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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - July 27, 2018

Moose Encounter
Moose Encounter

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith     July 27, 2018    
The Gunflint summer just keeps rollin’ along, well into month two of the three segment stint. The past week has been silky smooth with tolerable daytime temps, and cool sleeping nights.                                                                                                                                                                                    

The only thing to have made it even more perfect would have included a little rain. A few sprinkles are all this neighborhood has received, and the forest floor is crunchy once again.                            

When this report hits the airwaves, beams of the Ojibwe, “halfway moon” are lighting up our lives. And at this yearly mid-point, blue-tipped fingers are busy picking what looks to be a great crop of purplish north woods jewels. While some reports find buckets full, I received word of a mid-Trail gal who’s claimed six gallons already, and one at end of the Trail with over 8.                                                                                                                                                                    

More blues activity can be noted along the Trail as postings are proclaiming the annual “Biggest Blueberry” contest. Sponsored jointly by Visit Cook County and the Trail business community, weigh-in stations are located from middle to end of the Trail. I’m told berries are quite plump this year, so competition to get the blue ribbon will be keen.                                                                                      

A final tally of the Gunflint Canoe Races fundraiser from last week is not yet available with donations still coming in and final expenses yet to be paid. However, one thing known for sure, the event went off without a hitch under splendid weather conditions. Congratulations and thanks to organizers and volunteers for another job well done!                                                                                                                                         

With funding support for the Trail fire department still on our minds, the territory is now pointing toward the annual mid-Trail flea market, gift boutique, and live auction. Mark your calendars for the afternoon of Wednesday, August 8th. This is another joyous happening along the Gunflint.                                                                                                                                                                 

Meanwhile, the last summer support trifecta for our firefighters is not far off either. The sixth annual “Gunflint Woods, Winds, Strings and a Little Jazz Concert” brings the sweet sound of music to the Trail. The performance will once again be held in the Schaap Center facilities (fire hall #1) on Sunday, August 12th at 5:00 PM. Ticket reservations can be made with Patsy Coleman at 313-673-6202 or online at PColeman@ More details and a run-down of several local performers taking part will be mentioned as the event gets closer.                                   

As July winds down, another great program is being offered at the Chik-Wauk Nature Center this coming Sunday. The “original airborne” drones will be the subject of discussion as Douglas Hall talks about “Dragonflies.” The presentation begins at 2:00 pm.                                                                 

In another Nature Center programming note phase two of the invasive plant program gets underway Saturday at 10:00 AM. More volunteers are needed to help in an invasive plant pull-a-thon along the Moose Pond Road leading to the Chik-Wauk site. Bring bug nets, gloves and drinking water. Who knows, a moose might even make an appearance.                                                  

In our “wild world”, some folks in these parts have considerable disgust for our eager beaver construction crews. Beginning as early as the 1600’s fur trappers pillaged them to near extinction. During the 20th-century conservationists started to help them recover, and since then scientists have learned over the years that beaver built water features help address many environmental problems. Such is noted in the July /August edition of the Sierra Magazine where an article proclaims these animals as great “Ecosystem Engineers” who create wetlands, filter pollution, store groundwater, store carbon, reduce flooding runoff and sustain fish and bird habitat.                                                                                                                                                                              

The Sierra article is worthy of every Gunflint lovers’ attention. Perhaps we should be swearing by the beavers, not at them!                                                                                                                                            

Since we last met, perhaps the best looking moose in the territory was caught on camera by a gal in the mid-Trail area. The handsome chap was spotted along Hungry Jack Road, and I’m happy she shared the digital with me, so I could share it with you on my website column. It’s under the drop down “Community Voices” column.                                                                                                                                                                  

Concluding this weeks’ scoop, the Wildersmith two extend a huge thanks to everyone in the WTIP family, both new and renewing members, for their generous support in the “20 More” funding drive. Furthermore, congratulations are offered to the staff and dedicated volunteers for their outstanding organization and leadership during this huge endeavor. Northshore Community radio is what it is because of everyone coming together in a time of need. WTIP heads onward and upward for “20 More” years.                                                                                                                                  

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, teeming in natural and human spirit!