By Leslie Robertson
NASF Photo Fellow
I spent the morning at the NewPage Duluth Paper Mill. Communications Director Kalee Hermanson was an excellent tour guide and showed me around many of the interesting parts of the paper mill.
The mill runs year-round and produces paper for magazine-style inserts. I was able to see their massive frozen woodpile which they stockpile to last all summer as well as some of the control rooms, debarking area, wood room, and more. It was quite a complicated operation. I got some really cool shots.
After leaving the mill, I drove up the coast of Lake Superior to Gitche Gumee Park and photographed the scenery and coastline. There were many people out on the beautiful day, enjoying the clear water, walking and biking along the water’s edge. I was very impressed with the park systems overall; everything was beautiful, clean and very well-maintained.
Next, I drove down Interstate 35 to the Sandstone area to meet with Katie Gray, a Minnesota Department of natural Resources (DNR) Forester. She and Office Manager Shelly took me in a heavy-duty pickup truck to an active biomass harvest site in General C.C. Andrews State Forest (which was a very good thing, as my Prius would not have been able to handle the logging and ATV roads!).
There was so much happening on the site, and we met an equipment dealer and some of the operators working there. After getting shots there, we went to some day-use recreation areas, looking for people swimming, biking, and other forms of recreation.
The day was absolutely perfect, and we saw several groups arriving right around the time we headed to another site. Since it was a weekday, I’m guessing many people had to work during the afternoon! Katie thought of a forest area to take me that Bell Lumber & Pole is interested in, and it was easy to see why. The pines growing there were perfectly straight and tall. I think that forest was my favorite place that day, as it was so calm and peaceful. It was easy to get some great shots of Katie walking through, playing with the scale of the magnificent trees.
I ended the day by driving to the Minnesota-Wisconsin border to Woodland Trails, a wonderful bed and breakfast run by John and Sandra O’Riely. John is the Minnesota Forestry Association President and was eager to tell me all about the surrounding 500 acres that they had available for guests to enjoy.
Sandra mentioned that I might see Fred the bear wandering around (they named him to make him seem more friendly!), as well as numerous deer. They had golf carts available, and I was able to take one out along the many trails criss-crossing their beautiful property. I was sad to only be able to scratch the surface of the property and the surrounding area, there was so much to see and do!