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North Shore Weekend

  • Saturday 7-10am
Host CJ Heithoff brings you this Saturday morning show, created at the request of WTIP listeners.  North Shore Weekend features three hours of community information, features, interviews, and music. It's truly a great way to start your weekend on the North Shore. Arts, cultural and history features on WTIP’s North Shore Weekend are made possible with funding from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.



What's On:
Superior National Forest Update

Superior National Forest Update - July 19

Superior National Forest Update
Steve Robertsen
July 19, 2019

Midsummer.  Warm days, sun, mosquitoes, and thunderstorms.  It’s a time of year for all kinds of outdoor activities, and the busiest time out in the Forest.  People who have been out have been asking the Forest Service a lot about outbreaks of spruce budworm in several places around our side of the Superior National Forest.  This is a species of moth whose caterpillar specializes in eating the buds and needles of spruce, although in reality, it is more often found eating balsam fir instead of spruce.  It will first cause the ends of the branches to go brown, then strip the needles from the tree, then create large silk bags which shelter several of the insects while they pupate and change to the adult moth.  It is a native species, not an invader.  Like the eastern forest tent caterpillar, known locally as army worms, spruce budworm has outbreaks where a certain area on a certain year will host huge numbers of budworms.  Trees will recover if they are in good health to begin with and if they are not defoliated two or three seasons in a row.

On a forest scale, outbreaks are usually left to run their course, ending once the food supply has been reduced.  Dead trees after an outbreak can be a wildfire hazard, so we often do some type of management to reduce fuel in afflicted areas.  Individual trees, like a favorite in your yard, can be treated with the insecticide Bt.  This insecticide is effective, but also kills other moths and butterflies which are both lovely and beneficial, so it is best used in a limited way to save specific trees.

Of course, there’s more than just budworm out there though.  The Heck Epic mountain bike race takes place this weekend.  The course runs from Two Harbors to Grand Marais and back.  Bikers will be fairly well spaced out, so watch for individual bikers on roadsides. You should also be watching for log trucks because there is a fair amount of log hauling going on.  In Tofte, haulers are on the same roads as last week – the Dumbell River Road, Wanless Road, Lake County 705, the Four Mile Grade, the Grade, and Cook County 27 and 8.  On the Gunflint District, hauling is happening on the Lima Grade, South Brule Road, Greenwood Road, Firebox Road, Blueberry Road, Cascade River Road, Pike Lake Road, and Cook County 6 and 7.  There is also hauling across the Superior Hiking Trail southeast of Cook County 6.

Beginning this week, culvert replacement will be happening on the Grade’s east end from Brule Lake east to Two Island Lake.  I’m planning on staying out of this area entirely for a while.  Not only will the driving be difficult, but you can expect waits of up to thirty minutes when the culvert is installed.

Some people are using this time to do their own road work by clearing roadways leading to their cabin or favorite area.  If you plan to clear brush from a remote Forest Service road, please stop by the office and pick up a permit first.  The permits are free, and we appreciate the help, but we need to keep track of when work was done on what road, so just take a couple of minutes to grab a permit before you begin.  The Gunflint office will also have information on permits for burn piles to dispose of the slash you generate when you brush the road.

Speaking of burn piles, a large bear was sighted in several places this past weekend.  He was carrying a shovel and wearing a ranger hat and was riding on a Forest Service truck in the parade for Bay Days in Silver Bay, and also was hanging around up in Grand Marais getting ready for Fishermen’s Picnic.  If you see this bear, don’t worry, he’s friendly.  He sure gets around a lot for an almost 75 year old bear, and he’s getting ready for his birthday party in August.  He did stop by to thank everyone who has been out on the Forest this year – we are all doing a good job of being careful with fire so far in 2019, and had a fire free Fourth. 

Keep up that good work, enjoy summer on the Superior, and remember what the bear says: “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires”!


Photo by Fran Smith

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - July 12

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith     July 12, 2019    
Month seven is cruisin’ along the Trail as we inch toward its’ half-way mark. The territory has remained in a summery way over the past week.                                                                                   

Going into this weeks’ scoop, the hot temperatures and humidity of July’s first segment have mellowed into to more normal North Country ranges. While the human comfort level has improved, folks in some areas of the upper Trail are getting increasingly tense about the dry landscape.                                                                                                                                                                              
The Gunflint Lake neighborhood and northward went another week with scant precipitation. At Wildersmith moisture recorded could not reach the tenth of an inch mark on the gauge. Couple this measly amount with less than two tenths from the week previous and a crunchy forest fuel load is easily understood. Meanwhile spotty sections down the Trail got a good dose just around firecracker day easing concerns down that way, for the time being.                                                                                                                                          
With wild fire danger approaching the extreme level, it would seem governing agencies should invoke complete burning bans before someone or something sets the forest on fire. Adding to nervous thoughts regarding our dry situation have been several days of smoke in the air. While smellers were taking note early in the siege, it came to full bore last Sunday when billows came rolling southward from fires in the NW of Ontario.                                                                

In lieu of waiting for rain to fall and smoke to lift, I would suggest area residents do some preparedness work by wetting down their properties every couple days or so with the wildfire sprinkler system. Building an umbrella/dome of humidity within the systems perimeter offers a good measure of protection.                                                                                                             

Border country heads toward the monthly mid-point with the Ojibwe, “half way” moon in a few days (the 16th). Along with this monthly lunar celebration, the Gunflint Community is looking forward to excitement of the forty-third annual Canoe Races.                                                      

Wednesday the 17th is the big day on the waterfront at Gunflint Lodge. Activities get underway at 4:30 with the food tent opening, presentation of silent auction items and a six o’clock call for the first race.                                                                                                                                                                           
Organizers are hoping for a big turn out once again, as the event works to raise funds in support of our great volunteer fire and EMS crews. Tickets for the grand prize drawing remain on sale throughout the business Community and during the night of the event. This years’ winning ticket holder will take home a splendid Wenonah Kayak.                                                                                                     

Just as this event takes center stage, another highly important happening will be ending its run. However, as this scribing hits the air, the “Radio of 2000 Lakes”, summer membership drive is in the middle of its’ six day journey.                                                                                                                       

If listeners haven’t already re-upped or plan to join anew, the time has come to take the plunge into the cool of Northland Community Radio. Dive-in, broadcasting opportunities are beckoning for your support!                                                                                                                                                                                          
It is to join online; toll free @ 1-800-473-9847; 387-1070 locally or stop in at 1712 West Highway 61 to make your pledge. Don’t wait, keep the WTIP radio connection at the top of its game, every contribution matters!                                                                                                         

Un-scheduled activities continue along the Trail. Most noteworthy have been some recent larcenous reports of bears in mid-Trail neighborhoods. I’m told bear break-ins have been confirmed at a number of residences.                                                                                                        

It’s a good bet the hungry bruins are being tempted by human carelessness of some sort. Everyone can help in this matter by taking in those bird feeders, and securing odorous refuse. Remember bears will not be a problem, if we are not a problem.                                          

Other reported animal goings-on have not been so raucous and have often made for interesting photo ops. Included are sightings of wolves, fox, coyotes, moose, beaver and white tail fawns.                                                                                                                                                                                        
A report came to me telling of a big wolf stroking a long distance swim on Gunflint Lake, while a subsequent  sharing told of two beavers doing some unusual saplings harvest along the shore just down lake from Wildersmith. Yet another happening involves the Wildersmith wood chuck who was caught dining among a quartet of squirrels the other morning, what a remarkable five some!                                                                                                                                                                                    

The Gunflint Community is mourning the loss of two neighbors. Longtime residents Paul Kelnberger and Robert Einsweiler have recently passed from our midst. Both of these gentlemen were deeply respected and involved in the Community. To their survivors and friends, sincerest of condolences are extended from our Gunflint Trail family.                                                                                  
For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, in the calming of forest green.


Superior National Forest Update

Superior National Forest - July 12

National Forest Update – July 11, 2019
Hi.  This is Renee Frahm, visitor information specialist on the Superior National Forest, with the National Forest Update for the middle of July, and in fact the middle of the summer.  We hope you’ve been out on the Forest enjoying some of the really nice weather we’ve been having!  With the Fourth of July having past and other town celebrations such as Bay Days in Silver Bay and Heritage Days in Two Harbors this weekend as well as Fisherman’s Picnic coming up in a few weeks, it’s a great time to enjoy the outdoors with your extra family in town. 

Those nice days though mean that there’s been little rain over the whole forest for the last few weeks.  However, there have been spotty showers or downpours in some locations.  While much of Minnesota is suffering from too much water, we are on the edge of too little.  The dry conditions have caused the Smokey Bear sign in front of our ranger stations to raise his finger to the ‘High’ fire danger rating.  In the definition of High Fire Danger are the phrases “unattended campfires are likely to escape” and “fires may become serious and difficult to control”.  This means that it is very important for you to make sure your fire is dead out and cold to the touch before you leave the area – even for a short time.  The easiest time to control a fire is when it is still a campfire, so don’t allow your fire to escape and become a serious incident.  It is also a good time to keep an eye on possible fire restrictions if Smokey ends up pointing at an even higher fire danger ratings as the woods continue to dry. 

Adding to the fire concerns has been an outbreak of spruce budworm.  Several people have stopped by our office asking about fir trees they have seen with brown branch ends and silky masses at the ends of the twigs as well as entire stands of dead firs.  These are signs of spruce budworm, which actually attacks more fir trees than spruce.  The budworm is the caterpillar stage of a moth and is a local, not an invasive, species.  It tends to have population booms and busts, and there is currently an outbreak in some areas of the forest.  The caterpillars spread when the adult moths fly and lay eggs in new areas, and also when the caterpillars themselves ‘balloon’ away on a long thread of silk.  Once on a tree of their choosing, the budworms eat primarily new needles at the ends of the branches.  It is possible for them to defoliate entire stands of trees, similar to what the eastern forest tent caterpillar or army worm does to aspen and birch.  The tree can recover from this, but if it is defoliated two or three years in a row, it will probably die.  The dead trees then become a fire hazard.  There’s no large scale treatment for budworm – usually an infestation is left to run its course, though thinning stands of trees and removing dead trees is done to curb the worms and reduce fire danger.  It is possible to treat individual trees with insecticides such as BT and save a particular tree in your yard, but BT kills all caterpillars so treating a large area would be harmful to the other butterflies and moths we all enjoy and benefit from.

Dry weather also makes it impossible to grade roadways.  We’ve been dry long enough that some of our forest roads are showing considerable washboarding.  Drive with care – going fast over washboards will really reduce your traction and make it easy to run right off the road on a curve.  If you are using a less used Forest Service road to access your cabin or a remote lake and want to clear the road or brush the roadside, be sure to get a permit from us first.  The permits are free; but we need them in order to keep track of what maintenance is being done where on the road system.  You can also pick up a permit to dispose of the slash you generate at a Forest Service burn pile.  Contact the Gunflint office for the permit and location of the pile.

There is a fair amount of log hauling going on.  In Tofte, haulers are on the same roads as last week – the Dumbell River Road, Wanless Road, Lake County 705, the Four Mile Grade, the Grade, and Cook County 27 and 8.  On the Gunflint District, hauling is happening on the Lima Grade, South Brule Road, Greenwood Road, Firebox Road, Blueberry Road, Cascade River Road, Pike Lake Road, and Cook County 6 and 7.  There is also hauling across the Superior Hiking Trail southeast of Cook County 6.

While we are talking about roads, our field going people have noticed a lot of turtles on the gravel roads.  This time of year, turtles are nesting and walking from ponds and lakes to sandy areas to dig nests and lay eggs.  Please watch out for these slow pedestrians.  You can help turtles to cross, but don’t set them back on the side they started from.  They are stubborn and will just set out across the road again. 

So, set out on your own adventures, enjoy the summer, go on a picnic, get out and fish or take a hike but certainly take advantage of the warm weather while it lasts.  Until next time, this has been Renee Frahm with the National Forest Update.


DrVainio_Photo by Ivy Vainio.jpg

In the Spirit of Medicine - Dr. Arne Vainio "Promise of a Warrior"

In the Spirit of Medicine by Dr Arne Vainio
"Promise of a Warrior"

Dr. Arne Vainio is an enrolled member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and a family practice doctor on the Fond Du Lac reservation in Cloquet. His essays on life, work, medicine and spirit are published in "News From Indian Country”.


Superior National Forest Update

Superior National Forest Update - July 9

Superior National Forest Update with Steve Robertsen, education and interpretation specialist - Superior National Forest.
July 5, 2019


Tea_Photo by Drew Taylor on Unsplash

To Minnesota with Love - Christina MacGillivray - "Darjeeling"

"To Minnesota with Love"  by Christina MacGillivray.

“To Minnesota with Love” is a feature produced for WTIP by Christina MacGillivray. She has close ties to Minnesota, and the North Shore in particular, even though she now lives in India and works all over the world.
This feature is Christina’s “audio postcard” back to WTIP and the area she loves.

In this episode, we learn about Darjeeling - the famous tea-growing area of India.


Photo by Abigail Lynn on Unsplash.jpg

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - July 5

Wildersmith on the Gunflint    by     Fred Smith
July 5, 2019    
Days go by so fast, it seems as though I missed something with one week of July almost history. Here’s hoping all had a safe and sane holiday.                                                                                         

Since our last meeting on the radio, some nasty heat and humidity has engulfed Gunflint territory. Conditions have been keeping a lot of us woodsy critters in the shade or lake waters. Whereas it’s not hot as most of the US, our definition of heat in the northern forest has many folks crying “ugh!”                                                                                                                                               

Nevertheless, throughout the wild land, forest flora is shooting forth with enthusiasm after being stunted with cool since snow departed. Summer blooming is booming with oranges, pinks and yellows decorating back country roads and the few treeless spaces.                                               

Among wild edibles, strawberries, thimbleberries, Juneberries and blues seem to be shaping up for another juicy harvest. The same can be said for fruit on the Mountain Ash trees which will make a lot of Cedar Wax Wings happy come fall and early winter. All growing conditions being equal, it’s a good bet local green thumber’s are happy too.                                                                                     

The annual explosion of lupines has some folks smiling, while others more in the know are scowling at their noxious presence. While the multi-colored spires can be a blur of beauty to some observers, it’s hard to feel much affection toward the toxic invaders as they crowd out natives.                                                                                                                                                                             

As I kicked-off this weeks’ scoop, this neck of the woods has dried out once again. A couple wimpy showers in this neighborhood netted less than two-tenths of an inch, settling the dust for barely a few hours.                                                                                                                                           

Insomuch as our extended local forecast looked bleak in terms of a serious allocation soon, there’s a 90 % chance prognostications will be wrong. Perhaps a wet distribution will pop up unexpected by the time I hit the airwaves with this report.                                                                                           


Speaking of air waves, the Community Radio station of the northland is kicking off the 2019 summer support drive in the middle of this coming week. Considering WTIP radio waves connect people in this great area, the “Radio of 2000 Lakes” theme seems highly relevant as more earthy waves are dashing shorelines throughout the territory. Activities will get underway next Wednesday the 10th and run until noon on Tuesday the 16th.                                                                                                                            

This fundraising endeavor is the second of three held annually. In concert with the spring and pre-winter events, “Radio of 2000 Lakes” is a critical component to sustain the great broadcast opportunities to which listeners are accustomed.                                                                         

WTIP is counting on one and all to step up and help hit the mark. Be ready to check-in with your pledge of listener love.                                                                                                                          

I’m starting a list of “getting ready for winter” chores. There are buildings to stain, and firewood to stack heading the list as I get into month seven. With July’s weed whipping to do and continual brush to pile for snow season burning, there might not be enough days left if the month careens out of control as did June. So busy is an understatement.                                                                                                                                 

A couple notes from the Gunflint Trail Historical Society calendar remind members and friends of two coming events. First is an invitation to the grand opening celebration of the new Watercraft Exhibit Building at Chik-Wauk on this Sunday, the 7th from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. The second event is the July, Historical Society membership meeting on Monday July 8th. This will be held at the mid-Trail/Schaap Community Center, beginning at 1:30pm. Treats and refreshments will be served at both events.                                                                                                                                                             

A bear or bears have been making the rounds in the Wildersmith neighborhood, but doing so in nighttime obscurity. To date there have been just “calling card” notices, piled here and there with no reported property ravaging. We can only keep our fingers crossed along the Mile O Pine.                                                                                                                                                              

Meanwhile, “Woody” the chuck is making daily visits to share seed vittles with the squirrels. The ground level seed patch is unusually contented with the two rodent species munching away right next to each other. “Woody” used to dash off at the slightest noise or movement from the house. Now it just munches away as I pass nearby.                                                        

My neighbor down the road dispatched one the other day, and I thought it might be the end of this Wildersmith visitor, but it turned out to be just a cousin as “Woody” remains at the feed trough.                                                                                                                                                                      

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, even though it’s been hot and sticky!


Scott Oeth-photo by Mike Patterson.jpg

Pack & Paddle with Scott Oeth "Bushcraft"

Pack and Paddle with Scott Oeth of Bull Moose Patrol

In this edition, Scott talks to us about "bushcraft".

Scott is a Registered Maine Guide, an Eagle Scout and Minnesota Master Naturalist.  He’s an instructor for the Okpik National Cold Weather Leader School.

You can follow his adventures at


Dog Photo by Gursimrat Ganda NtXOag6RW1U unsplash.jpg

To Minnesota with Love - Christina MacGillivray

“To Minnesota with Love” is an audio-postcard series by Christina MacGillivray with stories from around the world produced exclusively for WTIP.
Christina is a transplant from Minnesota to India where she has lived for eight years. She produces films in different countries and “To Minnesota With Love” are stories from these travels.

In this edition, Christina tells us about the stray dogs of India.


Wildersmith_Photo by Fran Smith

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - June 28

Wildersmith on the Gunflint      by     Fred Smith
June 28, 2019  
June has been in a tail spin, winding down to conclusion as the first full week of summer is into the books.                                                                                                                                    

Welcoming July, the universe is within days of reaching the half way point in the year nineteen. It would seem we need not be reminded, but America celebrates its two hundred forty-third birthday before we meet again on the radio. Hopefully, all citizens can come around for at least one day of peace and togetherness!                                                                                                

Speaking further of July 4th Gunflint Trail residents will always remember this day of infamous weather conduct across the territory. Many are already reflecting the day twenty years ago when the evil “derecho” changed the forest and lives for decades, if not forever.      While “Mother Nature” is hard at work in regeneration, folks who endured the terror will never forget the day several hundred thousand acres of forest were flattened beyond belief. We cannot celebrate the event, but cherish the thought there were no fatalities in spite of many injuries. Celebration is in order however, as we remember and give thanks for the hundreds of acts of heroism during this tragic time in Gunflint History.                                                          

Times of reverence and remembering can be shared at Chik-Wauk over the next couple weeks by visiting the Nature Center where many residents have preserved memories of the “Blowdown.”  In addition, there will be video reflections documenting the aftermath.                                                                                                                                                                                       

In the interest of the Gunflint Community Spirit, it would be nice to take a moment in the early afternoon of July 4th to commemorate the day a forest story was rewritten.                                               

Speaking of the forest in another vane, June has not been too kind to the upper Trail in terms of precipitation allotments. Feeder streams have slowed to a trickle and lake levels have been dropping.                                                                                                                                                                                 
The landscape was getting pretty dry until the heavens finally opened up with a timely dose last Sunday. It was a billion dollar rain in terms of tempering wild fire danger, and in this neighborhood, it happened with no lightning or strong winds to compromise wild land character.                                                                                                                                                               

Meanwhile temps have been just delightful, making for some spectacular days and cool comfy nights. The moose and I can only wish this to continue as our day light minutes start dwindling toward fall.                                                                                                                                          
Many activities are on tap up at the end of the Trail Museum Campus. The Nature Center programming continues Sunday at 2:00 pm. This week features David Hakensen of the MNHS. Mr. Hakensen will present stories about the Hoover’s (Helen & Ade) and their life on Gunflint Lake. Author, Helen is remembered for her books reflecting times in un-organized territory.                                                                                                                                                                     

Further scheduling for the week includes the regular Tuesday “Kids’ Day (11 to 4:00); The USFS Tuesday presentation at 2:00; and of course, the temporary “Blowdown” exhibit mentioned earlier.                                                                                                                                                           
Folks will want to mark their calendar for the next Sunday, July 7 for the grand opening celebration of the Watercraft Exhibit Building at Chik-Wauk from 11:00am to 4:00 pm. Cake, Coffee and Lemonade to be served.                                                                                                                      

Whereas wild neighborhood animal activity has been quiet around Wildersmith, I’m elated to say the black fly assaults have seemingly diminished. However, nipping critter activity is building among the mosquito forces. And to take itching matters to the next level, “no seeums” AKA “punkies” or “midges” will soon add to our itching irritation, even through our screened windows.                                                                                                                                                                        

Another biting bug trivia tells there are up to100 species of “no seeums” in North America. It makes me wonder how entomologists know this, if one cannot “seeum?” How can we be so blessed?                                                                                                                                                           

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, as we delight in natural connections!