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North Shore Morning

AM Community Calendar/photo by masochismtango on Flickr

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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!

 


What's On:
Photo by Travis Novitsky

Dr. Seth Moore: Grand Portage hopes to study micropollutants in area waters

Dr. Seth Moore is Director of Biology and Environment with the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. 

The Grand Portage Reservation is located in the extreme northeast corner of Minnesota, on the North Shore of Lake Superior in Cook County. Bordered on the north by Canada, on the south and east by Lake Superior and on the west by Grand Portage State Forest, the reservation encompasses an historic fur trade site on scenic Grand Portage Bay.

The band engages in fisheries and wildlife research projects throughout the year, working with moose, wolves, fish, deer, grouse, and environmental issues. Dr. Moore appears regularly on WTIP North Shore Community Radio, talking about the band's current and ongoing natural resource projects, as well as other environmental and health related issues. 

In this segment, we’ll hear about a recent grant proposal to study micropollutants in bodies of water within the Grand Portage Trust Lands.

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Pluto from Chiron {Bill Lile /Flickr}

Northern Sky: July 12

Deane Morrison is a science writer at the University of Minnesota. She authors the Minnesota Starwatch column, and contributes to WTIP bi-weekly on the Monday North Shore Morning program through "Northern Sky," where she shares what's happening with stars, planets and more.

Dark skies with the new moon on the 15th; good viewing of several planets, especially with binoculars; NASA's New Horizons space craft flies by Pluto on July 14th.

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Gunflint Trail Historical Society 10 Year Celebration, picture by Sally Valentini

Wildersmith on the Gunflint: July 10

Summer has turned the corner so to speak as daylight minutes begin to trickle away. Conditions in the upper Gunflint have been fairly normal, but did present a sticky spike last weekend. A couple sultry days gets old quick, and they had a number of us folks reflecting our appreciation for colder times ahead (not that we are wishing our life away).

As I keyed this week's Gunflint scoop, storm clouds were building and thunder was rumbling in the west. A good soaking would be welcomed as rain over the past week or so has been on the scant side. Talking of storm clouds, they bring back memory of the infamous July 4 sixteen years ago when this territory saw hundreds of thousands of acres devastated in an unheard of derecho. The area has since bounced back with phenomenal new growth even when one factors in wildfires in some of the same blowdown places during 2005, 2006 and the tragic 2007 inferno. In spite of marvelous recovery efforts by “Mother Nature,” with assistance from mankind, many places remain with a substantial risk-laden fuel load, keeping all of us on edge when it gets dry. So let it rain, but no blowing!

Blueberry pickers are anxious to hit the patches in search of their treasured nuggets. An early report relates it’s still a little early, with fruit on the plants, but more ripening time needed.

I heard of a recent wild woods encounter involving a moose, her calf and a hungry bear. The scene was observed by a fishing party up on Lake Saganaga, who during the episode turned out to be life savers. Things began to unfold as the fisher-people heard a crashing through the woods. Thinking it was probably a moose rambling through the timber they were surprised when a moose calf bolted out along the shore and jumped into the lake. It began swimming away from shore in a frantic state. Momma moose appeared along shore but did not enter the water, choosing to lumber along shore as her baby floundered further away from land. In a matter of moments, “brother” bear came onto the scene following the youngster right into the water.

To the observers, it was soon perceived the bear would out-swim the moose baby and sure enough, caught up in no time. The big “Bruno” was on the little one, grappling and pushing it under water time and time again. The ungulate toddler scrambled furiously against both the bear and perils of drowning. Meanwhile Momma could do nothing from her shoreline position and eventually meandered off into the forest, probably figuring her young’un was a lost cause. Knowing moose calves have a hard time surviving, even on land, the fisherman navigating the boat decided an attempt should be made to try and save this little guy/gal. The boat was started and headed directly for the splashing fiasco.

Miraculously, as the craft got close, this tactic diverted the bear's attention on the prey and it backed off. Apparently discouraged by the interruption, it headed back to shore, disappearing into the woods. Talk about good Samaritans! Further observation of the calf following this melee saw the frightened critter making its way back to shore. It shook itself off, amazingly none the worse for wear, seemingly uninjured. After gaining some composure, and in a bit of wonderment, it turned its head for a look at these rescuers as if to acknowledge the heroic act on its behalf.

A happy ending to this extraordinary wilderness experience occurred later as the calf gave out a few whimpering wails and Momma returned the call. Soon Momma reappeared and the family was reunited. What a sensational effort by these concerned and creative Gunflint neighbors!

A swell gathering at the Seagull Lake Community center last Sunday closed down the July 4 Holiday break. Those in attendance celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Gunflint Trail Historical Society and the fifth full year of the organization's Chik-Wauk Museum. A brief program followed the social hour and dinner with past presidents reminiscing about this splendid Gunflint Community accomplishment. See a digital of the goings-on with the Wildersmith website posting at WTIP.org.

Closing for this week, a couple reminders are extended to area residents and visitors. The July meeting of the Gunflint Trail Historical Society happens this coming Monday, the 13. The gathering will be at the Schaap Community Center (Mid-Trail) beginning at 1:30 pm.

Of additional importance, it’s “feelin’ groovy” time here at WTIP as the station is in the midst of its summer membership drive. If you’re wantin’ to feel groovy, how better to accomplish such than to get on board without delay. Continued quality programming costs big bucks, so join or renew now to help the cause. Give us a call at 387-1070 or 1-800-473-9847 or click and join at WTIP.org!

Oops it’s Canoe Race time on the Gunflint. See you there next Wednesday.

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Superior National Forest Update: July 10

Hi.  I’m Becky Bartol, environmental coordinator, with this week’s edition of the National Forest Update -  information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Superior National Forest. For the week of July 10th, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
It has been a week of beautiful weather on the Forest.  We hope that you’ve been able to get outside and enjoy some of the sun.  This past Tuesday was national “Father-Daughter Take a Walk Day”, so hopefully some fathers and daughters were out hiking in the woods.   If you somehow missed that holiday, you can cheer yourself up by celebrating National Blueberry Muffin Day this Sunday.
Camping can be a great way to get outdoors, but remember that if you are planning on camping, it is not allowed to ‘claim’ a spot by putting your gear at a campsite ahead of time.  Your campsite must be occupied the first night.  Camping gear left in an unoccupied site may be confiscated, and the owner can actually be cited for a violation.  If you are concerned about not having a site, many of the sites on our campgrounds are reservable online at Recreation.gov. 
Sites in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness are, of course, not reservable.  When planning your route, develop alternatives in case the site you are hoping for is occupied.  Creating your own campsite on islands or other places is not allowed, and you can be cited for camping outside of the designated sites.  The reason we have designated sites is to concentrate the impact of camping in only those spots, leaving the rest of the shoreline pristine.  Help us protect the Boundary Waters by following the rules and guidelines - they are there for good reasons.
Getting to your campground or entry point should be pretty easy.  Our roads are in good shape, and there are only a few timber sales creating truck traffic.  You may encounter logging trucks on the Dumbbell River Road, Wanless Road (heading to Hwy.1), Sawbill Landing Road, Lake County 7 near Harriet Lake, the Four Mile Grade near Wilson Lake, The Grade, and the Sawbill Trail.
While most of us are enjoying summer, some of us have been preparing for winter already.  The Forest Service, in partnership with the Arrowhead Coalition for Multiple Uses, has been working to develop the South Fowl Snowmobile Trail near South Fowl Lake.  This section of trail should be ready for snowmobile use this winter, so thanks to all the trail workers that are out there feeding the mosquitos and black flies this summer.
Smokey Bear would like to pass on a big thank you for the warm welcome he received at the Fourth of July parade in Tofte.  He was able to both give and receive a lot of bear hugs, and there’s nothing he likes better.  Being Smokey, he’d also wants us to remind you to be careful with fire and make sure all your campfires are dead out before you leave your campsite.
Have a great weekend, and enjoy the Forest.  Until next week, this has been Becky Bartol with the Superior National Forest Update. 
 

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Cobblestone structures in Tofte Park

West End News: July 9

I was surprised and honored to be named Citizen of the Year at this year’s 4th of July celebration in Tofte.  As I said in my acceptance speech, off the top of my head I can think of 20 people that deserve the honor more than I do.  I am pleased to receive the same award that my mother, Mary Alice Hansen, won couple of years ago.  It seems like whenever I do something that either of my parents did previously, I’m on the right track.
 
During the plaque ceremony, Tofte Township Supervisor, Jim King, mentioned that the Citizen of the Year Award was created seven years ago to honor Tofte resident and volunteer, Bob Boomgard.  I was saddened to hear Jim say that Bob had passed away recently.
 
Bob Boomgard retired to Tofte many years ago and quickly became one of the most active volunteers that one can imagine.  He did many things, but his first love was the beautiful Tofte Park. 
 
Tofte Park is one of the North Shore’s hidden gems – a beautiful swath of Lake Superior shoreline that was bypassed by the modern reconstruction of Highway 61.  Originally donated to the township by Elizabeth Tofte in 1922, the park featured a quaint spillway, wishing well and walking bridge, all built out of red, white and blue cobblestones.
 
By the early 1990s, the cobblestone structures were in considerable disrepair.  Bob, along with his wife, Delora, painstakingly recovered all the fallen cobblestones and restored the lovely structures to their original glory.  We all enjoy his work every time we stroll through the park and the township has been inspired to make a number of improvements to the park over recent years.  It is now a popular spot for weddings and picnics – not to mention the famous 4th of July celebration.
 
Bob Boomgard will be greatly missed in Tofte, not only for his hard work, but his invariably cheerful and upbeat personality.
 
It is good to see that the 600 Road bridge across the Temperance River in Tofte is finally funded for replacement.  The old iron bridge, whose paint had faded to a charming pink color over the years, has been closed for almost a year, effectively cutting off reasonable access to the 600 Road.  The 600 Road is not only important to local loggers, but is a popular tourism destination, especially in the fall when its abundant maples put on a spectacular show.
 
In a very enlightened move, the Forest Service has designed an aesthetically pleasing wooden bridge that will blend with the beauty of the river - and will be constructed by a local contractor.
 
It remains a mystery as to why the replacement wasn’t done before the inconvenience of having the road closed for a year, but I guess it is a case of better late than never.
 
Here is a quick list of “not to be missed” West End events that are coming up in the next month:
 
The Bloodmobile will be at Zoar Lutheran Church in Tofte on Tuesday, July 21, from 2 until 6 pm.  Call Polly Erickson at 663-7398 if you would like to donate a pint of blood.
 
On Saturday, July 18, Barb Livdahl will be speaking about the current exhibit called “Lost Resorts” at the Cross River Heritage Center in Schroeder.   She’ll be sharing what she learned while researching all the resorts that existed in the West End from the 1920s through today.
 
Sugarloaf Cove Nature Center in Schroeder has a fun plan for their annual meeting this year.  They will be celebrating aboard the tour ship Voyageur on Saturday, August 8, embarking from the Silver Bay Marina at 5:30 pm.   If seeing Sugarloaf from the big lake isn’t enough, their will be hors d’oeuvres, wine and live music from the THUGS, which stands for Two Harbors Ukelele Group.
 
We’ve been chasing a lost dog around the woods here at Sawbill for the last two weeks.  The husky mix named Bode, ran off from his owners during a thunderstorm in the BWCA Wilderness just north of Sawbill.  Bode is a recent rescue by his family so he hadn’t bonded completely with them yet.
 
He is spotted around the area almost every day and will readily eat food that is left out for him, but won’t let anyone get close enough to capture him.  The owners are coming back up from their home in the Twin Cities today with a large live trap that we’re all hoping will do the trick. 
 
Stay tuned, for what we’re all hoping will be the happy conclusion to the saga of Bode next week.
 

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Sunny's Back Yard: Bittersweet summer

Summer has arrived in the north woods...accompanied by biting insects, colorful wildflowers and ruby-throated hummingbirds. But it's a bittersweet time for Sunny -- a reminder of things lost and why we can still be grateful.

Sunny has lived off-grid in rural Lake County for the past 17 years and is a regular commentator on WTIP. Here she shares what's been happening in Sunny's Back Yard.

(Photo by Catherine Mullhaupt on Flickr)

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Photo by Eli Sagor on Flickr

North Woods Naturalist: Pine pollen

The yellow dust you’ve been wiping off your outdoor furniture or grill is really pine pollen, and there’s a good deal more to it than meets the eye. WTIP’s Jay Andersen talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about a most amazing, and small scale reproductive process.

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Annual planked trout dinner hosted by the Cook County Historical Society on July 11

There’s a lot happening at the Cook County Historical Society in July and August, in addition to their annual planked trout dinner on Saturday, July 11, at the Grand Marais RV Park Recreation Hall. WTIP volunteer Yvonne Mills spoke with Carrie McHugh of the Cook County Historical Society on North Shore Morning. 
 
 

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Wildersmith on the Gunflint: July 3

The Wildersmith two are back on the Trail. After a quick run to steamy Iowa for a visit with our daughter, it’s great to be home in the “cool” north land.

The flora is oh so brilliant this time of year. Whereas the purity of crystal white in the winter goes unmatched in terms of elegance, our blooming summer has a special moment of its own.

A “technicolor” spectacular is in full array along this historic 60-mile trek through the wilderness. The rainbow of wild blooming things dazzles the visual senses. Both native and non-natives are in combination creating a “Disney”-like fantasy land.

A drive up to the black-top end at Chik-Wauk will provide a soul soothing encounter. One might even catch a glimpse of a moose or a bear, adding to the adventure.

With June having passed us by, month seven is dishing up a double whammy of lunar happenings. If it wasn’t noticed, our first day of July presented the first of two full moons during the month. Yep, it’s “blue moon” time. The second full “orb of night” will occur on the last day of our seventh yearly segment.

Our Ojibwe neighbors labeled our “big cheese” the “halfway” moon, but I don’t know to which this moniker should be applied. Meanwhile, Algonquin tribes tab the first as the “full buck” moon while the second is known as the “thunder” moon. Whatever name is applied, they will both be majestic wonders of the northern sky. A twofold celestial occurrence such as this only happens on the average every two-and-a-half years.

Speaking of other night sky wonders, the first fireflies have started flitting about this neighborhood. If this territory isn’t already a “heaven on earth,” these wonders of the beetle species make the darkness come alive as if the cosmos had settled earthward.

The Gunflint Community’s dance card is nearly full for the next two weeks. If residents and visitors can’t think of anything to do, they are not trying very hard. The first of many coming events kick off this Independence Day weekend up at the end of the Trail (Seagull Lake Community Center).

The Gunflint Trail Historical Society is celebrating its tenth anniversary of existence. At the same time, the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center is marking its fifth full season of exhibits to the public. The gala is a catered fundraising affair on Sunday, July 5, beginning at 5:00 pm. A limited number of dinner reservations remain and a call to Chik-Wauk Museum at 388-9915 will reserve yours.

The next happening involves not only the Gunflint Trail but the “world-wide” listening audience of this extraordinary radio station. The summer membership drive commences this coming Wednesday, July 8. Both new and old listener members won’t want to miss this “Feelin’ Groovy” time to show support for this valued community resource.

Monday, July 13, will find the Gunflint Trail Historical Society holding its monthly meeting. The gathering will be at the Schaap (mid-Trail) Community Center beginning at 1:30 pm. The program will feature Memorial recognition of Trail friends and neighbors who have passed from our midst over the past year. Refreshments will again be served following the meeting.

The Gunflint Trail Canoe Races hit the Gunflint Lodge waterfront on Wednesday, July 15. This is the 39th year of the event which provides support for our Trail Volunteer Fire and EMS crews. Race activities begin at 6:00 pm with food service opening at 4:30.

The grand prize for this year's Canoe Races drawing is a super kayak from the Wenonah Canoe Company. Tickets are on sale throughout the area.

The busy Gunflint area events calendar then continues into August with two more annual happenings. The third Gunflint Woods, Winds and Strings chamber music concert takes center stage on Sunday, August 9. Once again the site will be the Schaap Community Center at 4:00 pm with a reception to follow. Ticket reservations can be made with Susan Scherer at 388-9494 or by e-mail at scher012@boreal.org beginning July 8.

A few days later, the yearly mid-Trail bash to benefit the GTVFD will take place at Schapp Community Center on Wednesday, August 12, beginning at 1:00 pm. Mark your calendars and look for more information on both events in coming Wildersmith reports.

That’s the scoop from Wildersmith on the Trail. Come on up and savor a summer trip along the historic scenic byway! Happy Birthday America!

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Superior National Forest Update: July 3

Hi.  I’m Amber Humphrey, Information Specialist, with this week’s edition of the National Forest Update -  information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest. For the week of July 3rd, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
It is Fourth of July weekend!  It looks like it will be a beautiful weekend out on the Forest to enjoy the holiday.  Remember that NO fireworks of any kind are permitted on the National Forest, not even fireworks that maybe legal within the state of Minnesota.  Fire danger is low due to recent rains and high humidity, but even in these conditions fires can get out of control.  We actually had to put one out last week.  A very small, room sized wildfire that had started from an unattended campfire.  One potential fire starter is a type of firework called a fire balloon.  These are small hot air balloons lifted with a candle, and seem to be getting more popular every year.  Normally, the candle burns out before the balloon lands, but they will sometimes crash while still burning, causing an obvious fire hazard.  In addition to possibly starting a fire, they become litter after landing.  Of course, like all fireworks, these are not legal on the Forest.
If you want fireworks, there are some great displays along the North Shore all the way from Two Harbors to Grand Marais.  The parade in Tofte this year will have a certain bear in attendance, making sure everyone knows that only you can prevent wildfires. 
While fire danger is low locally, it is high in the drought stricken west.  Sixteen of our fire crew will be spending their holiday assisting with wildfires that are burning in other states.  Keep them and all the other firefighters in your thoughts this weekend.
As we get into July, driving in the Forest may involve more encounters with large RVs.  Or, maybe you will be the person driving the RV.  Either way, be aware that these vehicles take a lot of space on our narrow Forest roads.  Be patient, and pass only in safe areas, and if you’re the RV driver, pull over and allow others to pass in safe places, especially if you are going slower than the traffic flow.  Don’t get frustrated.  Realize that there really isn’t any rush to get where you are going, and five miles an hour speed increase will not change your arrival time very much.
There may be more RVs, but there are going to be fewer logging trucks on the Tofte District this next week.  We have only two active timber sales right now, one on the Dumbbell River Road, and another off of The Grade near the Temperance River.  Visitors can expect to see trucks hauling on the Trappers Lake Road (FR 369), the Wanless Road (FR 172), the Dumbbell River Road (FR 174), Lake County road 7 near Harriet Lake, and the Four Mile Grade near Wilson Lake.
If your drive takes you up the Gunflint to Chik-Wauk, you could stop in at 2:00 pm on Tuesday for a Forest Service naturalist program about moose.  Check our website for all the other naturalist programs offered every week, or on the Fourth, stop by the Point where we always have a naturalist on location from 1:30 to 3:30 Saturdays.
Have a great weekend, and enjoy the Forest.  Until next week, this has been Amber Humphrey with the Superior National Forest Update. 
 

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