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AM Community Calendar/photo by masochismtango on Flickr

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News & Information

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:
Birch Grove Community School

School News from Birch Grove: November 17

Sophia and Kalina report the latest School News.



Northern Sky: November 14

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

As we approach the end of November there will be lots of activity in both the morning and evening skies, including the Leonid meteor shower.

(Photo by Helen Cook on Flickr)



Wildersmith on the Gunflint: November 13

Atmospheric conditions along the Gunflint Byway have remained on the passive side of the ledger. As the area reaches the mid-point of our 11th month, unless things change abruptly, those not in tune with winter will be happy as clams noting the long cold season is being shortened by one segment.

This neighborhood has been yo-yoing since we last met, with abnormal warmth, then a couple days near normal and then back to September character. A skiff of white was recorded, but vanished quickly in the midst of one more “El Nino” swoosh.

It would appear the actual lake freezing over, as acclaimed by the Ojibwe “freezing over moon” of November, will probably be put off until next month. The usual skimming over of our smaller lakes, ponds and swamps by this time of year just isn’t happening.

Although the larger Gunflint Lake is traditionally one of the last territorial bodies to become solid, this “old Gal” is still offering a summer-time lure. Last Sunday, the purr of an outboard motor was heard near sundown from a late season angler heading home. Yes, fresh water angling in the midst of firearms deer hunting season. Wonders of the north land never cease to amaze!

In further testament to our extending tepid spell, another week has passed and more bear wanderings are being reported - no denning up just yet. Perhaps they are holding out for Thanksgiving leftovers.

A couple down the road had the thrill of recording a night time photo-op with a Canadian Lynx. This is the first “kitty” report heard from out this way in quite a while. They sent me a digital of the cat which was unfortunately not crisp enough to share, but you can take my word, this feline of the north was a handsome critter. Snowshoe hares and grouse should beware!

Speaking of grouse, their numbers must be in an upswing cycle. It must have been a fertile year for chick production. In my travels through this neck of the woods I see uncountable numbers of the seemingly dimwitted “chicken birds.”

Continuing avian excitement engulfs the Smiths anytime we step out the door. For some reason, known only to our winged neighbors, the chickadees and nuthatches are infatuated with our presence. I’ve heard of this from other long time Gunflint residents but this tweeting experience is a first in going on 17 winters here. It's like an attack of the birds. They expect to be fed, and we have fallen right in line with their feeding-frenzy expectations. This experience with our feathered friends, in addition to being enjoyable, has proven educational too. Getting an up-close look at their routine of hammering each morsel into a nook or cranny of tree bark is amazing to watch. Their system of warehousing and inventory control would probably even wow “Amazon.”

All this being said, guess we (Smiths) might be included in the “dimwitted” category for getting such a kick out of their greedy companionship!

Last weekend a winter season visitor came back to our deck side feed trough. “Piney” the marten stopped by, having not been seen since the meltdown of last spring. It was easily recognized as one of our previous marten visitors with a tiny notch missing from one ear. Hungry as usual, it spent considerable time munching sunflower seeds much to the annoyance of the usual squirrels and bluejays.

One adventure of north woods living is wondering and imagining where these “wild neighborhood” critters have been, and what they’ve been up to during their transient times. We’ll obviously never know, but it’s energizing nonetheless realizing this one survived the wild for another year, and came back looking quite healthy and remembered a nice place to get an easy meal.

Although not a whitetail deer has been observed for months around Wildersmith, there must be scent of such a return in the air. Wolf reconnaissance has been noted (although not physically witnessed) with evidence from the timber canines found along our Mile O Pine. So the saga of predator and prey lives on, only now a human factor has been tacked on for a few weeks. It is hoped the stars of fate are aligned for both the stalked and the stalkers in this wilderness drama.

This is Fred Smith, on the Trail, at Wildersmith! We're keeping an eye out for the stalled “great northern express!”




Great Expectations Charter School

School News from Great Expectations: November 12

Bryn and Grace report the latest School News.


Netting whitefish

A Year in the Wilderness: November 9 - Netting whitefish

Cook County adventurers Dave and Amy Freeman are spending a year in the wilderness. On a regular basis they’ll be sharing some of their experiences travelling the BWCAW. Here’s their latest installment as they try their luck netting whitefish on Basswood Lake.

(Photo courtesy of Dave and Amy's Facebook page)



Planting and harvesting native sweet grass - the sacred hair of Mother Earth

Throughout this school year, the Cook County Invasives Team will be working with Ms. Nikki’s second and third grade class at Oshki Ogimaag Community School on a project to learn about the importance of native species in our natural environment. Invasives Team Coordinator Laurel Wilson describes the Sweet Grass project in this feature.

For more information on this, and other Cook County Invasives Team projects visit



North Woods Naturalist: Ciscoes

There are many names for lake herring, but only one that’s truly correct. WTIP’s Jay Andersen talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about ciscos.

(NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory)



Planning and preparing for winter safety

Late fall has been mild so far, but winter weather isn’t far off. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Mike Keyport about winter preparedness.

(Photo by Martha Marnocha)


Chairwoman Diver

Anishinaabe Way: The Inherent Right of Sovereignty, Part 3

Karen Diver has been the Tribal Chair of the Fond du Lac Reservation since 2007. She was recently named Special Assistant to the President for Native American Affairs. She will be the first elected tribal leader to hold such a high level position at the White House. In this interview, she discusses the role that gaming plays in economic development and tribal self-determination. She also shares what accomplishments she is most proud of.

(Photo courtesy of Karen Diver)



Superior National Forest Update: November 6

Hi.  I’m Steve Robertsen, interpretation and education specialist, with the November 6th edition of the National Forest Update  -  information on conditions affecting travel and recreation here on the east side of the Superior National Forest. For the week of November 6th, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
Despite the recent warm weather, fall is in fact fading into winter.  With that comes a change of this program.  We will be changing to an every other week broadcast instead of every week, unless weather or other circumstances call for a special edition of the Update.  Keep listening though for updates on when ski and snowmobile trails open or other winter events on the Forest.  You can always check our website for trail status too.
Right now though, what is going on in the Forest is the opening of the firearms deer season.  Here are a few reminders for everyone headed out into the woods this weekend.  You are allowed to use temporary tree stands on National Forest land, but you have to remove them after the hunt is over.  Everyone has a right to hunt on Forest land, you can’t attempt to call dibs on an area by putting up a stand and leaving it up.  ATVs are allowed only on the routes given on the Motor Vehicle Use Map, available at the district offices.  Signs on the ground are not the final word, and may be wrong (vandals have been known to move them)…only the current map gives the correct ATV routes.  Cross country ATV use is prohibited.  Everyone out in the woods this time of year should be wearing orange.  Being on a trail or in an area where you think there is no hunting going on are not good reasons to not wear your orange.  By “Everyone” I mean dogs as well - orange dog vests work great.  White is a color to avoid, you may look like a whitetail’s white tail.  Finally, best of luck to all the hunters…especially those that supply our family with venison!
While driving to your secret hunting location, you may be seeing some log hauling.  On the Tofte District, trucks will be hauling on the Sawbill Trail, Trappers Lake Road, the Wanless Road, and on the Timber Frear Loop (Forest Road 348) and the Four Mile Grade.  On Gunflint, expect trucks on Greenwood Road, Firebox Road, Shoe Lake Road, the Old Greenwood Road, the South Brule River Road, the Lima Grade, and the Gunflint Trail.
Fire crews are still burning piles as weather permits.  You may see smoke from these fires, particularly since much of the wood is now pretty wet after the last few days.  Our fire shop thinks that we are about done with the fall wildfire season though, and have come through this year with no major fires.
Our Halloween bat house building events, one in Ely and one in Silver Bay, were both very successful.  Ely built 66 houses, but our side of the Forest edged them out with 73 houses.  Together, northern Minnesota beat the Twin Cities whose event produced an even 100 houses, but we always knew we were Superior!  A special thank you to Hedstrom’s Lumber Mill for the wood, Kenny Dehnhoff and Barry Johnson, our volunteer kit makers, Tettegouche State Park, AmericInn Silver Bay, and all the witches, princesses, Darth Vaders, and zombies that built the houses.  We don’t know yet if we made the Guiness Book of World Records, national numbers are still being tallied.  If you built a house, please let us know if it is occupied next summer.
Our next update is in two weeks, so until then, have a great time in the woods!  This has been Steve Robertsen with the National Forest Update.