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Join Jay Andersen and Gary Atwood for a program packed with news, music and some humor.  Listener favorites like For the Birds, The Environment Report, Morning Business Report, and The Predator Moment provide a regular foundation for this program that also covers politics, local news and issues, and, the funnier side to the news. DayBreak airs 7-8 a.m. on weekdays.

What's On:

Superior National Forest Update: August 15

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Hi.  I’m Inga Roen, National Forest Interpretive Naturalist, with this week’s edition of the Superior National Forest Update  -  information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest.
For the week of August 15th, here’s what’s going on around the Forest.
Roads are clear and dry and great for travel right now.  Some washboarding is showing up on some roads, so be prepared for it.  Going too fast on washboards not only rattles your teeth, it makes your tires lose contact with the road and makes steering very difficult.  Still, if you’re coming into the Forest from the south on Highway 61, the worst road conditions are probably going to be the construction zones on Highway 61.  There is a detour through Finland via Highway 1 and County 6, and another section with single lane traffic a little farther north.  You can expect half hour delays or more on the road between Silver Bay and Tofte.  People on the Cramer Road might see some more vehicles than usual as frustrated travelers use back roads to avoid the waiting. 
There are still several timber operations on the Gunflint that will have logging trucks on the roads.  Bally Creek, Devil Track, Ball Club, Shoe Lake, Greenwood, Pine Mountain, The Grade, the Caribou Trail, and the Gunflint Trail itself all will have timber being hauled on them.  On the Tofte end, there are no active timber harvests right now.  You still might see a few trucks on the 4 Mile Grade, Sawbill Trail, and the 600 Road, but not many.
Many of our fire crews are supporting work being done on the multitude of fires in the West.  We wish them our best.  Crews here on the Superior though have been working as well.  There have been two small fires in the past week on the Gunflint District, and they’ve also been working on removing understory plants to reduce fuel on sites in the Mid Trail area. 
Speaking of fire, Smokey Bear would like to thank everyone that stopped by to show their support at his 70th birthday parties last weekend and he apologizes for accidently pouring that bucket of water on the candles on the cake.  It was a lot of flames, after all!  He says that he’s ready for another 70 years of protecting the forest, and hopes you continue to prevent wild fires with him!
These are some of the best days of summer for outdoor recreation.  Take advantage of it and get out there!  It can get busy though, so be aware that you aren’t alone.  Respect other people’s need for space and quiet so everyone can enjoy the Forest.  One reason to get out is that August can be a great time for wildlife viewing.  Many young animals are venturing farther away from their moms by this time of year, which sometimes makes them easy to see.  Unfortunately, it also means they sometimes end up in the road, so watch out for wandering wildlife.  Also, watch out for people stopped to watch the wandering wildlife.  If you stop, make sure you are off the roadway in a safe location and have your hazards on.
For up to the minute information on topics such as fire restrictions, be sure to check our website or at a Ranger Station.
Hope you enjoy another week in the Forest and on the water.  Until next week, this has been Inga Roen with the National Forest Update.


 

Superior National Forest Update: August 8

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Hi.  I’m Nancy Larson, Gunflint District Ranger, with this week’s edition of the Superior National Forest Update  -  information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest. 
 
For the week of August 8th, here’s what’s going on around the Forest.
 
Roads are clear and dry and great for travel right now.  In fact, the caution this week is to watch your speed.  Nice flat gravel roads invite you to slowly edge upwards in speed, but then can surprise you with a corner that has loose gravel, or a grader, logging truck, or deer hiding behind a hill.  Most Forest roads were designed for a maximum speed of 35 under perfect conditions, but many of our roads were not designed at all.  They were developed from trails or old railroad corridors.  This creates twisty roads that call for slower speeds, or flat straight roads that tempt people to travel faster than is safe.  Remember that even if your vehicle has four wheel drive, it does not have eight wheel brakes, and sudden braking on gravel is lot harder than speeding up. 
 
You won’t be making much speed on Highway 61 coming to the Forest from Duluth.  There will be a major detour through Finland starting on August 11th, and additional roadwork with flaggers just north of that.  Expect half hour delays.
 
There are several timber operations on the Gunflint that will have logging trucks on the roads.  Bally Creek, Devil Track, Ball Club, Shoe Lake, Greenwood, Pine Mountain, The Grade, the Caribou Trail, and the Gunflint Trail itself all will have timber being hauled on them.  On the Tofte end, some timber operations are winding down, but there is still truck traffic on Four Mile Grade. 
 
Fire crews are still doing fuel reduction work in the Baker Lake Campground.  As August has started drier than July and June, we now have moderate fire danger in the woods.  A lightning strike kindled a small fire in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness near Partridge Lake, and a crew is dealing with it using minimum impact suppression techniques.  Of course, you can’t think about wild fire without thinking about Smokey Bear, and it is Smokey Bear’s 70th birthday this year.  There will be celebrations to honor Smokey at both Gunflint and Tofte.  On Saturday August 9th, celebrate with the bear at Gunflint from 10 to 2, and on Sunday August 10th, you can catch him at Tofte from 11 to 1.  There will be cake, ice cream, and of course, bear hugs.
 
This is a busy time of year in the Boundary Waters.  The water is warm and inviting, the bug population is down, and the Perseid meteor shower lights up the night.  When canoeing, make sure to start looking for a campsite early and make back up plans in case someone else has already claimed your perfect site.  Be ready to paddle off your course to find those seldom visited campsites.  Your reward might be a lake to yourself.
 
Wildlife biologists on the Forest have been helping with bat monitoring to keep track of Minnesota’s bats.  Special audio sensors which detect the bat’s sonar are used, recording audio ‘sightings’ on a computer.  If you’re interested in finding out more about bats, our regular Tuesday program at Chik-Wauk Nature Center at the end of the Gunflint Trail will be about bats this week.  That happens at 3 o’clock on Tuesday.
 
For up to minute information on topics such as fire restrictions, be sure to check our website or at a Ranger Station. 
 
Hope you enjoy another week in the Forest and on the water.  Until next week, this has been Nancy Larson with the National Forest Update.
 


 

Superior National Forest Update: July 25

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Hi.  I’m Nancy Larson, District Ranger for the Gunflint Ranger District with this week’s edition of the Superior National Forest Update  -  information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest. 
 
For the week of July 25th, here’s what’s going on around the Forest.
 
Recent storms have reminded us all to keep weather in mind while out on the Forest.  If you are out on the water and see a storm approaching, get off the water and find a safe place to sit out the storm.  Remember that lightning strikes often occur on the leading edge of a storm, before it actually starts to rain.  When setting up camp, look up and check the surrounding trees.  Don’t pitch your tent under dead or unstable trees, and try to avoid roots that can conduct lightning strikes.  Plan ahead before an extended trip by leaving an itinerary with someone at home, but don’t endanger yourself by traveling in bad weather just to keep to a schedule.  Most of all, use common sense and be prepared. 
 
Travel in the Forest should be pretty easy this weekend with many of the roads having been graded recently.  There are still washouts in some places that create narrow places on some smaller roads, such as the Kawishiwi Lake Road.  The recent windstorm left many trees down across roads, and while we have been working to clear them off, there may still be some across less traveled routes.  You may run into logging traffic near Harriet Lake and the Four Mile Grade on the Tofte District.  Timber work is beginning off the Pine Mountain Road, but truck traffic should still be minimal this week.  Timber work is finishing up on the Sawbill Trail where truck use should be decreasing as compared to last week.  Logging trucks will also be on roads near Greenwood and Devil Track Lakes and on the Caribou Trail on the Gunflint District. 
 
Fire crews are running wood chippers at East Bearskin Campground as they finish fuel reduction work there, while the same process of clearing undergrowth is starting at Baker Lake Campground.  The result will be a forest better able to resist major wildfires.  With our wet weather, there is little fire danger locally, so fire crews from our Forest are headed out to the northwest to help with wildfires there.
 
Moose sightings seem to be up in recent weeks.  There are thoughts that the wet and buggy weather has kept moose on the move resulting in more of them being near roadways.  While it is great to see a moose, it isn’t so great to hit one with a car.  Always be aware while driving that there could be a moose or other wildlife on the road, just around the corner.  And, if you stop to take pictures, make sure you are pulled over in a safe location.
 
For up to minute information on topics such as fire restrictions, be sure to check our website or at a Ranger Station. 
 
Hope you enjoy another week in the Forest and on the water.  Until next week, this has been Nancy Larson with the National Forest Update.
 


 

Superior National Forest Update: July 18

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Hi.  I’m Steve Robertsen with the Superior National Forest Update  -  information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest. 
 
For the week of July 18th, here’s what’s going on around the Forest.
 
Much of the Forest is still pretty wet.  This is really helping lower fire danger, as well as making it a very green spring so far.  When you’re hiking or boating though, you’ll probably encounter signs of high water.  Familiar water routes may be a bit different than in other years with lower water level.  While driving, you should watch for soft shoulders and water on the road after rains as there isn’t a lot of space for quick drainage.  You may also run into logging traffic near Harriet Lake, the Four Mile Grade, and the Sawbill Trail on the Tofte District, and near Shoe Lake, Greenwood Lake, and Devil Track Lake on the Gunflint.  Gravel trucks are hauling gravel for construction along the Caribou.  There are crews out grading Forest roads over the next few weeks, and other crews brushing ditches in the Tofte District.
 
Fire crews are still working on fuel reduction at East Bearskin Campground, so there will be people there cutting and removing undergrowth.  This operation will move to Baker Lake Campground later this week.  All of this work will help to reduce the amount of fuel available for wild fires and to help create a more natural forest structure.  Two fire crews from our Forest are headed out west to help with wildfires in Washington, so we will wish them luck!
 
We are working with seasonal crews from the Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa.  These hard working young people are working on lots of different projects on the Forest from trail maintenance to timber marking and gaining hands on experience that could help them in careers in resource management.
 
This next week, they may be finding plenty of blueberries as they work as well.  Blueberries seem to be abundant and on the edge of ripeness this week.  We’ll see what the weather is and if the crop lives up to its promise.  Remember if you are picking berries, stay away from any areas that might have been sprayed for weed control or insects.  Wildlife biologists conducted the last of the spring frog surveys as our amphibians wind down their spring chorus.  Birds still are singing though with our cool weather and lengthened spring.
 
For up to the minute information on topics such as fire restrictions, be sure to check our website or at a Ranger Station. 
 
Hope you enjoy another week in the Forest and on the water.  Until next week, this has been Steve Robertsen with the National Forest Update.
 


 

Superior National Forest Update: July 11

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Hi.  I’m Steve Robertsen with the Superior National Forest Update  -  information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest.  For up to the minute information on topics such as fire restrictions, be sure to check our website or at a Ranger Station.
 
For the week of July 11th, here’s what’s going on around the Forest.
 
While much of the rest of the state is drying out a bit, we’ve had significant storms this past week.  Road weight restrictions have been lifted by the county, but many of the gravel roads are pretty rough from erosion.  Watch out for soft edges and shoulders on all the roads.  While driving, you may run into logging traffic near Harriet Lake, the Four Mile Grade, and the Sawbill Trail on the Tofte District, and near Shoe Lake, Greenwood Lake, and Devil Track Lake on the Gunflint.  Gravel trucks are hauling gravel for construction along the Caribou Trail and near the road construction on the Gunflint Trail. 
 
Regarding fire, slash is being burned near the Honeymoon and Caribou Trail intersection, so you may see smoke in that area.  Fire crews are still working on fuel reduction at East Bearskin Campground, so there are people there cutting undergrowth, and signs that the understory has been cut recently.  This is part of an effort to reduce the amount of fuel available for wild fires and to help create a more natural balance of overstory and understory in the woods.
 
Wet and cool weather really dominates the forest right now.  People have even seen ice in some rocky crevices along Lake Superior!  I don’t think there’s still ice on the trails, but if you are hiking, expect muddy trail conditions.  Please don’t widen trails by trying to avoid mud holes – your best bet is just to slog through it.  If you are canoeing, be safe.  High water has hidden many rocks and made some portages almost canoe-able, but sometimes the emphasis is on the ‘almost’.  Beaver dams have even been washed out in places, so areas where you have been before may seem a lot different this year.  Whether you are hiking or canoeing, bring mosquito repellent!  It is a banner year for bugs, so be prepared. 
 
On the plus side, the cool weather seems to have prolonged our spring wildflowers and some birds are still singing like it was spring.  Loon eggs are hatching, so keep an eye out for loon chicks near (or on!) their parents in the water, but please don’t approach loon families.  Give them their distance.
 
Hope you enjoy another week in the Forest and on the water.  Until next week, this has been Steve Robertsen with the National Forest Update.


 
Gypsy moths can be unknowingly transported by vehicles

Upcoming Gypsy Moth Quarantine

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A gypsy moth quarantine is due to take effect in Cook and Lake counties as early as July 1, 2014. This has the potential to impact not only the local wood products industry, but also the movement of individuals, vehicles and outdoor goods into other areas not yet under the restrictions of a quarantine.

Hedstrom Lumber has recently partnered with the USDA Animal and Plant Health inspection Service (APHIS) in a study exploring how processing at the mill might serve to mitigate transport of the voracious forest pest.

WTIP’s Gary Atwood spoke with Paul Chaloux, the National Policy Manager of the Gypsy Moth Program, and Scott Myers, leader of the Hedstrom study, about the gypsy moth, the quarantine and the Hedstrom study.
 

Program: 

 
The Lake Superior Project / logo by Lauryl Loberg (Photo by Stephan Hoglund)

LSProject: Trafficking & Lake Superior Part 5

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Human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry in the world, and it is a crime that happens everywhere – even here in northeastern Minnesota. In this edition of the Lake Superior Project, we present part five of a five-part look at the issue of sex trafficking on Lake Superior and in its surrounding area.


 
The Lake Superior Project / logo by Lauryl Loberg (Photo by Stephan Hoglund)

LSProject: Trafficking & Lake Superior Part 4

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Human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry in the world, and it is a crime that happens everywhere – even here in northeastern Minnesota. In this edition of the Lake Superior Project, we present part four of a five-part look at the issue of sex trafficking on Lake Superior and in its surrounding area.


 
The Lake Superior Project / logo by Lauryl Loberg (Photo by Stephan Hoglund)

LSProject: Trafficking & Lake Superior Part 3

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LSPTrafficking3_Finalcut2_20140115.mp315.55 MB

Human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry in the world, and it is a crime that happens everywhere – even here in northeastern Minnesota. In this edition of the Lake Superior Project, we present part three a five-part look at the issue of sex trafficking on Lake Superior and in its surrounding area.


 
The Lake Superior Project / logo by Lauryl Loberg (Photo by Stephan Hoglund)

LSProject: Trafficking & Lake Superior Part 2

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Human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry in the world, and it is a crime that happens everywhere – even here in northeastern Minnesota. In this edition of the Lake Superior Project, we present part two a five-part look at the issue of sex trafficking on Lake Superior and in its surrounding area.