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North Shore Morning Friday

AM Community Calendar/photo by masochismtango on Flickr

  • Friday 8-10am
Genre: 
News & Information

News and information, interviews, weather, upcoming events, music, school news, and many special features. North Shore Morning includes our popular trivia question - Pop Quiz! The North Shore Morning program is the place to connect with the people, culture and events of our region!

 


What's On:
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

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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.                                                

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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. 
 

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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 mndnr.gov/mcvmagazine.                                                                                                                                                                                       

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 WTIP.org, 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.
 

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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. 
 

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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!
 

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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.
 

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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - August 24, 2018

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith           August 24,  2018   
           
Heading into August’s final stanza, Miinike Giizis, the Blueberry Moon, will cast its’ splendor on the northland this weekend. Although the season of blue gems has pretty much been picked over by both man and beast or withered on the vine, the memory of such sweetness resonates in this lunar magic.                                                                                                                                                                                       
In a related heavenly note, the stars aligned for some human enchantment up at end of the Trail last weekend. As the Dark Sky Caravan from the University of Minnesota Duluth pulled into the Seagull Community Center on its final stop up the North Shore, the sky blue yonder couldn’t have been more dazzling.                                                                                                                                                                                  

Nearly 250 visitors got a spectacular tour of the nighttime universe in the GeoDome Theater planetarium.  Then they experienced a hands-on opportunity in high-tech telescopic viewing of Mars, Saturn and the like. With help and narrative from the Dark Sky student delegation, the two-night celestial celebration was a twinkling sensation!                                         

The Gunflint Trail Historical Society facilitated the Dark Sky event in cooperation with the Trail Fire Dept., and thanks to the UMD staff along with many volunteers who helped make the event one to excite and remember.                                                                                                                                                 
Since we last met on the radio, atmospheric conditions have been seasonally warm and even sticky on a couple days. While on the moisture side of the weather ledger, precipitation deliveries have avoided this part of the world like we have the plague.                                                                           

While there are no known fires burning in the County, as of this keying exercise, our drought situation should be affirmed in capital letters. Prospects for wildfire in the upper Trail territory are worrisome with no burning bans in place and countless opportunities for bad decisions with fire throughout the wilderness.                                                                                                  

Meanwhile, over sixty fires are burning across the border in Ontario. Such being the case smoky skies have been coming and going for several days over this area. A little rain dancing should not be out of reason.                                                                                                                           
 
Over the past week, with several trips up to end of the Trail, I notice daily changes as the forest continues slipping into its’ autumn cloak. Birch gold is becoming more pronounced and there are a couple Tamaracks who’ve begun their autumn transition almost a month early. Could this be a sign of something atypical to come?                                                                                                                      

The Smith’s had an unusual threesome of gnawing critters in the yard recently. The munching trifecta was unique because one might never think of them together in close proximity. By closeness, I mean they were within two feet of each other.                                                                                              

Whereas red squirrels seldom tolerate the company of chipmunks in their dining area, the two were seemingly unconcerned they were in joint company with a woodchuck. Yes, a woodchuck, chipmunk, and squirrel “brunching” within a bite of each other. Is this a sign of coming together or what? Maybe we humans could take a lesson from this!                                                                
 
A note from the Chik-Wauk Nature Center reminds all moose lovers, the big icons are the subject of this Sunday’s programming. This is another in the Chik-Wauk, Sunday summer nature series. Renowned researcher, Dr. Seth Moore, from Grand Portage will be speaking on the plight and progress of moose survival in northeastern Minnesota, beginning at 2:00 pm.                            

A final shout out from the GTHS is given for pie donations to the annual social on September 2nd. Pie orders are still being accepted by event coordinator, Judy Edlund at 388-4400. With the sweet social growing every year, upwards of fifty pies are needed, don’t miss this chance to show off your pastry delights.                                                                                                                       

In addition to the P & IC, the Museum gift shop is holding a sidewalk (driveway sale); author, Cary Griffith, will be signing his book GUNFLINT BURNING; there will even be used cookbooks on sale; the sound of music will again echo up the Sag Lake Corridor and of course, more Gunflint stories to be learned in the Museum. You won’t want to miss it, noon to 4:00 pm, one week from Sunday!   
                                                                                                                                     
For WTIP, this Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, as Nature’s bountiful beauty begins taking a turn!
 

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Superior National Forest Update - August 24, 2018

National Forest Update – August 23, 2018.
 
Hi.  I’m Tom McCann, resource information specialist on the Gunflint District, with the National Forest Update.  ‘Resource information specialist’ means I’m the person who creates maps and does analysis of spatial data in this part of the Superior.  The Superior is moving in new directions for visitor maps and in the coming year, you’ll see more of our maps available online for use with GPS enabled phones.  But, a paper map is still a great addition to any trip into the Forest.  They never run out of batteries, they don’t need a signal, and you can pick one up at either the Gunflint or Tofte office.  As you head out into the Forest, map in hand, here’s some other information for you.

The Minnesota DNR is replacing boat ramps at some sites in the Forest.  Last week, the ramp at Four Mile was closed for replacement, surprising some fishermen.  This week, the ramp at Caribou Lake will be closed while it is replaced.  These are DNR, not Forest Service, facilities, so for other information about boat ramps, check the DNR website.

We are moving into the start of hunting seasons.  While bear season does not start until September, bear hunters can now begin to set up bait stations.  Bait stations need to be clearly marked, and if you run into one while you are out exploring, please leave it alone.  Be careful as well because if the bait is working, there may be bears in the area.  Bait is required to be distant from trails, campgrounds, and other developed sites, so it is rare that you would run into one of these unless you are traveling off the beaten trail.

Sometimes in the late summer and early fall, people will take extended camping trips.  As a reminder, you are not allowed to occupy any campsite for more than 14 days, with the exception of designated long-term sites at Little Isabella River and McDougal Lake Campgrounds.  The definition of ‘campsite’ includes not only campsites in campgrounds, but anywhere on the Forest where you set up a tent.  After 14 days, you have to move.  The ‘nine-person’ rule of a maximum group size of nine is also one which applies to all campsites, with the exception of designated group sites.

If your plans included traveling on The 600 Road between the Sawbill Trail and the Cramer Road, be aware that culverts on that road are being replaced.  There can be delays of up to half an hour while this is going on.  Gravel trucks will be hauling loads for the project on the Two Island River Road, the 600 Road, and the Sawbill Trail.  The plan is to have the work completed before the fall color season as the 600 Road is popular fall color route.

Logging trucks will be hauling in a few places as well.  On the Tofte end, 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.  On Gunflint, expect trucks on the Springdale Road, the Caribou Trail, the Lima Grade, and the South Brule River Road.

Although there is rain predicted for this weekend, campers and picnickers who plan on building campfires need to be aware that the Forest is pretty dry right now.  The layer of duff on the ground will stay dry and can support a smoldering fire until we get a really good soaking rain.  Be very careful with fires this season; we’ve already had several small wildfires which started as campfires, and we don’t want any more.  Campfires need to be dead out when you leave them, and any wood you are burning needs to be completely within the fire ring or fire grate.

I hope that you will be able to fit a camping or other trip into the Forest in our remaining summer days.  It’s a good way to relax before school and fall projects begin. 

Until next time, enjoy the Forest, and this has been Tom McCann with the National Forest Update.
 

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