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Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

October 1997

Readers Write

More on Mel Ellis

Your article The long view from Little Lakes stirred memories about one of his books that I read to my pupils many years ago.

They so enjoyed the book, "Ironhead," that the class wrote to Mr. Ellis. I'm enclosing his response.

Maleda Poss
Tomah

Mel Ellis responded in his April 1972 letter to the students of Miller School:

Thank you for your kind letters. No, I was not the boy in the story, because I didn't live and hunt in the Everglades until I was a grown man. But I've captured snakes and alligators there, and caught fish and hunted deer and ducks there. I love the Everglades, and hope we will be able to save them from destruction.

Most of my life, I only wrote stories for magazines and for the newspapers – thousands and thousands of them.

Then five years ago, the same year that my first grandchild was born, I wrote my first book, "Run, Rainy, Run."

Since then I have gotten two more grandchildren, but have given birth to 15 books, 12 of which are now out, and three of which are in the process of being printed.

I'm glad you all liked "Ironhead." I wished I could have been that boy. He was a strong boy of determination. A boy to be proud of.

Now I hope you have many happy springtimes, and may enjoy other books of mine.

Fish Tale

Do I need glasses? I say NO WAY is the carp that William Lowe is holding on your August table of Contents page a 37.5-pounder. See what you think.

Dave Zachow
Clintonville

Dave, we could spin a pretty good yarn that this behemoth lost weight during the epic battle in which it was landed. We could say that the fish is one of a new genetic line of lean carp, bred to be perfect for the smoker and the table. We could claim that Lowe is an alum of the Charles Atlas School of Casing and Weight Lifting, but the sad truth is that the fish is 37 ½ inches long, not 37 ½ pounds. Nice catch, Dave.

Water Bikes

Your tips for safe operation of personal watercraft sound good, if they are followed and if the laws for boating are enforced. This is not the case on upper Sinissippi Lake where the Rock River narrows in Dodge County. Dozens of PWCs constantly circle in a small area attempting to upset another craft with their wake and endangering other pleasure boats and pontoons. A serious accident in this area is waiting to happen very soon.

Then too, the constant noise is upsetting to area residents and is driving waterfowl from their habitat. The serenity of the waterfront property no longer exists.

Victor Band
Horicon

A Regular Visitor

I read with great interest Roger Jasinski's article on the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage. Quite by fate some 11 years ago, a trip that we'd planned to the Lake of the Woods in Canada fell through. That's when a friend told me about the flowage near Mercer.

Our family has since been making one to two trips a year to this pristine and wonderfully beautiful part of Wisconsin. How lucky the state is to have such a prize and how wonderful that it's largely in public ownership! Thanks for sharing it with others.

David S. Maslowski
Blue Grass, Iowa

Limit Watercreaft

I think your credibility suffered by co-writing an article on jetskis with the Personal Watercraft Industry Association. It prevented an objective look at that kind of watercraft and especially how the PWIA forces people to accept them.

It's ironic that this industry-friendly piece appeared in the same issue featuring the magnificent Turtle-Flambeau Flowage, where all the DNR can do is "advise" against Jet Ski use. Your close friends at the PWIA won't let you prohibit them. Chain saws are outlawed in the Turtle-Flambeau, why not Jet Skis?

I own two motorboats, a sailboat, and a kayak. For 30 years I have owned stock in a recreational watercraft company. I can say that Jet Skis can and should be restricted from certain waters in this state without any harm to the industry. Failure to take action on Jet Skis will reduce all the remaining serene waters of the state to the lowest standard of excessive noise.

Mark Schroeder
Prescott

We co-wrote the article to show that the industry is aware of its reputation and is taking steps to make personal watercraft (PWC) quieter and safer. The explosive growth of interest in these craft warrants better training for PWC owners, safety lessons for PWC renters, better technology to reduce noise and sensitivity to both shoreland owners as well as other watercraft.

The DNR does not have Legislative authority to ban motors or certain classes of watercraft from the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage nor did the agency seek such authority in its management plan. Local governments can place restrictions on waters when deemed necessary as long as the restrictions are applied equally to all craft and all water users. On the flowage, we established a "voluntary quiet area" where persons would be asked, not required, to observe slow-no-wake operation of power boats. In that area we also discourage the use of radios, TVs and generators so people can pursue quiet camping and fishing.

Limited numbers of campsites and boat landings only work to preserve a quiet, pristine experience where people collectively decide to create such experiences. We believe that the community of PWC users is becoming more sensitive to the public desire to share waterways, operate PWCs more safely and restrict hours of operation to preserve peaceful enjoyment of public resources.

Good Boating Pieces

The On the Water boating articles were an excellent reminder of the safe practices taught during the U.S. Power Squadron classes I took years ago. I really appreciate the opportunity to access information on the Web when I have the time.

Kent L. Langdon
Oshkosh

Nonhunters Share the Load

I was angered to read the June letter Paying for Conservation. Apparently the ourdoorsman feels that hunters and trappers are paying for amenities like parking lots and watchable wildlife signs. He feels animal rights groups and bird watchers should pay their share.

I am a bird watcher. I believe in animal rights. I fish, and every year I give money to state parks and wildlife areas to continue their continuation.

When done right, I believe hunting is beneficial to the ecosystem and to people, but when there are no rules, disaster strikes.

If people didn't have to pay for what they kill, take home and eat, the DNR would not have the money to regulate the land or enforce rules. Eventually public hunting lands would be sold to developers. Furthermore, people who don't believe in exercising self-control might kill off every living thing until man alone would not be extinct.

So be grateful for the small fee we have to pay to hunt and fish. Be conservation wise. And be patient with the tourists whose money helps conserve the land you live on.

Kelly Gonzalez DelaRosa
Chicago Heights, Ill.

Killdeer Here

In late June we had four killdeer hatch near our home. They were nesting in the driveway and we had been watching their progress. We got curious about them, got on the net and found your Internet article A call from above. The birds and their babies are no longer around. We are trying to find out if it was normal for them to leave so fast. We sure enjoyed the information you provided.

Tim Hoskin
Jackson, Mich
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Web Visitors

I find your site easy to use, clearly written, nice graphics and a great summary of the current issue (which I read at home). The nature photography is excellent and the maps are VERY good. I think there is enough variety to interest anyone with even a mild liking of nature. I hope to take some of your recommended field trips and especially want to bike through the Kickapoo Reserve.

Gerard R. Wolfe
Milwaukee

I love biking in Wisconsin and Minnesota. This Web site reminds me of the great times we had last summer on the road.

Sr. Jeanine Luger
La Crosse

Silver Fox

Toward the end of September, we took a fall color ride in the Hayward area. The leaves were at peak, and we were busy taking pictures. We had the back roads to ourselves and saw some sandhill cranes and a huge beaver lodge. Our film was about used up when, to our amazement, a beautiful animal ran down the road near a swamp. At first we thought it was an arctic fox turned winter white, but its ears were not rounded and it had a different body shape. A few weeks later I saw a picture of this animal on an episode of Wild America. What we saw was the silver color phase of a red fox. Nature provides pleasant surprises for us if we take the time to enjoy them.

Betty Jane Effertz
Rice Lake