Listen Now
Pledge Now


North Shore Morning

  • Thursday 8-10am
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:

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - May 29

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith
May 29, 2020    

May turns the reins over to June kicking-off next week, and closes the books on month five after another dry week in the upper Gunflint territory. One can never put much faith in weather forecasting, but the way things have been going, there’s a 100% chance it will be doing something, hopefully wet along the Gunflint Trail.                                                                                                                                                                    
While there have been more clouds of dust along backcountry roads than puffs of moisture in the skies, conditions for us two legged beings have been splendid. Sunshine and warm temps have brought on the green.                                                                                                    

The deciduous forest has come alive with quaking aspen and birch, exploding under the influence of chlorophyll. A trip up the Trail from the Gunflint Lake look-out mimics a glorious emerald blanket draped on the granite mountainsides. In many places the curtain of camouflage has nearly masked all Ham Lake fire evidence of thirteen years ago.                                                           

At ground level, countless varieties of verdant sprouts have pierced the earth. Marsh Marigolds and those “Dandy” lions are beaming a buttery contrast to the growing sea of green. During my daily mail box run, I’ve been watching fiddleheads uncoil their lacy fronds by several inches per day, all in readiness for summers’ concert series. And our vision into the forest is soon to be totally obscured as dense lower underbrush of the wild lands fill in the voids.                                                                                                         
As I mentioned in the last scoop, the onslaught of biting bugs was minimal. Well, I take the ill-characterized opinion back. The nasties have exploded in a fury, same as our leaf out. “Skeeters”, black flies and a zillion other gnat sized terrorists have forced the issue with “bug dupe and netting.                                                                                                                                                     

Although all things are eco-purposed, one has to wonder why in heavens’ creation these mini-monsters could not have been programmed only for plant pollination with a taste for sweets instead of flesh. Oh well, this too will pass, come September!                                                        

Speaking of the other terror about us, one would think the Pandemic had evaporated like the last winter snow. Decoration Day weekend found the area engulfed with visitors. Parking lots at outfitters and resorts seemed packed with vehicles. While these business folks surely need help, residents of the Trail and all of Cook County hope the outsiders don’t open the flood gate to the deadly epidemic which hasn’t yet invaded border country.                                                

On a less serious note, one of our visitors time fishing with dad and two grandpa’s in North Lake over the holiday weekend was great! Smiles on the young angler’s face almost match the length of the trout he displays. See his happy face alongside the Wildersmith column under the drop down Community Voices at For those fisher people not so lucky, yes, there are fish to be caught, sometime.                                                                                                                                                               

“Mother Nature” operates in unpredictable ways at times. Such was the case on the loon nest in Sag bay at Chik-Wauk Museum Campus. Word comes to me telling of the loons having departed the site after setting-up housekeeping a couple weeks ago. The couple was there one afternoon and gone the next morning.                                                                                                                                                   

It’s a good bet they were driven off by either a black flies onslaught or by a member of the Sag Lake eagle convocation. A drone observation indicated there were no eggs in the nest. It is hoped the pair might return as this is known to have occurred at other sites and in other years, but nothing can be certain.                                                                                                                 

Warmth of the past week finished off the last reminder of winter 2019-20. Gone along the Mile O Pine is the final mound of white. In our neighborhood, we had white on the ground, in at least some form, since last November 11th, and it disappeared just a few days ago on May 23, totaling 97.25 inches.                                                                                                                                                                      
The season in general reflected our warming climate, not experiencing extended stints of bitter cold of years past. There were only three nights where the temperatures exceeded minus thirty, with the coldest Wildersmith readings of minus 34 on consecutive mornings, February 13 and 14.                                                                                                                                                                              
Official ice cover on Gunflint Lake came December 11 and departed May 5 which is about normal based on my data since 1982. Lake ice drillers tell of depth on the Gunflint being in the thirty plus range, and such hard water had difficulty gaining more thickness due to heavy insulating snow cover right after freeze –up.                                                                                                                
So that’s a wrap on winter at this wilderness place! Yes, it was beautiful, but we’re also happy to be seein’ green again!                                                                                                                                                    
On a closing note, while the Chik-Wauk exhibit facilities are closed for Pandemic reasons, an energetic crew has been planning virtual activities to maintain connections with the public.                                                                                                                                                                             
Visitors can now visit the Campus through the magic of technology by way of the website: or on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter@chikwaukmuseum. Please check the sites regularly for cultural and natural history programming snippets both indoors and out around the site. The staff would love to hear from you!                                                                                                        

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, as new woods adventures are revealed!


Scott Oeth_Photo via Facebook.jpg

Money Matters - Scott Oeth - May 2020

"Money Matters" with Scott Oeth, certified financial planner and Adjunct Professor.
Scott talks about navigating these challenging times and specifically about Roth IRA's in this edition of "Money Matters".


Wildersmith (375x500).jpg

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - March 6

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith
March 6, 2020    
Another weekend warm-up ushered in month three along the Trail. March came in like a fuzzy spring bunny in the upper reaches of border country, far from the mythical “lion” lore. The way things have been happening in recent weeks, it would appear our spring like conditions could be here to stay.                                                                                                                                                          

While warming temps in the Wildersmith neighborhood did not get way out of hand, there was dripping off the roof top edges, and the sun took a bite out of snow piles. It’s anyone’s guess what it will be like as this report hits the air.                                                                         

Perhaps pussy willows will be displaying a little five o’clock shadow next week at this time. I did see a gangly young white pine was seeping sap while catching a few warm rays last Sunday afternoon. If that’s an example of what’s going on in the natural world, one can bet maple sweetness is going to be hitting the boiling pots pretty quick. With a week of March  chalked-up so soon, one would hope winter doesn’t deteriorate too fast for fear of being swamped in run-off and wash-outs.                                                                                                                                  

The territory has two cold season events this weekend. Reminder is given about the annual trout derby, Saturday, on West Bearskin Lake. Registration begins at 9:00am. There’s plenty of safe ice, but soft snow could make for sloppy trekking and angling.  More information is available on                                                                                                                                                               

The other mid-Trail event is the annual Dog Days of Winter. Headquarters are at the Trail Center Restaurant. Activities commence on Poplar Lake at 8:00 am and run until 5:00 pm. The event is sponsored by Go Dog North Shore.                                                                                                

This is a day of family fun with events including cross country skiing, three classes of sled dogs racing (8, 6 and 4), two classes (2 and 5 miles) of skijoring, and more. If winter is truly about to give up the ghost, enthusiasts of fun in the snow had better get out to these events.                                                                                                                                                      

In the heavens, the Ojibwe, “crust on the snow moon” is waxing for the third time in 2020 and will be at its fullness on Monday. Meanwhile, on earth, we humans will be tinkering with time pieces this weekend as the nonsense of daylight savings time clouds our sense of realness once again. It becomes official at 2:00 am Sunday morning. So don’t forget to spring ahead before retiring Saturday evening. You may or may not get the hour of missed sleep back come November.                                                                                                                                                                         

A grouse has been hanging around the yard at Wildersmith, obviously unaware the friendly fox makes frequent visits. The little red gal was here just the other day apparently with a growling stomach. This time she dined on left-over pork chop bones and frozen poultry parts, but if that “Minnesota Chicken Bird” is not careful, Ms. Fox might have a fresh fowl dinner.                                  

My neighbor next door was up at his cabin last weekend and shared of discovering some unusually large foot prints coming on to his property from off the lake. With some broken underbrush branches nearby, it could be assumed the moose or more have been just a couple hundred feet from Wildersmith. It’s been years since we’ve had one of those big critters come this close to the place.                                                                                                                                                                              

The “leap into local radio” membership drive at WTIP is now into the books. The six day event was fun as ever with 48 NEW members joining the WTIP family. Thanks go out to those new friends of North Shore Community Radio and our long standing renewing patrons who stepped up to help surpass the $20,029 goal. Think about having that extra $29 in the challenge, pretty fitting for 2020 don’t you think?                                                                                                                                         

It goes without saying these all-important fund raising endeavors involve great organization and many hours of hard work by the staff and dozens of volunteers. An important trivia fact about the “leap” in 2020, 88 dedicated people gave of themselves to make it happen.                                                                                                                                                                              

For everyone who pledged, such support makes all the preparation very satisfying to those who shouldered the countless administrative tasks. The Board of Directors and staff are so proud of the wonderful contributors who jump in to keep this broadcast engine chugging along.                                                                                                                                                                                              

Although the official late winter drive is over, it’s never too late to join anew or re-up with a benefactor pledge. Every contribution matters, and a phone call or click on-line is all it takes!                                                                                                                                                                                 

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, as the slumbering stillness of winter, begins to awaken!


Shannon Brunette-photo by Elisha May Photography

Shannon Brunette - Grand Marais Art Colony Class

North Shore Morning host, Shawna Willis talks with artist, Shannon Brunette about her upcoming class and artist talk at the Grand Marais Art Colony.