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North Shore Morning

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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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Superior National Forest Update

Superior National Forest Update - April 10

Superior National Forest Update with Information and Education Specialist, Steve Robertsen.
April 10, 2020

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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - April 10

 Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith
April 10, 2020
   
 
The shoulder season for Trail businesses is in full swing as the super, Ojibwe, “maple sugar” moon passed over the Gunflint this past Tuesday evening. While the Gunflint winter has its special ambiance of natural calm, this time of year always reflects a void of human activity due to meltdown, but now is compounded with strategies of staying away from one another.                                                                             

The Territory did have a visitor last weekend, arriving in spite of the stay at home order. In a surprise appearance, “old man winter” stopped by for a couple days. It turns out our first shower of April was of the white variety. A couple inches decked out the forest in several places, and hung around as morning temps took on a February feel for about forty-eight hours.                                                               

The happening probably had a few folks growling, but the beauty of a fresh snow perks up border country anytime, regardless of the time of year. While snow has a way of covering the ugliness of winters’ retreat, conditions have since returned to the spring swing in the past few days.                                                                                                                                                                                 
I would guess maple syrup and sugaring processors are busier than beavers now, Daytime temps have been warming quickly to open up the sap run after below freezing nights with regularity both before and since the weekend winter spell.                                                                                                                                                                           
As I view the forest out my window, the winter carpet has diminished to about a foot where not drifted. Its luxurious ivory plush is now stained by trillions of windblown canopy droppings. Muddy foot print paths left by my red rodent pals are all that remains from trails of nighttime visitors. Such curious tracks have simply evaporated to oblivion.                                                           
Looking through the forest down toward the lake, the icy scene remains. Unpredictable as many things are right now, forecasting ice out is the least of our worries. In all likelihood, the crystal layer will be gone long before our lives can return to whatever is normal. I have observed some tannin spots on some of the wetland swamps along the Trail, so “hope springs eternal.”                                                                                                                                                 
From another window, familiar “wild neighborhood” faces streak up and down the food trough rail snitching a bite here and there just steps ahead of being a nutritional element themselves. For some un-explained reason, pine marten traffic has picked up considerably of late, keeping the squirrel population and blue jay flock on edge.                                                           
Speaking of those jay bird bullies, I find it interesting how each seems to have a unique style of shelling kernels from the cobs I provide. While intended for the squirrels, the jays are just too much for the little red critters. Their styles vary from pecking a layer around the cob; to stripping a row from top to bottom (like pecking down a row of letters on a key board); to snarfing morsels in a downward spiral pattern; and everything in between. Regardless of the pecking style, the cobs are generally cleaned in a matter of minutes.                                                                                     
Meanwhile, the foxy gal that was a frequent visitor for several months has turned up AWOL. It might be possible she could be in a motherly way by now and doesn’t venture too far from her kits. It sure would be cute if she would show up someday to let me see her family, if that’s her situation.                                                                                                                                                                             
I’m still not hearing of bear activity. Then again, with Gunflinter’s so focused on staying free of COVID, the “moccasin telegraph” just might not be ticking as usual. On the other hand, perhaps momma bears changed plans after looking out to see a good deal of snow still on the ground. This doesn’t account for pappas though. Guess the day of Ursus appearnces will come sooner than later.                                                                                                                                                                           
As predicted last week, the willows are popping their fuzzy buds in any number of sunny locales. Good thing they had their wooly coats on during the frigid weekend past.                                     
For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great! Keep those masks up, keep your distance and stay well. Family and friends are counting on you! 

  

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Superior Reviews by Lin Salisbury - Peter Geye's "Northernmost"

In this edition of "Superior Reviews", Lin Salisbury reviews Peter Geye's book, "Northernmost".

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Superior Reviews by Lin Salisbury - Sarah Stonich's "Fishing"

In this edition of "Superior Reviews", Lin Salisbury reviews Minnesota author Sarah Stonich's book, "Fishing".

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Backpacking 101 - Michelle Schroeder - April 2020

"Backpacking 101" is Michelle Schroeder's monthly interview on WTIP's North Shore Morning.  Michelle shares her vast experience with planning and preparing for hiking and backpacking trails locally and around the world.

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Violence Prevention Center Update - April 2020

North Shore Morning Host, Mark Abrahamson talks with Caroline Schauer, Program Advocate with the Cook County Violence Prevention Center.

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Wolf Ridge - April 2020

North Shore Morning host Mark Abrahamson talks with Naturalist Caroline Urban from Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center.

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North Woods Naturalist - April 7

Chel Anderson is a botanist and plant ecologist and she joins us periodically to report on what she’s seeing in our woods and waters right now.

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Northern Saw-whet Owl.  Photo by David A Mitchell via Flickr and Creative Commons (creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

North Woods Naturalist: Saw-whet Owls

WTIP's CJ Heithoff talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about Saw-whet Owls in this edition of North Woods Naturalist.

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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - April 3

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - by Fred Smith

April 3, 2020
 

Americans welcome month four with a somber greeting. Somehow when intensity of the Pandemic during March couldn’t seem to be much worse, the battle is raging with even more dramatic intensity as we meet on the radio this weekend.                                                                                                                                                      
My weekly report of Gunflint Trail happenings brings three items of concern for WTIP listeners and cyber readers. One is that you are paying attention to the guiding principles of the medical community; two that you are well to this point; and three, if you’ve been infected, are you on the mend.                                                                                                                                             
While this time of year is always quiet along the Trail, it is eerily quieter than usual knowing so many of our brothers and sisters around the planet are hurting and feeling so hopeless. The Smith’s like most everyone I know in border country are taking the distancing recommendation to heart. We’ve been under wraps here for over three weeks, and I’ve observed only two other humans along the Mile O Pine on one occasion during the last week.                                                                                                                                      
Close Gunflint neighbors keep track of each other by telephone on a somewhat regular basis and all indicate wellness to date. Living some distance from the village, most have a cache of survival items on hand with regularity.                                                                                                                          
For any un-foreseen needs or a sudden empty cupboard, kudos goes to grocery people in Grand Marais for accommodating a system where orders can be placed for pick-up without being exposed to instore congregating. Big thanks is also extended to our great Community activist, Sarah Hamilton who has laid in food supplies in her Trail Center Store, these items too are available on a systematic plan of ordering from afar and outside pick-up
                                                          
In the meantime, spring like weather has really taken hold out this way. Temps have held in the melting range for several days as I scribe this report last Sunday evening. In fact last Saturday night was the first since I don’t know when, the mercury at Wildersmith stayed above the freezing mark. 

The hovering warmness is putting a dent in the snow pack, but piles and drifts remain a plenty. The onset of “mud season” is making candid appearances along back country roads. Where the sun gets through the canopy and the plow driver has kept surfaces scraped thin, places are taking on the look of a Dalmatian canine. The Mile O Pine is no exception as spots of bare gravel have begun to interrupt this magic ribbon of white.
                                                                                                                  
On a related conveyance, I am comforted to announce the “spotted dog look” has emerged on my driveway. I can now navigate the vehicle down the once icy sheet without white knuckles. However, I have not relinquished my ice grippers for a pedestrian trek just yet, and snow removal tools are still hung by the door with care.                                                                                                                

While cheeriness of mankind has been muted during this great America tragedy, energy has not been tempered in the “wild neighborhood.” It’s survival business as usual for critters around the yard. In fact, activity around our wild being food trough is humanly energizing in the midst of the discouraging tone of current times. 
                                                         
It’s near birthing time for fox and wolves of the territory, and nesting occasion for some of our winged visitors, and the first robin has made it part way up the Trail. If one is betting person, it would be a good bet bears and other cold season slumbering folk are stirring about denning quarters, rubbing the sleep from their eyes. 
                                                                                       
I’m watching a youthful birch tree just off the deck at Wildersmith that catches a good bit of sun each day. Buds look to be bulging with anticipation of a new generation. If “princess spring” continues, another week might have fuzzies of pussy willows popping out. You can just tell many beings of “Mother Nature’s realm” are on the verge of “busting out all over.”   
                                             
For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, do what the “Doctor Orders” and stay well!

 
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