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North Shore Weekend


  • Saturday 7-10am
Host CJ Heithoff brings you this Saturday morning show, created at the request of WTIP listeners.  North Shore Weekend features three hours of community information, features, interviews, and music. It's truly a great way to start your weekend on the North Shore. Arts, cultural and history features on WTIP’s North Shore Weekend are made possible with funding from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.



What's On:

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - March 17, 2018

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith      March 16, 2018

The northland reaches the mid-point of month three with winter on hold as the “old man of the north” has taken another week of spring vacation. At this scribing, the character of the season remains pretty much in evidence for most of unorganized territory. However, there’s a feeling its days are numbered.                                                                                                          

Since our last meeting on the radio, with only a scant dose of snow, temps have been normal for March to this point. Here in the Wildersmith neighborhood, we’ve had a few nights below zero while mostly sunny skies have provided a rapid recovery into daytime comfort.                                                                                                                                                                        

As the “vernal” season edges ever closer, the power of our “day star” is shrinking roadside snow banks away from the Trail in spite of deep freezing nights. For the time being, the Gunflint Byway is totally clear of winter driving conditions, the first time in many weeks. However, the bleached white beauty of a trek up the Trail is tainted with a grungy look of urban windrows exposing gray sludge and littering remains of human occupation.                                          

Another sign of the times is being revealed as the innards of “mother earth” are moderating to release the frozen grip beneath our only paved access to civilization. This subterranean turmoil is magnifying those jaw-jarring dips in the Trail blacktop. For the traveler not knowing of these hidden locations, the bounce as your vehicle bottoms out and the head hits the roof can be a stunning roller coaster shock.                                                             

Meanwhile, on local unpaved roads, winter to spring driving conditions prevail. Users can expect anything from packed snow to glazed ice, to mud and even a few dry patches. I’m still observing any number of indentations in the ditch snow banks indicating several metropolis visitors have no idea of the need to slow down on our backcountry pathways.                                          
If I wanted to work full time, it seems a towing business could be lucrative. I know of one fellow down the road who has already pulled seven vehicles from the white mire.                                                  

Speaking of littering along the Trail, it would seem appropriate that lake property owner groups might be organizing volunteer crews for a debris pick-up when the snow is gone. According to information from the Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway Committee, the days of May 14 through May 24th have been established for such policing. Collection bags are to be placed along the Trail for pick-up by the County. Of course, one does not have to wait if the opportunity to pick up some unsightly trash should appear before the organized dates.                        

Another issue has again gained the attention of area residents and businesses. After being discussed a few years ago, the proposal for construction of an ARMER communications tower in the upper Trail region is being re-examined.                                                                                          
ARMER (Allied Radio Matrix for Emergency Response) is Minnesota’s program to connect agencies and public safety departments. MnDot has been legislatively mandated to install towers throughout the state to connect agencies under one communication system.                                                                                                                                

While it may seem hard to argue issues of public safety agency connections, the sacredness of the adjoining BWCA or living in the area of such a tower (not in my backyard) has many in a contentious mood.                                                                                                                                             

MnDOT, Cook County, and the GTVFD are collaborating to examine options to address filling in the current communication voids to the satisfaction of all concerned. Editorially speaking, though changes are never easy, “the process would seem more palatable if such a communication spire could be constructed to look like a tall white pine or a rock on a point of high elevation.” I’d bet it could be done.                                                                                                                                        

A public informational meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 10th at the Schapp Community Center (mid-Trail). The gathering will begin at 6:00 pm. Everyone is encouraged to attend; become informed, ask questions and explore connecting communications alternatives.       

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, while we contemplate more winter or early mud season. 



Superior National Forest Update - March 16, 2018

National Forest Update – March 15, 2018.
Hi.  I’m Hayley Henderson, CCMI contractor with the Forest Service, with this week’s National Forest Update, a round-up of everything that for the next two weeks may affect your visit to the Superior.  We are on the edge of spring but don’t get too excited yet.  Remember that March is one of the heaviest snowfall months of the year and you never know what might happen.
What has happened so far though is some deterioration of our winter trails?  Right now, trails are mostly rated as good, with some icy conditions on south-facing slopes.  With about of warm weather ahead of us though, users should beware of more glazing of trails and possible bare spots.  Snowmobile trails are rated fair to good, with a couple of very goods, but still, watch for soft spots as melting is expected to continue.  But it is March, and we still may be in line for a good dumping of snow before winter is done, so don’t put away your snow toys yet.  Don’t forget that snowmobiles are not permitted on ski trails; we’ve had indications that a couple of people appear to have missed that message.

The roads are much like the trails.  They are still firmly frozen and good for travel, but just be aware that in the sun the layer of frozen snow may be turning to truck-eating mush in the near future.  If you are unsure, get out and check the road before you go down it.

We are coming close to March 19th, the date ice houses must be removed from lakes in northern Minnesota.  Ice fishing will continue, but you cannot leave your house on the ice unoccupied overnight.  Every year, it seems someone pushes the season and ends up floating out into the lake, or having a vehicle drop into the water.  Don’t let it be your embarrassing picture that is in the news; check ice thickness and be careful.  After all, it could be a lot worse than just embarrassment.

There’s still too much snow on the ground to worry about fire danger, though we are sending some of our fire people to southern forests where the fire season has started already.  But, it’s never too early to start thinking about Firewise!  Firewise is the idea that you can help protect your property by managing it in a way that reduces the possibility of a structure fire.  Materials about Firewise are available online and at the Forest Service offices in Tofte and Grand Marais.

There isn’t a lot of timber activity right now on our eastern side of the Forest.  Hauling is taking place on the Greenwood Road, the Firebox Road, the Greenwood Lake Access Road, the Homestead Road in Lutsen, the Caribou Trail, Cook County 39, the Ward Lake Road, and Forest Road 333.  The Firebox Road and Forest Road 333 are also snowmobile trails, so be extra careful traveling on them.

Biologists have been conducting owl surveys at night recently.  This is the time of year when owls can be quite vocal, so they are easy to locate.  Hawks generally have to fly south in the winter because the snow covers the ground and the hawks can’t see the mice to catch them.  Owls, on the other hand, locate their prey by hearing and can hear the mice right through the snow.  This saves owls the work of migrating and also allows them to start nesting long before the hawks arrive to compete with them for nest space and food.  The facial disc that gives owls their distinctive face is actually part of their hearing mechanism.  The visible disc is the edge of a reflector made of harder feathers that works like a satellite dish to bring sound right to their ears. 

Enjoy the warmer weather, and maybe use it to take a walk outside at night and listen for owls.  After all, they are probably listening to you.  Until next time, this has been Hayley Henderson with the National Forest Update. 


Cross Quetico Lakes Ski Tour

Cross Quetico Lakes-Ski Tour

In this interview, WTIP's CJ Heithoff talks with Chris Stromberg, an interior park warden at Quetico Provincial Park, as well as a coordinator with the Heart of the Continent Partnership.

Stromberg is the organizer of the Cross Quetico Lakes - Ski Tour which takes place March 17, 2018

The event is an old-time ski tour across the ungroomed lakes and portages of Quetico Provincial Park.

More information is available at the Travel the Heart website.



Wildlife rehabilitation center explains what to do with injured animals

Wildwoods Wildlife Rehabilitation Center Care Coordinator Tara Smith speaks with WTIP Volunteer Brian Neil about the Northland's only Rehab Center for injured or displaced wildlife... of all kinds.



West End News - March 8, 2018

West End News 3/8/18
March is here and with it some of the best skiing weather. Longer hours of sunlight, temperatures in the positive twenties instead of the negative twenties, and dedicated groomers all make for primetime ski time. Whether it’s downhill or uphill, this is the time to get out there. The sugarbush cross-country ski trails have a great packed base between 6 and 12 inches, and all the groomed trails are open and in good condition. The downhill scene is just as good. Lusten Mountains has at least 30 inches, and as much as 60 inches of snow base on all their primary runs.

Another good reason to visit Lutsen is another Family Fun Night, coming up on March 31st. Families get to take a ride on the Summit Express Gondola up to the top of Moose Mountain where they can enjoy a delicious dinner and all sorts of entertainment. There will be a magician, art projects, kids music with koo koo kanga roo, all culminating in some fireworks. Call Lutsen Mountains or hop on their website for tickets.

You can head right back to Lutsen the following morning for Lutsen Resort’s annual Easter brunch buffet. An early Easter year, on April 1st the Resort has seatings at 11 a.m. or 1 p.m.

Birch Grove’s monthly community lunch will be happening on Tuesday, March 13th at Noon. Everyone is invited to come, it’s 5 dollars for adults and 3 for kids. This is a great opportunity to have lunch with your neighbors and kiddos.

While we’re talking food, start planning ahead to attend Bluefin Bay’s 2018 Spring Food and Wine Lover’s Weekend. This year, on May 4th through the 5th the resort is partnering with Guest Chef Steven Schulz from the Toasted Frog in Fargo. Friday night is a four-course dinner with wine pairings, and Saturday features an afternoon wine tasting and a five-course dinner with wine pairings. Reservations can be made by calling the Bluefin Grille at 218-663-6200.

If you’re more of a beer than wine person, do check out Caste Danger Brewery’s season spring IPA. Dubbed the White Pine project IPA, this is a beer with a purpose, so you can feel good about drinking it. White pines were once a staple in the landscape of the North Shore, Castle Danger Brewery is working to help reinstate the white pine population here in our own backyard. Proceeds from the sales of this beer will go directly to planting targeted areas along the North Shore. The hope is that these stands will thrive for future generations to enjoy. So do the earth and the North Shore a favor and stock up on some beer.
For WTIP, I’m Clare Shirley, with the West End News.


Vicki Biggs-Anderson

Magnetic North - March 7, 2018

Magnetic North 2/18/18
Snow Follies and Pratfalls

Welcome back to Magnetic North where we who refuse to fly away in winter have many a tale to tell of how we dealt with, or were laid low by, the recent snowfall. Some say as much as two feet. Others three. There may have been those who had more, but methinks they are still tunneling out and may not be heard from for a while. If ever.
I shovel by hand to the coop and back yard where I throw hay for the goats. Snowplowing is not for this girl, so my big bully boy blower sits in the woodshed and my lightweight girlie girl worthless rig adorns the front deck. I hate them both. The firs one t because it is as hard to push through snow as a dead buffalo, and the second one because it makes a path barely big enough for a garter snake to wiggle through. 
Thankfully, not all paths need to be made by me on the farm. After the big snow last week the little herd of five goats had quite a time pushing their way through the several feet of new snow covering the 300-foot path between their barn hay feeding area.. I used to take the hay to them. Then I got hurt doing that and got smart. Goats can make paths as well or better than I can. And they don’t snap tendons in their ankles doing it either.
After about 20 minutes of standing about like statues, goat by goat, they came. First, Brownie pushed a few feet, then stopped. Then Poppy edged around her and took up the lead, adding a few more feet to the effort. My big strong wether, Bosco, much to his shame, hung back and was the fourth one to do the heavy pushing and plodding, but eventually all five were snarfing down sweet hay, having left a serpentine path behind them that no snowblower could match.
As for the chickens and ducks and geese, most are either in a chicken coop or in a part of the garage where I store hay bales. Two banty hens are in the house with the angora rabbits - don’t judge! - I have good, solid reasons for this outwardly bat crazy move, beyond the obvious one which is I can feed and tend to them without hoisting a shovel.
But that last snow was more than I could manage when it came to shoveling a path from the driveway to the coop. The sheer depth of the drifted snow brought back memories of Paul’s and my first winter with chickens, I tried snowshoeing to the coop, assuring him that he needn’t both with making a path because I would do it “the old fashion” way. 
The first time I fell --the snow was over two feet deep - was the dogs; fault, Our twin Labs, Ollie and Jubilee, were excited to see mom wearing what looked to them like big dog toys on her feet and so naturally enough bounded up behinds me and jumped on the tails of my snowshoes. After spitting out at least a cup of snow, I began the near impossible task of righting myself and finally took off both gloves and one snowshoe to do it. My shrieks and screams alerted Paul to take the dogs inside and I stamped on to the coop, triumphant in my swift progress. This is when I realized the value of thinking a plan through. I got in the ante room door alright, but upon sticking one snowshoe into the coop, all hell broke loose.
Chickens do not like surprises, and the sight of the webbed wooden monster on my foot sent them into a panic of flying and squawking, which was only heightened by the appearance of my other snowshoe. After a few minutes of standing still and removing feathers from my face and mouth, I figured it was safe to move again. I could not. My snowshoes were simply too big to allow me to turn around. So much for the old fashion way. Bless Paul’s heart, he never said a word when I asked him to snowblow the path later that day

Nowadays, when I have a treacherous or physically taxing task staring at me, I apply a simple test, something akin to thinking it through. This test applies to getting on ladders, making extra trips up and down the stairs, etc.
In the case of the path to the coop, I simply asked myself, should I shovel and risk injury thus spending months in physical therapy? or should I call for help, even if I have to pay for it?
In winter, or anytime really, erring on the side of caution is of more use than the finest parka, mukluk or machine. If I hurt myself, my critters will be in worse shape than if they have to wait a while for grub. And I will be out more than a few bucks.
That said, I still manage to burn a few calories on chores, especially when things go wrong. Frozen shut doors require salt and a crowbar. Doors that open, but not all the way because frozen goose poop is blocking it, call for the half-moon hoe judiciously and furiously applied. And a few words to the thoughtless goose as I swing the tool. Wood needs splitting, feed bags need hauling and buckets of frozen water need schlepping inside to thaw. 
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. These are the things I choose to do in winter, rather than sit on a beach or in an RV park in a warm place. As for why I would make such a choice,, one might just as well ask why I have chicken s and rabbits in my old furnace room. So I’ll just trot out the favorite spousal reply that has driven, mostly husbands, mad since time began, “If you have to ask, you simply wouldn’t understand.”
For WTIP, this is Vicki Biggs-Anderson with Magnetic North


Frank Moe

Frank Moe gives CPR to dog at CopperDog Trail Race

Hovland-based musher Frank Moe was racing in the CopperDog Trail Sled Dog Race in Michigan on March 4 when he came upon Anny Melo's team. Melo was bending over a dog that had gone into respiratory arrest. 

Moe tells CJ Heithoff about how he gave the dog CPR, which led to a happy ending.


Wildersmith (375x500).jpg

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - March 02, 2018

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by    Fred Smith       March 2, 2018 

February’s last few days saw winter finally assert itself. So if March is going to roar in like a lion, month three is going to have to go some to upstart the ending of its’ predecessor.
Speaking of March, it’s another of those “blue moon” months, so the northland will be blessed twice by “his lunar highness.” Interestingly, by months end, we will have experienced four full moons in just three months.                                                                                                                                                       
For the second weekend in a row, the liquid component of the season, which had been lacking for most of the time, came down by the scoop full. Another thirteen inches of white buried the Wildersmith neighborhood, and decorated the evergreen forest with mounds of marshmallow puffs.                                                                                                                                                                   
This brought our two week accumulation here to twenty-five inches, and our seasonal total to a more respectable seventy and one-quarter.  Although there can never be enough snow in these parts for yours truly, it has put my old body to the test. Moving the stuff was complicated by a snow plowing equipment failure. Luckily, my back-up snow thrower saved the day, or should I say two days. Even at that the snow shovel barely had time to cool down between the two storms fury.                                                                                                                                                           
Since this inland area of the Gunflint is usually on the short end of such heavy snows, I assume the usual snow zone places back down the Trail got even more. The new powder should be a thrill for folks in the snow removal business as well as CC skiers and power sledders. I visited with a neighborhood couple who indicated a snowmobile trip down the Gunflint Lake ice was a spectacular ride on waves of soft snow.                                                                                                   
With the trout derby coming on Sunday, clearing the ice roadways onto Gunflint Lake for contestant vehicular access would seem to be more difficult than in recent years. However, those Ridge Riders are experts in managing snow, so there should be no fear about things being ready. For folks planning on drilling the ice, remember, entry registration happens between nine and eleven Sunday morning. Snow or shine, it’ll be a fun day, catching or not, fishing is always great!                                                                                                                                                                       
Notice is given for another event to be held over the Gunflint Lake ice next weekend. Saturday, March 10, Gunflint Lodge is sponsoring a “Fat Bike, International Run for the Border.” The biking trek will extend through forest trails and then across the border ice into Canada and back. A Remote Area Border Crossing Permit is required, so bring yours along. Also bring your own bike or rentals are available. A short loop on the U.S. side will be available for youngsters. The event will run from 10:00am until 2:00pm. For more details, contact Gunflint Lodge at 218-388-2294.                                                                                                                                                                
Activity around WTIP is now at fever pitch. Going into this weekend, studios will be jumping as the spring fund raising campaign enters days two and three. The theme, “still the one” couldn’t be more fitting, as our family of listeners are “still the ones” who have made north shore radio what its’ become.                                                                                                                        
As the station approaches twenty years of community programming excellence,                                                                                                             the need for resources is forever, in order to sustain our broadcasting distinction. WTIP needs your continued supporting commitments more than ever before. So if you are new to our listening audience or a long-time family member now is the ,oment to step-up. Give operators a call; stop by and see us; or click and join, in the fun.                                                                                                                                                      
It’s a long ways to our goal, but as the old Orleans song lyrics remind us, “we’ve been together since way back when, and we’re still havin’ fun, you’re still the one.” WTIP is counting on all to keep great radio alive and well.                                                                                                                                                        
For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, in our winter wonderland!



Superior National Forest Update - March 2, 2018

National Forest Update – March 2, 2018.

Hi.  I’m Renee Frahm, Visitor Information Specialist, with this week’s National Forest Update, a round-up of everything that for the next two weeks may affect your visit to the Superior.

Thanks to Mother Nature, it’s a different world out there.  Is it too early to say if March will come in like a Lion or a Lamb?  We know February sure went out with a bang. In the past week and a half we have gotten anywhere from 8 to 30 inches of fresh snow from Silver Bay to the top of the Arrowhead and up the Gunflint Trail and more is expected early next week.  If you haven’t made time yet, it’s time to get those snowshoes or cross country skis out and hit the trails and enjoy what has been given to us.  My suggestion would be to stay on the trail, because it’s deep!  If you are one that likes to compete in a good old fashioned cross country ski and you missed signing up for the Birkebeiner last week, this Saturday, they are having the Sugar Tour ski challenge on the Sugarbush Ski trail system out of Tofte.  Meet at the Oberg Parking lot and they will take registration starting early Saturday morning.  The event begins at 10:00 and goes until 2:00 p.m.  They are offering a 5k, 8k, and 18k distance skis along with some other events for the whole family.  If you are one that prefers the motorized approach to winter recreation, the snowmobile trails are groomed perfectly for a nice, smooth ride.  With the warmer temperatures, you will be in for some great snowmobile trail riding.  The different trail groomers have been extra busy this last week keeping all of our trails in tip top shape.  Thank you so much!
If you are planning a winter camping trip, travel across lakes by ski’s or snowshoes is becoming more difficult with the amount of snow we have.  Being that the weather is warmer, overnight winter camping is picking up.  If you go, make sure you pay attention to leave no-trace camping techniques or stop in a Forest Service office or check out the BWCAW trip planner on the Forest Service website and get a refresher on what to do if you go.   

This week, the Forest was visited by a film crew that was taking footage of outdoor recreation sports on the Superior National Forest.  One of your friends or relatives may be highlighted in a National Forest commercial within the next year that spotlights the beautiful Superior National Forest.  A big thank you goes out to the Cook County Visitors Bureau for their help with this.   
For those of you traveling back roads, remember, reports from the locals on the Gunflint trail are that the moose are still hanging around the roadside and licking salt off the roads, so please travel with care.   There are probably more critters than the moose hanging out on the road.  If you have stepped off the beaten path, it’s tough moving around out there, and even tougher for them to jump over the big road banks to get back where they belong.  There is no need to race where you are going, take your time, drive slowly and enjoy the beauty of your surroundings.   People have reported seeing boreal owls and great gray owls in the Forest and even in their yards.  This new snow will make dinnertime a challenge for them, so you may see more owls hanging around your bird feeders looking for an easy meal of mice.
Travel in the Forest should be pretty good, though as Minnesotans we all know that depends on the weather.  In years past, the road restrictions have gone on as early as mid-March, but as late as into the month of April.  Warmer temperatures will determine when restrictions are put in place.  At this time we have no idea how soon or how late they will occur, it will all depend on that big yellow thing in the sky.  We will also be springing our clocks ahead on March 11th so it won’t get dark so early. 

As for now, the roads are in good shape.   On the Tofte District there are no active timber sales, so there is no log truck traffic. There are a few places on the Gunflint where you may find logging activity and trucks.  Watch for hauling in the same places as the last few weeks on the Greenwood Road, Firebox Road, and Greenwood Lake Boat Access Road.  Also, for the next couple of weeks, there will also be hauling on the Homestead Road off of the Caribou Trail, and on the Caribou Trail itself.  The Homestead Road has a ski, bike, and snowmobile trail parking lot, so people accessing that facility should be cautious.  As always, be careful on the roads that are also snowmobile trails, like the Firebox Road.

Enjoy the winter, it sure looks like we will have it around at little while longer.  Until next time, this has been Renee Frahm with the National Forest Update. 



West End News - March 1, 2018

West End News 3/1/18

Rumor has it that the sap has started running in the West End. The syrup producers, commercial and individual, have been hard at work setting their taps in the sugar maples. For the big commercial operations, this means two full weeks of tromping through the woods, tapping thousands of trees and checking miles of lines. With so much snow this year, it’s quite the aerobic task.  Of course, that’s just the beginning of the hard work. Boiling the gallons and gallons of sap down into syrup is not for the faint of heart. After you see how much hard work goes into making that delicious liquid gold, you’ll come to judge people by how much they leave behind on their plate.

Mark your calendars for March 16 through the 19th for this years annual DuLutsen music and ski festival in Lusten. Sponsored by The Current and Bent Paddle Brewing this years North of North celebration will feature the likes of the Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank, Two Many Banjos, and Charlie Parr, among others. DuLutsen celebrates the convergence of the vibrant North Shore music scene with the talented artists from Duluth. It’s a great way to shake off that cabin fever!

This year marks the 20th anniversary of our beloved WTIP radio station. To kick off the membership drives we have Still the One this week. I grew up with WTIP everywhere in my life. It was in our house, in our business, in the car. I took it for granted that having local voices delivering everything from music to news to sports broadcasting was something that everyone must have. When I moved away from home, I soon learned, this is in fact NOT something you can find just anywhere.

When I moved back to Cook County I was happy to hear even more local programming making its way onto WTIP’s airwaves. Even more personally, WTIP has given me the opportunity to carry on my grandpa Frank’s West End News. It’s a weekly reminder for me of all the good he did for his community.

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again. One of my favorite parts of WTIP is the archived West End News’s on their website. There, I can find a treasure trove of my grandpa’s voice talking about news, history, and, of course, telling stories. Not only is WTIP enriching our daily lives, they are creating a living record of our county’s voices.
Of course, they can only do this because of those same voices who also show their support for the station by becoming members. This station is truly by the people for the people. If you’d like to join the community, it’s easy, just give them a call or drop by the station this week, everyone is welcome.

For WTIP, I’m Clare Shirley, with the West End News.