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DNR report

With temperatures in the mid-80s this week, it feels like summer again. Recent rains have kept the river flow right on par with normal for this time of year. There is plenty of water for canoeing and kayaking, and lots of people have been taking advantage of the weather and water levels to do just that.

The forest canopy keeps the trails cool and inviting on a hot day. There are lots of hikers out enjoying the Brule River State Forest. Runners, too, are out on the trails.

On Aug. 13, the Brule River Lions are sponsoring a 2-mile and a 5-mile race on the After Hours ski trails. The races are followed by a Lions Club chicken barbeque at the Brule pavilion.

Campgrounds continue to be busy on the weekends, but are pretty quiet during the weekdays. Campsite reservations can be made at ReserveAmerica.com. If you prefer to camp spur-of-the-moment, about half of the sites are first-come, first served. At the moment, there are very few Labor Day weekend reservations.

Wildlife watch

Milkweed, water lilies, black-eyed Susans and many more summer plants have started to bloom. Monarch caterpillars were spotted feeding on milkweed this week. Wild strawberries can still be found intermingled with crops of blueberries and black raspberries on the way.

The mosquito population remains large and in-charge near water bodies and forests. Sightings of does with fawns continue and there have been increasing sightings of some good sized bucks in the fields with almost fully-developed velvet antlers.

Also spotted have been the returning shorebirds, back from their Arctic stint. They can be spotted in flooded agricultural fields and low-lying areas. Turkey broods are inhabiting cut hayfields, digging for insects along with their poults. There have been numerous reports of people finding fox snakes in their yards and gardens. These snakes are often reducing the population of voles and mice that are a potential detriment to the garden and landscaping.

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