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Bob Timmons

Outdoors Weekend Editor | Newsroom
Phone: 612-673-7899

Bob Timmons covers news across Minnesota's outdoors, from natural resources to recreation to wildlife.

Timmons previously was the Page One layout and news editor at the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He's a University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (Wis.) graduate.
Recent content from Bob Timmons
A group of visitors to Jay Cooke State Park in Carlton, Minn., found a great perch above the St. Louis River.

Fish, ride, hike: Great Outdoors Month is a nudge to get out in June

Next weekend there will be free admission to all 75 of Minnesota's state parks and recreation areas, part of a month-long effort to get people outdoors.
Holly Watson-Wetzel packed up the inside of her A-frame camper at Moose Lake State Park.

DNR plans improvements to Minnesota's water recreation, parks and trails

Upgrades to boat access areas and campgrounds and progress on trails are all priorities with recent funding increases.
Aaron Hill, second from left, and his children in a familiar spot: their camper. From left, Ariana, Evangelyn, Elias and Alexander.

His wife died young. His response? Run and reset

A Lake Elmo man set out to visit all 66 state parks to run their trails. Many of the spirit-restoring trips have been with his four kids, all of them looking for healing.
The Mississippi Speed Record team on its final push Friday.

Minnesotan-led canoe team sets unofficial speed record on Mississippi River

In the middle of the night, crew reaches mouth of Gulf of Mexico after nearly 17 days and about 2,300 miles.
The moon rose near the Minnesota border with Canada in the far northeast of the state.

It's not easy to predict ice out in the BWCA — but this year it came late, an indispensable champion of canoe country with entry points and lake maps, active forums and guides, declared ice out in its newsletter Tuesday.
The Mississippi Speed Record crew May 19 near Louisiana, Mo.

Minnesota-led canoe team speeds toward Mississippi River record

The crew has benefitted from high water and good weather. Some observers reacted when a safety boat helped the paddlers in swift current at a lock and dam.
A female lone star tick. The yellow-white mark on the back is one of its identifiers.

Tick season in Minnesota in full force, with unwelcome new visitor

An unpopular season is in full swing in Minnesota — now through early July — and features both a returning nemesis and a new presence.
Cuyuna Country has been joined by several other quality mountain biking trail systems in central and northern Minnesota.

Like to bike? Guide for building more Minnesota trails launching

A new playbook for building mountain biking trails in Minnesota arrives at a time when the sport is riding a peak of interest from Lake County to Lino Lakes.
Jay Cooke State Park in Carlton, Minn., is one of the most popular in the state system.

Unhappy campers: Overbooking at state campgrounds draws outrage

Some Minnesotans are miffed at being unable to reserve prime summer dates at popular state park campgrounds because others are taking advantage of a loophole in the system.
The female bear cub scooped up Tuesday outside Elm Creek Park Reserve. She weighed a bit more than 7 pounds.

Wildlife managers scoop up baby bear in Maple Grove

A bear cub who was rescued in Maple Grove and relocated Tuesday and an injured cub who was euthanized in Minneapolis on Sunday offered teachable moments for those who encounter wildlife in unexpected places.
An immature bald eagle flew over the St. Croix River early on an April morning near Wild River State Park.

Spring views — what Minnesotans in the outdoors are watching

Early blooming wildflowers, birds in droves, trail life — it's an exceptional time across the North Star State.
Judson Steinback, Paul Cox, Wally Werderich and Scott Miller, left to right, during a training day March 19 in Memphis, Tenn.

Minneapolis paddler back for shot at Mississippi River speed record

After a 2021 attempt was swamped, Scott Miller is back with a new crew — and the same enthusiasm as he awaits ice-out of three northern Minnesota lakes to begin the 2,300-mile journey.
Near the Pigeon River in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Outdoor Expo features the BWCA, biking tips and ways to volunteer in the wild

Winter or spring, the biannual Midwest Mountaineering Outdoor Adventure Expo in Minneapolis is a call to action for friends of the outdoor life.
Two ATV riders move down a county road near the Nemadji Forest in northern Minnesota in 2021.

Tragic news points to ways to stay safe while using ATVs

ATV groups and the DNR have worked to educate riders and parents, but a gap in knowledge persists.
Shown April 7 at a building on his land outside Ely, Will Steger, 78, was in good spirits and looking forward his spring expedition.

Explorer Will Steger's compass for adventure points north

'The more the risk, the more the character,' says the 78-year-old. He could be talking about any of his adventures.
Fort Snelling State Park was closed by the Minnesota DNR due to flooding Friday.

Fort Snelling State Park closes due to flooding

A variety of parks have flooded in recent days due to large amounts of snowmelt and rain entering rivers.
St. Thomas students, clockwise from top left: Anya Capistrant-Kinney; Ivana Rundštuková, Khadro Mohamed, and Sydney Dorsey.

What college students say about their outdoors lives, climate change

When a University of St. Thomas environmental journalism class was asked to turn its storytelling skills on itself in the spirit of Saturday's Earth Day, a battle emerged between tradition and technology.
In a screen grab from video, a lynx moved in on a grouse.

Captured on camera: Watch a lynx stalk a grouse in northern Minnesota

From a mountain lion moving through to an overweight black bear, the trail camera videos of the Voyageurs Wolf Project in northern Minnesota continue to produce and surprise.
Jody Nelson, left, and Lisa Kresky-Griffin met April 2 with others who ran the 2013 Boston Marathon and looked over coverage of the attack.

10 years after: State runners still feel ties to Boston Marathon bombing

With a mix of enthusiasm, resolve and unease, Minnesota marathoners reflect a decade after the horrific bombings at the prestigious race. At least a dozen of them who were there will be back for Monday's race.
The first eagle pair in 2012. There were three eggs that year.

What's next after the EagleCam nest collapse? Five things to know

While fans of Minnesota's EagleCam commiserate over images of the parents perched at the site of a nest that no longer exists, the sad end of the roost is a reality of the wild. But not the end of the story.
Mating season has tempers flaring as a Canada goose chases a competitor from its spot in the Minnesota River valley along Old Cedar Avenue Bridge

Spring stopover: Early migrants in all their variety capture the eye

The Minnesota River and other open waters feature a parade of waterfowl.
Introductory mountain biking classes abound, but so, too, do programs to sharpen the skills.

Six ways to get schooled in the Minnesota outdoors this spring

From recreation to conservation work, here are several ways to expand your outdoors skills and knowledge this spring — and summer and beyond.
Leah Gruhn was the first woman to finish the Iditarod by  fatbike

1,000 miles by fatbike: Duluth woman completes Iditarod odyssey

Leah Gruhn wasn't just the first woman to finish the Iditarod's human-powered version. Turns out, she was the only woman to complete the grueling course better known for hosting dogsleds.
A Raptor Center technician gets an oral sample from a great horned owl.

Will spring migration spike often-deadly bird flu cases?

A year after a new outbreak took a toll on wild birds, wildlife health specialists are remaining cautious.
Brent Sass, from a Facebook post about his withdrawal from this year’s Iditarod.

'My body shut down': Iditarod favorite Sass explains sudden exit

Former Minnesota native Brent Sass, who with his dogs won in 2022, said a long, bad cold and tooth pain became too much.
Muskie shows, eagle spotting, ice-out watching, migration prepping … there’s a lot to do in Minnesota this March.

In like a lion: Nine things to do, follow in Minnesota outdoors in March

Thinking about predictions for ice-out, new rough fish rules, Northwest Sportshow's arrival, raptors on the wing, muskies, and more. March is a busy month for things to do, follow and learn about.
Remote and beautiful: Capturing the racers of the Iditarod Sled Dog Trail Race.

What's it like to film Alaska's rugged 'Last Great Race,' the Iditarod?

Enduring whatever may come in the crosswinds of the Alaska wilderness and the unexpected, Ian Planchon of Golden Valley will be afield as one of the race's cinematographers.
A lead weight.

Bill to ban small lead fishing tackle's sale, use pushed again

Noting toxic threats to loons, bill would target jigs and sinkers of a certain weight and length in Minnesota.
Zio, a 3-year-old Spinone Italiano owned by Jason Youngquist of Miesville, Minn. sits for a portrait ahead of the Bird Dog Parade during the National

'Cool dogs': Sporting breeds have their moment to shine

Meet some distinctive breeds that trotted through the Bird Dog Parade at the Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic.
Alexandra Van Horn hand-cycled over the Sagamore Unit adapted trail Feb. 5.

Cuyuna trail becomes gateway to winter biking for adaptive cyclists

All-terrain chairs for disabled athletes mesh well with a Crosby-Ironton mountain biking path that has proved friendly for all cyclists.
The first egg of 2023 was spotted Wednesday afternoon through the EagleCam.

'Eggciting!' First egg on much-watched EagleCam is always an attention-grabber

It's a big day for followers of the eagle parents and their Minnesota nest.
Under the moonlight, Anoka High School senior Hayden Ceaser emerged Monday morning after sleeping overnight in a quinzhee, or snow shelter, they’d b

Winter in the BWCA 101: Anoka High class grows wilderness lovers

Seniors eagerly look forward to Outdoor Adventures, and 14 classmates will take their new skills up north.
Northern hawk owls are distinctive, with their long tails. They’re also highly sought when they move down from the Arctic to visit northern Minnesot

Quality opportunities abound for Minnesota birders in winter

The winter bird population may be less diverse than other season in Minnesota, but great sightings are still available.
Leah Gruhn took this image of remote Alaska during her Iditarod Invitational run in 2016 covering 350 miles. Now, she is preparing to attempt 1,000.

Duluth woman testing herself by fatbike in Iditarod 1,000-mile race

Leah Gruhn isn't a stranger to gritty endurance events, but this "expedition" presents new challenges — a race on the trail better known for challenging dogsled teams in Alaska.
For some, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness means fishing.

BWCA permits go on sale. What to know, tips for a better trip

Forest Service managers of the northern Minnesota wilderness will keep the quota of permits the same as 2022, when it cut the number available by about 13%
A trail camera operated by Jim Schubitzke captured this cougar walking past in August 2007 near Floodwood, Minn.

Hitting pause on the suggestion that mountain lions are moving through

A conservation group wrote they're 'heading east,' but signs continue to say they'll be uncommon in Minnesota.
Outdoors-loving Minnesotans share their 2023 bucket lists

Outdoors-loving Minnesotans share their 2023 bucket lists

From remote hunting to rugged backpacking to angling through ice, Minnesotans file their dreamed-of adventures in the year ahead.
Gulf Stream’s Vintage Cruiser and its retro feel has been a big seller for RV World in Ramsey.

RV market softening, but base skewing younger yearns to hit road

Dealers have more inventory, and now two consumer shows in the Twin Cities to showcase it.
There are plenty of outdoor activities offered around the state to get people moving in the new year, such as a walk through the pines at Whitetail Wo

Try a First Day Hike on New Year's Day, or another outdoor 'first'

First Day Hikes have become a parks tradition. Think of the idea as motivation to try other things in the new year.
Jim Gilbert makes notes of his daily walks near his home in Waconia.

Always a teacher: Ending a long season of Gilbert's Nature Notes

Ever-curious and steeped in knowledge, naturalist Jim Gilbert wrote for the Star Tribune in various forms for 29 years or more.
A varied year — again — across the Minnesota outdoors landscape.

Outdoors coverage in 2022: A dozen stories we won't forget

From an updated wolf plan and BWCA crowd control to camping's (and a campground's) wild popularity, we look back on the hot topics and cool stories of 2022.
Camping at Tettegouche State Park along Lake Superior near Finland, Minn.

State parks and trails director says access and opportunity for visitors remain the emphasis

The system's well-publicized infrastructure upgrades figure to influence budget request.
Birds looked for food in a bird feeder in St. Paul during a winter storm.

Two holiday rites (Christmas and a bird census) make the season bright for some

What to know about the Christmas Bird Count in Minnesota and how to play a part.
Arthur Carhart’s photograph looking down on Seagull Lake, June 1921, is among nearly 100 taken while he surveyed what is now the Boundary Waters Can

Reminders of a humble visionary who helped create the BWCA

His canoe country photos are a window into landscape architect Arthur Carhart's recreation plan for the Forest Service 100 years ago.
Regulations on shining, specially illustrated above, tightened in the past 10 years to curtail illegal activity and shorten the window for hobbyists.

DNR has officers airborne, on ground to catch hunting violators

Shining wildlife is common recreation. It's also a common illegal activity targeting deer that requires extra enforcement.
Along the Superior Hiking Trail in Tettegouche State Park.

Thankful for Minnesota's outdoors: Voices of gratitude for state's bounty

We asked Minnesotans woven into the natural world and everyday residents to reflect on their appreciation.
Marshall Johnson, a University of Minnesota graduate, has brought his conservation farming strategies to restore grassland habitat to a larger scale a

Ranchers can tilt scales in grassland birds' favor, Audubon chief says

Q&A: Marshall Johnson, the National Audubon Society's conservation chief and a University of Minnesota alum, talks bird-friendly solutions, deepening his hunting roots and that signature cattleman's hat.
In the spirit of thanks, what about Minnesota's outdoors are you grateful for?

In the spirit of thanks, what about Minnesota's outdoors are you grateful for?

Contribute to our feature about what — a place or an activity? — that raises feelings of appreciation.
The cougar captured in wolf biologists’ video is believed to have been passing through the area.

Rare sight: Wolf researchers catch mountain lion on trail camera video

Footage was taken Oct. 20 south of Voyageurs National Park in far northern Minnesota. The big cat is seen walking along a state forest road.
Scouting an area takes patience and attention to surroundings, among other things.

Experienced deer hunters on must-haves in the field and what to leave home

Members of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers and others offer advice and experiences ahead of Minnesota's firearms season.
The Outdoor Skills and Stewardship series of webinars hits on a breadth of topics, from tundra swan migration to fatbiking essentials.

DNR's web series provides know-how and doesn't skimp on substance

Born from the pandemic, the online presentations have sprouted into diverse topics, from tundra swans' migration to fatbiking to useful tips around hunting and fishing.
On the Root River Trail in southeastern Minnesota.

Pay attention: Cycling through autumn is affecting you in all the right ways

The chill, the changing light, the colors — all are a direct path to greater mindfulness and a sense of connection.
Bea the burrowing owl is an education bird at the International Owl Center in Houston, Minn.

Meet Bea the burrowing owl, who has an appetite for YouTube videos

Video playback on a cellphone has been a helpful attention-getter for an education raptor at the International Owl Center.
Some of the student researchers at the Natural Resources Research Institute. Forty-five work along with other scientists, engineers, technicians and o

Young researchers do complex work with natural resources at center

Predator conservation, the value of microorganisms, innovating water pollution solutions — students tackle all that and more out of the U's research lab in Duluth.
Team sprint gold medalists Kikkan Randall, left, and Jessie Diggins made U.S. team history.

Birkebeiner staff has created a winter event exclusively for women

The Ski de She is meant to build up and excite what organizers believe is an underrepresented group in the sport.
Twin Cities in Motion’s Virginia Brophy Achman has been executive director the last 18 years.

Q&A: Your running story is fuel for Twin Cities Marathon director

Virginia Brophy Achman prepares to exit Twin Cities in Motion, leaving a legacy of devotion to running and its possibilities. She talked about Sunday's Twin Cities Marathon and other topics.
Runners in the Twin Cities Marathon in 2019, the year a category for runners who identify as nonbinary was created.

Twin Cities in Motion was ahead of other major marathons with nonbinary division

Marathon organizers added the category in 2019 for runners who don't identify as men or women.
The Mondale Day-Use Area at William O’Brien State Park is among the areas that will be closed this spring during upgrades at the park.

State parks and trails are active with projects, too, and here is a glance

Itasca will get new paved segment for cyclists; William O'Brien will get work around better accessibility for disabled visitors.
Ed Ranson, president of the Itasca Moraine chapter of the North Country Trail Association, inspected part of the nearly mile-long blowdown covering th

Celebration of North Country Trail's success comes with need for help

More hikers are using the path, and more of them need to see themselves as caretakers.
This fall offers a variety of opportunities for birders of all skill levels to polish their skills and help collect data.

Three Rivers Parks District will spend a day getting a better snapshot of its birds

Teams will set out to count Saturday. It isn't serious science, but it matters as bird species diminish.
Dan Hobbs, during his Fastest Known Time record on Colorado’s 14ers, at Conundrum and Castle peaks.

Minnesotan and mountaineer is now a giant of Colorado's highest peaks

Colorado's "14ers" — 58 peaks above 14,000 feet — are bucket-list material for beginning mountaineers and rugged veterans. Dan Hobbs of Bloomington conquered them all — in two weeks.
A bald eagle parent kept watch along the Mississippi River. In Mike McTee’s new book, he writes about hunters’ use of toxic ammunition on such sca

Hunter, wildlife researcher makes the case for nontoxic ammunition

Mike McTee, who has written a new book regarding the plight of eagles, said a focus on local populations seems to resonate best.
Joan Young, shown at the eastern terminus of the North Country Scenic Trail at Maine Junction, where it joins the Appalachian Trail in Vermont.

At 74, woman is in Minnesota for second 4,800-mile thru-hike

Joan Young of Michigan is taking on Minnesota sections of the North Country Scenic National Trail.
Luigi, shown at home last week, is regaining weight and returning to his playful self, his owner said.

Lost and then found: Luigi the Lab survives nearly a month in BWCA

A Labrador retriever mix went missing from its family in the BWCA and improbably turned up miles away — and alive — 29 days later.
From left, Dean Petersen, Nate Sjolin, George Bruhn Jr. and Lance Tebben had a successful Lac qui Parle deer hunt in 2021.

New or time-tested, gateways to the outdoors exist for people with physical challenges

On the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, here are some programs and people making the outdoors more accessible.
The women’s Tour de France is back after 33 years, and a Minnesota-based team is competing. It’s a pinnacle moment for director Charles Aaron of C

Return of women's Tour de France ripples in Minnesota

Team director Charles Aaron has his Minnesota-based squad in the field, realizing his longtime dream.
Bob Timmons, Tim Torgerson and Dan Winga cycle along 183rd Avenue in Fillmore Township Wednesday, June 29, 2022 in Southeast Minn. ] Aaron Lavinsky �

3 days, 200 miles: Bikepacking the backroads of Minnesota's extraordinary Driftless Area

Bikepackers in parts of the Driftless Area met unmatched beauty and rugged challenges.
Scott Rall, chairman of the Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener committee in Nobles County, watched for birds during the 2014 pheasant opener.

Governor's Pheasant Opener set for tradition-rich Worthington

Field notes: The city in southwest Minnesota, along with Nobles County, last hosted the weekend event in 2014. Opening weekend is Oct. 14-15.
Sam Tabaka, who runs adaptive recreation programs for Three Rivers Parks District, rode on the new Sagamore Unit trail this week. He gave it a test ri

Cuyuna Country opens mountain bike trail for adaptive cyclists

The state recreation area has expanded its popular mountain biking system with an adapted trail — the first for riders with disabilities in the state park system.
Hikers Tom, left, and Ross Perigo enjoyed the evening view high above Bean Lake in June of 2018.

Popular stretch of Superior Hiking Trail in need of repair, volunteers

Superior Hiking Trail stewards are hoping for dozens of volunteers to build up and reroute a part of the heavily used path to the much-visited Bean and Bear lakes.
Bison, including calves born this spring, congregated after a storm Monday at Minneopa State Park.

Record spring of bison calves bodes well for conservation program

Minneopa State Park, one of the herd sites, witnessed arrival of 16 calves; expansion plans loom.
Kevin Long and Sarah Smith took a six-month working road trip last summer across the United States. According to two surveys commissioned by The Dyrt,

Camping is headed in new directions, and they have the proof

Former Minnesotans Sarah Smith and Kevin Long have built a community — think Airbnb meets camping — with their popular app, the Dyrt. They've reported back on interesting trends.
The common loon, Minnesota’s state bird, is back on many lakes, nesting and raising young.

Call of the loons is heard — and the call to help them

The population of the state bird is stable, but conservation efforts like volunteer monitors prove they're essential to knowing that.
This is the hopeful scene Saturday and through summer.

Fishing opener: A tackle box full of useful tools, data and how-to advice

From where and how to buy a license, to ice-out updates to videos on targeting fish, there is something for every angler. Good luck.
Bird flu has been detected in two red fox kits in Canada and now in a fox kit in Minnesota.

Virus that's killed birds turns up in first wild mammal in Minnesota

A fox kit from Anoka County has tested positive for a deadly, highly contagious bird flu that has killed countless wild birds this spring.