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Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program

Carlton School District Outdoor Learning Facility

Brad Matlack Carlton SWCD
January 2007

Project No. 306A-01-07

Contract No. A78409

This project was funded in part under the Coastal Zone Management Act, by NOAA’s
Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, in cooperation with Minnesota’s
Lake Superior Coastal Program.
Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program MLSCP Project No. 306A-01-07
Contract Number: A78409
FINAL REPORT Date Received: 1/24/07

Project Title: Carlton School District Outdoor Learning Facility

Project Start Date: July 28, 2005

Grant Period From: July 28, 2005 To: December 31, 2006

Signature of Project Manager

In August of 2003 the Carlton County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD)
received funding from the MN DNR Lake Superior Coastal Star Grant Program to
coordinate planning of a 40 acre school forest facility for the Carlton School District.
This grant was Phase I implementation of that plan including trail and related
infrastructure development and restroom construction.
The project was complete slightly under budget and with a small surplus of match.

Work Completed:
Trail Coordinator:
Jeremy Canfield was hired to oversee all aspects of trail development.
Trials developed included 1 mile of handicapped accessible trail paved with Class V
gravel and another .25 miles of primitive trail with roots grubbed but left smaller and
with no paving.
A concrete double restroom facility was installed for trail users. This will help facilitate
trail use by other schools with minimal disturbance to the nearby Elementary School.

Signs & Benches:
18 Benches where constructed by an Eagle Scout candidate. Trees from the site were
converted to lumber by a local portable mill and used in the bench construction and as
planking in boardwalk construction. Benches are positioned around the trail system for
resting spots.
Another Eagle Scout candidate made 20 signs under supervision of a Scout Master. The
signs include trail names and points of interest in the forest.

Due to lower the expected volunteerism and difficulties in using students from fall 2007
classrooms, installation of the signs and construction of some of the boardwalk was not
completed within the grant timelines. All materials were purchased and final work will be
completed after spring thaw utilizing students, volunteers and the trail coordinator, at no
additional cost. Estimated hours needed to complete sign installation and finish
boardwalks is 50 hours.
The Carlton SWCD Manager was responsible for overall grant management. Reports
have been submitted and documentation filed for grant and match expenditures.

This grant is Phase I in implementing the plan developed for the facility. The trail
development resulting from this project will be accessible to approximately 4,800
students in 6 area school districts within 7 miles of the facility. The overall plan included
organizing curriculum and learning kits to make environmental education through the
facility very easy for local educators. That phase is yet to be implemented but even after
trail development, local educators and community groups are utilizing the facility. Rough
information shows that from the beginning of the school year in September 2006, over
270 students have participated in cross disciplinary education utilizing the facility and
what educators could develop on their own. Local Scout groups have also used the
facility for learning activities in this time frame.

Volunteerism within the local community was lower then expected for the project.
Student participation working for credit was even lower then expected. Involving the
Minnesota Conservation Corp for labor in trail development made up this deficit in this
case but building a project on match from volunteers is not a good idea without careful

A. Photo album
B. Copy of newspaper articles
C. Information developed for media coverage

Send to:

Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program
DNR Waters
1568 Highway 2
Two Harbors, MN 55616
Appendix A STOLCCC Photos

Trail clearing in the early winter 2005. Done with Brush hog on tracked skid steer.

Trail clearing continued in June 2006. Volunteers worked by hand to finish clearing areas inaccessible
with skid steer machine.

A Minnesota Conservation
Corps Crew worked for one
week clearing trail in a remote
section of the main trail.
A fourth grade class works with a first grade class to help them identify leaves, mushrooms, tracks, and
other natural things in the forest. Channel 8 staff from Venture North was filming for a segment to air
later this fall.

Boardwalks over wetland drainages in
the forest allow for crossing without
disturbance. A class thought by the
projects trail boss Jeremy Canfield is
learning trail building and wetland
crossing concepts first hand.
One mile of trail has been developed with class five gravel as handicapped accessible.

Another .25 miles is more primitive without gravel.

A trailer was purchased for getting gravel to remote trail sections. It will be retained by the school district
to allow for maintaining the trail. A precast restroom was established and provides facilities for students
without interruption to South Terrace School.
A local log sawyer cut logs from trail construction into lumber for use on the project including wetland
boardwalks and benches.

A student used the bench building as an Eagle Scout project and built 15 benches.

Another student used the sign project for an Eagle Scout project and using natural edged slab wood,
routed and painted 20 signs including trail marking sings and point of interest.
Appendix B.

Portions of the first Pine Journal article were published in the Carlton News
and the Duluth News Tribune. January 18,2006

Second article appeared in the Pine Journal June 28,2006
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Appendix C .

Brad Matlack from the Carlton Co. Soil and Water Conservation District
developed the following materials as media information.

1. Construction Announcement
2. WatershedManagement
3. Trail Construction Kickoff
The Carlton County Soil & Water Conservation District I
in cooperation with I
The Carlton School District
Announces Construction of the I
In August of 2003 the Carlton County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) received a grant from
the MN DNR Lake Superior Coastal Program to coordinate the planning of an outdoor learning facility on
a 40 acre parcel of land adjacent to the South Terrace Elementary SchooL Partners in the planning project
included the Carlton School District, Carlton County Land Department, the SWCD, surrounding school
districts and local land management agencies. Utilizing another MN DNR Lake Superior Coastal Program
two years later, the project is now beginning construction with the establishment of the trail system.
The goal of the South Terrace Outdoor Learning Center of Carlton County (STOLCCC) is to provide a
multi-use activity trail that will be used by both the school and the community to educate and increase
awareness about our natural environment. All educational disciplines are encouraged to use the
STOLCCC; science, math, English, physical education, art, history, social studies, and foreign language. In
addition, this will be a community area, one that will promote education and physical activity. The trail
can be used for cross-country sluing, snowshoeing. hiking. and running. The site will also be used to dem-
onstrate sustainable land-use management practices (logging, thinning, tree planting, w i l W enhance-
ment, etc.) that local landowners can implement on their property. Four main ecological areas are found
within the STOLCCC. They are the upland hardwoods and white pine, lowland wetlands with hard-
woods, a small sugar maple stand in the southwest comer and green ash growing on gently rolling hills
located between the wetlands and u~lands.
The main trail is approximately 1.5 miles
long (indicated in red below) and will be
handicap accessible in the summer. Spur
trails take you through the four ecological
areas including floating boardwalks
through wetland areas. Future additions to
the STOLCCC include restroom facilities,
gathering areas along the trail, and a pavil-
ion/storage area which will act as a gather-
ing area for students, picnic area for the
community, and storage area for teachers

Watershed Management
Watershed is defined as an area that drains to a watercourse or body of water. That means that
whatever happens in a watershed will effect the water body or receiving water. Many factors
influence the degree of that effect.

One of those factors is proximity. How clo& an activity is in the watershed determines how
greatly the receiving water is affected.

In the map of the STOLCCC's Watershed Position, the watershed position of the STOLCCC's
40 acres in the Otter Creek watershed can be seen. Then the progression fiom the Otter Creek
watersheds position in the St. Louis River watershed and the St. Louis River watersheds position
in the Lake Superior watershed can be seen. Activities in the STOLCC will eventually affect the
water of Lake Superior.

One of the goals of the STOLCCC is to demonstrate good land management practices so that the
water contributions of the STOLCCC's 40 acres to Otter Creek are good for the watershed and
ultimately good for Lake Superior. These good land management practices can be duplicated in
other parts of the Otter Creek watershed and even in other parts of the Lake Superior watershed.
The cumulative effect of all the land management practices in all of the watersheds of Lake
Superior determines the quality of the receiving water or in this case Lake Superior. The water
quality of any water body is directly related to the management of that water body's watershed.
This is watershed management.

Good land management practices that will be demonstrated include:

Wetland management.
Wetlands help to slow down water runoff by temporarily storing the water and releasing
it at a slower rate. While the water is stored some nutrients, sediments and other
pollutants settle out in the wetland and do not pass through the water delivery system into
the receiving water Draining, filling or otherwise altering wetlands can reduce this
filtering effect and diminish the storage capability of wetlands. When water runs off
faster or in greater quantities, it has the potential to cause more erosion in the
watercourses it follows.

Forest management.
Management of the renewable resource in forests is another important land management
issue. Tree harvest is part of a healthy, productive forest but must be done properly to
ensure minimal detrimental effects. Haul roads and log landings must be put in properly
to minimize runoff picking up soil particles. Minimizing soil compaction during harvests
assures new tree growth will be maximized. Leaving some trees for natural regeneration
of the forest and wildlife h a b i i is essential to a healthy forest.

The STOLCCC will be a great opportunity to demonstrate these and other land management
practices for both adults and children in the area to see first hand. Watershed management is
everyone's responsibility and together we can make a difference in our areas lakes streams and
rivers water quality.
tb the Sit& &mo;
learning Gear of Clrrhn Coualy

Join us for hof chocoIa/e, cookies I

Dak: Tbursdoy, Jonuoq 12,2006 and project information af fhe head
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Bid* &h SWCD218-384-3691 ,I
Deb Sounden CbrHoaHigh kbooI218-3844226 I-