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North Shore Morning

AM Community Calendar/photo by masochismtango on Flickr

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!


What's On:

Manoonin 101 - 1854 Treaty Authority Program

CJ Heithoff talks with Marne Kaeske, Cultural Preservation Specialist with the 1854 Treaty Authority about the manoomin or wild rice program they are bringing to North Shore state parks in August.

The 1854 Treaty Authority staff will share information about the cultural significance of wild rice, its biology and the current management practices in the 1854 Ceded Territory. Regulations and equipment needed to harvest, as well as, safety precautions to take while ricing will be discussed. This program is open to all ages and will be held outside.

The 1854 Treaty Authority is an Inter-Tribal Natural Resource Management Organization that manages the off-reservation hunting, fishing and gathering rights of the Grand Portage and Bois Forte bands of the Lake Superior Chippewa in the territory ceded under the Treaty of 1854.

Locations and times:

Monday, August 20  Cascade River State Park - 7 pm
Tuesday, August 21   Grand Portage State Park - 10 am
Friday, August 24  Tettegouche State Park  -  1 pm
Tuesday, August 28,  Hartley Nature Center  -  1 pm

Manoomin Camp
Saturday, September 8th 10 am - 3 pm at Kettle Lake (outside the Duluth area)




Wildersmith on the Gunflint - August 17, 2018

Wildersmith n the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith    August 17, 2018
As in other places of the universe, the upper Trail has eclipsed the half-way point of our eighth yearly segment. After some swell north woods days early in the month, the beastly star of daytime light blistered the Gunflint last weekend.                                                                                                             
Not having been exposed too much of the oft summer season misery, the conditions had many of us two-legged beings sticky and complaining. While not as steamy as many points to the west, south, and east, when the temp reaches mid-seventies to mid-eighties, it’s jungle like in the forest. Yours truly, for one, hope’s for some natural air conditioning by the time this weeks’ Trail scoop hits the airwaves.                                                                                                                                                 

The mid-Trail fundraiser for the Fire Department and Rescue team went off with another bang, back on the 8th. Once again a nice turn out of local supporters had a good time socializing with friends and neighbors and then picked-up many flea market treasures at bargain prices.                                                                                                                                                                          

The live auction followed the usual format of vigorous bidding for a trove of great gifts, all donated by area crafters, artisans, and businesses. Auctioneer, Michael Valentini kept things lively with his humor and insistent fun loving badgering of bidders into digging a little deeper, for a good cause.                                                                                                                                                               

On a rather interesting note, five locally baked and donated pies were auctioned off, each garnering between 75 and 100 dollars, and a swell twice smoked ham brought in $200. The day ended as Derek and Andrea Hofelt from Loon Lake Lodge had the winning ticket in the drawing for the 2018 mid-trail quilt.                                                                                                                                           
After the dust settled, the mid-Trail Community netted a record $15,500.00, all of which will be donated to the GTVFD.  Congratulations to the organizers and many volunteers for their dedicated efforts, and thanks for a swell afternoon!                                                                                               

More news comes from the end of the Trail where another Sunday program in the Chik-Wauk Nature Center features Teresa Marrone. Ms. Marrone will be expanding the discussion on Non-Invasive and Invasive plants, following the Scenic Byway/Chik-Wauk invasive plant pulling program of a couple weeks ago. The presentation will get underway at 2:00 pm.                                                                                 

It’s the time of year when the Gunflint Trail Historical Society is calling on all area pastry specialists to pre-heat the oven, and roll-out some crust. Yes, the annual Pie & Ice Cream Social will be held two weeks from Sunday, September 2nd, up at Chik-Wauk. Yes, I said September, it’s almost here. So I’m calling all pies. Give Judy Edlund a call 388-4400 to let her know your pie will be there.                                                                                                                                                                                      

Sweets will be served from noon until 4:00 pm. As an added sugary treat, the Northshore Community Swing Band will be playing for your enjoyment from 12:30 ‘til 2:00 pm. The days’ proceeds go to assist in Chik-Wauk Campus operations. A donation of $5.00 per person is suggested.                                                                                                                                                                  

Although a few die-hard blues pickers are still out in the woods, the purplish nuggets must be starting to dry up. An indication of such could be the case as the Smith’s recently came across a hungry momma bear and her twin kids feasting on dumpster delicacies along South Hungry Jack Road. The cubs vamoosed into the forest as we slowed to observe, but momma simply shuffled around back of the unit and peeked at us until we moved on down the road. Berries are about gone, but hunger pangs are forever.                                                                                            

In spite of the recent hot spell, the collection of winter vittles seem to be ratcheting up with the red rodents and “chippies” around the Wildersmith yard. Some days the number of red rodents looks to approach gang size.                                                                                                                   
Furthermore, as one day melts into another, some of us upper Trail residents are feeling the “getting ready” season dwindling. Oh, so many chores to finish and suddenly so few days! Meanwhile, snowbirds are already contemplating migration.                                                                                                                      
For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, as we hear notions of a “September Song.”



Superior National Forest Update - August 17, 2018

National Forest Update – August 9, 2018.
Hi.  I’m Jake Todd, information assistant at Tofte, with the National Forest Update.  I’m a relatively new face on the district, but you’ll see me on the other side of the counter if you come in for a wilderness permit, camping information, or just to say hi.  As far as information goes, here on WTIP, every week we bring you information on things happening around the east end of the Superior that might affect your visit.

The first piece of information you may already have noticed, but you are probably trying hard to ignore.  Here in mid to late August, there are… hints of fall starting appear.  The goldenrod and large-leafed aster are blooming in huge numbers, and here and there you’ll even see a bush honeysuckle turning red.  The flowers on the fireweed are creeping upwards on the spike, and the story is that when they reach the top of the plant, summer is over.  If you are out at night, listen carefully.  You’ll hear small chirps from above which are coming from night flying flocks of birds migrating south.  The weather may still be warm, or even hot, but there’s no denying that there’s change in the air.

One change this time of year is the drying of the forest.  As moisture levels decrease, fire danger increases.  The duff layer on top of the soil, when dry, can be ignited easily and smolder for days until conditions are right for a fire to spring into life. 

Unfortunately, the source of that ignition too often is a careless person.  Right now, our fire crew reports that the Superior overall is averaging one human-caused fire a day.  These small fires have all been under a quarter acre, but remember that the massive Ham Lake and Pagami Creek Fire, and even the Carr Fire burning in California now, started as small fires less than a quarter acre.  Most of our small fires are from campers not putting out campfires completely, and there’s really no excuse for that.  Smokey has been telling us for years to put our fires out, so next time you have a campfire, just remember the bear and that Only You Can Prevent Wildfires.

Speaking of bears, we are coming to the end of the berry season, and our resident bruins will be starting to look for other sources of food to fatten up for hibernation.  They have to put on a lot of fat, a weight gain of around 30% from their spring weight, in order to sleep all winter without food.  Without berries, bird feeders, trash cans, and picnic coolers all start to look more tempting.  Make sure you are safeguarding all your food sources so your bird feeders don’t turn into bear feeders.  If you are at one of our fee campgrounds, you need to bar the dumpster after use.  This small step really helps keep bears from becoming problem animals.

The road to the campground shouldn’t be a problem though.  Our roads are in good shape right now – good enough that it is tempting to really put on some speed.  Please don’t.  There are many reasons to keep your speed down in the forest, from animals crossing the road to logging trucks, and very few good reasons to go fast.

Those logging trucks are busy hauling in a few places.  On the Tofte side, watch for traffic on the Trappers Lake Road, Dumbell River Road, Wanless Road, the 4 Mile Grade, and Lake County 7.  On the Gunflint District, log trucks may be on the Greenwood Road,       Firebox Road, Cook County 60, the Lima Grade, and the South Brule River Road.  Also, be aware that logging operations are scheduled to begin off of Pike Lake Road within the next couple of weeks.

So, try to ignore those signs of creeping autumn, and get out and enjoy the rest of summer 2018.  We still have plenty of good summer weather left to swim, fish, hike, or camp in, and it’s up to you to take advantage of it. 

Until next week, this has been Jake Todd with the National Forest Update. 


N.Sky - Early Sept.jpg

Northern Sky: August 18 - 31, 2018

NORTHERN SKY – Deane Morrison       Aug. 18-31 2018

At this time of year, the stars and planets have started coming out noticeably earlier. Venus is sinking, but still bright, in the west after sunset. The bright star Spica, in Virgo, is off to the left--our left--of Venus in midmonth. Spica is also dropping toward the western horizon, and it crosses paths with Venus on Friday the 31st. That evening, If you catch them when the sky's dark enough but they haven’t set yet, you’ll see Spica about two and a half moon widths above Venus.
Moving east, we have Jupiter, always bright. East of Jupiter and low in the sky is Scorpius, with Antares, the gigantic red star at the heart of the scorpion. Moving east again, we have the lovely Teapot of Sagittarius with Saturn shining above it, and finally Mars. Mars, Venus and Jupiter outshine all the stars, and Mars still outshines Jupiter. But Mars is fading as Earth leaves it behind in the orbital race, and soon Jupiter will reclaim its mantle as the brightest of the outer planets.
August's full moon arrives at 6:56 a.m. on Sunday, the 26th. However, the moon sets at 6:07 a.m. that day, so to see it you could go out around 5:30 a.m., or look for it the night before or the night after.
In astronomy news, you may have heard that on Sunday, August 12, NASA launched the Parker Solar Probe, an ambitious mission to the one star we can study up close. Parker will fly through the sun’s corona—its outer atmosphere—passing closer to the sun than any previous mission, and University of Minnesota space physicists play an essential role in it. Here’s the scoop.
It’s been known for decades that when subatomic particles escape from the sun’s surface their temperature is about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. But when they pass through the corona, they get heated to a few million degrees.
Scientists have debated how the corona heats these particles so intensely. And also, how the corona accelerates them and spews them out in a torrent of particles that barrels through space at up to a million miles per hour. This stream of particles bathes the solar system and is known as the solar wind.
Earth’s magnetic field intercepts the solar wind and shields us against it. When it collides with Earth’s magnetic bubble, it can lead to spectacular auroras. But when it’s fierce, the solar wind can knock out power grids, as it did in Quebec in 1989.
Whatever in the corona is heating and accelerating these particles has to be electric and magnetic fields, because that’s all there is. The debate is about the details. The Parker spacecraft carries an instrument, designed by U of M researchers, to study the corona’s electric and magnetic fields and particles. This data will help settle the debate and make it easier to predict the heaviest gusts of the solar wind and take precautions to protect power grids.
How close will Parker get to the sun? If Earth and the sun were at opposite goal lines on a football field, the closest any spacecraft has come is the sun’s 29-yard line. But Parker will zip inside the 4-yard line, less than four million miles from the sun. NASA has dreamed of such a mission for 50 years, but the technology took time to develop. For example, engineers had to design a heat shield that’s capable of deflecting temperatures high enough to melt steel. Also, the Parker Solar Probe must, by itself, adjust its orientation to keep its heat shield between the spacecraft and the sun as it hurtles through its tightest loop around the sun at more than 400,000 miles per hour.


BOW - Becoming an Outdoors Woman is being offered at Wolf Ridge Environmental Center this fall

Wolf Ridge and DNR partner to offer "Becoming an Outdoors Woman"

Whether you're trying an activity for the first time, or you consider yourself an expert, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources would like to help you gain new skills and improve your techniques in a relaxed, fun, and supportive atmosphere though its Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) program.

Coming up in September, there is a BOW weekend at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Finland.

WTIP volunteer Brian Neal learns more about this workshop in this interview.

Photo courtesy of Explore Minnesota


Fledgling bird - photo by Dan Shustack/OBCP via USFWS Midwest Region on Flickr

North Woods Naturalist: Fledglings

Before young birds can fly, they fledge. But not all birds fledge the same or at the same time. WTIP’s Jay Andersen talks with North Woods Naturalist Chel Anderson about how and why fledglings fledge.



Wildersmith on the Gunflint - August 10, 2018

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith         August 10, 2018    
Gunflint weather, well this is the reason folks live and visit here. It’s been just swell not too hot and not too cool. However, a summer anomaly saw the Wildersmith thermometer nudge down to thirty-nine one night last week, the same time International Falls hit thirty-four. As you might expect, this was fine with yours truly. The moose and I detest sweating!                                                                                                                                                     
The upper Trail was also blessed with another dose of rain, as showers Saturday night and late afternoon Sunday dealt this neighborhood four-tenths of an inch. So this is good as residents remain leery of wildfire potential with so many visitor campfires out in the forest.                                     

Speaking of visitors, vacation times are peaking with outfitter and resort parking lots overflowing along this Scenic Byway. Marking this second weekend of August, summer is dwindling quickly and back to school is but a couple weeks away.                                                                                       

Nevertheless, activity along the Trail is on full speed ahead. With hoopla of the mid-Trail fundraising hoe-down into the books, the “Sound of Music” will echo along the Trail Sunday.  Gunflint Woods, Winds, Strings and a Little Jazz Concert installment number six, begins at 5:00 pm in the Schaap Community Center (Fire Hall # 1). A final call to Patsy Coleman might still secure your ticket reservation at 313-673-6202, but don’t wait too long.                                                                                                   

Many notable local artists;  including Phillis Anderson, Kathy Bolstad, Mike DeBevec, Mike Roth and Michael Ferguson to name but a few, are performing. Also in the talented line-up are the SVEA women’s ensemble, the Borealis Brass Quartet, the Sky Blue Jazz ensemble and the Third Stream ensemble. With these area professionals, the afternoon should be sweet as the pristine forest backdrop! Attendees can plan to “meet & greet” the performers along with refreshments at both intermission and after the concert.                                                                                                                                   

A shout out is given in regard to the Gunflint Trail Historical Society’s August meeting this coming Monday, the 13th. The gathering will be held at the Seagull Lake Community Center beginning at 1:30. Following the monthly business report, speakers John Hutchinson along with Gary & Mary Connell will reflect on “Tommy Banks-The Gangster of the Gunflint.” Treats & drink will be served following what should be an intriguing journey back in Gunflint history.                                                                                                                                                                                  

Next up for residents and visitors, the Dark Sky Caravan is on the way along Highway 61 through Cook County, with the last stop being up at end of the Gunflint Trail.                                                               

Celestial gazing will be held at the Seagull Lake Community Center/Fire Hall this coming Thursday, August 16 and Friday, the 17th. Free to the public, shows in the GeoDome Mobile Planetarium Theater will be held on the half hour beginning at 5:00 pm each day and continuing until 11:00 pm. Outside telescopes will also be set up by the Dark Sky delegation and members of the Arrowhead Astronomical Society. Please note these dates are correct as an incorrect date was released in the News Herald last week.                                                                                                                    

This heavenly opportunity is being presented by the Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium through the University of Minnesota Duluth, in partnership with The Gunflint Trail Historical Society with cooperation from the Trail Fire Department.                                                                                 

Visitors are urged to carpool where possible, wear weather appropriate clothes, include bug spray or nets for out of doors viewing and bring flashlights to find your vehicles during the darkest hours.                                                                                                                                                                     

Come one night or both, rain or shine, don’t miss it. This is a rare north woods experience, likely the darkest place in the lower forty-eight for touring the universe.                                                                

As the crazy days of summer keep slipping away, I can’t help but relish the excitement of migrations to winter confines, stashing of cold season vittles, preparation of warm dens, the spectacle of autumn and of course, the first tinge of crystal in the Byway ditches.                                                                                                                                                            
Adult loons will soon be in the gathering mode and hummingbirds appear to be tanking up in readiness for their airing southward. It’s still summer for a few weeks, but I’m feeling a tempering of things. Ahh the Gunflint, “N” is for north and “N” is for nice!                                                                                                                                                              

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, and our natural world is always on the verge.



Superior National Forest Update - August 10, 2018

National Forest Update – August 9, 2018.
Hi.  I’m Joe Mundell, timber sale administrator, with the National Forest Update.  Every week we bring you information on things happening around the east end of the Superior that might affect your visit from timber hauling traffic to how bad the bugs are.
We can start with the weather this week.  If you live here or have been visiting the last week, you’ll know that we’ve had everything from nights cold enough to start a fire in the morning, to hot humid conditions, to perfect clear days, to thunderstorms with hail.  And fog.  Can’t forget the fog.  It’s a great time to remind people that we can get all sorts of weather.  If you’re camping, be sure to pack for anything, not just the weather your trip starts in.  If you are fishing or just out boating, watch the sky.  Summer thunderstorms can build quickly, and you’ll want to be off the water before they strike.
When you are out and about, you may run into our CCMI crew for the summer.  CCMI stands for Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa.  These young people have signed on for the summer to work in the outdoors doing a wide variety of jobs for the Forest Service and other natural resource agencies.  They have helped this year with portage maintenance, trail work, rec site maintenance, and other tasks – including appearing on floats in both the Bay Days and Fisherman’s Picnic parades!  We’d like to thank them for all the work they’ve done, and if you see them, be sure to wave!
Despite the thunderstorms, we are in a normal period of August drying in the Forest.  Lake and stream levels are low compared to spring, but are about average for this time of year.  They are low enough though that if you are planning a canoe route, some of the streams passable in spring will be portages instead.  This also means that between rain clouds, our fire danger can creep up.  As always, be careful with fire and make sure your campfires are dead out when you leave them.  We have many of our staff helping with wildfires in the west, from crews on the fire line to people helping with logistics and weather reporting.  The west needs all the help it can get out there, so it would be good not to have to deal with any wildfires back here at home.   We can be thankful that due to weather and people like you being careful, we’ve had a year without major fires so far.
There is not a lot of timber activity on the Forest right now.  You may find haul trucks on the Firebox Road, Greenwood Road, and Cook County 60 on the Gunflint District, and on the Trappers Lake Road, the Wanless Road, Dumbell River Road, 4 Mile Grade, Caribou Trail, Springdale Road, Sawbill Trail, and Carlton Pit Road on the Tofte District.  While you need to watch for haul trucks in those places, you never know what may be around the next corner.  A visitor on the Cramer Road recently came over a hill into a swarm of cyclists occupying the entire width of the road.  Cycling on gravel roads is becoming more and more popular, and encounters like this are becoming more common.  All users of the roads need to be aware and share the roadway – don’t assume that because it is a gravel road, car traffic will be slow or absent.
Until next week, enjoy all the weather August has to offer from campfires on cold evenings to swimming on steamy days.  This has been Joe Mundell with the National Forest Update.


Swimming Black Bear.jpg

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - August 3, 2018

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith       August 3, 2018

 July along the Gunflint Trail has quietly faded away. We’re off into the eighth stanza of 2018. It seems implausible we Gunflinters should be observing autumn signs nudging their way into the summer green, but such is the case.
The past seven-day segment has been much the same as those preceding. It’s been warm and nice. The territory did get a minor dropping of rain last Saturday, amounting to barely two-tenths of an inch along the Mile O Pine. There was more bark than bite as thunder garnered more attention than raindrops, and there was more of the same early evening Sunday. Then a hefty dose drenched the territory to greet the new month with one and three-tenths inches here in the Wildersmith gauge.                                                                
A suggestion to area residents, with the ignition of a small wildfire southwest of Seagull Lake during the past few days, would be to crank up those wildfire sprinkler systems to add a little more moisture and confirm operational fitness.                                               
Getting back to those signs of fall mentioned earlier, I‘ve noticed hillsides in the upper Trail region with a splash of gold as juvenile birch or aspen have discovered the daylight minutes diminishing. Further, the aureus of dogbane is increasing along roadsides while goldenrod, Joe Pye weed, and milkweed are casting new tones to the North woods spectrum. 

Since the Ojibwe, “blueberry moon” is next in the lunar line-up, it’s appropriate for the final blueberry push. I don’t see any slacking in the number of visitor vehicles out along the Trail. All are parked in precarious places with drivers immersed somewhere in the wild filling buckets and baskets.  

While on the invasive plant pull up at Chik-Wauk last Saturday, yours truly found a cache of Juneberries AKA serviceberries or even Saskatoon berries. They are sure easier picking than the blues, and I think, even sweeter. I heard of a recent pastry delight baked with a combination of rhubarb and juneberries. It sounds great with a dip of vanilla, but not for those of us with sugar concerns.
Speaking of sweetness, fun in the mid-Trail gets underway Wednesday in the Schaap Community Center facility, at 12:00 noon. The flea market and gift boutique starts things off, followed at 1:30 by the live auction and finally, the drawing for the beautiful mid-Trail quilter’s 2018 patchwork.                                                                                                                                                                               
This mid-Trail event is the second leg of the Gunflint Trail triple pursuit for support of the volunteer fire department. This in mind, the first leg, our Gunflint Trail Canoe Races, of two weeks ago, raised over 24 thousand dollars. These funds are vitally important, so everyone possible, please get out and support our neighbors in the middle.   

Almost before one can blink their eyes, the last fundraiser for the fire department takes center stage on Sunday, August 12th with the Gunflint Woods, Winds, Strings and a Little Jazz Concert. This event is usually a sell-out with only 150 seats available in the Schaap Center for the 5:00 pm performance, better get reservations made ASAP.  Give Patsy Coleman a call at 313-673-6202. 
The Gunflint Trail Historical Society is excited to announce a special event coming to end of the Trail on August 16 & 17. The Society, with cooperation from the volunteer fire department, and in partnership with the University of Minnesota Duluth, is bringing the GeoDome mobile planetarium theater to our upper reaches.                                                                                                                                                
This is the final stop for the “Dark Sky Caravan” delegation which starts at the UMD Planetarium on Saturday, August 11th. With daily stops along the north shore, it ends at one of the darkest places in the country to gaze the celestial. All are being held at the Seagull Lake Community Center and fire hall on the dates listed above.
Events are free with programming from 5:00 pm until 11:00 pm both days. Planetarium shows will be offered on the half-hour with observations in the out of doors too when darkness is most consuming. In the event there are cloudy skies, programs will be limited to the GeoDome. A side note confirms the caravan visit will coincide with the annual Perseid Meteor Showers. 
UMD staff and students will lead attendees through a dynamic digital space exploration experience.  Volunteers from the Arrowhead Astronomical Society will be offering live sky consultation. This educational outreach from the Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium through the University of Minnesota will be an experience to remember. Mark your calendars, and bring a flashlight to find your car in the late night darkness.
Not speaking of dark skies now, but of another dark item in creation, a bear made a visit to Wildersmith a few days ago, our first of the season. Happily, the visit was casual and did not involve my having to banish this ebony critter from the property. This observation happened during a dockside fishing event as my wife was startled to see a big “Bruno” showing off its aquatic skills not far from where she was sitting.                                                                                                 

As she was landing her usual “pet smallie” the hefty critter gave her the eye but never missed a stroke while continuing on by. She was nevertheless a little unsettled after hearing about the Leo Lake gal who recently bumped into one while berry picking. The north woods character eventually exited the big pool a ways down the lake and disappeared into the forest, no harm, no foul!                                                                      
For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, with endless natural world adventures!                                                                                                                                                        



Superior National Forest Update - August 3, 2018

National Forest Update – August 2, 2018.
Hi.  I’m Renee Frahm, Supervisory Administrative Support Assistant, with this week’s National Forest Update, information on things happening around the east end of the Superior that might affect your visit.  It is August, and we are in mid-summer!
Mid-summer for many means berries, and though we are little past the peak of blueberries, raspberries and others are still plentiful in the woods.  Many of these berries do best in areas of new growth where a fire or logging activity created a clearing.  When you’re picking, make sure to look back on occasion and be aware of where you came from.  The dense regrowth in prime berry habitat can make it very easy to get lost in a hurry, so be sure to memorize your way back to the car.
We are also easing into our end of summer fire season.  While there is a lot of green out there, dry weather in August can create good conditions for a fire.  Last week, we had a collection of several small fires on the Forest which were a good reminder to practice safe campfire management.  Campfires should be in safe areas, in fire rings or fire grates at developed camping sites, and by DNR regulations, should be no more than three feet in diameter.  When you leave a campfire, it should be cold to the touch and dowsed with plenty of water.  Smokey has been saying ‘Only You Can Prevent Wildfires’ for years, and it is just as true now as it was in the 1950’s.
I said the words “end of summer” back there, and as much as we hate to admit it, this is the start of the end.  Loons are starting to gather in groups on lakes prior to heading south.  There is a lot of warbler activity as well, some of which is due to birds who nested farther north already started to migrating south.  If you have a hummingbird feeder out, you may have noticed more hummers recently.  Hummingbirds switch to insects during the height of summer for feeding their chicks and often aren’t seen at feeders.  Now that the young ones have fledged, they will start using feeders more as they prepare for migration.  Traveling through the woods, you can actually find some bush honeysuckle which has turned red, and even the occasional moose maple or aspen with some color showing.  If your summer to-do list includes sealing the driveway or staining the deck, you’d better get at it because soon the nighttime temperatures will be too low to have projects like that dry correctly.  We had a taste of that last week with morning temperatures in the low 40’s, so consider yourself warned by Mother Nature that fall is just off the horizon.
While traveling, watch for logging traffic on the Trappers Lake Road, the Wanless Road, Dumbell River Road, 4 Mile Grade, Caribou Trail, Springdale Road, Sawbill Trail, Carlton Pit Road in the Tofte area, and on the Greenwood Road, Shoe Lake Road, Old Greenwood Road, Firebox Road, Ward Lake Road, Cook County 39, and Cook County 60 in the Gunflint District.
Until next week, try to pretend that summer will last forever and enjoy some wonderful August weather.  This has been Renee Frahm with the National Forest Update.