UpNorth Minnesota Spring 2021 - Page 24

Legacy of Lakes Museum . Submitted by John Magnoski
Since the Museum ’ s inception , wooden boats have held center stage . Few Museums offer as wide a range of rare boats , including Chris-Craft , Gar Wood , Dee-Wite , Century , and Hacker Craft .
Some of the boats on loan are :
* Heli-bout ( helicopter boat ) designed by Brooks Stevens is the only one in the world . Made by Evinrude to introduce the Starflight 75 horsepower motor . The Heli-bout was a concept boat presented at the 51st National Motorboat Show in 1961 in New York as an example of what outboard builders could accomplish in the future .
* The 1959 “ lightweight ” Volksboat could be loaded on top of a station wagon by two people and stored in the rafters of a garage . It was advertised as a multipurpose fiberglass boat that seats four people and sleeps two when the seats are folded down .
* The 1937 Gar Wood 24 foot cabin utility is made out of mahogany and white oak . This cabin utility was the flagship of the Gar Wood utility fleet . It was the most handsomely finished and luxuriously equipped boat of its length . It has luxury seating , an icebox , below deck storage , a toilet and roll down windows . It is one of only 51 boats ever made .
* An example of an extremely rare wooden boat is the Garbo , a 21 foot 6 inch 1930 Dodge Split Cockpit Runabout powered by a 150 horsepower Chrysler straight-eight engine . Its long foredeck and modern split windshields moved Dodge well ahead of its rivals .
Outside of the museum , you can stroll the pathways and surround yourself with beautiful landscaping and gardens . For more information , visit legacyofthelakes . org .
Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox
BEMIDJI , MINNESOTA
To expand the tourist season beyond the few beautiful weeks in the summer , Bemidji began to host a carnival in January of 1937 to showcase the area ’ s wintertime offerings . Festival organizers installed enormous statues of Paul Bunyan and his best friend , Babe the Blue Ox , to serve as carnival mascots . They were so popular , particularly after their feature in Life magazine , that they were installed as permanent fixtures alongside Lake Bemidji .
The statues , built by locals Cyril Dickinson and Jim Payton , were inspired by the legend of folk hero lumberjack Paul Bunyan . Known for his strength , speed and skill at cutting down trees , Paul ’ s image was used in early twentieth century lumber company promotions .
Why is the ox blue ? As the story goes , Paul Bunyan went out walking in the woods one day during the Winter of the Blue Snow . The snow kept falling until the forest was covered . He discovered a baby ox stuck in the blue snow . Paul decided to take the ox home . He warmed the little ox by the fireplace . As the ox became warmer his hair remained blue . Paul decided to keep the blue ox and named him Babe . Babe grew very quickly and was a great help around Paul Bunyan ’ s logging camp .
Both statues are made of concrete over a steel frame with a plaster finish and painted features . Paul is about 18 feet tall and has a wooden mustache and pipe . Babe is about ten feet tall .
These two Bemidji statues were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988 .
Baul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox can also be visited in the Brainerd / Baxter or the Akeley area in Minnesota .
Marcell Experimental Forest
BOVEY , MINNESOTA
The Marcell Experimental Forest in Northern Minnesota is hosting the Spruce and Peatland Responses Under Changing Environments ( or SPRUCE ) experiment . This experiment studies the possible effects of climate change by accelerating the timeline of changes that may occur as far as 100 years in the future .
The SPRUCE experiment consists of ten large thirty-foot tall open-topped controlledenvironment enclosures . Each chamber is set at different ambient temperatures , ranging from normal to extremely hot . The purpose of the experiment is to study how trees , scrubs , moss and microbes react to a warmer climate above and below the ground . The 10-year study that started in 2016 is funded by the U . S . Department of Energy and is a collaboration between the U . S . D . A . Forest Service and Oak Ridge National Laboratory .
Through continuous readings , photos , and data gathering , an international team of scientists can study the effects of warming temperatures on the peat bog ecosystem . The goal of the SPRUCE project is to help scientists understand how climate change will affect Minnesota ’ s vast stretches of northern forest peatlands — expansive wetlands that are home to millions of spruce and tamarack trees , dense carpets of moss , and a huge variety of birds and other wildlife .
“ It ’ s the only place on the planet that ’ s simulating climate change to the degree that we think it ’ s actually going to happen ,” said Randy Kolka , a research scientist with the U . S . D . A . Forest Service , “ And it ’ s right here in northern Minnesota .”
Kolka said this part of Minnesota was ideal for the experiment because the peat in the forest holds massive amounts of carbon . Instead of storing carbon and keeping it out of the atmosphere , this peatland has begun contributing to the excess amounts already in the atmosphere . When warmed , it releases carbon dioxide and methane , the two primary greenhouse gases .
In the most extreme chamber , the warm temperature has caused the peat to go down by about two inches , disappearing into the atmosphere as greenhouse gases . “ That might not seem like a lot ,” Kolka said , “ but it takes several hundred years to accumulate two inches of peat , and we ’ ve just blown it off in less than five years .”
Kenny Blumenfeld , senior climatologist for Minnesota Department of Natural Resources , said , “ Minnesota ’ s average temperature has risen 2.5 to 3 degrees since 1970 , and scientists project continued warming over the coming decades . We ’ re seeing that winter temperatures are warming much faster than summer temperatures . About tem times faster than the summer of 1970 .”
“ The trees are going downhill fast ,” Kolka said . “ The changes to the plant community are like the canary in the coal mine . Once you start seeing changes to the plant communities , you can expect to see bigger changes up the ecosystem scale .”
It is hoped that improved understanding of how peatlands store and release carbon , and how climate change affects their ability to do so , will help the public and policy-makers make better decisions about mitigating climate change .
For information on educational tours for school groups , visit : Nrs . fs . fed . us / ef / marcell
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