Media contact: Tim Smalley,
DNR water safety specialist,

Graduation time brings water accidents

This time of year, there are tragic stories of young people who either drown or become seriously injured in water accidents while attending graduation party festivities. Unfortunately, most accidents could have been prevented with adult guidance and supervision, according to Tim Smalley, water safety specialist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“Parents should ensure their grads are adequately supervised, and the adult responsible for the gathering should see that teens do not consume alcohol,” Smalley said. “No one should be allowed near any boat, canoe or personal watercraft without wearing a life jacket, and no one should dive head first from a dock.”

Smalley noted some common scenarios when a group of young people go to one of their parents’ cabins up north.

The stage could be set for a tragedy if:

  • An alcohol-impaired person dives off the end of a dock without checking the depth; the water is only three feet deep and his or her head hits the bottom, fracturing the cervical spine and causing drowning.
  • A few young people grab a canoe out of a shed and head out on a moonlit cruise without life vests; several hundred yards from shore the alcohol-impaired paddlers capsize the canoe and only one of the three makes it back to shore.

For more boating and water safety information, visit the DNR’s website at www.mndnr.gov.

Media contact: Patricia Arndt,
DNR Division of Parks and Trails communications and outreach manager,

Soudan Underground Mine State Park to host book signing with William Kent Krueger

Best-selling mystery author William Kent Krueger will sign copies of books at Soudan Underground Mine State Park on National Get Outdoors Day, June 11, from noon to 4 p.m.<

This acclaimed author has received many awards, including the Minnesota Book Award and the Anthony Award for Best Novel. Krueger visited the park to conduct research on underground mining for his latest novel, “Vermilion Drift.”

A New York Times best seller, “Vermilion Drift” is the 10th installment in the Cork O’Connor series, which takes place in the north woods of Minnesota. When the government considers using the local underground mine as a nuclear waste storage area, they hire Cork O’Connor as a security consultant. Soon O’Connor discovers a hidden room containing six murder victims: five that disappeared almost half a century ago and one that has been dead less than a week. When he learns that two of the victims – including the most recent – appear to have been shot with his own gun, O’Connor must delve into his family’s past to solve the mystery.

Soudan Underground Mine State Park is located two miles east of Tower. The program will begin at the visitor center. No vehicle permit is required to park in the main lot.

For more information contact James Pointer at 218-753-2245, or email soudanmine.statepark@state.mn.us

For more information about other programs and events at Minnesota state parks and trails, visit mndnr.gov/parksandtrails or contact the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us, or 651-296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.


Q: A number of bird species call Minnesota home or pass through every fall and spring. Where can a person go to watch these birds in action?

A:  More than 437 species of birds have been documented in Minnesota. Of those, more than 300 are either resident or migrant birds that are expected to be seen annually in appropriate habitat.

Based on the 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife Associated Recreation, Minnesota is ranked 13 out of 50 states in the total number of people participating in bird and wildlife watching. Based on population, the state is ranked fourth – tied with Iowa and Wyoming.

Bird watching can be done nearly anywhere, but some great places include Blue Mounds State Park in the southwest, Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge in the northwest, Sax-Zim Bog (St. Louis County) in the northeast and Frontenac State Park in the southeast.

With the help of famed ornithologist Bob Janssen, Jerry Bonkoski and others, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conducted inventories of birds in most state parks and state recreation areas in the early 2,000s. These bird checklists, currently available for 70 Minnesota state parks and state recreation areas, can be picked up at park offices or downloaded from the DNR’s website at www.mndnr.gov/state_parks/birdchecklists.html.

- Ed Quinn, DNR Parks and Trails resource management coordinator