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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!

 


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Photo via NPLSF

Rescuing Wolves from Michipicoten Island to Isle Royale

WTIP's volunteer North Shore Morning host, Shawna Willis talks with Carol Brady about the effort by National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation and International Wolf Center efforts to fund the transfer of Wolves from Michipicoten Island where they are starving, to Isle Royale.

You can find the interview below.

WTIP contacted Carol after receiving the following press release:

The National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation announced today that, with the support of the International Wolf Center, an urgent final effort is underway to move four to six wolves to Isle Royale National Park over the next four days.

Earlier this year, two wolves from Michipicoten Island (located in northern Lake Superior) were moved to Isle Royale. Four to six wolves still remain on the island and are at risk since their only available winter prey on the island, caribou, are gone. Officials had hoped to move all of the wolves off Michipicoten earlier, but poor weather, government shutdowns and a lack of funding delayed that effort.

The Foundation and the International Wolf Center agree that this wolf relocation project needs a strong start to have a more immediate impact on the current burgeoning moose population on Isle Royale, where an estimate of more than 1,600 moose are threatening the ecosystem.

"On Michipicoten, nature's lessons can be cruel and starvation is one of them,” said Sona Mehring, the chair of the foundation. “For the remaining wolves on Michipicoten, that will be their fate unless we help move them to Isle Royale National Park, where their hunting skills and genetics can add value to establishing a new population of wolves on Isle Royale.”

“We’re especially proud of the fact that the International Wolf Center is helping to save the lives of a small pack of wolves on Michipicoten Island,” said the Wolf Center’s Executive Director Rob Schultz. “Since all of the caribou have been removed from Michipicoten, there’s nothing left for the wolves there to eat this winter and there is a real threat of starvation.”

It is estimated that the four-day effort, which will begin either Friday (March 22) or Saturday (March 23), will cost $100,000.

The foundation raised $30,000. The International Wolf Center raised an additional $45,000. The organizations have started a GoFundMe page to raise the final $25,000. That page can be found here.  

"As we discussed this project, we found many people who supported seeing the forests of Isle Royale remaining healthy,” Mehring said. “We are close to realizing the goal of providing another capture opportunity to move these iconic wolves to an island that needs them in its ecosystem.”

Science has long showed that wolves play an important role in nature. This translocation shows how wolves can be used to naturally manage ungulate populations.

“Since the reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone National Park, we’ve seen first-hand the positive impact wolves have on ecosystems,” Schultz said. “A thriving wolf population in Isle Royale’s ecosystem will make a similar impact. If left unchecked, moose would over-consume the island’s vegetation. Apex predators, like wolves, are important components of any healthy, natural ecosystems.

“This shows just one more way we put our donor’s support to hard work to advance wolf populations around the world. We’re honored to team up with National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation to make a difference together.”

 
National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preservation of the natural resources and unique cultural heritage of Lake Superior’s five U.S. National Parks. National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation funds research, restoration, education, and resource protection projects for Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Grand Portage National Monument, Isle Royale National Park, Keweenaw National Historical Park, and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation has a proven record of funding projects both large and small providing more that $1.5 million in funding across all five parks.
 
The International Wolf Center, founded in 1985, is known worldwide as the premier source for wolf information and education. The mission of the Center is to advance the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future. The Center educates through its website, its ambassador wolves, museum exhibits, educational outreach programs, International Wolf magazine, and a beautiful interpretive center in Ely, Minnesota.

 

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Superior National Forest Update - March 22, 2019

Superior National Forest Update – March 20, 2019.

Hi, this is Renee Frahm, Visitor Information Specialist with the Superior National Forest, and this is the National Forest Update, information for you if you’re headed out the road and into the woods. 

Snow is melting, and it is now officially spring!  The spring equinox was this past Wednesday, so according the stars, it is now springtime despite the feet of snow still on the ground.  It is spring according to the animals as well.  There have been lots of eagles moving northward through Hawk Ridge in Duluth, and we’ve been seeing more gulls up the shore as well.  Chipmunks have reappeared above the snow, and you may see red squirrels in love chasing each other through the trees.  It’s actually the only time red squirrels tolerate each other at all – they are generally loners, and only get together to mate in March.  Red squirrels are pretty much absent caretakers – the male will return to his territory, and the female will be left to do all the child rearing.  By midsummer, young squirrels will be kicked out by mom as well, and have to carve out their own individual territories.

It is a great time of year for ice fishing for trout.  Most lakes still have plenty of ice on them, and the slush has melted and refrozen making travel easier.  Your ice house should be off the lake now, but it is nice and warm out for sitting on a bucket waiting for fish to come.  Our snowy winter means that despite the warm temperatures, it is still pretty good for snowmobiling and skiing too.  Visit our website for links to trail conditions, things can change rapidly in the spring.  Also, when you are out, watch for bare patches on south facing slopes.  People are injured skiing every year when they come to an abrupt halt at the bottom of a hill when the snow turns to dirt.

Driving out in the woods is starting to get trickier.  Spring weight restrictions are now in force in both Lake and Cook Counties, which means that the roads are getting soft.  It means there won’t be big logging trucks out and about during the day, though in some places, they could be active at night when the roads freeze again.  The soft roads will affect your vehicle too, even if it isn’t a big truck.  Be on the lookout for wash outs and frost boils where melt water erodes the road from the bottom creating almost a quicksand area.  Be equally on the lookout for icy patches on north slopes and shady spots that can send your car spinning.  And lastly, always be on the lookout for deer and other wildlife.  If you are lucky, you’ll even have a moose licking salt off your car.  They are very active this time of year, and often favor roads as travel routes.  All this makes for a season when it is easy to find yourself stuck somewhere out in the Forest.  Plan for it, and bring emergency supplies.  While it may be warm, it still gets cold at night, so make sure you always bring winter gear along, even if you may not need it.

Although the snow is melting, you still need a permit to plow unplowed Forest Service roads.  Please stop by the office and tell us of your plowing plans before your truck hits the road. 

Spring can be a great combination of winter activities with warm weather, so be sure to take advantage of these few spring days before all the snow is gone for good. 

Until next time, this is Renee Frahm with the National Forest Update.
 

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BlackBearandMotherSM by beingmyself via Flickr.jpg

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - March 22, 2019

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith     
March 22, 2019    
 
Gosh, the universe is at the fourth Friday in the month, how time flies! Whiffs of spring are on the upswing along the Gunflint following the collapse of “old man winter” last week.         

Although current conditions could regress, it seems unlikely since the warmth of the continent extends from Fairbanks, Alaska to border country and beyond. It just looks like spring has the upper hand as winter whimpers away.                                                                                                     

This part of the world still looks wintery with plenty of snow and ice left to melt. Nevertheless, the abrupt seasonal changeover gulped up about a foot of the north woods landscape in a short time, before falling back to more seasonable character by last weekend.                        

As one would expect slushy conditions, fog and substantial rain caught many out this way by surprise as this is usually an April/May occurrence. Wildersmith recorded well over an inch of liquid during the cold dampening ordeal with temps not moving far from the mid-to upper thirties for the better part of three days.                                                                                                                             

Folks were slogging around in deep white gush as backcountry roads and driveways turned into quagmires of slippery ruts. Some actually gave up attempting to navigate and just holed up until a welcome freeze slowed things and solidified surfaces.                                                                                    

The result is that numbers of wilderness folk are now dealing with icy drive and walk ways. At the Smith place, our vehicle has taken its transition season place at top of the driveway until further notice. It’s not a matter of getting up our serpentine of slipperiness to the Mile O Pine, but stopping on the way down. This is a minor inconvenience however, compared with potential to slide through the trees and onto the Gunflint Lake Ice.                                                                                                                                

Beyond vehicular difficulties, getting around on foot is dictating the use of studded footwear. So far I’ve remained in the upright position, and hope others in Gunflint Territory are doing the same.                                                                                                                                       

Speaking of lake ice, my neighbor was up for a last shot at a trout or two, and found the conditions for drilling less that favorable. By the time he waded through knee deep slushy water to a drilling site, his interest waned. He did drill through the cold goop, and found the ice in this neighborhood to be only twenty-one inches (plenty safe if one finds a place to stay on top of the semi-melt), but far from the usual depth.                                                                                                                                                            

These messy lake conditions have slowed snowmobile activities too. There’s not been too many anglers passing by lately. Getting off the packed sledding paths is likely to find one stuck in the muck. There have been many reports of riders struggling to get machines dug out of some precarious situations.                                                                                                                                                    

Recently, I had the occasion to look through a Sierra Club magazine. This March-April edition has an interesting article on black bears. The writing by Brandon Keim, titled, “Does A Bear Think in the Woods?” offers some interesting research studies/observations of the Bruno’s, confirming what many of us residing in multi-bear habitat already suspected.                                                                                      

Bears are pretty smart, displaying several attributes which are thought to be unique to human capacity. They are social, “with a society of sorts, using a rich communication system, and govern themselves by long-term relationships and rules of conduct.  Being highly self- aware; they judge, they punish, have gratitude and friendships.” Sounds kind of familiar, doesn’t it?  I think it would be suggested reading for all who will soon be encountering the “Bruno” winter wake-up and subsequent visits along the Gunflint.                                                                                                                       

Sadness is hanging over the territory once again with the passing of a long-time friend and neighbor. Word has been received on the passing of Mark Patten last weekend.                      

Mark is at peace after struggling with several health issues. He died in Duluth Hospice care.                                                                                                                                                 

Mark will long be remembered for his gracious Christian hospitality at Okontoe on Bow Lake where he and his family are perhaps best known for their wilderness lifetime of reaching out to troubled youth, and their enchanting sleigh ride adventures.                                                                                                                     

The Gunflint Community wishes strength and condolences to his wife, Nancy, his children, extended family and countless friends.                                                                                                                         

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, even at the thought of mud season, and bitin’ bugs, itching to get at us.
 

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Birch Grove Elementary - School News - March 20, 2019

Birch Grove Elementary - School News with Roland, Whitney and Dayne.
March 20, 2019

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Small Fry - submitted.jpg

Superior Reviews by Lin Salisbury - Lisa Brennan-Jobs "Small Fry"

Superior Reviews - by Lin Salisbury

Lin reviews Lisa Brennan-Jobs' book "Small Fry"

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Common raven.  Photo by Neal Herbert via Yellowstone National Park on Flickr.

North Woods Naturalist: Ravens

WTIP's CJ Heithoff talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about ravens in this edition of North Woods Naturalist.

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Photo by CJ Heithoff

Great Expectations School News - March 15, 2019

Great Expectations School News with Zoe and Mary June.
March 15, 2019

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Birch Grove School

Birch Grove Elementary - School News - March 13, 2019

Birch Grove Elementary - School News with Jack, Nataliya, and Roland.
March 13, 2019

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Star map March 2019 submitted by D.Morrison

Northern Sky: March 16-29, 2019

NORTHERN SKY – By Deane Morrison  

March 16-29 2019

We’re now deep into spring equinox time, when the sun climbs fastest through the northern sky. The equinox happens at 4:58 p.m. on March 20, and Grand Marais gains three minutes and 28 seconds of daylight per day for two weeks around that date. But Anchorage, Alaska gains five minutes and 44 seconds, while in Trondheim, Norway, they’re gaining six minutes and 19 seconds. Trondheim gets more than an hour of extra daylight just during the 10 days straddling the equinox.
 
These ultra-rapid changes shouldn’t be too surprising. For example, in Trondheim, the day length goes from about four and a half hours in December to about twenty and a half in June. When the day length has to increase that much in just six months, it’s going to change pretty fast. And it’s fastest in March because that’s when the sun moves northward most rapidly.
 
At the equinox, neither pole is pointing toward the sun, and the day length is the same, theoretically, all over the planet. We actually get slightly more than 12 hours of daylight on the equinoxes because Earth’s atmosphere is a gigantic lens that allows us to see the sun for a few minutes before it rises and after it sets.
 
The equinoxes are also times of switchover. During the winter, the farther north you go, the shorter the day length. After the spring equinox, it’s the other way around, and as you go north, the day length increases.
 
All this is due to Earth orbiting around the sun while being tilted on its axis. That tilt doesn’t change during the course of a year. The North Pole always points to the same spot in the sky, near the North Star, and it’s our orbital motion that makes it point toward or away from the sun, or neither, depending on Earth’s position.
 
If that’s hard to visualize, get an apple and face a wall. Tilt the apple a little so that the stem—the apple’s north pole—points somewhat upward and toward the wall. Then, without spinning or pivoting the apple in any way, move it counterclockwise in a circle and imagine the sun in the center. Move your arm horizontally, as if stirring a pot, keeping the apple pointed toward that same wall. When it’s closest to you, the apple tilts toward the sun, like Earth at the northern summer solstice. When it’s farthest from you, it tilts away from the sun. That’s the winter solstice. At the midway points it tilts neither toward nor away from the sun, and those are the equinoxes.
 
Okay. In the sky. Jupiter is well up in the south in the predawn hour, Saturn is much dimmer and off to the lower left of Jupiter, and Venus makes it over the eastern horizon just as the sun’s rays start to wash everything out. 
 
In the evening, Mars is still up in the west after nightfall. It’s been kind of lonely, but some visitors are on the way. The Pleiades star cluster and the bright star Aldebaran, the eye of Taurus, the bull, are moving closer to Mars every night. Best viewing starts the 22nd of March, at about 8:30 or 9 o’clock, when the sky will be dark but the moon won’t be up yet.
 
March’s full moon comes right after the equinox, at 8:43 p.m. on the 20th. The moon will be just a day past perigee, its closest approach to Earth in a lunar cycle, and that means we get our third supermoon in a row. This one rises over Grand Marais at 6:52 p.m., less than two hours before fullness, so it’ll come up very round as well as very big.
 

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