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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:
Ultraviolet Saturn (NASA, Hubble, 2003 /Flikr)

Northern Sky: February 21

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Deane Morrison is a science writer at the University of Minnesota, where she authors the Minnesota Starwatch column.

In the West, Venus and Mars less than one full-moon-width apart; use the crescent moon to find the little blue dot of Uranus; Saturn in the morning sky; and March 5th, a full moon at apogee.


 

Superior National Forest Update: February 20

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Hi.  I’m Cathy Peterson, Administrative Support Assistant for the Tofte district of the Superior National Forest, and this is the National Forest Update for the week of February 20th.  As we ease out of February into March, it may seem that spring is right around the corner, but we know up here that there is plenty of winter left to go.
 
There have been enough small snowfalls now that ski and snowmobile trails are in pretty good shape, thanks to the grooming done by our trail partners.  Be sure to respect trail use designations though, there isn’t a lot of snow to repair ski trails marred by snowshoes or snowmobiles.
 
Some visitors to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness on recent weekends may have been surprised by groups of students winter camping.  The culminating event for an outdoor recreation course for several Twin Cities schools is a trip to the Boundary Waters in the middle of winter.  Students learn how to adequately prepare for extreme weather conditions and overcome the challenges of winter camping.  They also learn the rewards of what is really a wonderful time to camp.  If you’ve never been winter camping in the Boundary Waters, you’d do well to learn from these students and give it a try…properly prepared, of course.  The two big advantages are that you can pretty well eat as much as you want, and there are no bugs at all!
 
There is logging activity going on in the Forest outside of the Boundary Waters.  In the distant past, almost all logging was done in the winter when logs could be slid out on sledges traveling ice roads and across frozen rivers and lakes.  Now we log in the summer as well, but winter is still a good time for timber harvest.  Watch for traffic on the Tomahawk, Four Mile Grade, and Trappers Lake Road.  Also, remember that almost any plowed side road was probably plowed for logging traffic.
 
If winter has you down, it may cheer you up to realize that there are some signs of spring around.  Owls have laid their eggs, and some may be starting to hatch.  Denning bears usually give birth in late January, so there are probably cubs around in the bear dens.  Even better, we’re up to 10 and a half hours of daylight, up from a mere 8 and a half in December.  We still have two hours to gain before the spring equinox around March 21, but we’re half way there.
 
For now though, keep thinking snow, and enjoy the winter.  Until next time, this is Cathy Peterson for the Superior National Forest Update.
 
 

 


 

Great Decisions meeting: Human Trafficking in the 21st Century, February 19th

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The Great Decisions discussion group invites you to bring your questions, perspectives and ideas to this month’s discussion about human trafficking.  North Shore Morning host Julie Carlson spoke with February discussion leader Jake Hjorth on North Shore Morning.

The next Great Decisions meeting will be held on Thursday, February 19 from noon to 1:30 pm at the Cook County Community Center, 317 West 5th Street, Grand Marais.  Two copies of the 2015 Great Decisions Briefing Book are available at the Grand Marais Public Library.

Program: 

 
Sirius and Orion (H.Raab/Flikr)

Northern Sky: February 7

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Deane Morrison is a science writer at the University of Minnesota, where she authors the Minnesota Starwatch column.

Jupiter in retrograde; our near neighbor Sirius and it's white dwarf pup; moonless nights of February 7 through 20; a dim Mars above a bright Venus and more.


 

Superior National Forest Update: February 6

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National Forest Update February 5th, 2015
 
Hi.  I’m Jon Benson, Recreation Specialist for the Tofte and Gunflint Ranger Districts.  I’m here today with the Superior National Forest Update.  For the week of February 5th, here’s what’s going on around the Forest.
 
Winter recreation on the Superior National Forest is in full swing.  Along the shore snow levels are making some of the snow-based winter recreation opportunities more difficult to groom, but thanks to some excellent work by our ski and snowmobile trail partners, all trails are currently open.  Skiers and snowmobilers on trails close to the lake may see some areas with minimal snow cover, but the fact that there are so few of these areas is a tribute to the hard work of dedicated ski and snowmobile volunteer groups.  As a reminder, skiers on any of the major trails near the shore are required to have a Great Minnesota Ski Pass.  The small fee for these passes goes directly into helping volunteer groups maintain these trails so it is well worth the $20 annual pass.
 
On the lakes, we have been hearing reports of a great start to Lake Trout season.  As usual, please use caution when walking on frozen lakes.  We recommend that anyone planning to travel on the ice not do so by themselves but if you must, make sure that someone knows where you will be and when you plan to return.  For those hardy fishermen and women out there, please make sure that your car is fully off of the road when you venture on to the ice so that plows and other vehicles can get through. 
 
The winter camping season is also going strong.  For those of you who partake in this activity, or for those that simply want to have a fire while out on the ice, please look for dead and down trees away from the shoreline.  I realize that this is a little more work, but cutting seemingly dead trees along the shoreline results in visual impacts to summer paddling trips.  We have been seeing some evidence in the BWCAW of freshly cut cedar trees along the shorelines of lakes.  Please remember that the rule for gathering firewood is to seek out dead and down trees.
 
While driving, you can expect logging traffic on the Mark Lake Road, Caribou Trail, Swamp Lake Road, Cascade River Road, Cook County 45, Cook County 7, Bally Creek Road, Devil Track Road, Ball Club Road, The Grade, Gunflint Trail, South Shore Drive, and Meridian Road.  There is a short stretch of the Gunflint Snowmobile Trail on the Meridian Road south of Devil Track Lake that will be used for hauling activity.  Use caution in this area, and watch for signs indicating logging traffic.  Hauling is only permitted Monday through Friday on this section of trail, but snowmobilers should use caution when sharing the road with log trucks.
 
If folks are recreating in the area between Isabella and Ely, extra caution should be used on the Tomahawk Trail.  Three timber sales are currently being harvested on the Kawishiwi Ranger District and hauling traffic is present on the Tomahawk Trail from the junction of Filson Creek and the Spruce Road (Forest Road 181) to Nickel Lake.  Logging activity is expected to continue through the end of March.
 
In other news, District reforestation personnel are currently making plans for this spring’s planting season.  District personnel have recently ordered seedlings and tree seed for the 2015 planting and aerial seeding program.  This upcoming spring, over 270,000 seedlings will be planted across 900 acres on the Tofte and Gunflint Ranger Districts.  Planting activities will aid in the reforestation of previously harvested sites, as well as enhance wildlife habitat in non-harvested poorly stocked stands (especially for moose).  Float planes will be used to aerial seed 61 pounds of black spruce, jack pine, paper birch, and red pine on 265 acres of formerly harvested stands.  In addition, winter shearing activities will begin shortly on 65 acres to prepare sites for planting in the Spring.”
 
I hope you all have an excellent weekend and you can get out and enjoy the outdoors.  Until next week, this has been Jon Benson with the Superior National Forest Update.


 
full moon (AMHenriette/Flikr)

Northern Sky: January 24

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Deane Morrison is a science writer at the University of Minnesota, where she authors the Minnesota Starwatch column.

A full Snow (or Hunger) Moon on February 3rd; Jupiter in opposition while followed by Regulus on February 6th - the same day that Earth laps Jupiter; and not to forget Imbolc or Groundhog Day on February 2nd.


 

Superior National Forest Update: January 23

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Hi.  I’m Steve Robertsen, interpreter on the Gunflint and Tofte districts of the Superior National Forest, and this is the National Forest Update for the week of January 23rd.  If, or hopefully when, you get outside to explore the Forest during this this last week or so of January, here’s some things you may want to know.
 
It’s no news that we have less snow than last year.  While we have less snow, right now most cross country ski trails are open and either groomed or hand tracked.  That may change, there is sleet and freezing rain in the forecast.  The best source for information is our website with its links to our individual trail partners who do the grooming.  It is probably worth a quick check before you head out, just so you know what to expect.
 
Skiing on lakes has been excellent though.  Most lakes have a thick ice layer, and there is minimal slush.  I did say “most” and “minimal” though.  Whenever you are on ice keep your wits about you and be ready to deal with slush pockets, pressure ridges, and other potential hazards.  Bring your ice picks, rope, spare clothes, and if at all possible, a partner to ski with.
 
Sharing the lakes with the skiers are the people ice fishing.  With warmer temperatures and less snow on lakes, it is a pretty good winter for fishing.  If you are driving to the lake, keep a couple of things in mind.  One is that while there is less snow, there is enough now that even large pick ups will get bogged down and stuck on unplowed roads.  Don’t take chances - if the road isn’t plowed, it means no one will be driving down it to rescue you.  When you do park your vehicle, make sure that you don’t block the road.  We’ve also had some “rogue plowing” going on.  You are not allowed to plow Forest Service roads without a permit.  Permits are free and can be obtained at the Gunflint or Tofte Ranger Stations, and help us keep track of the road system conditions.
 
If a road is plowed, it probably means a timber sale is going on.  Watch for truck traffic near Mark, Pike, and Thompson Lakes in the the Gunflint District, and near White Pine and Outlaw Lakes in Tofte. 
 
Starting January 25, the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon will bring mushers and spectators into the woods as well.  There will be road signs indicating race crossings, as well as for lots of pedestrians in some areas.  And of course, there will be dogs as well - this event is a great reason to get out and see some wonderful canine athletes.  Best of luck to all of them.
 
You can start reserving Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness entry permits for the summer on January 28th at Recreation.gov.   Right now, if you go into the Boundary Waters, you still need a self-issued permit, available at the entry point, but it is not too soon to start planning for your summer trips.

Keep thinking snow, and enjoy the winter.  Until next time, this is Steve Robertsen for the Superior National Forest Update.
 
 


 
Venus, Jupiter and the Moon (Dave Schumaker / Flikr)

Northern Sky: January 10

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Deane Morrison is a science writer at the University of Minnesota, where she authors the Minnesota Starwatch column.

The planets are at play this month:  Venus and Mercury in the evening, Jupiter most of the night, and Saturn in the pre-dawn sky.


 

Superior National Forest Update: January 9

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Hi.  I’m Steve Robertsen, interpreter on the Gunflint and Tofte districts of the Superior National Forest.  It’s a new year, and time for a new edition of our National Forest Update.
 
Even though it has been a light snow winter so far, there is getting to be enough of the white stuff to have some fun outside.  There is less snow along the shore of the big lake, but inland there is enough for skiing.  Even some of the trail systems nearer the lake are beginning to be packed even if not groomed.  There are convenient links to most of our trail partners’ websites from the Superior’s National Forest website, providing you with a fast way to find up-to-date information on trail conditions.  We’ll hope for continuous improvement in the snow department as January goes on.  There was enough snow for a successful run of the Gunflint Mail Run dog sled race, and we have our fingers crossed that later this month we’ll see a good running of the John Beargrease dog sled race as well.
 
If you are traveling by snowmobile instead of dog sled, be aware that you need 4 inches of snow cover to travel cross country.  Many of the local trails are closed or only in poor condition, but a few are listed as fair condition according the Minnesota DNR website.  We have links to those trail conditions as well.  Watch out for those exposed rocks as you ride - the snow cover is pretty inconsistent right now.
 
With the light snow cover, driving in the Forest is a whole lot easier than it was last year.  Be aware that if a smaller Forest Road is plowed, it is an indication that there is logging activity ahead and there may be trucks.  The Forest Service itself doesn’t plow the roads, so a plowed road means something is happening ahead.  As always, make sure you are prepared with a winter safety kit in your vehicle.
 
I’ve recently seen a repeated post in social media complaining “Why do I live where the air hurts my face?”  Well, the answer to that is winter is what you make of it.  There is breathtaking beauty in the winter woods, from crystal clear stars at night to snow laden pine trees during a snow fall.  There are plenty of things to do outside in the winter, and if it is too cold, it provides the perfect excuse for curling up with a book and hot chocolate.  Our winters here may sometimes hurt your face, but they are worth it if you make the effort to enjoy them.  You can see other posts about winter and the Forest, with no complaining, if you visit the Superior National Forest’s new Facebook page while you’re sitting there with the hot chocolate.  It’s another way you can be part of the Forest, even if you‘re in your family room at home.
 
Keep thinking snow, and enjoy the winter.  Until next time, this is Steve Robertsen for the Superior National Forest Update.
 
 


 

Cook County YMCA celebrates First Birthday and the new year

The Cook County YMCA is celebrating one year of service to the community and looking forward to a great new year.  WTIP volunteer Yvonne Mills speaks with Branch Executive Director Emily Marshall.

The Open House Birthday celebration is Sunday, January 4 from 1 to 4 pm, and includes new group fitness class samplings, snacks, open game room, open swim with water slide, and open gym.
The  YMCA hosts a job fair Monday, January 6, from 6 to 7:30pm. Program staff will be on hand to answer questions about jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities in aquatics, sports, health & wellness, marketing, childcare, and organizational management.
More upcoming events are on our Events and Announcements page.

Program: