December 2, 2022
First Ice Fishing Reports and Northern Long Eared Bat Endangered
Ice fishing is here!
The first ice fishing reports across the WTIP listening area are shared in this episode of the Outdoor News Podcast. Hosts Joe Friedrichs and Kalli Hawkins were both fishing in late November and early December. Pike were found, as were walleye.
Also in the episode, we learn more about the move by the federal government this week to classify the Northern long-eared bat as an endangered species.
November 25, 2022
Ski Photographer Stays Connected to the North Shore
Emily Tidwell is a professional ski photographer who grew up in Cook County, but now works primarily in the Mountain West.
Tidwell says she learned to ski in Minnesota and remains very connected to the North Shore, Lutsen Mountains and the local community.
“I’ve been so lucky to have seen so many beautiful other places, both in the United States and around the world,” Tidwell said. “I think what draws me back to Cook County every time is the sense of community, and how unique the environment on the North Shore is.”
In this episode, host Joe Friedrichs shares Tidwell’s journey from Cook County to the mountains of the American West.
Also in the episode, host Kalli Hawkins shares a recap of the 2022 firearms deer season along the North Shore.
November 21, 2022
Wild Game And Fish – Celebration Of The Harvest
The time of the great harvest is here, as is abundant snowfall on the North Shore of Lake Superior.
Many households are getting ready to prepare a turkey on Thanksgiving. Prior to that, WTIP Outdoor News Podcast Hosts Joe Friedrichs and Kalli Hawkins are thinking about what to do with things like brook trout, venison, and fall vegetables.
In this episode of the podcast, they talk with Cook County resident Collette Mueller about pickling northern pike, and with Kraig Kiger from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources about canning venison.
Click here to listen to the full interview with Collette Mueller about pickling northern pike.
Click here to listen to the full interview with Kraig Kiger about canning venison.
November 11, 2022
Forest Service Payments For Land In The BWCA
In 1948, United States lawmakers passed the Thye-Blatnik Act to buy resorts and private lands in what would eventually be named the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
The bill also provides payments in-lieu-of-taxes (PILT) to Cook, Lake and St. Louis counties for federal wilderness land to make up for lost private property taxes. A valuation process is completed every 10 years to determine how much each county receives through this piece of legislation.
St. Louis, Lake and Cook Counties found out in May the valuation of federal lands inside the BWCA. The findings were not what the counties were hoping for.
Cook County officials were informed May 12 by representatives from the U.S. Forest Service that the county will receive less than the previous amount of approximately $2 million from the federal government in the form of payment in lieu of taxes for land inside the BWCA, according to county officials.
The annual payments to the county from the federal government for BWCA lands will be approximately $1.35 million for the next decade.
A series of appeals, the most recent being submitted Friday, Nov. 11, continue to keep the issue on the table of county government and Forest Service officials. WTIP Outdoor News Podcast Host Joe Friedrichs spoke with Superior National Forest Supervisor Tom Hall and Cook County Assessor Bob Thompson to learn more on this topic.
Pictured in the photo are Tom Hall and Tofte District Ranger Ellen Bogardus-Szymaniak.
November 4, 2022
Deer Season Opener & Habitat Projects In Northeast Minnesota
Hunters will take to the woods this Saturday, Nov. 5 for the traditional and highly anticipated deer season opener. While portions of the state are experiencing increased deer populations, the northeast region population is of concern for Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials. In this episode, podcast host Kalli Hawkins speaks with Dr. Lindsey Shartell, acting northeast regional wildlife manager with the Minnesota DNR to learn more about current habitat projects to help stabilize and boost white-tail deer populations.
One project in particular, near the Elephant Lake area is a collaborative effort with the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association. Kalli also speaks with the Denis Quarberg president of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association to discuss the success of the Hides for Habitat program and challenges the association is experiencing in local participation.
October 28, 2022
Talon Metals – Copper Nickel Mining and Election Day
Election Day is less than two weeks away. An issue that remains important for many voters in northeastern Minnesota is copper-nickel mining. WDIO TV in Duluth recently hosted a candidate forum with Rep. Pete Stauber and DFL candidate Jen Schultz in the race to represent Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District. The topic of copper-nickel mining was discussed during the forum, as heard in a segment of this week’s episode.
Developers of a proposed nickel mine in northern Minnesota plan to move construction of its processing plant to North Dakota because of environmental concerns.
Talon Metals has been under pressure from environmental groups and the tribal bands of the Lake Superior Chippewa about a plan to build the processing plant in Tamarack, about 50 miles west of Duluth.
Todd Malan, a Talon executive, told WTIP that relocating the battery-minerals processing plant to North Dakota “would mean that we would only need to permit the mine and rail loading facility” in Minnesota.
“We will need to obtain both North Dakota permits and conduct a federal NEPA review for the facility in North Dakota,” he said.
Earlier this year, President Joe Biden recently invoked the Defense Production Act in order to increase the mining of critical minerals that can be used to power electric vehicles. In doing so, Biden specifically referenced the Tamarack mine as a key component of the president’s vision toward changing what travels on America’s roadways.
The proposed mine continues to generate attention from media across the country, including recent reports in the New York Times, Forbes, and the Star Tribune.
Podcast Host Joe Friedrichs spoke with Malan for this week’s episode.
October 21, 2022
Moose Madness And Lake Superior Fish
Minnesotans are expected to arrive to the North Shore this weekend during the annual fall break for most of the state’s schools.
The Minnesota Educator Academy weekend, more commonly referred to as MEA weekend, means that most students in Minnesota have Thursday and Friday off. It’s a popular time for families to visit Cook County and the North Shore. It’s also a great time to see wildlife near Lake Superior and across Superior National Forest. Among the species many people hope to see this time of year are moose.
That also happens to be the theme of a family-friendly event taking place in Cook County all weekend known as Moose Madness.
As the commercial fishing season slowly starts to wind down on Lake Superior, WTIP Outdoor News Podcast co-host Joe Friedrichs checked in with Katie Mumm, a local photographer and the owner of Dockside Fish Market in Grand Marais, to learn more on these topics.
October 14, 2022
Local Officials Respond to Coast Guard Station Closing in Grand Marais
After more than 90 years, the U.S. Coast Guard closed its station in Grand Marais this summer, finalizing a plan it made public in 2021.
The Coast Guard station was established in 1928. It’s been staffed on a seasonal basis since the late 1980s, up until the complete closure this summer. The facility is situated on Artist Point near the breakwall housing the Grand Marais Lighthouse.
As WTIP reported last year, the Grand Marais station was staffed by a limited crew. The Coast Guard said it responded to less than one call per year from the Grand Marais station.
At the time, federal officials from the Coast Guard said they “would not consolidate these stations if we thought it would increase the risk to boaters or the maritime industry.”
However, during a meeting of the Cook County Board of Commissioners on Oct. 11, local officials said the closing of the Coast Guard Station has “left the burden of Lake Superior water rescue to Cook County Sheriff’s Department and to the Grand Portage tribal government.”
The area that is that is now vacant of any US Coast Guard patrolling is a massive area that extends from the Ontario border south to Schroeder, all of the water in between to Isle Royale National Park.
In this episode of the podcast, hosts Joe Friedrichs and Kalli Hawkins follow this story through the lens of two local meetings and discussion that took place at the courthouse and city hall in Grand Marais.
October 7, 2022
Fall Flyfishing Along The North Shore of Lake Superior With James Egan
The peak of fall is settling over the woods and water of Cook County and the North Shore. In this episode of the podcast, hosts Joe Friedrichs and Kalli Hawkins celebrate the season of harvest. From fresh-caught trout to a homemade batch of potato leek soup, Joe shares his reflections on this important time of transition for many in the community.
Kalli takes listeners on a fishing trip during the episode. Kalli met up with local fishing enthusiast and outdoor columnist James Egan for a day of fly fishing on the North Shore. Kalli also shares stories of grouse hunting and preparing the garden for upcoming frost events.
September 30, 2022
Bear Reports from Cook County and the North Shore
Reports of bears guzzling rancid barrels of oil, tipping garbage cans in Grand Marais and breaking limbs off of apple trees all reached the WTIP News Desk in autumn arrives to the North Shore.
In this episode of the podcast, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Bear Project Leader, Andrew Tri, shares reminders on how to stay ‘Bearwise’ during this busy time of year for local wildlife.
September 16, 2022
Fall fly fishing from a canoe in Cook County
Fly fishing conjures many images for spirited anglers: Remote streams, waders and a brimmed cap, looping line from a roll cast dancing behind a setting sun.
And then there’s the Cook County canoe version: trolling.
It doesn’t always have to be fancy or romantic to go fly fishing on inland lakes in northeastern Minnesota. In fact, trolling a fly that looks like a minnow is a fine way to pursue fish in Cook County from a canoe. And there’s no better season than fall for such an activity.
In this episode of the WTIP Outdoor News Podcast, hosts Kalli Hawkins and Joe Friedrichs learn this firsthand. Kalli and Joe recently trolled with Clouser minnow flies on a local lake.
Also featured in this episode of the podcast is local angler and fly fishing instructor Michael Hero. A dedicated fly angler who frequents the North Shore tributaries that flow into Lake Superior, Hero shares insights on fall fly fishing in Cook County.
September 9, 2022
Minnesota DNR Shares Changes To Upcoming Deer Hunting Season
The fall season is a welcomed time of the year for many. Before Minnesota hunters take to the woods this upcoming deer hunting season, there are a few changes to be aware of.
The Minnesota DNR has decreased antlerless lottery permits in the Superior Uplands Arrowhead region of northeast Minnesota as deer populations remain low. In addition, the DNR has updated regulations regarding chronic wasting disease and non-toxic ammunition. Learn about the changes and more in this week’s WTIP Outdoor News Podcast episode.
WTIP’s Outdoor News Podcast host Kalli Hawkins speaks with Nancy Hansen, Area Wildlife Manager with the Minnesota DNR based in Two Harbors, Minn.
September 2, 2022
Grand Marais Boat Ramp opens for Labor Day weekend as water temp warms in Lake Superior
The multi-year Parkside Public Water Access project in the Grand Marais harbor is completed. The project began in 2019 to revamp and improve the west side of the Grand Marais harbor. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officially signed off on the project on August 31, just in time for Labor Day weekend.
Podcast hosts Kalli Hawkins and Joe Friedrichs visited the boat launch to see the new and improved site and chat about summer Lake Superior temperatures.
Also featured in the episode are Jay Austin from the Large Lakes Observatory in Duluth and Kent Skaar of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails Division.
August 26, 2022
Wolf Ridge continues to practice core beliefs
The Margaret A. Cargill (MAC) Lodge renovation at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center near Finland was the first renovation project in the world to receive full Living Building Challenge (LBC) certification by the International Living Future Institute.
To achieve this standard, the 22,000 square-foot dormitory has proved its ability to achieve net positive energy and net positive water over a 12-month period, generating more energy than it consumes.
Podcast host Joe Friedrichs visited the Wolf Ridge campus to learn more and shares a full report in this week’s episode.
August 19, 2022
Cook County’s history with the Becoming An Outdoors Woman Program
The Becoming An Outdoors Woman (BOW) program began in the early 1990s, thanks to the research and foresight of one Dr. Christine Thomas. In addition to being a professor at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, Thomas is an avid hunter and angler. She identified common barriers that hindered women from participating in outdoor recreation compared to men.
In today’s episode, Linda Bylander, BOW coordinator and local Cook County resident Linda Newman share more about what the program means for women in Minnesota and what value it brings to the future of conservation and sportsmanship.
August 12, 2022
Visiting the site of the Greenwood Fire, one year later
The Greenwood Fire burned nearly 27,000 acres in northeastern Minnesota following a summer of heat, drought and smoky skies.
The fire started August 15, 2021, and led, in part, to the complete closure of the nearby Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness last summer.
Along the way, the fire destroyed more than a dozen buildings and led to the evacuation of hundreds of homes near Isabella and Highway 1 in Lake County.
WTIP reported extensively on the wildfire while it was burning in August and September 2021. Since that time, the radio station in Grand Marais shared reports about the fire and its aftermath, including a visit to the burn area during the winter months.
Just days before the one-year anniversary of the Greenwood Fire, WTIP Outdoor News Podcast Host Joe Friedrichs traveled back to the site of the Greenwood Fire to see what the forest looked like. Blackened trees lined an area near Lake County Highway 2, not far from the Intersection of Highway 1 heading toward Ely.
For the episode, Joe also spoke with Laura Reuling, a forest researcher at the University of Minnesota, to learn more about the Greenwood Fire, one year later.
Photo by Lane Johnson.
August 5, 2022
Rock Snot in Lake Superior and Lake Trout Habitat
Rock snot, officially called didymo, is an algae native to Lake Superior. The algae was the centerpiece of research the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recently conducted on and in Lake Superior. Heidi Rantala and several other DNR researchers, fisheries biologists and members of the state agency’s aquatic invasive species unit traveled to Grand Marais to collect samples from the bottom of Lake Superior.
WTIP Outdoor News Podcast host Joe Friedrichs joined them for the research expedition and shares this report.
July 29, 2022
DNR Loon Monitoring Program In Field Report
Loons are an iconic species of the North Woods. From Lake Superior to the many lakes across the Boundary Waters, the call of a loon is a signature sound for many who live here and visit the area.
In this episode of the podcast, Kalli Hawkins gets involved with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources citizen science project and the 2022 state loon count. Kalli visits a lake in Cook County to count loons and report other bird activity.
Kalli also talks with Gaea Crozier, the DNR’s non-game wildlife specialist, about the status of loons in Minnesota.
July 22, 2022
Lake Trout Gill Net Survey Lake Superior July 2022
WTIP Outdoor News Podcast hosts Kalli Hawkins and Joe Friedrichs were on Lake Superior in mid-July watching staff from the DNR conduct the juvenile lake trout assessment for 2022.
After nearly being wiped out in the 1950s, the Lake Superior lake trout fishery has bounced back in a big way during the past 70 years.
The decline of lake trout in Lake Superior was caused by overfishing and nonnative sea lamprey. After a decades-long effort to restore lake trout, there are now so many naturally reproducing fish in Minnesota waters on the Big Lake that the DNR no longer stocks hatchery fish.
Featured in this week’s episode are staff from the DNR’s Lake Superior Fisheries Office in Duluth. On board the 31-foot boat that left from the Grand Marais Harbor July 15 are:
— Josh Blankenheim, the large lakes biologist for the DNR
–Chris Palvere, DNR fisheries technician
–Wyatt Hiltner, fisheries intern
They joined the Outdoor News Podcast on this episode, most of which was recorded on Lake Superior near Grand Marais.
July 15, 2022
Minnesota Moose And Wolf Population Updates Summer 2022
Calf recruitment for Minnesota’s moose is the process of young moose surviving to become adults.
This spring, in the far reaches of northeastern Minnesota, calf recruitment of moose does not present an uplifting narrative.
“It’s abysmal. I think this is the worst calf recruitment year we’ve seen in 12 years of study,” said Dr. Seth Moore, the director of biology and environment for the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. “Essentially, of our collared moose. 100 percent of the calves are gone.”
Moore shared these sentiments during a live outdoor news special that aired July 7 on WTIP. Joining Moore was EJ Issac, a fish and wildlife biologist for the Grand Portage Band.
The update from Moore and Issac strayed from a more optimistic done the the state Department of Natural Resources released in April 2022 about the population of Minnesota’s moose herd. The DNR said Minnesota’s moose population is the largest it has been in more than a decade, after 11 consecutive years of remaining relatively stable.
The DNR’s 2022 survey estimated the moose population at about 4,700 animals, with a potential range between 3,440 and 6,780. The survey showed no statistically significant change from the last one conducted in 2020 but is the highest estimate since 2011.
Learn more about Minnesota’s moose and wolves in this week’s episode.
July 8, 2022
Wolves Being Fed Near the BWCA and DNR Wolf Plan Update
Wolves are the focus of this week’s episode. Reports of wolves being fed on Superior National Forest near the Sawbill Trail reached the WTIP news desk in July 2022. Tofte District Ranger Ellen Bogardus-Szymaniak said recent reports of humans feeding wolves near the Sawbill Trail led to the closure of a dispersed camping area on Superior National Forest, not far from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Ellen shares more in this episode.
We also hear an update on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Draft Wolf Management Plan in this installment. The DNR’s Dan Stark shares an update with host Kalli Hawkins and the podcast.
July 4, 2022
DNR Halts Lake Trout Stocking in Cook County
Lake trout in Cook County are on their own when it comes to sustaining their populations on lakes in or near the Boundary Waters and Gunflint Trail corridor.
A recent decision by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to discontinue – at least temporarily – lake trout stocking is both a success story and an indication into how hard it can be to reintroduce fish species into area lakes once they vanish.
Matt Weberg, the interim Grand Marais area fisheries supervisor in Grand Marais, shares more on this topic in today’s episode.
Kalli and Joe also talk about recent mountain lion sightings near the Cascade River and Lake Superior.
June 24, 2022
Superior Hiking Trail Outdoor News Podcast
The Superior Hiking Trail is a 300-mile pathway leading from the Duluth area to the Canadian border, following the rugged Lake Superior coastline along Minnesota’s North Shore.
In this episode of the WTIP Outdoor News Podcast, Kalli Hawkins talks with hikers on the SHT near Grand Marais, Minn., and the Devil Track River area. Thousands of hikers from all over the country hike the SHT annually. In this report, Kalli speaks with a collection of them as summer arrives to the North Shore.
June 23, 2022
Lake Superior Fishing and Border Route Trail update
Commercial fishing on Lake Superior is a centuries-old practice that includes Isle Royale, Grand Marais, Duluth and nearly every corner of the massive freshwater lake. The industry, however, sometimes raises the eyebrows of common sport anglers. In this episode of the podcast, we hear from Cory Goldsworthy, the Lake Superior Area Fisheries Supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources about the balance of sport and commercial fishing on Lake Superior.
We also hear an update on the Border Route Trail after a tornado blew a collection of massive pine onto the trail in October 2021. In May 2022, trail crews used handsaws to clear the trail.
June 23, 2022
Learning about the Outdoor News Podcast
In this opening segment of WTIP’s Outdoor News Podcast, we hear from hosts Kalli Hawkins and Joe Friedrichs. The installment comes from the banks of the Cascade River along Minnesota’s North Shore, not far from where the river flows into Lake Superior.
Kalli and Joe share their stories and background in reporting outdoor news near Lake Superior, the Boundary Waters and the many trails zigzagging around the region.