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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!


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Rolf Skrien - photo by ChikWauk

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - January 18, 2019

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith      January 18, 2019    
As the old-time western hero, Gene Autry, once sang, “I’m back in the saddle again.” Though it’s a feeble analogy, I’m really back at the keyboard again.                                                                    
Another trip to Iowa completes the Christmas season with our daughter, along with a visit to some longtime Hawkeye friends, and the Smiths’ have returned to this pure white paradise. Our wintertime traveling was uneventful, and one doesn’t have to go too far south before a little yucky urban snow and mostly browns of autumn extends as far as the eye can see.                                                                                                                                                              
Guess we are pretty lucky to have what we have here in border country. Mistakes of “Mother Nature” and the “excesses of mankind” can leave the landscape pretty ugly when its’ not covered with snow or hidden by foliage.                                                                                                                                                      
It’s for sure the word is out amongst power sledding fans regarding the areas’ snow cover. During our drive north up highway 61 last Sunday, if I met one, I may have met ten thousand snowmobile units being toted back toward Metropolis.                                                              

The woods must have been howling with sledding traffic last weekend. Suppose there will be more activity around here until other areas of the state get some attention from “old man winter.” In the meantime, one has to be happy for area businesses catering to our snowmobiling visitors as conditions have been a bit late taking shape.                                                                                                                                                                                
In contrast to those speeding along the Trails, our great snow cover is also accommodating those who prefer the peace and quiet of swooshing through the woods. The now deep snowpack has allowed groomers to have the ski trail system in what looks to be terrific condition.                                                                                                                                                       

Perhaps not too happy with all the borderland white were the anglers who hit the ice for the trout opener last weekend. After early ice on, and near perfect ice thickening situations, big snows of late have cast a deep cover of insulation and weight on lake surfaces. Such has hidden annoying slush and water above a foot and more of ice.                                                                                 
Anglers’ angst, in addition to spotty catching, was exacerbated by having to dig equipment and sleds out of the gooey slop. Of all equipment needed for the fishing excursion, high boots appear to have been the most important!                                                                                                                                                       
Not much snow was added in the upper Gunflint territory during my absence (maybe an inch or two in the Wildersmith neighborhood).  In spite of recent accumulations being on the lean side, depths along the Trail range from knee to waist depending upon where one steps. In fact, the buildup on my roof is getting me to think of pulling it off in case another big dose comes our way, thus making the job more difficult than it is presently.                                                                                        
At this scribing, temps are relatively warm for these parts. We’ve yet to be on the receiving end of one of those bitter cold, below zero January streaks. It would seem if the area gets by the next two weeks and into February, we may be home free from a bone-chilling “Polar Vortex” for the season. To miss one of these breath freezing happenings likely wouldn’t make too many folks unhappy, although bragging rights for who was the coldest will be left hanging!       
With the Ojibwe, “Great Spirit” moon of January lighting up the northern skies in the wee hours of Monday AM, it’s hard to imagine month two is in the conversation already. Although winter is barely a month old according to the calendar, we head into week four with seed catalogs in the mail, packets of garden renewals on display racks and “green thumbers”visioning seed pods and grow lights.                                                                                                           T

The cold of winter can often bring sadness, and such is the case in the Gunflint Community once again. Some reader/ listeners may already be aware of the passing of perhaps the last Gunflint pioneer icon.  It’s with remorse I report the loss of Rolf Skrien at age 97.   Rolf departed from our midst on January 2nd.                                                                                                                              
He first came to the Gunflint Trail in 1929 on a camping trip with his father, and so fell in love with the territory, he returned in 1946 after serving his country in World War Two. He called the end of the Trail home for most of his life until settling in Apache Junction, Arizona during his later years.                                                                                                                                                                                         

A celebration of Rolf’s life will be held this Sunday, January 20, visitation at 1:00 pm, service at 2:00 in the Bethlehem Lutheran Church. The Gunflint Trail Community offers condolences to his surviving family and many friends. More of Rolf’s story can be found in his obit on                                                                                                                                                                     

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, regardless of cold, warm or season of the year!



Superior National Forest Update - October 26, 2018

National Forest Update – October 25, 2018.
Hi.  This is Steve Robertsen, forest interpretation and education specialist with our weekly National Forest Update, information for everyone visiting the Forest this week. 

We’ve definitely shifted gears from “fall” to “late fall”, or maybe “fell”.  The leaves have pretty much fallen, and are on the ground just waiting to be raked up.  Well, actually, they aren’t waiting at all, they are blowing around making raking a pretty futile effort right now.  Nobody rakes the forest of course, and in a maple woodland, those leaves are a very important part of the ecology.  During the summer fishing season, we make a big deal over invasive earthworms, and that layer of leaves is the reason we do.  Worms are not native to our area, and they eat the leaf litter.  Researchers have found that the leaf litter the worms are eating is important for our spring wildflowers and for forest regeneration.  In maple woods heavily infested with earthworms, there are fewer wildflowers in spring, and fewer young maples to replace the old. 

In our yards though, you may not want all those leaves.  You can bring your leaves for compost in the Grand Marais area to the recycling center, or create a compost pile of your own.  It is amazing how quickly a giant pile of leaves in the fall is reduced to a layer of soil. 

The governor of Minnesota, along with governors of other states in a national effort, has declared October 24th through October 31st to be BatWeek.  This year, the theme of BatWeek is to “Be a Bat Hero”!  Our bats are in trouble from white-nose syndrome, but also from simply being misunderstood creatures.  Help spread the message during BatWeek that bats are our friends…because anything that eats as many mosquitoes as a bat is a friend for sure!  Right now, most bats in northern Minnesota are either going into hibernation in caves and mines, or migrating south for the winter.  Those going into hibernation are the ones at risk for white nose syndrome, a fungal disease that strikes sleeping bats during hibernation.  While people are working on cures and methods to control the disease, right now it is still capable of wiping out over 90% of bats in a cave, and has even put a common species like the little brown bat in danger of total extinction.  White nose has been found in two large hibernacula in Minnesota:  Soudan Mine, and Mystery Cave.  At Soudan Mine, it killed 70% of the bats, which is a huge blow to an animal which reproduces slowly and can live over 30 years.  We’ll cross our fingers for our bats this winter season and wish them a safe and happy rest, and hope to see them all again next spring when the mosquitoes appear.

If you’re visiting the Forest, chances are good that you won’t be flying around like a bat, you will be on the ground.  If you’re driving, you’ll want to watch for logging traffic on the same roads as last week.  Those are the Frank Lake Road, Trappers Lake Road, Dumbell River Road, the Wanless Road, Lake County 7, the 4 Mile Grade, the Grade, Caribou Trail, Murmur Creek Road and the Hall Road.  You also should watch for road work being done along the 600 Road west of the Temperance River Road.  That road work also includes heavy truck traffic on the Two Island River Road.  Overall though, the road system is in good shape, but the rainy fall has caused potholes and soft shoulders in some places, so keep an eye out for those.

Keep an eye peeled for deer as well.  Fall and spring are prime times for deer/car collisions.  Deer are moving around as food sources dry up and mating season begins, and they are very well camouflaged when standing at the side of the road right before they jump into traffic.

Speaking of jumping, I saw a snowshoe hare the other day jumping down the road.  His body was still summer-brown, but his big feet and legs were white in his winter fur.  Like the hare, we are in transition to winter.  This late fall season, between the fall colors and the snow, can be a great time to enjoy a quiet Forest with few visitors, so pack a lunch, head out the road, and see if you can spot a hare, a flock of snow buntings, or other signs of the winter to come in the woods. 

Until next time, this has been Steve Robertsen with the National Forest Update.



Great Expectations School News - October 19, 2018

Tristan and Sol give us the Great Expectation School News.
October 19, 2018


Red Rock Variation - George Morrison

Closing the Circle: Artist George Morrison

"Closing the Circle: Artist George Morrison"
George Morrison was an internationally known artist. He grew up outside of Grand Marais in an Ojibwe village called Chippewa City. Although he lived most of his adult life in a variety of large cities – he eventually returned to Cook County in his later years. Producer Martha Marnocha spoke with George Morrison’s former wife, Hazel Belvo, along with their son, Briand, in this feature about the artist’s life-long connection with Chippewa City and Cook County.

This feature was produced by the Cook County Historical Society in collaboration with WTIP and the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Fund.

Music for this feature was provided by Briand Morrison from his "Musical Impressions: The Art Of George Morrison" CD.  

Photo: “Red Rock Variation” by George Morrison, 1985



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 14, 2018

National Forest Update – September 13, 2018.
Hi, I’m Steve Robertsen, forest interpreter, with this week’s edition of the National Forest Update.  Every week, we bring you information on what’s going on in the Forest and how it might affect your visit.
This week saw a huge increase in the amount of fall color in the woods.  Connected with that, we have put out signs for fall color touring routes along the Caribou Trail, Honeymoon Trail, Sawbill Trail, the 600 Road, and Two Island River Road.  People using these roads should be aware that there will be people driving slowly and parked along those routes.  If you are a fall color enthusiast, be aware of other vehicles using the roads.  Pull over if you are driving slowly to let others pass.  Park only in spots where visibility is good and you can get off the roadway.  Some of the best fall color areas are good exactly because the road is narrow and winding, but that also means that you should park somewhere else and walk off the road back to the best spot. 
Drivers should also be aware of road work being done on the 600 Road between the Temperance River Road and County 7.  Construction equipment may be blocking the road for short amounts of time, but the work crews will move equipment to let vehicles pass.  Please follow all directions given by the workers at the site to ensure the safety of everyone.
Fall color route maps are available at the Tofte and Gunflint Ranger Stations, and, coming soon, digital versions will be available online for use with the Avenza mapping app on your phone.  If you are using a phone for navigation, make sure to keep your eyes on the road, not the phone, when you are driving. 
This past week saw the anniversary of the Pagami Creek Fire.  This large fire burned in September of 2011, eventually moving through 92,000 acres.  It started with a lightning strike that smoldered for several days in the duff layer.  While its cause was natural, the smoldering start is common to many human-caused fires.  People often build campfires on peat or heavy duff under trees and think they have put the fire out when it is actually still smoldering.  Remember, if there is an established fire ring or grate, use it.  If there is none, think twice about having a fire.  If you choose to go ahead, the best method is to use a fire pan you bring with you as a base.  Aluminum turkey roasting pans, old snow saucers – there are lots of things that can be used as a fire pan.  Otherwise, clear away all flammable material from your campfire area and NEVER build a fire on peat.  Peat fires can become very hard to put out.  After you are done, make sure the fire is completely out, and practice leave-no-trace by dismantling any rock rings and scuffing out any fire scars.
There is a little logging traffic this week.  On Gunflint, expect trucks on Cook County 7, the Caribou Trail, and Pike Lake Road.  On Tofte, trucks are using the Dumbbell River Road, the Wanless Road, the Trappers Lake Road, Lake County 7, the 4 Mile Grade, The Grade, and the Caribou Trail.  You may also run into graders and gravel trucks as they work to surface roads before fall is over. 
Safe travels on the Forest, and enjoy the fall.  It is a short season, so make the most of it! 
Until next time, this has been Steve Robertsen with the National Forest Update. 


Eagle Sentinels

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - September 7, 2018

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith      September 7, 2018    
As our north woods days fly rapidly by, it seems hard to accept we are headed into the final months of 2018, and one week of September is into the books. Furthermore, with this weeks’ broadcast, its’ even more difficult to fathom, yours truly kicking off the 17th year of doing news and views from the Gunflint Trail.                                                                                                                                  

When former editor of the News Herald, Vicki Biggs-Anderson, twisted my arm into taking on this responsibility, following the legendary Justine Kerfoot, I never dreamed it would extend this long. It’s been a delightful journey for me first as a newspaper columnist and now as a member of the WTIP radio family.                                                                                                                                    

I’ve had the privilege of meeting so many wonderful folks through this weekly media exchange, and remain deeply indebted to those who have helped me along the way.                                                               

Lastly, but surely not the least, WTIP listeners, website readers, and streamers are what this is all about. The sharing of news tidbits and occasional pleasant audience comments make this weekly scribing and audio endeavor terrifically rewarding. Thanks so much!                                                                                                                                               

Now for a little news, the atmospheric conditions in the upper Trail over the past seven days have varied little from those of the previous few weeks. The area remains under moderate drought conditions with nearly un-measurable rainfall in the Wildersmith neighborhood. At the same time, temps have been as would be expected for this time of year. To summarize, the region has experienced warm “Indian summer” days and comfy cool nights, with only a few drops of rain and not a hint of frost.                                                                                                                                        

On a related atmospheric note, but not specifically related to just our Gunflint territory, the July/ August edition of Minnesota Conservation Volunteer features a nice article entitled “Clues in the Clouds.”                                                                                                                                                                    

With violent weather extremes seemingly consuming many places on our continent, it looks to be a good idea that we check out the heavens to learn what clouds can tell us. In this land of both blue and often gray skies, knowing what certain cloud conditions mean can be vitally important to life on the planet. Did you know, “at any time, clouds cover about three-quarters of the Earth’s surface?” Check it out, at the library or online at                                                                                                                                                                                       

If folks in the territory failed to get to the doings at Chik-Wauk last Sunday, they missed a swell afternoon of North-country sweetness. Ominous late morning clouds and a brief downpour threatened to wash out our GTHS activities, but well over three hundred folks showed up anyway and brought sunshine with them.                                                                                                                                            

Beyond all the wonderful visitors, a few facts of the day included: 40 to 50 donated pies, over three hundred fifty slices served, uncountable scoops of ice cream, provided by the good folks at Gunflint Lodge and countless dancing gyrations to delightful music by the North Shore Community Swing Band. People were swingin’ and a swayin’!                                                                                                                                   

Since Chik-Wauk is all about history, the day of pastries and cream was topped off with people reunions and reflections back in time. While Gunflint neighbors, David and Patsy Coleman, drove to the festivities in their 1923 Model T Ford, perhaps the last living Trail pioneer, 97-year-old Rolf Skrien, charmed many long-time friends by making it out to his former stomping grounds. Thanks to everyone for making this another great day at end of the Trail!                                                                                                                              

More from Chik-Wauk, with kids back in school, obviously the Tuesday kids’ days are over, as are the USFS Tuesday afternoon programs. However, weekend programming in the Nature Center continues, only switching to Saturdays instead of Sundays. These educational and entertaining programs will go on through September 22nd.                                                                                               

This Saturdays’ program features David Grosshuesch, from the USFS. Dave will be talking about owls. So if you “give a hoot” mark your calendar, and be there at 2:00 pm.                                  

One more Gunflint Community scoop reminds folks of the September Gunflint Trail Historical Society meeting this coming Monday, the 10th. The meeting will be held at 1:30 pm in the Schaap Center (Fire Hall #1).                                                                                                                                      

This month’s program will reflect on the “Early days of Gateway Lodge on Hungry Jack Lake” as related by Bob Gapen with supporting comments from Richard Fink. The usual treats and conversation will follow.                                                                                                                                                

Saving the best of North Country life for last, observing a couple “wild neighborhood” critters never gets old and is always a cherished moment.  Thus, I share the sighting of a bear crossing the Mile O Pine and a return to Wildersmith of a fox who’d been AWOL for many weeks. The bear was not stopping for a photo-op while the foxy one checked in at my wood shop door, remembering, I was an easy touch for some kind of a poultry hand-out.                                                                                        

If those episodes’ weren’t enough, a couple living on Hungry Jack were thrilled at a close-up visit of two bald eagles doing sentinel duty over their lake. They shared a digital which can be seen alongside my website column at, under the Community Voices drop-down menu.                                                                                                                                                                                                     

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint trail, where every day is great, as the journey into autumn continues.



Superior National Forest Update - September 7, 2018

National Forest Update – September 6, 2018.

Hi, this is Renee Frahm, administrative assistant on the Superior National Forest, with this week’s edition of the National Forest Update.  Every week, we try to bring you information about events that might affect your visit to the national forest, along with updates on what’s happening out there in the natural world.

What’s happening right now in the natural world is the shift into fall.  What was visible in a few places last week is now visible all over.  Understory plants like sarsaparilla, dogbane, and ferns are all turning yellow, along with some of the trees and shrubs.  We had our first frost warning on Wednesday night which sent a lot of people scurrying out to cover their tomatoes, hoping to coax the plants into letting those last few green ones become red.  September is the start of our fall color reports and blog, so look on our website for links to fall photos and musings on the season, as well as links to fall color around the country at other national forests. 

September is also the start of hunting season in Minnesota, which means that people should start wearing blaze orange when out in the woods, and start keeping their dogs close.  Bear season began at the start of the month, but the season on many small game birds also started.  Whether you are a hunter or not, keep an eye out for each other and stay safe out there.

Unfortunately, a few drownings in the area have been in the news.  The water is beginning to get colder now, and the fall sun is less powerful, so it is easy to get hypothermic once you get wet.  It is easy to get fooled in the fall into thinking that it warmer than it really is and overestimate your swimming ability and endurance.  It’s a good season to take an extra moment and really do a safety check before swimming or boating.

Speaking of endurance, this is the weekend of the Superior Fall Trail Run.  It is really three races on the Superior Hiking Trail, with the ‘shortest’ being a marathon of 26 miles, and the longest being 100 miles from Gooseberry to Lutsen.  Be aware that for the next three days there may be runners crossing roads at intersections with the Superior Hiking Trail, and if you are walking on the Trail, you may encounter and need to yield to runners.  Be sure to give them some encouragement if you see them – they have a long way to go.

With low bug numbers and the start of fall colors, it is a great time for camping and fishing.  The road system is in good shape, and log hauling is only present in a few areas.  On Gunflint, expect trucks on Cook County 7, the Caribou Trail, and Pike Lake Road.  On Tofte, trucks are using the Dumbbell River Road, the Wanless Road, the Trappers Lake Road, Lake County 7, the 4 Mile Grade, The Grade, and the Caribou Trail. 

Even though fall has started, you still need an issued permit for overnight trips in the Boundary Waters, and our fee campgrounds are still operating on a fee basis.  While it is tempting to leave your camper at a campground as a weekend get-away, remember that you have to be present at your campsite every day.  People leaving material, including campers, for 24 hours with no one in attendance could be cited.  You are also not allowed to camp anywhere, including outside of campgrounds, for more than 14 days in one location, and, you may not have more than nine people at any site. Designated group campsites and long term sites vary from these rules, so if you are using one of those sites, see the campground host for specific information.

Fall has also always been associated with fire, both in a good and bad way.  A nice warm campfire, marshmallows, and a cup of hot chocolate is one of the best ways to take advantage of an earlier sunset, but leaves and dry conditions can also set the stage for wildfires.  Many people on our fire crews, as well as other fire certified staff, have been out west helping to contain the fires in Montana, Colorado, and California.  They need a break, and we don’t need a fire back here at home in Minnesota.  Make sure your campfires are dead out and report any smokes you may discover as you travel through the woods.

Enjoy the next week of early fall, and some of the best that Minnesota has to offer outside. 

Until next time, this has been Renee Frahm with the National Forest Update. 



Wildersmith on the Gunflint - August 31, 2018

Wildersmith on the Gunflint    by     Fred Smith         August 31, 2018    
Many aspects of warm season life along the Trail are waning. As I scanned the territory for news this week, the blueberry moon has faded to its final quartile, to welcome September. With the long Labor Day weekend ahead of us, summer is on the ebb for family vacationers with school days now but hours away. Add this to the diminishing chlorophyll production in the forest and one would think visitors and residents along the Byway might be down in the dumps.                                                                                                                                           

Quite the contraire however, the color of a new season is creeping evermore over the northern horizon, recharging everyone’s batteries as autumn fever hits the Trail. The usual fall changes are exploding rapidly, and the area should be near full-color bloom in a couple weeks.                                                                                                                                                                                      

I’ve been tracking the transition of a couple sugar maples in the upper Trail reaches. They are sending a scarlet letter of invitation to leaf peepers. Simultaneously the granite hillsides are lit up brighter with each passing day. A couple friends down the road hiked the Magnetic Rock Trail a few days ago and expressed surprise at the early color spectacle in advance of official “Tagwaagin”(fall, in Ojibwe) on September 24th.                                                                                                    

Our part of the universe is truly a magical place this time of year. For backcountry adventurers, the hottest of days are in the rearview mirror and frosty nights will soon invigorate late season paddlers and campers with bounteous enthusiasm. For yours truly, it’s a season for unique anticipation of all verses in an autumn serenade.                                                                   

The only complication with what’s going on around us is the upper Gunflint area went yet another week with little significant rain. While neighborhoods in the mid-Trail received a couple shower downpours, at the keying of this report last Sunday evening, the Wildersmith rain gauge had captured less than one-half inch. The wildfire danger needle remains at the top of its range from Gunflint Lake to Saganaga at Trails End.                                                                                                      

Meanwhile, there have been no stressful extremes on the thermometer, but the lake water temps have waned into the low sixties.                                                                                                                                 

If listeners haven’t filled the holiday weekend calendar, a reminder for your Sunday is the “sweet treat” social up at Chik-Wauk.  Serving of Trail-made pies and ice cream runs from noon to 4:00 pm. As mentioned last week, there’ll be a lot of things to see, hear and do around the Campus. The Gunflint Trail Historical Society invites one and all to come and enjoy a day of north woods enchantment!  Who knows, it might be a lucky moose viewing day!                                                            

Just when residents seemed to have had an uneventful summer with bear activity, I’m told there were some property invasions in the mid-Trail/Poplar Lake neighborhood. I don’t have any particulars other than the Momma and cubs were not invited, but gained entry by coming through window screens and un-secured doors. It’s that time of year, so we might expect more of such vandalizing acts.                                                                                                                                                  
Another couple down the road mentioned hearing some unusual meowing around their yard a few days ago. They knew of no one in the neighborhood with a feline pet, so it was perplexing as to what was going on.                                                                                                                                                              

After a period of investigation and listening, the only critter observed was a blue jay. When the jaybird finally left its perch, it did so spewing the same cat-like sound they’d been hearing.                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Very interesting, I’ve heard of ravens and crows mimicking other animal sounds, but never a blue jay. Maybe this one had a case of laryngitis?                                                                                               

Being the Wildersmith air traffic controller and re-fueling agent, I’m observing a noticeable decline in arrivals and departures from our sweet nectar station. Guess our ruby throat “Hummers” must be in pre-flight staging to head south.                                                                                                            

A few neighbors report they are observing only females and young ones, so where have all the papas gone?  Humm, it looks like another northland mystery?                                                            

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith on the Gunflint, where every day is great, and one better is always, yet to come!



Superior National Forest Update - August 31, 2018

National Forest Update – August 30, 2018.
Hi.  I’m Jasmine Ingersoll, recreation technician on the Tofte District, with the National Forest Update.  I help maintain and care for recreation sites on the Forest, and with miles of trail and dozens of sites, I’m a very busy person!  If your plan this weekend is to visit the State Fair, I’m not much help, but if your plan is to get away from the hordes of people on the Midway and enjoy some peace and quiet, our National Forest is for you.

It is the end of summer and the beginning of fall, and this transition time is great for people looking to get away.  We actually do have fewer visitors during the state fair, and as yet, there is no one here coming to look for fall colors.  That makes late summer/early fall a peaceful time on the Forest.  Plus, we also have fewer bugs right now and that alone makes it a perfect time to visit!

We’ve had plenty of rain recently, so right now fire danger is low.  As the forest dries out and prepares for winter though, fire danger can rise rapidly even after a good soaking rain.  Whether fire danger is high or low, you should always control campfires and put fires dead out when you are done.  It’s a big part of leave no trace outdoor ethics.

Fall migration is happening in a big way.  Hard to identify fall warblers are hopping around the trees frustrating birders, but other, easy to identify birds are migrating as well.  Large flocks of hundreds of nighthawks, an insect eater related to whippoorwills, are moving down the shore.  Loons are rafting up in lakes, ready to head south, as are other waterfowl.

Deer are preparing for fall too.  They may not migrate, but antlers are growing, and soon bucks will be rubbing the velvet off so they can both fight and show off a bit.  Bears have been active, and have gotten into dumpsters at some campgrounds.  Make sure to secure the dumpster with the bear bars when you’re camping – the bears are really looking for anything to fatten up on for winter and leftover beans and hamburger buns look pretty good to them.

If you are planning on using an OHV or ATV, make sure you have the current version of the Motor Vehicle Use Map, available for download on our website or for purchase at a ranger station.  The digital version is a georeferenced pdf file, so you can use a phone app such as Avenza to locate yourself on the map.  This can be really handy, but we suggest you have a hard copy as well in case your battery dies.  Riding on a road or trail which is not open to ATVs is a ticketable offense, so make sure you know where to ride.

Bigger things than ATVs are on the roads too.  There is some logging traffic on the Forest.  On Gunflint roads, you can find trucks using the Caribou Trail, the Pike Lake Road, and Cook County 7.  On the Tofte side, trucks will be using the Dumbell River Road, Wanless Road, Trappers Lake or Sawbill Landing Road, the 4 Mile Grade, and Lake County Road 7. 

Enjoy the next week in the woods; this is truly one of the best times of the year.  Until next time, this has been Jasmine Ingersoll with the National Forest Update.