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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!


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Superior National Forest Update - August 10, 2018

National Forest Update – August 9, 2018.
Hi.  I’m Joe Mundell, timber sale administrator, with the National Forest Update.  Every week we bring you information on things happening around the east end of the Superior that might affect your visit from timber hauling traffic to how bad the bugs are.
We can start with the weather this week.  If you live here or have been visiting the last week, you’ll know that we’ve had everything from nights cold enough to start a fire in the morning, to hot humid conditions, to perfect clear days, to thunderstorms with hail.  And fog.  Can’t forget the fog.  It’s a great time to remind people that we can get all sorts of weather.  If you’re camping, be sure to pack for anything, not just the weather your trip starts in.  If you are fishing or just out boating, watch the sky.  Summer thunderstorms can build quickly, and you’ll want to be off the water before they strike.
When you are out and about, you may run into our CCMI crew for the summer.  CCMI stands for Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa.  These young people have signed on for the summer to work in the outdoors doing a wide variety of jobs for the Forest Service and other natural resource agencies.  They have helped this year with portage maintenance, trail work, rec site maintenance, and other tasks – including appearing on floats in both the Bay Days and Fisherman’s Picnic parades!  We’d like to thank them for all the work they’ve done, and if you see them, be sure to wave!
Despite the thunderstorms, we are in a normal period of August drying in the Forest.  Lake and stream levels are low compared to spring, but are about average for this time of year.  They are low enough though that if you are planning a canoe route, some of the streams passable in spring will be portages instead.  This also means that between rain clouds, our fire danger can creep up.  As always, be careful with fire and make sure your campfires are dead out when you leave them.  We have many of our staff helping with wildfires in the west, from crews on the fire line to people helping with logistics and weather reporting.  The west needs all the help it can get out there, so it would be good not to have to deal with any wildfires back here at home.   We can be thankful that due to weather and people like you being careful, we’ve had a year without major fires so far.
There is not a lot of timber activity on the Forest right now.  You may find haul trucks on the Firebox Road, Greenwood Road, and Cook County 60 on the Gunflint District, and on the Trappers Lake Road, the Wanless Road, Dumbell River Road, 4 Mile Grade, Caribou Trail, Springdale Road, Sawbill Trail, and Carlton Pit Road on the Tofte District.  While you need to watch for haul trucks in those places, you never know what may be around the next corner.  A visitor on the Cramer Road recently came over a hill into a swarm of cyclists occupying the entire width of the road.  Cycling on gravel roads is becoming more and more popular, and encounters like this are becoming more common.  All users of the roads need to be aware and share the roadway – don’t assume that because it is a gravel road, car traffic will be slow or absent.
Until next week, enjoy all the weather August has to offer from campfires on cold evenings to swimming on steamy days.  This has been Joe Mundell with the National Forest Update.


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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - August 3, 2018

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith       August 3, 2018

 July along the Gunflint Trail has quietly faded away. We’re off into the eighth stanza of 2018. It seems implausible we Gunflinters should be observing autumn signs nudging their way into the summer green, but such is the case.
The past seven-day segment has been much the same as those preceding. It’s been warm and nice. The territory did get a minor dropping of rain last Saturday, amounting to barely two-tenths of an inch along the Mile O Pine. There was more bark than bite as thunder garnered more attention than raindrops, and there was more of the same early evening Sunday. Then a hefty dose drenched the territory to greet the new month with one and three-tenths inches here in the Wildersmith gauge.                                                                
A suggestion to area residents, with the ignition of a small wildfire southwest of Seagull Lake during the past few days, would be to crank up those wildfire sprinkler systems to add a little more moisture and confirm operational fitness.                                               
Getting back to those signs of fall mentioned earlier, I‘ve noticed hillsides in the upper Trail region with a splash of gold as juvenile birch or aspen have discovered the daylight minutes diminishing. Further, the aureus of dogbane is increasing along roadsides while goldenrod, Joe Pye weed, and milkweed are casting new tones to the North woods spectrum. 

Since the Ojibwe, “blueberry moon” is next in the lunar line-up, it’s appropriate for the final blueberry push. I don’t see any slacking in the number of visitor vehicles out along the Trail. All are parked in precarious places with drivers immersed somewhere in the wild filling buckets and baskets.  

While on the invasive plant pull up at Chik-Wauk last Saturday, yours truly found a cache of Juneberries AKA serviceberries or even Saskatoon berries. They are sure easier picking than the blues, and I think, even sweeter. I heard of a recent pastry delight baked with a combination of rhubarb and juneberries. It sounds great with a dip of vanilla, but not for those of us with sugar concerns.
Speaking of sweetness, fun in the mid-Trail gets underway Wednesday in the Schaap Community Center facility, at 12:00 noon. The flea market and gift boutique starts things off, followed at 1:30 by the live auction and finally, the drawing for the beautiful mid-Trail quilter’s 2018 patchwork.                                                                                                                                                                               
This mid-Trail event is the second leg of the Gunflint Trail triple pursuit for support of the volunteer fire department. This in mind, the first leg, our Gunflint Trail Canoe Races, of two weeks ago, raised over 24 thousand dollars. These funds are vitally important, so everyone possible, please get out and support our neighbors in the middle.   

Almost before one can blink their eyes, the last fundraiser for the fire department takes center stage on Sunday, August 12th with the Gunflint Woods, Winds, Strings and a Little Jazz Concert. This event is usually a sell-out with only 150 seats available in the Schaap Center for the 5:00 pm performance, better get reservations made ASAP.  Give Patsy Coleman a call at 313-673-6202. 
The Gunflint Trail Historical Society is excited to announce a special event coming to end of the Trail on August 16 & 17. The Society, with cooperation from the volunteer fire department, and in partnership with the University of Minnesota Duluth, is bringing the GeoDome mobile planetarium theater to our upper reaches.                                                                                                                                                
This is the final stop for the “Dark Sky Caravan” delegation which starts at the UMD Planetarium on Saturday, August 11th. With daily stops along the north shore, it ends at one of the darkest places in the country to gaze the celestial. All are being held at the Seagull Lake Community Center and fire hall on the dates listed above.
Events are free with programming from 5:00 pm until 11:00 pm both days. Planetarium shows will be offered on the half-hour with observations in the out of doors too when darkness is most consuming. In the event there are cloudy skies, programs will be limited to the GeoDome. A side note confirms the caravan visit will coincide with the annual Perseid Meteor Showers. 
UMD staff and students will lead attendees through a dynamic digital space exploration experience.  Volunteers from the Arrowhead Astronomical Society will be offering live sky consultation. This educational outreach from the Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium through the University of Minnesota will be an experience to remember. Mark your calendars, and bring a flashlight to find your car in the late night darkness.
Not speaking of dark skies now, but of another dark item in creation, a bear made a visit to Wildersmith a few days ago, our first of the season. Happily, the visit was casual and did not involve my having to banish this ebony critter from the property. This observation happened during a dockside fishing event as my wife was startled to see a big “Bruno” showing off its aquatic skills not far from where she was sitting.                                                                                                 

As she was landing her usual “pet smallie” the hefty critter gave her the eye but never missed a stroke while continuing on by. She was nevertheless a little unsettled after hearing about the Leo Lake gal who recently bumped into one while berry picking. The north woods character eventually exited the big pool a ways down the lake and disappeared into the forest, no harm, no foul!                                                                      
For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, with endless natural world adventures!                                                                                                                                                        



Superior National Forest Update - August 3, 2018

National Forest Update – August 2, 2018.
Hi.  I’m Renee Frahm, Supervisory Administrative Support Assistant, with this week’s National Forest Update, information on things happening around the east end of the Superior that might affect your visit.  It is August, and we are in mid-summer!
Mid-summer for many means berries, and though we are little past the peak of blueberries, raspberries and others are still plentiful in the woods.  Many of these berries do best in areas of new growth where a fire or logging activity created a clearing.  When you’re picking, make sure to look back on occasion and be aware of where you came from.  The dense regrowth in prime berry habitat can make it very easy to get lost in a hurry, so be sure to memorize your way back to the car.
We are also easing into our end of summer fire season.  While there is a lot of green out there, dry weather in August can create good conditions for a fire.  Last week, we had a collection of several small fires on the Forest which were a good reminder to practice safe campfire management.  Campfires should be in safe areas, in fire rings or fire grates at developed camping sites, and by DNR regulations, should be no more than three feet in diameter.  When you leave a campfire, it should be cold to the touch and dowsed with plenty of water.  Smokey has been saying ‘Only You Can Prevent Wildfires’ for years, and it is just as true now as it was in the 1950’s.
I said the words “end of summer” back there, and as much as we hate to admit it, this is the start of the end.  Loons are starting to gather in groups on lakes prior to heading south.  There is a lot of warbler activity as well, some of which is due to birds who nested farther north already started to migrating south.  If you have a hummingbird feeder out, you may have noticed more hummers recently.  Hummingbirds switch to insects during the height of summer for feeding their chicks and often aren’t seen at feeders.  Now that the young ones have fledged, they will start using feeders more as they prepare for migration.  Traveling through the woods, you can actually find some bush honeysuckle which has turned red, and even the occasional moose maple or aspen with some color showing.  If your summer to-do list includes sealing the driveway or staining the deck, you’d better get at it because soon the nighttime temperatures will be too low to have projects like that dry correctly.  We had a taste of that last week with morning temperatures in the low 40’s, so consider yourself warned by Mother Nature that fall is just off the horizon.
While traveling, watch for logging traffic on the Trappers Lake Road, the Wanless Road, Dumbell River Road, 4 Mile Grade, Caribou Trail, Springdale Road, Sawbill Trail, Carlton Pit Road in the Tofte area, and on the Greenwood Road, Shoe Lake Road, Old Greenwood Road, Firebox Road, Ward Lake Road, Cook County 39, and Cook County 60 in the Gunflint District.
Until next week, try to pretend that summer will last forever and enjoy some wonderful August weather.  This has been Renee Frahm with the National Forest Update.



Voter Registration - Kathy Sullivan

Kathy Sullivan talks with North Shore Morning host, Bob Padzieski, about voter registration.

Anyone with more questions about voting or the registration process may call:
Cook County Auditor's Office      218-387-3642
Minnesota Secretary of State       877-600-8683


Bike Duluth Festival - Spirit Mt

Kraus-Anderson Bike Duluth Festival

The fifth annual Kraus-Anderson Bike Duluth Festival, a premier Minnesota mountain bike event at Spirit Mountain, will be held August 10th through the 12th in Duluth.
WTIP North Shore Morning host, Mark Abrahamson, talks with Brandy Ream, Executive Director of the Spirit Mountain Recreation Area about the event.


Moose Encounter

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - July 27, 2018

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!


Lin Salisbury

Superior Reviews by Lin Salisbury - BJ Carpenter

Lin Salisbury, bibliophile, and commentator on WTIP, reviews BJ Carpenter's book, "Come, You Taste".



Northern Sky: July 21 - Aug 3, 2018

Deane Morrison is a science writer at the University of Minnesota.

She authors the Minnesota Starwatch column, and in this feature she shares what there is to see in the night sky in our region.
Deane's column can be found on the University of Minnesota website at


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Superior National Forest Update - July 20, 2018

National Forest Update – July 20, 2018.

Hi.  I’m Steve Robertsen, interpretive and education specialist, with this week’s National Forest Update, information on things happening around the east end of the Superior that might affect your visit.  We are getting into the warmest days of the year and some of the busiest days in the Forest as well.

I spent a day with some Girl Scouts this past week helping them earn a badge by learning about Leave No Trace.  In my humble opinion, Leave No Trace is badge we all should try to earn before we head out into the Forest, Scouts or not.  It is a national system of outdoor ethics and while the basic idea is really really simple – that you should leave no trace of yourself behind after you visit an area – the application can be difficult.  The concept is broken into seven principles, which the Scouts got to act out in charades.  Radio is a bad medium for charades though, so I’ll just tell you what they are.  The seven principles are Plan Ahead and Prepare, Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces, Dispose of Waste Properly, Leave What You Find, Minimize Campfire Impacts, Respect Wildlife, and Be Considerate of Other Visitors.  These are all important ideas, but as we head into our busiest season, I’d like people to take some time to think about that last one in particular:  Be Considerate of Other Visitors. 

Being considerate means that if you are camping at a developed campground, keep your noise level down and respect quiet hours.  Don’t park in ways that block campground roads.  Remember that those roads are often used by kids on bikes, so drive slowly and cautiously in campgrounds.  At boat ramps, prepare your boat for launch away from the ramp, and clean weeds from the trailer in a place that doesn’t block the ramp.  If there are people doing inspections for aquatic invasives, cooperate with them.  They are there to help you protect our lakes.

In the Boundary Waters, keeping noise levels down is even more important.  Most people’s vision of the wilderness does not include people yelling in the background.  Remember that the “four boat, nine person” limit is for anywhere in the Wilderness, so you may have to patiently wait in your canoe for portages to clear if adding your boat to the mix would exceed the limit.  If, on the other hand, your group is the one on the portage and people are waiting, find another area to have lunch.  Choosing campsites early may be good plan since there are many campers right now, but be gracious in claiming a spot. 

Sharing the road is part of being considerate as well, and in some places that means sharing it with truck traffic.  There is a fair amount of log hauling going on right now.  Watch for trucks on the Gunflint District using the Greenwood Road, Shoe Lake Road, Old Greenwood Road, Firebox Road, Ward Lake Road, Cook County 39, Cook County 60, and the Springdale Road.  On Tofte, look for trucks on Dumbbell River Road, Trappers Lake Road, the Wanless Road, Lake County 705, Carlton Pit Road, Springdale Road, the Sawbill Trail, and the Caribou Trail.

While we’re talking Leave No Trace, I’ll mention the fifth principle too:  Minimize Campfire Impacts.  There’s been some rain the past two weeks which has moderated our fire danger, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful with your fires.  Part of our fire team traveled to Ontario to help with fires in that province because wildfires don’t pay a lot of attention to national borders.  People will remember that during the Ham Lake Fire in 2007, Ontario fire fighters were there to help us.

Lastly, just remember that the most important part of Leave No Trace is summed up in the name.  Before you leave an area, scan it and ask, “Did I leave no trace of myself?”  Pick up litter, fluff up the grass that was under the tent, demolish your sand castle, and let the next person experience the joy of discovering a new place where no one has been before.

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


Fran & Fred Smith

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - July 20, 2018

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith

 Three weeks into July and summer is spinning out of control in the upper Gunflint. The end of week two found the Byway weather outside, frightful. “Old Sol” was a beast, with muggy conditions for a few days. Relief oozed in last Sunday afternoon, with hope for clear skies and cool temps as the Gunflint Community headed into last Wednesday’s canoe races. 
For the first time in several Sundays,’ the area missed a substantial rain. That being said, rushing rivers and rising lake levels throughout the territory have likely steadied. Whereas Gunflint Lake had been quite low following the meager spring snowmelt and minimal rainfall, it has risen nearly a foot over the past month. 
Although we are but a month into official summer, it seems there some interesting changes going on.  Maybe it’s just me, but it appears the blueberries have come on a couple weeks earlier than usual, and fireweed is in bloom a bit prematurely. Meanwhile, if folks are looking as they travel along the Trail, one can see Spreading Dogbane turning golden, which is perhaps the earliest indication of autumn.
Reporting on critters of the “wild neighborhood”, a gal in the mid-Trail area tells of a seldom observed natural happening. She was in the right place at the right time to see what turned out to be a Luna Moth emerging from its chrysalis.                                                                                                     
She says, as the “coming out” commenced, the head was an ugly looking glob, but as things progressed things got better and better. When all was done, the amazing pale green nocturnal lepidopteran insect was a spectacle to behold. 
Another mid-trail episode was shared by a lady on a recent Leo Lake kayak expedition.  In this case, she was just into her journey when distracted by something moving around her feet. Able to glance down into the bow area, a slithering passenger was discovered. Being not too fond of snakes, this screaming gal never paddled so fast in finding a place to land, nor did it take her long to “de-kayak”.    
Apparently, the north woods serpent was equally uncomfortable with the situation as it escaped simultaneously during the onshore confusion. Somehow it got out without being seen as it could not be found in a subsequent craft inspection. Neither relaxed or refreshed from the usual aquatic experience, she got back in and paddled home in record time, proving her cardio system must be in great shape during such a stressful time. By the way, she can outrun a bear too!                                                                                                                                                                                   
An amusing situation occurred a few days ago around out hummingbird feeder. I was casually walking by the nectar jar when I observed a bumble bee sipping at one of the florets. While the bee was enjoying the sweetness, a hummer buzzed in for a drink as well. As the scene unfolded, the bee would not allow the tiny bird to land. I watched for several moments as the bee kept the bird in a holding pattern, launching strafing attacks each time the bird tried to land. In the end, the bird gave up and darted off. The bee continued guzzling for some time before departing on an apparent sugar high.                                                                                                                                                                                     
In a programming note from the Chik-Wauk Nature Center, a class on Lichens is being offered to interested folks. The class will be held on August 24th in the Nature Center. Pre-registration is necessary as class size is limited.  Find out more by checking on the Chik-Wauk website. 
For immediate consideration though, this weekend will provide more learning experiences up at the end of the Trail Museum site. Saturday is the first phase of an experience in learning about invasive plants of the area, and the need to eradicate them for the sake of native flora. Events get underway at 10:00 o’clock and continue through the day. Then on the next Saturday, July 28, the second phase of the program will involve a planned pulling of the nasty invaders around the Chik-Wauk Campus. In the context of what “Smokey the Bear” might say, “Only we can prevent invasive plant expansion.”                                                                                       
Then on this Sunday, don’t forget the “The Man Behind the Mystery” in the Nature Center at 2 p.m. as David Battistel presents more research on the historic Paulson Mine. 
In the midst of all these activities, “the” community radio station of the North Shore is seeking new and continued member support in their summer funding drive. Heading off into the third decade of broadcasting, toward “20 more years” of community service and audio excellence, WTIP needs you! 
Please don’t be bashful about stepping up with whatever resources you can share to keep radio alive and well here in the Northland and around the globe. Stop by and pledge in person at the studios; click and join at; or give our operators a call now…at 218-388-1070 or toll-free 1-800-473-9847.  
For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, in “zippity, do dah style!