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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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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - October 5, 2018

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith       October 5, 2018
Here’s October! She banged at the door. We let her in, and there’s no turning back. It seems almost unimaginable, but the Universe is nearly one week into the final quarter of ’18.                                                                                                                                                                                 
 Also unthinkable was waking up to white on the ground in the Wildersmith neighborhood and other places in the upper Gunflint on the last Saturday of September.   Although such a winter preview is not totally unheard of, the dusting to a half inch in places was a surprise.  Most snow melted by mid-day, in concert with the warm earth and peeks of sunshine.  Intermittent sunshine through-out the day alternated with banks of clouds and rainy-snow showers on the heels of gusty “Nor westers”, so conditions didn’t feel very autumn like.                                                               

In spite of the day remaining quite raw, escapades of another north woods spectacle were shared by friends over on Hungry Jack Lake. Rainbow after rainbow crossed the lake through countless squalls as the spirit of “Sol” beamed through the elements. The color marvel crowned the heavens in awesome spectrum until setting in the southwestern sky.                                                                                                             

Needless to say, for listener/readers outside the territory, as one would expect, it’s been cold. The Smiths’ have had a fire in the wood burning over half a dozen times prior to the calendar turning over. This is unprecedented during our nineteen years in border country.                                                     

The good news is our dock and boat have been brought ashore and put to bed. It wasn’t an easy chore as air temps colder than the lake water, and rough seas made the task not too pleasant. We Smiths’ were blessed to have a good friend, and his buddies from Metropolis, who braved the elements to help get the job done. By the way, the water temp, at the time was in the low to mid-fifties, so there was a definite incentive to get in and get the equipment out.     

More glad tidings come from the beautiful Mile O Pine as the sugar maple spectacular is lighting up our lives. In spite of not having the billions of such trees found in the highlands above Lake Superior, we nevertheless cherish the gold to scarlet radiance afforded us. This years’ short-lived natural majesty seems to be the best ever. However, I’ve probably said this before.                                                                                                                                                                                               
The crimson of the forest in this neighborhood is not limited to maple tokens. A few days ago, my red fox friend stopped in for a visit once again. It had not been around for a couple weeks.                                                                                                                                                                                     

The cool to cold conditions have brought on remarkable changes in the foxy critters’ apparel. Boy, has it ever bulked up with the winter coat while the tail is fluffy and wide as its body. Overall, it looked like it had just come perfectly groomed from a salon, nothing like the mussed, scrawny fellow of a few short months ago.                                                                                                                                     

This visit was more than the usual grab and go scene. On this stop-over, it spent all morning with me, following like a puppy dog begging for a treat. When I was busy, and not paying it attention, the handsome red dude would lie down and wait until I moved on.                                                                                                                                  

On a couple of occasions, it would come to my wood shop door and give me a forlorn look, as if to say, don’t you see me. These moments were a special up-close experience as I looked into its penetrating amber eyes. The look in those golden spheres was piercing and yet, a soul-stirring reverent sense of beauty.                                                                                                                                                           
I’m uncertain if we have adopted each other permanently, but for several hours, the company of man and beast was unexplainably curious and trusting.                                                                                                                                  

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, amongst the charm of “Mother Natures’ favors.



Superior Reviews by Lin Salisbury - William Kent Kruger

Superior Reviews by Lin Salisbury.
Lin reviews William Kent Krueger's newest book "Desolation Mountain".



Birch Grove Elementary - School News - October 3, 2018

School News from Birch Grove Elementary with Whitney, Atlas, and Niranjan.
October 3, 2018


Walking School Bus - Photo courtesy of Moving Matters.JPG

The six "Es" of Safe Routes to School

Each month the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic offers infomation on a timely "Topic of the Month." This month the topic is "Safe Routes to School" and the actions taken to make Grand Marais a safer walking area. 

Hartley Acero of the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic talks about the six "Es" that make a community safer in which to walk. Acero explains they are: engineering, enforcement, education, encouragement, equity and evaluation. 

One of the educational efforts that has taken place in the past is the "Walking School Bus," in which students, parents, school officials, members of law enforcement and the general public walk together to school. It's meant to determine the safest routes for walkers and to encourage children and parents to make that walk part of their everyday routine. The next "Walking School Bus" event will be Wednesday, October 10. 

WTIP's Gary Latz talks with Hartley to learn more. 



Swans swimming in Temperance River

North Woods Naturalist: Swans and Cranes

WTIP’s CJ Heithoff talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about Swans and Cranes in this edition of North Woods Naturalist.


Foxfire (Photo by Ylem via wikimedia)

North Woods Naturalist: Foxfire

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



Wildersmith on the Gunflint - September 21, 2018

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith        September 21, 2018   
The Wildersmith two are back in border country. A quick run south to Iowa for a visit with kids and grandsons was great. However, the atmospheric conditions were not so welcoming.                                                                                                                                                       
Although the hot and sticky was not so irritable for Iowans by Iowa standards, it was less than comforting for yours truly. The return to the Gunflint raised a renewed appreciation for the “cool” north.                                                                                                                                                                   
In fact, as I key this new scoop, temps in the mid-fifties and a steady northwest breeze have been beckoning a north woods greeting to the second Equinox of 2018.  After several weeks of autumnal temptations, it’s finally here, the second most beautiful time of the year! You all know my favorite!                                                                                                                                                               
The joys of this season are upon us along the Scenic Byway. Our “technicolor” bonanza is exploding as the spectrum of gold to scarlet and then hues of brown signals an end to summer, heading us toward the sparkle of a crystal time.                                                                                                                                  
Some flakes of fall are already trickling down. Of particular note, venerable white pine needles of a year ago are cascading in blizzard-like fashion blanketing the forest floor. Meanwhile, waiting in the wings so to speak, or better yet, in the treetops, cinnamon scales of western white cedars are soon to be raining down.  Our tawny new carpeting is but one of uncountable annual treasures of a year coming to an end and adding yet another layer to the accumulated duff from thousands of years ago.                                                                                                                     
The Tsunami of usual “Leaf Peepers” should not delay getting up this way. Some deciduous members of the forest are now in the shedding mood. An example of such and another joy for the Smith’s is the wondrous way falling leaves take their place along the Mile O Pine and other backwoods arteries.                                                                                                                                                                               
Such a celebration is underway and was somewhat surprising upon our return from the southern trip. It’s not quite a “yellow brick road”, but conjures up thoughts of such with windrows of golden leaflets neatly swooshed into formation by a few passing vehicles.                                       
If this bounty of beauty wasn’t enough, a timely inch of rain has dampened the earth, and along with its congregate collection of downed leaflets stirred our sense of smell with the initial essence of the harvest season. Oh, if we could only bottle up this magic aroma.                                                                                                                                         
And, as if to compliment this refuge of charm, the next couple days will see heavenly beams shining down with the full Ojibwe “wild rice” moon (Manoominike-Giizis). Furthermore, other happenings in the heavens find winged folk of all varieties in varying stages of migration. Most notable are wedges of Canadian Honkers leading the way southward. Back down on earth, the Gunflint Trail snowbirds are taking flight as well.                                                                                                                                                                                     
In a bit of people news, an announcement from the Chik-Wauk Campus comes regarding the cancelation of this weeks’ (Saturday) program in the Nature Center. Scheduling complications mean the presentation on “Bats” as presented by Peg Robertsen cannot be held and will have to be re-scheduled for next summer. The Chik-Wauk staff regrets and apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused.                                                                                                                                                   
In closing, the words of photographer, Jacques Dupont come to mind. “We see so many ugly things in the world, but the splendor of nature is a superb counterbalance.” The Gunflint North has it all! Don’t miss seeing her in full-color dress.                                                                                                   
For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, truly, a sanctuary of abundant wonders.                                                



Superior National Forest Update - September 21, 2018

National Forest Update – September 20, 2018.
Hi.  I’m Jake Todd, information assistant with the Superior National Forest, and I’m here with this week’s National Forest Update, a round-up of everything that may affect your visit to the Superior.  Fall continues to progress, and after some rain, we should have a few days of perfect fall weather.
A lot happens in the fall, including the end of our fee season at our fee campgrounds.  With the end of fees comes the end of water and garbage service at campgrounds.  Divide, McDougal, and Little Isabella River Campgrounds will end the fee season at the end of the month, with the rest ending the following week.  You are still welcome to camp at the campgrounds after fee season, but you’ll need to pack out your garbage and be sure to bring water with you.  Certain campgrounds may have water available from concessionaire offices after campground water systems are put to bed for the winter, but for most, the arrival of possible frost means we have to shut the water off.
There’s also some final work being done on roadways before things freeze up.  On the 600 Road, a favorite for leaf peepers in the fall, work is being done to clear out ditches so they can handle meltwater in the spring.  Some heavy equipment, such as a backhoe and dump trucks, will be periodically blocking the roadway, mostly between the Temperance River Road and the Cramer Road.  If you encounter them, just wait until they pull to the side to let you through.  The 600 Road is also having potholes filled, and you’ll notice that the Honeymoon Trail and Temperance River Road are also freshly graded for the fall season.
Fall burning has also begun.  Our fire crew will be burning piles as weather allows during the next month or so.  This may create smoke in areas where burning is going on.  If you see a smoke plume, it is always a good idea to report it and we will be able to tell if it is just from some of our activity.  If you are in an area where burning is happening, watch for trucks and personnel on the roadways, and respect any temporary road closures.
There’s some log hauling happening out there.  In the Gunflint area, expect trucks on Pike Lake Road, Cook County 7, the Caribou Trail, and    Hall Road in Lutsen.  On the Tofte end, Dumbell River Road, Wanless Road, Trappers Lake Road, Lake County 7, the 4 Mile Grade, and the Grade are included.  While log trucks are big, don’t forget that during this time of year, you may encounter slow-moving leaf watchers almost anywhere on the Forest.  It’s best to just assume there will be oncoming traffic around corners and over hills.
There are hunters out there too, and everyone, not just hunters, should start to wear orange when they’re out in the woods.  We have several hunter walking areas designed for grouse and small game which are used as hiking trails as well.  This time of year though, it is best to leave these trail systems to the people who are hunting.
Rain over the next few days might batter the trees, but most of the leaves are still pretty solidly attached, so we expect the peak of fall color to happen sometime in the next couple of weeks.  Sunny days help develop leaf color, along with cool nights, and that’s what should be moving in after the rain clouds leave.  Overall, this seems to be shaping up to be a great fall color season, but it doesn’t last long.
That means that whether you are out there for fall color, or hunting, or both – it’s a good time to get out into the Forest.
 Have a great time out there, and until next time, this is Jake Todd with the National Forest Update. 



North Woods Naturalist: Autumn transitions

September 22 was the official start of autumn, and those along the North Shore are already seeing the early signs of the changing season. 

WTIP’s CJ Heithoff talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about just that in this edition of North Woods Naturalist.


Fall color

Fall colors are beginning to peak across northern Minnesota

The Fall color transformation is underway here in northern Minnesota.  As of September 20, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources shows most of Cook County at 10 to 25% peak colors.  For the latest on where to find peak colors, check out the DNR website here.
In the audio below, WTIP volunteer Mark Abrahamson spoke with Amy Barrett, Minnesota Parks and Trails Public Information Officer about the Fall color season.