Editor's note: Some conservation officers don't submit reports every week.
Conservation Officer Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked snowmobile activity and checked other state trail system users for registrations and passes. Murray also assisted volunteer safety instructors with a youth snowmobile safety class. Lake conditions continue to be in poor condition with drifted snow and slush.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area snowmobile activity. Registration and muffler noise issues were dealt with. Time was spent on a background investigation as well.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked on a Division background investigation. Time was spent patrolling snowmobile trails, forest roads, and station lakes. The early snow depth has made for difficult-to-impossible trail-grooming conditions with swamps and beaver ponds having open water and thin ice. Enforcement action included expired snowmobile registration and registration display violations, no ski pass, and storing a fish house at a public access.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) patrolled area lakes and snowmobile trails and checked cross-country ski passes at Pincushion Trails. Manning also assisted as a member of the DNR Honor Guard with the funeral of National Guard Sgt. Kort Platenberg.
CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports snowmobile activity picked up over the past week. Trail conditions have not improved. Although most have been traveled, very few have been groomed. Violations included no ID information on a fish house and expired ice house registration.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely 2) checked a few snowmobilers and muzzleloaders this past week. Ice fishing was slow and slush was on several area lakes. The additional snow made it difficult for hunters but trail conditions are good for this early in the season.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports continuing a background investigation. Hill assisted the State Patrol with a vehicle rollover after a string of nasty weather. A few snowmobiles were seen in the area and even more were seen being pulled on trailers.
A reminder to make sure all registration is in order before hitting the trails. One notable contact from the week came when Hill encountered an individual loading a broken-down snowmobile on a trailer in the ditch of a county road. Further investigation determined that the party purchased the sled earlier in the summer and “had every intention of registering it and transferring the title” before taking it out. The 2017 registration displayed on the hood was actually from another snowmobile. Hill found the correct information and determined the registration expired in 2012. The rider was cited.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent time checking ice anglers, snowmobile riders and hunting activity. The state trail is shaping up nicely with the recent snow.
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked snowmobile enforcement in the Duluth and Two Harbors areas. Trail conditions were found to be decent with the recent snowfall and colder weather. Violations included registration and excessive noise violations. Many new snowmobiles were seen on the trails. Shore anglers along the North Shore were checked during the middle of the week, but colder weather kept most anglers at bay.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked snowmobilers during a snowy North Shore weekend. Modified mufflers that are much louder than stock have been quite an issue this season and clubs are receiving many complaints, endangering trails. If you put an after-market exhaust can on your snowmobile in Minnesota, you are endangering our trail system and will risk receiving a ticket and still have to change the exhaust back to stock. Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.