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North Shore Morning

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:
The Voyageur II docked at Rock Harbor, Isle Royale

LSProject: Isle Royale's Rock Harbor Lodge and Dockside Fish Market connection

This edition of the Lake Superior Project takes a look at how commercial fishing on Isle Royale, Michigan, has changed. The remote island about 15 miles off shore from Grand Portage no longer has a commercial fishery. Rhonda Silence finds out more. 

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North Shore Health - Integrated community

WTIP Volunteer Tina Krauz covers the progress on the renovations at the North Shore Hospital and Care Center. In this installment Tina talks with Amy James about the concept of an "integrated community."

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Wildersmith on the Gunflint: July 14

Time is flying as we hit the halfway mark in July. Although twilight remains ‘til nearly the ten o’clock hour each evening, daylight minutes that are slipping away are barely noticeable.  

Vacation adventurers are packed into the territory taking advantage of outdoor living at its best. Parking facilities at area outfitters and resorts are filled to overflowing as are pull-offs for hiking trails and watercraft access points. 

Upper Trail weather has been fairly accommodating, too. It would seem a couple mildly sticky days and sporadic rains probably have not dampened spirits. Even the moose and I cannot grouse too much since we last met on the radio. 

Speaking of rain, we had plenty in June and the spell seems to be spilling over into July. We in the Wildersmith neighborhood have picked up well over another inch since the 4th of July. So area lakes continue their upward climb, putting some residents’ docks at surface level. 

Having spent the lion's share of my life in "urbania," I had little regard for the perils of travel on rural roads. Since 1999, I have learned a lot about living in back country, especially our arteries of mobility, as “Mother Nature” has her way with most everything as we all know. 

One such natural happening captures my attention whenever we are blessed with copious amounts of rain. Out here in the woods, evidence of what falling and running water does to porous gravel roads is plain dreadful. Gaining access to the Wildersmith place requires four and one-half miles of traveling on crushed rock. Over the years, I’ve come to know the road pretty well with regard to avoiding those teeth-jarring potholes. It’s my observation that no matter how many times the County Roads crew grades them smooth, those bumps in the road always re-appear, and in the same location.

Wondering why, it’s my idea maybe roadways were not intended to be as currently located. Secondly, in concert with early engineering design and the difficult lay of the land, droppings from the heavens just cannot be controlled by the “gal” in charge. Water goes where it wants to go. And, lastly, vehicle users complicate washed-out spots by pounding our way through such indentations over and over again with little concern. All this seemingly meaningless bumpy commentary has been stimulated by six weeks of inordinate rain around here, good for the forest but not for the roads. My attention to wash-board pathways is renewed with every instance of precipitation and each trip down the road.  

To an extent, on a somewhat positive note, these nature-made speed bumps are worthy as a means of slowing the pace of visiting suburban folk, while also improving regular user driving skills at avoiding the difficult road to wheel terrain. All being said, back road bumps are what they are, a way of life in unorganized territory. 

Back to news of greater importance, Sunday programming at the Chik-Wauk Nature Center this weekend features a visit from the folks at the International Wolf Center in Ely. The presentation “Wolves at Our Door” will be held from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. All are welcome!

Then on Tuesday, the 18th, a “Fishing Basics” class for children will be held at the Nature Center as well from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. Space is limited and registration is free, but must be done in advance. There is still time, so give Chik-Wauk a call by Monday at 218-388-9915. 

If these two events aren’t enough busyness, the 40th annual Gunflint Trail Canoe Races hit the water on Wednesday, the 19th. As usual they will be held on the waterfront at Gunflint Lodge. Events run from 4:00 until 8:00-ish when the gunwale pumping and the grand prize drawing for the kayak will conclude the excitement. Food tent (open at 4:30), races (beginning at 6:00), a silent auction, and continuous raffle prize drawings highlight what is always a great night in the Gunflint Community. All proceeds again go to support the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad.

A note from the “wild neighborhood” tells of a sighting not happening much out this way anymore. With the whitetail population about totally decimated in the upper Trail, it is pretty exciting when there is an observation. The Smiths were fortunate during a recent trip home from the village to come upon a doe and her two fawns along the Trail. While all animal babies are cute, in my opinion there are none more precious than recently born deer, and these were no exception. There was some indecision about crossing the road in front of the vehicle, both by mom and her youngsters, so we stopped to allow their terror to calm. Then watched with interest as the mom guided them bounding off into the forest. It was amazing the grace with which the little ones navigated such difficult terrain being probably only a couple weeks old. 

Finally, a huge Wildersmith thanks to all who stepped up in support of WTIP for the “Summer of Love” membership drive. It goes without saying the family of listeners are simply the greatest. This is your radio station, and everyone should be proud of what is made possible through your resources. Eternally grateful, the staff and volunteers look forward to bringing you more high-quality radio entertainment and information in the days, months and years to come!

For WTIP, this is Fred Smith, on the Trail at Wildersmith, where every day is great, with anticipation of learning something new daily!
 
 

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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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