DNR Days are on tap for six days this year, and the camo and blaze orange Twins caps will be available at the following games:

  • Saturday, April 23, vs. the Chicago White Sox at 3:05 p.m.
  • Friday, May 6, vs. the Oakland Athletics at 7:10 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 25, vs. the Colorado Rockies at 1:10 p.m.
  • Sunday, July 3, vs. the Baltimore Orioles at 1:10 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 16, vs. the Kansas City Royals at 6:40 p.m.
  • Friday, Sept. 9 vs. the Cleveland Guardians at 7:10 p.m.

License holders can purchase a reserved game ticket online and receive a special Twins cap at the game. Ticket prices vary by game. All ticket holders under this partnership will pick up their cap at the game. Instructions for purchasing tickets are available on the Minnesota DNR Days page at mndnr.gov/Twins .

– Herald staff report

DNR announces temporary, seasonal fishing closures

ST. PAUL – To protect spawning fish, the DNR has begun to close certain portions of some Minnesota lakes and rivers. The closings are routine and based on local conditions.

Closings occur each year as ice-out begins and waters begin to warm. The DNR closes the spawning locations to fishing only where habitat is limited and fish are very concentrated in one location, such as a river or the bay of a lake where fish are congregated during spawning.

Areas closed to fishing are listed and updated on the DNR website and include several Red Lake tributaries. Portions of waters closed to fishing also are posted at access sites and in other visible areas. Anglers may fish in areas that are not posted.

More info: mndnr.gov/Regulations/Fishing/Fishing-Seasonal-Closures.html .

– Herald staff report

What to read next
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Some of the research confirmed details that anglers have long suspected.
To get an event in the Outdoors Calendar, contact Brad Dokken at (701) 780-1148, (800) 477-6572 ext. 1148 or by email at bdokken@gfherald.com. Deadline is 5 p.m. Wednesdays.
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Conducted every five years since 1990, the survey originally was scheduled for the summer of 2020 but was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.