The seventh year of a tree-planting partnership between the National Parks Conservation Association and the Rainy Lake Sportfishing Club has resulted in more trees added to the shore of the Rat Root River.
This week, members of Conservation Corps planted trees at the Allan and Arlene Gunnerson residence, County Road 98, led by crew leaders and local folks with Sjoblom's Landscape & Nursery.
Alan Gunnerson, 87, told The Journal he is grateful for the group effort that will help stabilize his once treeless riverfront yard. He said he is physically unable to do the job himself, and wanted to assist in the river's rehabilitation.
The river project has been funded by several grants from several sources, including from the National Parks Conservation Association, with the aim to improve walleye habitat by preventing riverbank erosion, sedimentation, and logjams from softwood trees that fall in the river. The erosion and jams impede the progress of spawning walleye and other fish.
Christine Goepfert, associate director of the National Parks Conservation Association, said the project is a good match for the organization celebrating its 100th anniversary.
"We were established in 1919 as the independent voice working to protect our national parks for present and future generations," she told The Journal. "This project is a perfect example of the work we do in communities to protect our parks. Not only does the project support clean water at Voyageurs National Park, but it’s contributing to the larger work led by the club to improve the fisheries of Rainy Lake and helps reinforce the landowners’ property along the Rat Root River."
Goepfert said the Gunnersons were obviously pleased with the work Saturday, as they told Voyageurs National Park Superintendent Bob DeGross and Tom Worth, long time board member of the Rainy Lake Sportfishing Club.
"They’ve wanted trees along the river for years because their yard is wide open all the way to the river," she said. "The trees will help prevent future erosion.