An online fundraiser last week netted $140,000 in donations for the Boundary Waters Action Fund, a group opposed to proposals for mining near the wilderness area.

Hosted by actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus and former U.S. Sen. Al Franken, the event also featured many Minnesota elected officials who are opposed to allowing copper-ore sulfide mining in the area.

John Reinan


Sakatah Singing Hills trail now fully open

The 39-mile Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail between Faribault and Mankato in southern Minnesota is now fully open.

Construction on a 6-mile stretch of the trail between Waterville and Elysian, which widened a segment of the trail from 8 feet to 10 feet and resurfaced it, wrapped up last week.

That stretch of the trail was closed this summer as workers removed trees that were encroaching on the trail while also replacing culverts and aging pavement. That pavement was the last of the trail’s original surface, which was first built more than 20 years ago.

The trail runs along a former railroad bed that goes east from Mankato, through Sakatah Lake State Park, then ends east of Interstate 35 in Fari­bault.



Getting a jump on Christmas tree plans

U.S. Forest Service officials are thinking ahead to Christmas and inviting you to do so, too.

In Minnesota, that means that starting Thursday, the Superior National Forest will allow people to obtain permits online to cut Christmas trees between Nov. 1 and Jan. 6. Permitting services are being offered on the web in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tree seekers are asked to go to and search for Superior National Forest Christmas Tree Permits to read about regulations for where and what kind of trees can be cut and to buy a permit. The cost is $5 per tree, with a two-tree limit.

“For many families, venturing into a National Forest to cut their Christmas tree for the holidays is a treasured tradition carried on for generations,” Ann Niesen, acting deputy forest supervisor, said in a statement.

The Christmas tree cutting program helps to thin dense stands of small-diameter trees, helping other trees to grow larger, according to the Forest Service. Agency managers identify forested areas that would benefit from the thinning.

Pam Louwagie