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North Shore Morning

AM Community Calendar/photo by masochismtango on Flickr

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News and information, interviews, weather, upcoming events, music, school news, and many special features. North Shore Morning includes our popular trivia question - Pop Quiz! The North Shore Morning program is the place to connect with the people, culture and events of our region!

 


What's On:

Superior National Forest Update: July 14

Hi. I’m Joe Mundell, timber sale administrator on the Gunflint with the National Forest Update - information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Superior National Forest. Here’s what’s happening in the woods for the week of July 14.

Rain! Rain is what seems to be happening in the woods recently. Duluth is at 4 inches above normal for yearly rainfall, and an inch above last year. Lake Superior is 20 inches above the level shown on navigation charts, and is about nine inches above an average July level. The lake gained four inches during the past month, but now is expected to be stable. All that data means that there’s been a lot of water coming down this summer.

It is supposed to dry off in the next week or so, so it will be time to get out and enjoy our nice full lakes. Make sure to bring your PFD’s when loading your boat, and even better, wear them. Even if you are a strong swimmer, wearing a PFD can make it a lot easier to try to right a swamped canoe, and to gather floating packs of gear. If you’re planning a Boundary Waters trip and have never tipped a canoe over, we recommend that you try it in safe conditions before you go. It may be a lot harder than you think to right the boat and get back into it. When canoeing, it is good to bring some sort of bailing equipment and tie it to the boat. While it is possible to flip a canoe upright in a way which leaves little water in the boat, it takes practice. It is also a lot easier on a calm lake, and face it, if you tip your canoe, it isn’t going to be on a calm lake. It is tempting to tie your packs into the canoe so they would stay with the boat if you tip it, but don’t. Packs tied to the canoe can make it very difficult to right the boat. If you pack using plastic bag liners, packs will usually float and the contents remain dry for some time.  Concentrate on getting your boat upright first, and getting yourself in the boat, then start worrying about your stuff. You could get hypothermic or drown, but the pack with your fishing gear and extra sweatshirt is going to be just fine swimming in the water for a while. But…the best way to right a boat is to not tip it in the first place. Pay attention to the weather, and don’t travel on days with high winds and rough water which are beyond your ability. When planning your trip, include the possibility of being weathered in for a day. It is better to spend an extra day in camp than to end up going for an unintentional swim.

On your way to the lake, there is some logging traffic to consider. On the Tofte District, there will be trucks on Trapper’s Lake Road, Lake County 705, Cook County 33, the Sawbill Trail, and The Grade. On the Gunflint end, hauling is taking place on Greenwood Road, Firebox Road, Shoe Lake Road, the Gunflint Trail, Forest Road 1385, and the Trestle Pine Road.

As the weather clears, head out to a lake and have fun, but keep boating safety in mind. Until next week, this has been Joe Mundell with the National Forest Update. 
 

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West End News: July 13

Beer lovers rejoice! Caribou Highlands in Lutsen is once again hosting the annual beer tasting weekend-long event, Hopped Up Caribou. This weekend, July 14- 16, will be full of beer tasting, live music, and adventure. You can purchase tickets to any of the events individually, or the whole weekend package. Check out their website, hoppedupcaribou.com for more info on what all is happening and when.
 
Also happening on Saturday, July 15 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. is Sugarloaf Cove’s Stop the Invasives program. Join the folks at Sugarloaf Cove in Schroeder for a hands-on experience identifying problematic invasive plants present in our region, but not yet widespread. Learn to identify these invaders and distinguish them from native look-alikes. Want to report invasives to the experts when you spot them? Well, there’s an app for that. At the program on Saturday, you will learn how to report infestations using the GLEDN smartphone app. Invasive plant species are a real growing concern, no pun intended. In many cases, invasive plants can choke out native growers, potentially eliminating food sources for local animals and changing our very landscape. Learning to spot and eradicate the non-native plants is a valuable skill for anyone who spends much time in our west end woods.
 
Also happening at Sugarloaf Cove in Schroeder is the ever-popular songbird banding. Every Thursday from now until August 31 from 7 a.m. to noon, folks at Sugarloaf will be banding and monitoring the populations of songbirds that nest and travel through the area. Stop in to learn about the process and the importance of the research in understanding the lifespan, movement, and productivity of songbirds. This is a free event, but donations are appreciated. For more information on the variety of things happening at Sugarloaf this summer, you can always give them a call at 218-525-0001.
 
The bloodmobile will be at Zoar Lutheran Church in Tofte this Tuesday, July 18. If you’ve never donated blood, or it’s been a while, now is a good time to get back to it. The supply is dangerously low and many of the regular donators are unable to donate this time around. Donating blood is easy, and sometimes even enjoyable if you end up sitting next to a neighbor you haven’t seen in a while. It’s a good chance to catch up! There are openings between 2:15 and 4:15 on Tuesday the 18th. You can give Jane a call to schedule your spot. You can reach her at 663-7254.
 
Water levels remain high in the Wilderness. I planted flowers right after Memorial Day and I haven’t yet had to water them. Suffice it to say, we are soggy. That’s the price we pay, though, for low fire dangers.  More rainy days means more saunas and that’s a pretty good trade-off in my opinion.
 
 
For WTIP, I’m Clare Shirley with the West End News.
 

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Frog

North Woods Naturalist: Frog tongues

Frogs hunt with their tongues, and their tongues are a most unusual and specialized organ. WTIP’s Jay Andersen talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about frog’s fast, sticky and soft tongues.

(Photo courtesy of Andre Chivinski on Flickr)

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Sunny's Back Yard: Early summer in the Superior highlands

Sunny has lived off-grid in rural Lake County for the past 18 years and is a regular commentator on WTIP. Here she talks about what's been happening in Sunny's Back Yard, and shares her love of early summer bird calls.

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Gus' Wild Side: Thoughts on nature and modern life

In this edition of Gus' Wild Side, we'll hear Gus' thoughts on the natural world....and the possible costs of modern life.

Gus’ Wild Side is a regular feature on WTIP. Gus writes about our connections to Nature as he explores wildness from the High Arctic to his own backyard along the North Shore of Lake Superior.

Photo courtesy of Robert Breckenridge on Flickr

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Northern Sky: July 8 - 21

Deane Morrison is a science writer at the University of Minnesota. She authors the Minnesota Starwatch column, and contributes to WTIP bi-weekly with "Northern Sky," where she shares what's happening with stars, planets and more.

Photo courtesy of Matthew Prosser on Flickr

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Fred Smith, Wildersmith on the Gunflint, on the grill at the WTIP summer pledge drive

Wildersmith: July 7

It’s hard to fathom, but the universe is into the second half of year 2017. This weekend confirms such in Gunflint territory with Aabito-Niibino Giizis, the Ojibwe “half-way” full moon early Sunday morning.  
                                                                                                                                                       
Also known by the Algonquin as the “full buck” moon, this lunar experience kicks summer into full gear although some express opinion summer begins waning after Independence Day.                                                                                                                                                                    

Nevertheless, sunny days are here again! Out this way, we finally got out of the rainy weekend rut that had many residents and business folks gloomy for most of June. Temps have remained near perfect recently for us critters who have affection for natural air conditioning. We can only hope like conditions hang on through the next 60 days, getting us into early autumn.                                                                                                                                                                                           

The abundance of moisture in the last 30 days has sure raised lake levels. Here at the Wildersmith dock, the DNR lake level gauge shows a rise of a good eight inches on the Gunflint since Memorial Day weekend.  The added precipitation and cool clouds have kept the water temp in the low 60ss at this locale as my scoop comes your way.                                                                                    

Confirming summer is full speed ahead, the WTIP “Summer of Love” membership canvas is into overdrive as I speak.  I hope everyone listening will show their love for this broadcast gem of the north, by stepping up with another renewal of support, and further encourage new members to join the WTIP family.                                                                                                                                                               

In these times of questionable continuing governmental support for our community radio, it is critical for those who cherish our communication endeavor to stand tall and not waver. WTIP needs you! Call or click and join now!  

As the territory rolls into month seven, week two, Gunflint Trail Historical Society members, Trail residents and visitors are reminded of the second summer meeting for the Society. This gathering will be held on Monday, the 10th in the Seagull Lake Community Center, beginning at 1:30 p.m.                                                                                                                                                         

After the usual business meeting, the program feature is our remembrance tribute to family, friends and neighbors who have passed from our midst during the past year. This celebration of their lives closes another chapter in ongoing Gunflint Trail History. All are invited to be there and share in looking back on how these folks played a part in the Gunflint of today. Sweet treats, coffee and conversation will follow.  

Forest enhancement continues, and times are intriguing as “Mother Nature” extends her hand at growing things. New flowering items are waiting in the wings.  And I’m captured by how quickly the candles of new growth that appeared just a couple weeks ago, have suddenly become almost full-fledged branches in the coniferous forest.                                                                                        

Sweetness is coming on too as fruits of the forest begin to ripen. Wild strawberries have been picked in this yard and a fellow up the Trail tells of picking his first blueberry. So pickers get ready, including you bears. Life is always a joy watching woodsy rituals come and go.   

Not only is border country flora busy doing its thing, so too are forest animals, all in the interest of survival. I’ve had a couple reports of beaver activity on and along the Trail. “Beaver and Beaver Builders” must be in the process of upgrading lodge facilities in a pond location south of the Laurentian Divide.                                                                                                                                                   

Apparently construction materials in their immediate locale have become scarce as they were recently observed dragging new timber cuttings across the Trail black top. Then again, the fresh aspen trimmings could have been for the food shelf. Whatever the mission, their work ethic is tenacious.                                                                                                                                                                           

Another recent account came from a couple of Iowa fishermen who were thrilled at the sighting of an osprey over on Hungry Jack Lake. The excitement of observing such was the birds’ fish catching skill.    

I’m told they saw the exercise in avian angling sequence, from its location high in the sky to the jet-like approach, the splash down entry, the catch, and then lift off, in search for a dry dining location. I don’t know of their finny catching success that day, but the fellows sure caught a neat glimpse of life on a north country lake.  

Once again, don’t forget the “Summer of Love,” call now at 218-387-1070 or 1-800-473-9847; or click and join at WTIP.org ; or stop by the studios at 1720 West Highway 61 to pledge a little love for our Community Radio.                                                      

For WTIP, this is Fred Smith, on the Trail at Wildersmith, where every day is great, charged with the touch of wilderness spirit!
 

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Superior National Forest Update: July 7

The Superior National Forest Update helps you keep up to date with Forest activities that you might encounter while driving, boating, or hiking in the Superior National Forest’s Tofte and Gunflint Ranger Districts. It includes road and fire conditions, logging and other truck activities, as well as naturalist programs and special events.  

This week's update features Steve Robertsen.

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Tofte Trek

West End News: July 6

Clare Shirley owns and runs Sawbill Canoe Outfitters at the end of the Sawbill Trail in Tofte with her husband Dan. Clare was born in Grand Marais and grew up in Tofte. Clare is a third-generation Outfitter, and third-generation West End News writer. Clare follows in the footsteps of her father and grandfather, Bill and Frank Hansen, long time West End News columnists.

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Recent rains have brought out an abundance of wild flowers

Wildersmith on the Gunflint: June 30

Rain on the Gunflint! It’s another weekend washout as Trail news spews from my keyboard. However, since “water is life,"  life is just swell out this way.                                                                 

Territory streams and rivers are gushing, lakes are rising and wildfire danger remains subdued. Our most precious natural resource has cascaded from the heavens for the second straight week, thus, kicking off month seven on a wet note.                                                                               
Along with soggy conditions, temps have been cool, much to the chagrin of early season vacationers, but have me and the moose smiling. On another note, it’s a good bet, but bad news, mosquitoes will find the abundance of new standing water to their re-productive delight.     

While rivers are roaring with liquid, on the few sunny days we’ve had during the past seven, our Scenic Byway ditches are running what looks like “rivers of gold.” Canadian hawkweed, buttercups and other blooms of yellow have intensified into a flowing mirage of ground level sunshine. About the only thing interrupting the waves of golden hue are patches of orange hawkweed cousins, daisies and invasive lupine. It’s summer complexion at its best!                                                                                                                                                                                
Speaking of things wet, I can’t help but recommend reading The Nature Conservancy summer edition. This periodical delves into “rethinking water on a thirsty planet.”  I found several articles vexing in consideration of humans taking our most critical resource for granted through greedy, wasteful practices.  There’s a lot of bad stuff going on!    

The overall magazine theme concerns our misuse/management of this life sustaining element. The subject matter is even more disturbing when I read of state and federal government representatives putting the quality of northland clean water in jeopardy for the benefit of big money investors and a select segment of voters, in order to get re-elected.                                                      
Then again, isn’t what a lot of things, elected officials do, about ego fulfillment in concert with extending lifetime careers as self-anointed “servants” all on the public's tab?                  

Enough “soap boxing”, this Nature Conservancy reading is good stuff, cover to cover, with implications for all area folk and WTIP website readers/listeners who cherish our land of pristine waters. It sure can catch one’s attention!                                                                                                                                                                                  
he Northshore Health Care Foundation (NSHCF) held its’ annual fundraising barbeque this past Sunday at Gunflint Lodge. I’m told it was the best turnout in history of the event. Congrats to the NSHCF organizers, the Gunflint Lodge staff and all who braved the heavenly deluge for a fine gathering and a worthy cause.                                                                                                                                     
As the calendar turns to July this weekend, the Gunflint Trail Historical Society is inviting all to an open house at Chik-Wauk this coming Sunday. The event is being held in recognition of the Ham Lake fire 10th anniversary, and to formally show off the museum's summer exhibit of the historical tragedy. Special guests from the US Forest Service will be stationed near the display to talk about and answer questions in regard to yet another chapter in Gunflint Trail history. Cake and refreshments will be served from 11:00 a.m. until 4 p.m. on the nature center patio.                                                        
Planning for the 40th Gunflint Trail Canoe Races has been going on behind the scenes for several months. The July 19 date is now in sight, and its full speed ahead to have all components ready.                                                                                                                                                                 

This big community happening needs the help of about 100 volunteers so if area folks haven’t signed up yet, get on the phone with Chair Arden Byers ASAP at 388-9475.                                    

Kayak and general raffle tickets are on sale at Trail Center Restaurant, Chik-Wauk Museum and several businesses along the Trail. There are several ticket selling slots open for sales at Trail Center on various dates starting today and running until just before the 19th, so give Arden a call and lend a hand! All proceeds go to support the GTVFD and RESCUE squad, so WE NEED YOU!                                                                                                                                                            

Friends down the road report the momma bear and her quadruplets are back hanging out. The recent visit comes two weeks after they were dispatched following several hours of turmoil in the tree tops by a pair of the young’uns. This time all four of the fluffy varmints displayed tree climbing skills, however they were more easily coaxed down when resident warnings were issued.                                                                                                                          

As the “dog days” of summer approach, here’s hoping everyone has a safe and sane national birthday celebration. Happy Fourth of July…and don’t forget, WTIP’s “Summer of Love” membership drive is coming next week too!                                                                                                                                                

For WTIP, this is Fred Smith on the Trail at Wildersmith, where every day is great, as “Mother Nature” beckons for our heavenly and earthly stewardship!
 
 

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