Our third stanza of February is complete, and we round the bend in this short month with the March express bearing down on us. Reflecting on the sweetheart time of last week, we had a really cool Valentine’s holiday. More emphatically, “cool” is an understatement. The cold outside was downright frightful. The Wildersmith neighborhood and northward experienced several days well below zero leading into the “big red celebration” and these minus temps have lingered.
A typical February happening found our thermometer hitting minus 36 this past Sunday, while Valentine’s Day saw the daytime high not making it up to 20 below. Those temps are actual (none of that hokey wind chill sensationalism). We north woods people readily know when it’s dangerously cold and don’t need to be told about it. Seems amazing we have to continually dumb things down to protect people from themselves.
To make weather matters a bit more difficult out this way, fresh snow a day or so in advance of the new blast was packed by howling winds and instantly frozen into beautiful works of north-country sculpture. So although the outcome is magical, movement about during the time was nightmarish.
The big drag races for power-sledders this past Saturday went off as scheduled over on Hungry Jack Lake, in spite of the bitter conditions. Over 20 racers entered the four-class , with some running in multiple classes. Three of the classes (700 cc, 800 cc & open categories) were dominated by Greg Gresczyk, while Jeff Doegee won in the 600 cc division.
A third event in the hat trick of winter activities sponsored and organized by the Cook County Ridge Rider Snowmobile Club is just around the corner. Their annual fishing derby on Gunflint Lake is scheduled for Sunday, Mar. 8. Fishing, food and fun is the order of the day so plan on coming out and dipping a hook.
Signs, signs, signs, everywhere’s got signs! If there isn’t enough already impaling the earth along our nationally recognized pathway, apparently the Gunflint Trail is falling prey to more, as was announced at a recent Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway Committee (GTSBC) meeting. The bombshell was dropped by Cook County highway department engineers, leaving byway committee members in a state of shock and dismay.
The crux of the new project is to line every tight winding curve, from Trail’s beginning to end, with a wall of reflective chevron warning markers. All in the name of safety for Trail users, these new installs will be in addition to existing curve and speed reduction warnings that have been in place for years. Several members of the Gunflint Scenic Byway Committee aired less than favorable opinions on the plan, as it will surely make the natural aspects of a trip through the woods far less scenic. With the mission of this Committee being “to act as advocates and stewards for the preservation, protection, understanding and maintenance of the natural historic intrinsic values of the Gunflint Trail and its corridor,” the plan does not sit well. Though wanting safe travels for all Trail users, the GTSBC believes this plan is unnecessary overkill.
Taking this discussion a step farther, additional signage can do nothing to avoid driver related behaviors of inattentiveness, speeding, DUI or dozing off, the most common causes of accidents. The question being asked, is why create a complex “metropolis atmosphere” of directional symbols when such will do little to keep drivers on the paving. Having already passed previous warnings, certainly any attentive vehicle operator has plenty of directional assistance, if they just pay heed. The Scenic Byway Committee plans further discussion with hope to head off more signs throughout our unorganized territory. Stay tuned for more as it becomes available.
Opinions from residents and user friends in regard to this controversial sign issue could certainly be shared with our county commissioner (Heidi Doo-Kirk) and/or the Cook County Highway Department.
On a more exciting note, the needs of your community radio station are on center stage here and now. The 2015 spring membership drive is now under way, and is appropriately themed, “Because of You.” It’s “because of you” that we have this vibrant community radio station. Further growth and development of the great programming to which we are accustomed, will also only continue “because of you.” So it’s time to spring forth with a monetary token of your appreciation to keep WTIP moving forward. The drive lasts until noon on this coming Monday, but don’t put off calling any longer. Give operators a call right now; 387-1070 or 800-473-9847 or click and join at WTIP.org) and tell’ em the guy from Wildersmith said this, “because of you.”
Keep on hangin’ on and savor February in a Gunflint setting!
(Photo by Jay Kleeman on Flickr)