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News & Information

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


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Pack & Paddle - September 21

In this edition of "Pack & Paddle", Scott Oeth talks about how to sleep warmly when camping in the cold.


Superior National Forest Update

Superior National Forest Update - September 18

Superior National Forest Update with Steve Robertsen, education and interpretation specialist with the USDA Forest Service, Superior National Forest.
September 18, 2020


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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - September 18

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by    Fred Smith
September 18, 2020    

Our Gunflint September keeps on “rollin’ along, just as its eight predecessors have. The colorful leaf revue is now in the spotlight as the Equinox makes autumn official in just a few days.                                                                                                                                                             

The north land cold spell of last week has backed off a bit, dishing up more splendid days. Although, a few evenings have still required ambiance from crackling embers in the wood burning stove.                                                                                                                                    

While we all savor the recent pleasantness, it has been of little benefit to the drought like conditions of late. Places in the upper territory are crispy as falling leaves begin to accumulate and ground level brush turns tinder dry.                                                                              

The terror of wildfire along the west coast is an eerie reminder of what this area endured with the scorching Ham Lake Inferno of 2007. Burning of any kind should be exercised with caution whether resident or visitor. Probably wouldn’t hurt to test those wild fire sprinkler systems as a precautionary note. It seems a burning ban would be prudent!                                                                                                                     
 Activity in the forest continues with many visitors flooding area outfitters and resorts. It will become even more crowded this weekend with the addition of hunters for the grouse season opener.                                                                                                                         

With warning to all hunters, please be safe with those firearms and extra cautious with anything that could ignite the forest. And a warning as well to those “Minnesota Chicken” birds, you’re in the sights as a menu item this weekend.                                                                                                  
While the water temps on Gunflint Lake continue to ooze downward, so too is the lake level. It has been below the last notch on the DNR gauge at my dock for two weeks now.                            

I have lived here twenty-one years and never seen the “Gunflint Gal” so low. I was even nervous about getting the boat off the lift for its trip to winter storage, but made it OK. It is doubtful things will change by ice time as any precipitation will be gobbled up by the dry earth before running off the watershed.
So as days fly by, I try to check off at least one item from the “getting ready” list each day. Knowing really nice days are limited a few more chores were crossed off since we last met. These were some of the easiest, and I continue procrastinating on some of the less pleasant. You’ll find me in the lake this weekend as some good guys from metropolis will help me bring the dock ashore.                                                                                                                                                                        

Isn’t it exciting learning the sky canopy over the BWCA and Superior National Forest has been officially recognized as one of 13 darkest sky regions on the planet by the International Dark Sky Association? I guess most of us who live here already knew this by just looking up at night.                                                                                                                                                                  

We Gunflinters will soon be able to share this with the world. Final technical adjustments for the All Sky Camera, at Chik Wauk Museum, are nearing completion for beaming end of the trail digitals from the heavens.                                                                                             

 It has been a slow week for “wild neighborhood” critter reports. Neighbors down the road have been experiencing bear visits to their yard, but none have bothered us at Wildersmith to date. There may be others, but I’m not hearing of recent bear shenanigans.                  

A note of concern comes from folks up at end of the Trail who last year indicated what they believed was a spike in moose numbers, but this year things appear to have changed. With few animals being observed, the word is there are a couple wolf packs patrolling territories up that way and competition for prey maybe the reason for the downturn. Hopefully the big critters are there somewhere and have been just cooling it in obscurity of the fir forest.                                             

If sadness of the missing moose isn’t enough, I regret reporting one of our upper Trail neighbors passed away recently. Mervin “Merv” Meeks lived along the Sag Lake Corridor on the Sag Lake Trail. Merv will be missed by not only his family but his Sag Lake friends and neighbors. Gunflint Community Condolences are extended to his wife Marilyn and all who knew and loved this kind man.                                                                                                                                                   

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, along the Gunflint Trail, where the power of nature is awesome, and every day is special, in the land of trees and water!



PPP & Grand Marais State Bank

The Grand Marais State Bank helped secure more that $6.5 million for our community throught the Paycheck Protection Program.  North Shore Morning host, Mark Abrahamson talks with GMSB President, Mark Youngdahl about the PPP in this interview.


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North Shore Health Care Foundation Update - September

The North Shore Health Care Foundation board met on September 14th.  Executive Director, Valerie Marasco-Eliasen reported on the meeting on North Shore Morning. She talks with NSM host, Mark Abrahamson in this interview.



North Woods Naturalist: More signs of fall

Chel Anderson is a botanist and plant ecologist and she joins us periodically to report on what she’s seeing in our woods and waters right now. 


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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - September 11

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith
September 11, 2020    

For many, September is one of the most exceptional times of the year. It is like a new year so to speak with many aspects of our culture re-upping. In Gunflint territory, we are on the cusp of the usual beautiful happenings over the next several weeks.                           

Whether it be late season fishing, waiting for a bear to take the bait, trekking back country for grouse, hiking a trail, doing dock time at the edge of ripping waters, cruising the Trail leaf peeping, taking one last paddle in the BWCA, catching a late day Canadian sun set or watching the dark sky, this is the place to be.                                                                                                             

While some “fall” rituals just occur, almost going un-noticed, others captivate attention with almost overnight changes or suddenly coming up absent from our warm season daily routines.                                                                                                                                                  

Waves of warblers have hit the air waves, hawks are cast toward warmer locales, Canadian honkers are wedging their way south and our hummingbirds may be drafting in honker airborne wake.  Last weekend the “hummers” were noticeably missing from the Wildersmith sweetness station after consuming countless bottles of simple syrup for weeks on end. And I’m betting some of our neighboring “snowbirds” have joined the migration too.                                                                                                                

Along the Trail and other back country roads the first real scarlet leaves are identifying our obscure population of sugar maples, and dashes of gold from last week are growing in mass taking over our rocky elevations.                                                                                                                  
At ground level, ferns of many species are fading to brown, and magically, a variety of mushroom are popping up where the previous day there was nothing. Including the water temp falling into the high fifties on Gunflint Lake, these are a few observations as we mellow into the times of growing calm and quiet places.                                                                                       

Atmospheric conditions have been joining in on this autumnal communal. We have been tinkering with high thirty degree readings until the last few mornings when freezing cold got serious. The area received some precipitation but usual trickles of roadside ditches have gone bone dry. When the upper Trail has been sunny, the days have been marvelous.                     

With the early September cold, I detected the first whiff of smoke from a neighbor’s wood burner in the middle of Labor Day. And as sundown closed out the holiday weekend, cool conditions and the relentless wind prompted the first seasonal firing of the Wildersmith wood stove. I’d almost forgotten how comfy it feels when that old stove is consuming a little birch.                                                                                                                                                          
Along with several annoying gusty days, outer wear has turned to sweaters, sweatshirts, and hats as a few winter chores have been checked off the getting ready list. If these conditions are a precursor to the real gales of late October and November, locals had better anchor things down.                                                                                                                                                                     

Speaking of “getting ready” chores, a few boats have been brought ashore for winter, and a pile of future years’ firewood has been stacked in the Wildersmith woodshed. In addition, some fire wise trimming and clean-up has been piled for white season burning.                                                                                                                                                                          

Bear activities are beginning to percolate over the “moccasin telegraph.” A recent report came to me about an attempted Ursa breaking and entering at a residence along South Gunflint Lake Road.                                                                                                                                                

In the wee hours of the morning a momma bear and her cubs clawed in through a window causing quite a stir. While the momma got part way through the opening, her cubs made it into a porch area before being discouraged by frightened residents.                                                  

Last week a visiting bear hunter reported a “wild neighborhood” parade of critters caught on the trail cam over his baiting station. A moose, two white tails, a fox, a wolf, a skunk, some grouse, a sundry of rodents and of course, a bear stopped by to investigate the aromatics, even consuming a good deal of the luring treats. Can you imagine a wolf with a donut in its mouth? Yup, a local Canis Lupis with a sweet tooth!                                                                                       

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, along the Gunflint Trail, where every day is a journal of natural marvels!


Autumn has arrived...! (Photo by Bryan Hansel)

North Woods Naturalist: Signs of autumn

Chel Anderson is a botanist and plant ecologist. In this edition of North Woods Naturalist, Chel talks about some of the signs of autumn in our woods and waters.


Superior National Forest Update

Superior National Forest Update - September 4

North Shore Morning host, Mark Abrahamson talks with Steve Robertsen, education and interpretation specialist for this week's edition of the "Superior National Forest Update".


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Superior Reviews - Lin Salisbury "The Street"

In this edition of "Superior Reviews", Lin Salisbury reviews Ann Petry's book, "The Street".