Ron Hustvedt

Ron Hustvedt is an outdoors writer and photographer who covers a broad array of experiences, individuals and events centered on hunting and fishing. He is also a professional educator. Please visit his website at www.WriteOutdoors.com.

Posts about Environment

Saturday's Game Fair gubernatorial debate will kick off official race

Posted by: Ron Hustvedt Updated: August 11, 2010 - 10:40 AM

 

            The annual Game Fair, held at the Armstrong Ranch Kennels, has become quite the popular stumping ground for politicians over the years. Known as the nation’s largest outdoor, pre-hunting, family participation event, Game Fair attracts around 50,000 people every year—the vast majority of whom are hunters or hunting supporters.
Game Fair's final weekend is August 13, 14 and 15

Game Fair's final weekend is August 13, 14 and 15

            Quite a sizable demographic, eh?
            The only other time you get that many people together in one place at a public event is the Minnesota State Fair. While many Game Fair attendees also head to the State Fair, once the fall hunting seasons arrive that Game Fair crowd is pretty hard to reach.
            We tend to spend every spare minute we have either in the field, in the marsh, in the stand or getting ready to head out to one of those locations. Politics doesn’t seem to fall very high on the list of priorities when watching a chilly, October-morning sunrise outdoors—but it needs to be. More so these days than ever before.
            Just as Game Fair helps hunters with last minute preparations for the fall hunting seasons, it has also become an opportunity for to learn where candidates stand on issues important to the outdoors.
            Thanks to pressure from several organizations and publications, Game Fair has become almost a testing ground, if you will, for candidates. It has also been a gathering place for candidates and Constitutional amendments to garnish support from the “hook and bullet” crowd that is so prevalent in Minnesota.
            “This year, there are more political candidates with a booth than we’ve ever had in all of our 29 years,” said Chuck Delaney, the host and founder of Game Fair. Both the democrats an republicans have a booth, both U.S. Senators have a booth, the Secretary of State has one, both candidates for Congressional District 6 are there, the 48th DFL District, Gubernatorial candidates Tom Emmer and Tom Horner have booths, as do several judge and county attorney candidates. Sportsmen organizations, including Sportsmen for Change and the Minnesota Conservation Federation, also have booths with a priority placed on politics.
            The Fox News Channel was at Game Fair twice during its first weekend covering a national story centered around the 6th Congressional District between Democrat Tarryl Clark and Republican incumbent Michele Bachmann. Both candidates worked the crowds at Game Fair, which resides in their district, while a three-person camera crew captured every sight, sound and reaction.
            If you want to avoid politics you can still come to Game Fair for all the hunting, dogs and outdoor sports people expect; but if you want to meet the candidates, talk with their supporters, grill them on their stance on issues or praise them for their voting record and priorities then Game Fair is the place to be.
            For the first time in Game Fair history, it will be the launching grounds of the statewide Gubernatorial election and the first of what will most likely be several debates between the three candidates. That’s because, coming on the heels of the August 10 primary, all three major party candidates will be on hand to debate clean water, habitat and similar issues important to hunters, anglers and other outdoors enthusiasts.
 
Independence candidate Tom Horner at Game Fair being interviewed by Fox 9 News

Independence candidate Tom Horner at Game Fair being interviewed by Fox 9 News

           The debate is being sponsored by Outdoor News Editor Rob Drieslein and “Sportsmen For Change” executive director Garry Leaf (and hosted by Drieslein and Ron Schara) all of whom are very familiar with politics at Game Fair. Throughout the years, both have worked hard to bring political issues and candidates before the crowds.
            For many Game Fair attendees, this is one of the last times they’ll think about politics as they spend as many spare minutes of their time in the field and marsh throughout September, October and November.
            Sportsmen and women are a pretty disjointed group when it comes to politics, but we are a very important demographic who need to raise outdoors up the list of our voting priorities. Come on out to the Game Fair on Saturday to hear the gubernatorial candidates debate at 11 a.m. in the Main Seminar Tent.
            If you can’t make it then, come out Friday or Sunday and stop by the different political booths and make sure the candidates of all parties know that you exist, you have outdoors priorities, and that you’ll take a few minutes out from your busy fall hunting schedule to vote. Don’t forget to mention that after the election, you’ll hold them accountable for their pledges and promises.
Eight candidates atteded a 2009 candidate forum including Mark Dayton, Tom Emmer and Margaret Anderson Keliher

Eight candidates atteded a 2009 candidate forum including Mark Dayton, Tom Emmer and Margaret Anderson Keliher

             

 

Grand Marais still my favorite side of Boundary Waters

Posted by: Ron Hustvedt Updated: July 12, 2010 - 12:25 AM

 

Sunset over Grand Marais as seen from the scenic overlook along the Gunflint Trail

Sunset over Grand Marais as seen from the scenic overlook along the Gunflint Trail

 

Apparently the construction on I-35 in Duluth and scattered locations along the North Shore’s Highway 61 is keeping some people from visiting the region. I just returned from a week trip along those very roads and my assessment is that it’s being overblown.
 
Is there traffic? Yes. But no more than usual it seemed, and I drove through on the way up during the Grandma’s Marathon rush in Duluth. Was there construction? Yes. But this is summertime in Minnesota and construction is a given.
 
Our trip took a stop in Grand Marais like it always does simply because it’s one of the best cities on the face of the earth. Such an eclectic mix of people, culture and cuisine.
Rainbow over Artist's Point in Grand Marais

Rainbow over Artist's Point in Grand Marais

There is also the strong presence of majestic Lake Superior. If you haven’t seen the lake from Grand Marais then you haven’t yet truly experienced Lake Superior! My favorite sunsets over Superior feature the Sawtooth Mountains, the lighthouses to the harbor and the beautiful trees along Artist’s Point.
 
Grand Marais sunsets feature plenty of blue, gold and orange

Grand Marais sunsets feature plenty of blue, gold and orange

Grand Marais is also my preferred way of accessing the BWCA Wilderness Area. Oh I’ve been through Ely and will again. There’s nothing wrong with Ely, but it just feels more touristy and traffic-ridden. The tough part about Ely is there’s such a high concentration of entry points in a single area. You have to go a day or two in to get away from the crowds.
 
On the Grand Marais side there are several main roads to the edges of the BWCA and the ever-popular and winding Gunflint Trail is 50 miles of staggered entry points. Driving along the Gunflint Trail is a magical experience with wonderful twists and turns through spacious woods. It only takes part of a day to get away from the crowds on the Grand Marais side of the BWCA.
 
A variety of experiences await in Grand Marais

A variety of experiences await in Grand Marais

While on my most recent trip we stopped by to visit our good friends Dave and Nancy Seaton who own Hungry Jack Outfitters about halfway up the Gunflint Trail. They are great people and run a top-notch business. Like most every outfitter up there, they offer both full and partial outfitting services.
 
I know there are many other high-quality outfitters, but my family will never go anywhere else. Both Dave and Nancy are BWCA paddling enthusiasts and they have traversed most every path imaginable throughout the Gunflint area. They are always good for a tip about the best fishing hole, the secret blueberry patches and the best campsites on any given lake (and the campsites to stay away from!).
 

So maybe there will be a closed lane or two along the way. Maybe there will be a line-up of cars that slows your journey by 10 minutes. Any time lost in construction traffic on the way to Grand Marais seems to be returned tenfold once you arrive and that makes it all worthwhile.

My family's traditional Lake Saganaga group photo

My family's traditional Lake Saganaga group photo

 

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