Winter 2020/2021 so far: A Season of Outstanding Black Ice
By Jason Maloney & Cindy Dillenschneider
We explored the ice of the Bark Bay Slough in northern Bayfield County near Cornucopia yesterday. It was our dog Red’s first time on black ice.
The land in the first photo is a narrow tombolo with Lake Superior just beyond it. No ice on the big lake yet, except in sheltered bays. Chequamegon Bay has thin ice on it between Ashland and nearly out to Washburn. If we get some more seasonable weather we may soon have ice where we are north of Washburn. Black ice is now on lakes all over northern Wisconsin, Minnesota and Upper Michigan where snow has not fallen on the newly formed ice. Use extreme caution when exploring as there are fatalities from people falling through thin ice almost every year. Locals take along a pike pole to test ice thickness, a length of rope and a personal flotation device, especially if ice skating on natural black ice. Springs, wave action and currents below the ice can cause thin spots that are sometimes not easily detected from above. What follows is a cool installment video of “Phenology Mondays” where our friend Danielle Tikalsky does live weekly for the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth. It’s on black ice. (Danielle and I used to work together when she was a student at Northland College.) She does these programs live on Facebook weekly.