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Wildlife Photography by Nace Hagemann

Boundary Waters Blog - 17 min 26 sec ago

It’s kind of sad when you have to use someone else’s pictures of a moose for a blog post. Seeing moose used to be an almost daily occurrence for me on the Gunflint Trail  but I have only seen one or two all summer long. It’s a bummer the moose population is hurting so badly but it’s good someone is still seeing them. And it’s awesome that someone is such an amazing photographer who shares his photos with others via Facebook!   Here are a few to enjoy.

Nace Hagemann Photography

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Going on a Bear Hunt

Boundary Waters Blog - Tue, 08/30/2016 - 11:41pm

I’m not going on a bear hunt but 3850 permits were issued in the state of Minnesota this year. In the arrowhead region around 500 permits were issued.  Bear hunters can be seen camping on forest roads and checking their baits to see if any bear have hit it.  The hunt begins on September 1st and lasts until October 16th. I think this is the first year I can remember not having had a bear in camp.  Knock on wood.

Last year’s bear problems were plenty to last us a couple of years at least. When hiking in the woods this time of year it’s a good idea to put a little bit of blaze orange on just in case.

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Saying good bye to the Old 100 Wing

Last week the construction crews began demolition of the Old 100 Wing of the Care Center. The staff reminisced about all the wonderful years of working in the Old 100 Wing; many recounting having worked most of their career there.  Meanwhile, progress continues on the new hospital addition as crews continue to frame up and rough in for the future patient rooms, the “blue” exterior showed up again as crews applied to the walls of the new addition.

Care Center 100 wing demo

Care Center 100 wing demo

Care Center “Old” 100 Wing

“Blue” finish applied to new entry way – don’t worry the crews will soon be putting up the real siding

Interior entry way progress

Entry way progress from the roof

Interior progress

Hospital addition – exterior receives it’s “blue” finish

Hospital addition – patient room progress


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Last Week

Boundary Waters Blog - Mon, 08/29/2016 - 10:26am

It’s the last week of summer break for the kids and then it’s back to school next week. Practices and games for their sports are in full swing and for all practical purposes summer is over for them. It’s bittersweet more sweet than bitter because I’m ready for them to have some structure and a schedule that doesn’t involve hours of Netflix or snapchats.

They both spent way too much time in town this summer and not up at Voyageur. It’s such a luxury to have boats, a swimming dock, paddle boards and a river right outside your front door. In town it takes a little planning and a vehicle to gain access to a lake.   We didn’t want them to have regular jobs and we thought between the brewery and canoe outfitters they could pick where and when they wanted to work. That would leave us flexible in case we wanted to do something as a family.  It turns out it was easier  to not work and as 16 and 15 year-olds they didn’t want to do anything as a family either.  So they had a very unscheduled laid back summer,  hopefully they enjoyed it because it’s back to the rat race of school and sports.

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Waterskiing to Cache Bay

Boundary Waters Blog - Sun, 08/28/2016 - 10:28am

There are some of you who have paddled from our dock to Cache Bay. It’s a fairly long paddle and probably takes the average person four to five hours. It feels like a long time even when you are in a boat so I can’t imagine how it would feel to waterski all of the way to Cache Bay.

There are some old wooden water skis in our lodge that belonged to Ralph and Bea Griffis who used to own and operate Chik-Wauk Lodge. Back in those days you could have any size motor on your boat and you could go anywhere you wanted with a motor. That meant you could waterski wherever you wanted too. And for Bea Griffis that meant waterskiing all the way to the Cache Bay Ranger Station from Chik-Wauk. It’s roughly the same distance from Chik-Wauk to the Ranger Station as it is from our place to the Ranger Station minus the rapids. An amazing feat to someone like me who tried repeatedly and unsucessfully to waterski at a friend’s cabin in the 8th grade.

I don’t like to say I can’t do something. So since the 8th grade when someone has mentioned waterskiing over the years I have said, “I want to try to waterski sometime because I couldn’t do it in the 8th grade.”  Many people have said, “I’ll take you, let’s go this summer, I’ll call you.”  So, for 30 plus years I’ve waited for the call and opportunity.

It turns out I just hadn’t mentioned it to the right person. The first weekend in August I gave my usual line to a father of one of Josh’s classmates and he called and texted me not once or twice but until it finally worked out for me to go to their house on the lake and give it a shot.

He and his friends on the lake are amazing waterskiers. They have a course set up and fly through it on one ski at speeds I’m almost afraid to be in the boat at. But it turned out he also had a boom attachment that made it super easy to pop out of the water and ski.  It was awesome to be able to waterski.  I didn’t get up on top of the water using a rope behind the boat because I was super satisfied having been able to ski next to the boat.  It is a really neat feeling to be on top of the water and I can see why Bea would have wanted to waterski all of the way to Cache Bay.  While I won’t ever be able to legally waterski to Cache Bay I at least know what it would feel like to carve through the waters of Saganaga on two wooden skis.

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Devil’s Kettle

Boundary Waters Blog - Sat, 08/27/2016 - 9:12pm

Devil’s Kettle is located in Judge C. Magney State Park. Every year there are trails I need to hike at least once and Devil’s Kettle is one of them.

judge c. magney state park

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Out and About in Grand Marais

Voyageur Brewing - Fri, 08/26/2016 - 1:54pm

It’s a great time to be outside exploring all of the outdoor activities in our area. As the summer days dwindle it’s difficult to not feel an urgency to get in one last Boundary Waters trip, long bike ride or hike to that favorite waterfall. The good news is fall lasts a long time in our neck of the woods and there are plenty of inside opportunities to enjoy in our area too.

We’re lucky to live among so many talented people. They provide us with indoor options to appreciate their work at places like the Art Colony, Johnson Heritage Post, the North House Folk School and numerous galleries. Many of our artists are inspired by our beautiful Lake Superior and tonight there is an opportunity to see creations from their inspirations.

True Blue Works is an inaugural showing of original art work by artists next to the big blue with live music and refreshments. Some of the refreshments provided were created from Lake Superior water, such as our craft beer from Voyageur Brewing Company. We’re super excited to be a part of this sure to be amazing event. You can find out more information about the event on the Facebook Page or head over anytime after 4:30pm and take a look at 311 4th Avenue West.

Voyageur Brewing Company

Also beginning at 4pm today our brewer will be pouring samples of our 4 Flagship beers at the Grand Marais Municipal Liquor Store. Folks who purchase two 6-packs will receive a free pint glass and a Voyageur shopping bag.

There is always something to do in our wonderful county and we hope you’ll keep us in mind when it’s time to relax and unwind. Grab a 6-pack, fill a growler, find a place that serves Voyageur beer or come to the taproom and let us be a part of your day.

The post Out and About in Grand Marais appeared first on Voyageur Brewing Company.

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Kayak Fishing Tournament

Boundary Waters Blog - Fri, 08/26/2016 - 6:27am

I wish I could take Josh’s kayak down to fish in this tournament but football will keep me otherwise occupied. The BronzeBack Classic will be held on October 1st from 7:45am to 6:00pm on the Mississippi River.  The star of the video is married to Mike’s cousin and is co-owner of ClearWaters Outfitting Company in Clearwater, Minnesota.  It’s a great section of the river and we’ve paddled it as a family. I encourage you to paddle with ClearWaters and why not try your luck during their kayak fishing tournament? 

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Where are We in August?

Unorganized Territory - Thu, 08/25/2016 - 3:20pm

Cook County News-Herald staffers love to get out and about the county. So we decided, while we are traveling the highway and bushwhacking through the forest, to take pictures to see if our readers can guess WHERE ARE WE?

Our July WHERE ARE WE? fooled a few people. There were guesses that the historical tableaux was at the Cook County Historical Society museum, inside the Grand Portage National Monument Great Hall or at My Sister’s Place restaurant in Grand Marais.

We were inside the Chik Wauk Museum near the end of the Gunflint Trail. Many people did recognize the spot and drawn from all the correct entries was Katherine Sullivan of Bloomington, Minnesota.

Try your luck! Take a look at the August photo. If you think you know where this photo was taken, send us your answer.

You don’t have to be the first to reply. The location will be announced next month and a winner will be drawn from all the correct answers. Whoever is drawn from the correct entries receives a free one-year subscription to the Cook County News-Herald (a $32 value). Good luck!

Stop by the office to give us your guess or return answer by mail, e-mail or fax to:

Cook County News-Herald

PO Box 757

Grand Marais MN 55604

Fax: 218-387-9500

Answer to the August WHERE ARE WE? must be received by September12, 2016.


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It’s Not Over

Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center Blog - Thu, 08/25/2016 - 11:50am

We are just beginning another round of fun at Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center.

September is just around the corner but we still have lots of activities you and your family can come and enjoy.

September 4 we have the annual Pie & Ice Cream Social being held from 12:00 to 4 p.m. at Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center. We are blessed with so many wonderful bakers living on the Gunflint Trail, I am sure you will find a flavor of pie to satisfy your taste buds. A suggested donation of $5 for a slice of pie ala mode is requested, all proceeds go to the Gunflint Trail Historical Society.

Teresa Marrone, author of Wild Berries and Fruits, Modern Maple and various other books, will be available to autograph her new book, Dishing Up Minnesota. You can purchase her new book in the Chik-Wauk gift shop.

After you have eaten your pie & ice cream don’t forget to check out the special sidewalk sales on the front porch of Chik-Wauk Museum. You will be able to find various gift shop items marked down from 10 – 50% off. Christmas is only a short 4 months away. The sidewalk sale starts at 10 a.m. and will run until 4 p.m.

September 12 at the A. Paul and Carol Schaap Community Center (GTVFD Hall #1) is the Gunflint Trail Historical Society membership meeting. The public is welcome to attend. This month we have Nancy Waver coming to speak about her life on the Gunflint Trail. Her family has owned and operated Trout Lake Resort for the past 70 years. The meeting will begin at 1:30, stick around after the meeting for treats and conversation.

September 24, Late summer flowers on ancient rocks – Geology and Natural History of the upper Gunflint Trail by John Green

John will do a short PowerPoint talk on botany and ancient rocks then move out to an exploratory hike around Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center. Presentation starts at 2 pm and roughly lasts about an hour.
John Green is a retired geology professor from the University of Minnesota Duluth, with extensive familiarity with the bedrock foundations of Minnesota’s Arrowhead.

All presentations are family friendly and free to the public, they will be held at Chik-Wauk Nature Center.

Donations are appreciated.

Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center is open every day until October 23. The Museum is open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and the Nature Center is open from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Located 55 miles up the Gunflint Trail, take a right on Cty Rd. 81 (Moose Pond Drive) follow the signs. Admission is $4/adult, $2/ child 5-18, under 5 is free. If you are a member of the Gunflint Trail Historical Society your admission is free.

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Our Incredible Voyageur Crew

Boundary Waters Blog - Thu, 08/25/2016 - 9:15am

It feels like summer just started yet some of our amazing crew have already left and returned to civilization for another school year. It is so sad to see them leave and each one takes a little piece of my heart with them but what they have added to my heart during the summer is always more than enough to make up for the loss.  We always have great crews and this year was no exception.  Thanks for an amazing and unforgettable summer everyone!

Voyageur Canoe Crew 2016

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The Last Weekend in August = Art, Fairgoers and Music

North Shore Arts Scene - Thu, 08/25/2016 - 7:22am

Grand Marais in its summer glory. This aerial panoramic was “stitched” together from a number off different aerial photographs by Bryan Hansel. Enjoy!

Here’s to the last weekend in August! Perfect weather, art opportunities, art openings, author talks and lots of live music fill this weekend, as we look ahead to an art-packed September.

First up are our trusty Arrowhead Sketchers, who have been meeting every Thursday afternoon this summer at various locations to sketch, draw and paint what they see. Everyone is welcome to join in. This week, they will meet at the Cascade River parking area on the lakeside of Hwy. 61 to sketch the river, Lake Superior or the historic, stone buildings of Cascade Lodge. They will gather at 5:30 p.m. and sketch until 7 p.m. and then come together and share sketches. If it rains, they will meet in the Cascade Lodge Pub & Restaurant. Stay tuned for examples of the sketches next week.

Learn about and paint migrating insects at Sugarloaf Cove on Friday.

On Friday, Sugarloaf Cove will offer “Rock Painting Insects” from 1-3 p.m. with Sandy Danus and naturalist Margie Menzies. Participants will learn about migrating insects ( who’s a migrator, how far do they migrate, do they actually come back here to Northern Minnesota?) and then paint an insect on a rock.  Bring a smooth, 4-6 inch rockand Danus will provide supplies and step-by-step cheerful instruction. Cost is $12 nonmember, $10. Sugarloaf Cove is located at 9096 Hwy. 61 in Schroeder, near the county line.

On Friday night, the Johnson Heritage Post opens a retrospective exhibition and sale of work by the late Ranier artist and teacher Genevieve “Gene” Ritchie Monahan.  The exhibition features more than 70 painting in oil, and includes North Shore seascapes and landscapes, as well as the impressionistic portraits for which Monahan was best known.

Gene Monahan’s portrait of famed pianist Van Cliburn.

According to an article in the International Falls Journal, “Monahan earned many local, regional and national awards in a career spanning more than 60 years. Her work has been shown at the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Walker Art Center, among other venues, and is held in private and corporate collections in the U.S., Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan and New Zealand.”

The exhibit also includes many of her award winning works as well as marine paintings of boats and people along Lake Superior, Staten Island and other locales.

“LIfeline” by Gene Monahan.

The opening reception is from 5-7 p.m. Friday. All welcome.  Refreshments will be served. The exhibit continues through Sept. 11.

Also on Friday, Steve Blexrud and the Thunderheads will talk about their music and play afew songs on WTIP’s The Roadhouse, which airs from 5-7 p.m. The musicians perform at the Gun Flint Tavern this weekend.

On Saturday, the Cook County Farm & Craft Market opens the day at 9 a.m. in the Senior Center Parking lot. The market features a wide variety of arts & crafts as well as baked goods and more.

Jeff Liljestrand is one of the artisans at the Cook County Farm & Craft Market.

Three authors are coming to town to talk about their books.

At 12:30 p.m., Saturday, author Andrea Thalasinos will speak at the Grand Marais Public Library. She has recently released her third book, “Fly By Night,” set on the North Shore.

Then at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Mary Casanova will present at a Writer’s Salon at Drury Lane Books.  She will talk about her two new books,  “Ice-Out” and “Wake Up, Island.”

Author Mary Casanova will talk about her latest books at Drury Lane Books on Saturday at 5 p.m.

And then next Wednesday, author Faith Sullivan, who is teaching a writer’s workshop at the Grand Marais Art Colony, will present at a Writer’s Salon at Drury Lane Books at 4:30 p.m.

Minnesota author Faith Sullivan will talk about writing and her books at a Writer’s Salon at Drury Lane Books on Wednesday, Aug. 31, at 4:30 p.m.

There are other cool things to see and do this Saturday, too.

At 1 p.m.,  Kathy Weinberg will give an oil painting demonstration at the Grand Marais Art Colony. Free and open to the public.

And there will be a Bronze Pour at Four at Last Chance Gallery in Lutsen. Bronze sculptor Tom Christiansen will be pouring his hummingbird series at 4 p.m. this Saturday. Aug. 27. All welcome.

“Hummer,” bronze, by Tom Christiansen. He will be pouring these hummers at 4 p.m. Saturday.

The Minnesota State Fair starts this week and Cook County will have great representation there.

First up is WTIP Community Radio, which will broadcast from the Fair from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 31. “Radio-on-a-Stick” will feature lots of interviews and music throughout the day. This is the second year that WTIP has broadcast at the Fair.

WTIP staff and volunteers at the Minn. State Fair last year included Ann Possis and Bob Carter, front, and Jeff Nimitz and Matthew Brown.

This year, WTIP program director Matthew Brown and station manager Deb Benedict will be there, as well as a number of volunteer hosts, including: Julie Carlson, Sherrie Lindskog, Mike Reeves, Ann Possis, and Bob Carter. WTIP engineer Jeff Nemitz will be on hand to take care of the technical details; and Visit Cook County director Linda Kratt and her team will also be on hand to meet and greet fair-goers with information about Cook County. They will be broadcasting from Ampers booths (#9 and 10), in the Education Building.

During the WTIP radio show, artist Michael Sweere, who exhibits at Sivertson Gallery in Grand Marais, will be interviewed. Sweere, a mosaic artist, created the Minnesota State Fair’s 2016 Commemorative Art piece this year. He crafted it out of colorful cardboard packaging.

The Minnesota State Fair’s 2016 Commemorative Art work created by Michael Sweere features Lucky the Llama with iconic images of the fair.

The original will be displayed at the Fine Arts Center through Labor Day.  Posters are also available.

Two other local artists will be “working” at the Fair, too. Betsy Bowen and Neil Sherman.

Bowen is a featured author at the Fair and will be interviewed on WTIP during the show at the Fair next Wednesday, Aug. 31. She will be in the Alphabet Forest in Baldwin Park at the fair on Saturday, Sept. 3, demonstrating how to make bookmarks. She is bringing all kinds of printmaking materials with her for kids to use. They’ll be making bookmarks around the theme of ABC, which is the title of her popular children’s book: “Antler, Bear, Canoe: A Northwoods Alphabet.”

Antler, Bear, Canoe” has been in print for 25 years.

“Antler, Bear, Canoe” celebrates its 25th year in print this fall. There will be a big extravaganza celebration at the Betsy Bowen Studio Gallery in Grand Marais Oct. 8. Stay tuned for details.

Also at the Fair, Neil Sherman will be the artist-in-residence in the Fine Arts Building at the fair from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 4. He’ll be working on a couple of studio paintings as well as giving Artist Talks.

Neil Sherman will be working on developing a painting from his study of the Brule River when he is the artist-in-residence at the Minnesota State Fair Sept. 4.


 Calling All Potters! Sivertson Gallery has put out a call for local potters (North Shore & Duluth) to consider submitting mugs for the “Behold the Mug” exhibit which will be held at Sivertson Gallery in Grand Marais and Siivis in Duluth Sept. 24.

Sivertson Gallery director, Abby Toftey writes: “Our aim with this event is to help customers find their “perfect mug” before the big winter chill sets in. Fresh coffee, donuts and cookies have been ordered, now all we need are the exquisite, locally made mugs!”

Show requirements include 8-20 mugs, which will distributed between the two galleries. The mugs must arrive by Monday, Sept. 19. A small bio with a photograph will be included with each potter’s display. To apply, send photographs and prices of your work to


 The list of upcoming events in September is daunting.  There are lots of fun things to do and see. Here’s what we know so far, and please, stay tuned for details.

Monroe Crossing, Arrowhead Center for the Arts, 7 p.m., Sept. 1. Concert includes appetizers from Alyce’s. Deadline to sign up for appetizers if Friday, Aug 26. To make reservations online, go to to get your Monroe Crossing tickets and at the end of the sale there will be an additional option to purchase a ticket for the food. Tickets are  $25, $10 for appetizers.

Radio Waves Music Festival, Sept. 9-11, Sweetheart’s Bluff in the Grand Marais Rec Park.  More than 30 musical acts under the Big Tent, on-site food, children’s tent & more. Tickets at the door: $10 per day, $20 weekend.

Plein Air Grand Marais, an outstanding plein air competition, show and sale organized by the Grand Marais Art Colony. Competition is Sept. 9-16, exhibit and sale at the Johnson Heritage Post Sept. 17-Nov. 13. Click here for more info.

Unplugged XV & Unplugged Folk Artisan Marketplace, Sept. 15-18. Concerts, Singer/Songwriter Circles, jamming sessions, public programs and workshops, demonstrations and more. For tickets, click here.

Lake Superior 20/20 Studio Art Tour,  Sept. 23, 24 & 25.  Tour branches out from Two Harbors. For more info, click here.

Crossing Borders Studio Tour & Sale, Sept. 23-Oct. 2, celebrating 20 years along the North Shore. Tour includes art studios along the North Shore from Duluth to Grand Portage. For more info, click here.

In other art news:

 Author Rose Arrowsmith DeCoux, has organized a Grand Marais Writer’s Guild which meets each month in the meeting room at the Cook County Co-op. The next meeting is Monday, Sept. 12 from 6-7:30 p.m. All writers invited. Meanwhile, check out the Guild’s Facebook page where she posts story starter ideas frequently.

Here’s an example of a story starter that Rose Arrowsmith DeCoux posts on her Facebook page.

Other story starters posted recently include: “They found the box of wooden matches on the workbench in the old shed…” “The old man beckoned from the shadows. “Come here, Jonah. I have something …” and “If she didn’t know better– but she did.”

Gunflint author Tim McDonnell has come out with a new book: “The Contemplative Paddler’s Compansion.” Published by North Star Press, it can be found at Birchbark Books and Gifts.

This is Tim McDonnell’s second book. His book: “The Whole Forest for a Backyard.”

Kah-Nee-Tah Gallery has just received new antler baskets by

Antler basket by Cathryn Peters.

A new gallery has opened in Knife River on the Scenic Highway. It is called 47 Degrees and features a variety of local artists and artisans, including Kelly Dupre.

Kelly Dupre has artwork at the new gallery in Knife River, 47 degrees.

And finally, here’s a sign of the changing seasons. Sivertson Gallery has just received packets of holiday cards for 2016. The cards include artwork from favorite local and regional artists.

One of Rick Allen’s holiday cards.

Here’s the music schedule for this week:

Thursday, Aug. 25:

  • Joe Paulik, Music by the Campfire. Lutsen Resort, 6 p.m.
  • Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers, Gunflint Tavern, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 26;

  • Pushing Chain, Voyageur Brewing Co., 4 p.m.
  • Portage, Grandma Ray’s, 6 p.m.
  • Joe Paulik, Music by the Campfire, Eagle Ridge Resort, 7:30 p.m.
  • Thunderheads, Gunflint Tavern, 8:30 p.m.
  • Angel Hair Rasta, Grandma Ray’s, 8:30 p.m.
  • Jim Miller, Bluefin Grille, 9 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 27:

  • Gene Lafond & Amy Grillo, Voyageur Brewing Co., 4 p.m.
  • Axtel, Papa Charlie’s Deck, 6 p.m.
  • Pete K., Sydney’s Frozen Custard, 6 p.m.
  • Jim & Michelle Miller, 7 p.m. Lutsen Resort Lobby, 7 p.m.
  • Billy Johnson, Cascade Lodge Pub, 7:30 p.m.
  • Thunderheads, Gunflint Tavern, 8:30 p.m.
  • Bughouse, Grandma Ray’s, 9 p.m.
  • DJ Beavstar, Papa Charlie’s, 9:30 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 28:

  • Billy Johnson Band, Mogul’s Grille, 5 p.m.
  • Steve Blexrud, Gunflint Tavern, 7:30 p.m.

Monday, Aug. 29:

  • Laney Jones and the Spirits, Monday Songwriter Series, Papa Charlie’s, 7:30 p.m.
  • Eric Frost, Gunflint Tavern, 9 p.m.

Here are some of the photos we found this week.

The Tall Ship Festival was all over the news last weekend. Here’s a great photo of the Spanish galleon, one of the many Tall Ships that visited Duluth.

Photo by Patty Doherty.


Here’s a study in contrasts.


“Out My Kitchen Window” by Martha Russell.


“Fear the bird,” by Thomas Demma.

Here’s a peaceful beauty by Paul Sundberg.

Grand Marais Waterfront by Paul Sundberg.

And another view of the harbor a little earlier in the evening.

“Currently Unfiltered-Home” by Sarah Jorgenson.

Studies of rocks:

“Rowboats-are-my-favorite-these-rocks-are-my favorite-these-lichens-are-my-favorite -this-lake-is-my-favorite” by Melissa Wickwire.

And the iconic rock on the North Shore:

Photo by Amy Peterson.

And inland waterways:

Full moon over the Cascade River by Travis Novitsky.


Magney State Park. Gauthier Creek by Tom Fiero.

And finally, this powerful photo of a mother and son.

“Tall Ships stir our imaginations,” posted by Erin Watson.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


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Minnesota Wolf Population

Boundary Waters Blog - Wed, 08/24/2016 - 3:03pm

I know our wolf population on the Gunflint Trail is healthy. Two times this summer when picking blueberries I heard wolves howl.  I saw their scat but unfortunately didn’t get to see them. Here’s what the Minnesota DNR has to say about the Minnesota Wolf population.


Minnesota’s wolf population remains stable

Results from the latest wolf population survey show no significant change in Minnesota’s wolf population during the past four winters, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

The latest survey results estimate that within Minnesota’s wolf range there were 439 wolf packs and 2,278 wolves last winter, compared to 374 packs and 2,221 wolves the year before. There has been no biologically or statistically significant change in the size of the statewide mid-winter wolf population over the past four years.

“The consistent wolf population surveys over the last several years are further evidence of the health and stability of Minnesota’s wolf population,” said Dan Stark, large carnivore specialist for the DNR.

The population survey is conducted in mid-winter near the low point of the annual population cycle. Immediately following birth of pups each spring, the wolf population typically doubles, though many pups do not survive to the following winter.

Minnesota’s wolf population remains above the state’s minimum goal of at least 1,600 wolves and is above the federal recovery goal of 1,251 to 1,400.

Although the population estimate was not significantly different from last year, survey results suggest wolf packs used less area on average than the previous year (62 versus 73 square miles), resulting in an increase in the estimated number of packs. This pattern is consistent with the increase in deer numbers observed in many parts of wolf range.

According to John Erb, DNR wolf research scientist, when prey numbers change, wolves must eventually re-adjust to the new conditions.

“In recent years we’ve observed a decline in prey that translated into larger wolf pack territories, and the reverse is now to be expected if deer numbers continue to increase,” Erb said.

The survey estimated an average of 4.4 wolves per pack, down from an average pack size of 5.1 wolves per pack in last year’s survey. The slight drop in average pack size from last winter could be a result of many factors, although pack size is not as correlated with prey density as is territory size. The late start and early end to winter snow cover reduced the amount of time available for wolf pack counts, which could contribute to a lower estimate.

“Regardless of the explanation, over the past 30 years, average mid-winter pack size has not shown much variability, ranging from 5.6 to 4.3,” Erb said. “Counts are assumed to represent minimum estimates given the challenges with detecting all members of a pack together at the same time.”

The DNR’s goal for wolf management, as outlined in the state’s wolf management plan, is to ensure the long-term survival of wolves in Minnesota while addressing wolf-human conflicts. Wolves in Minnesota returned to the federal list of threatened species as a result of a Washington, D.C. federal district court ruling in December 2014.

Visit the DNR website at to find the full report, an FAQ and an overview of wolf management in the state, including the wolf management plan.

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Hospital addition interior stud and exterior sheathing installations

Inside the new hospital addition, crews are framing the interior walls, electrical and mechanical crews are roughing in the electrical and plumbing; also they will be creating a mock-up/example of the new patient headwall panels prior to sheet rocking the rooms. In the kitchen area they have installed the new aluminum frame windows.

Exterior at the new entryway / kitchen

Aluminum windows have been installed

Interior view of new aluminum windows

Roofing progress at new entryway

Roofing progress over kitchen / entryway

Roofing progress on hospital addition

Interior metal stud installation on the hospital addition

Demo old admin area

Demo admin area


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2016 Banadad Trail Association Annual Meeting and Trail Clearing Weekend

Banadad Bulletin - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 6:09pm

Banadad Ski Trail, BWCA’s Longest Tracked Ski Trail will hold their annual Trail Clearing Event and Annual Meeting/Dinner.

The annual meeting of the Banadad Trail Association (BTA) will be Friday, October 21, 2016 at the Schaap Community Center on the Gunflint Trail. (Next to the Fire Department, close to the Lima Grade intersection). The meeting will be at 5:30 and will follow with a Potluck Dinner; all are welcome.

The volunteer Trail Clearing Event will be Saturday, October 22, 2016 beginning at 9 a.m.; Meet at Boundary Country Trekking/Poplar Creek B&B at 8:30 a.m. for tools and instructions.

The purpose of the BTA is to maintain and enhance the Banadad Ski Trails, preserve the history of the forest and the trail and promote appreciation and care of the BWCA wilderness. The BTA is a volunteer organization open to all who share these goals.

Subscribe to the Banadad Bulletin, our free quarterly e-mail newsletter.

Questions contact:

Andy Jenks,
Banadad Trail Association

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8/23/16 - Interpreting animal sign can be a fun way to get a wildlife fix without being lucky enough to catch them up close and personal.

Sawbill Newsletter - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 5:46pm

8/23/16 - Wildlife sightings can be the cherry on top of any wilderness camping trip. Catching a glimpse of a 1,000 pound moose measuring six feet tall at the shoulder is quite the thrill, but if you aren't lucky enough to see one in the flesh the careful observer can often put together the story of animals who have already passed through. Portages and campsites are the perfect place to find tracks and scat left by these animals. It's pretty fun to imagine what it would have been like to be standing in the same place just a few minuets, hours, or possibly even years ago when the sign had been first left. -Jessica

Its fun to picture a black bear bumbling along the portage hours before I came along to snap this photo.

This moose skull was found on a campsite a couple days paddle from Sawbill. How did it meet it's demise? Hard to say, but it doesn't hurt to speculate.

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Care Center Move-in Day has arrived !

Residents moved into the new north and south Care Center additions last week.  Staff worked to move the residents from their old rooms in the new rooms.  Demo activities are now beginning on the old Care Center wings.

Vera Schumann (Director of Finance) and Bob Willis (Director of Human Resources) bringing a bed the new room

Steve Dockan (Family Member) and Charlie Butter (Maintenance) moving someone out of their room. Steve volunteered all day!

Robert McGregor, Amy James (Care Center Nursing), Ryan Morris (Ambulance) and Renae Smith (Dietary) are putting items away in a new room

Marie Jacobson moves in with help from with her son and daughter-in-law, Larry and Elaine Dean

Marcy Podas watching her belongings getting ready to move to the new room

Marcy Podas arrives in her new room for the first time

Kay Rosenthal, Volunteer is helping move belongings out of an old room

Joyce Hagen going to her new room with a little help from Sami Jacobsen, Nursing Assistant


Gladys Dockan getting a ride to her new room with her son, Steve and Mike Flack

Deb Backstrom and Ma Hui Schlienz from Housekeeping help moves clothes to the new rooms

Amy James giving instructions to Hilja Iverson (Social Services), Marice Zimmer (Dietary) and Belinda Hudler (Activities)

Jason and Brian from Boldt putting last minute touches/cleaning the new opening in the hallway. Sweeney Croft was watching

Mike from Boldt completing some last minute work on the new hallway opening


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School Shopping

Boundary Waters Blog - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 8:08am

It seemed like it would be the perfect day to make a quick trip to Duluth to get the much needed school supplies. Abby already had to be in Two Harbors for volleyball so it’s just another 30 minutes in the vehicle.  A Tuesday, not a holiday nor a weekend so things should have been relatively calm except for the fact it was move in day at UMD.

I’m pretty sure every UMD student was in Target with their parents buying everything they needed for college and then some.  Fans and air conditioners were flying off of the shelves along with pillows, coffee makers and anything else parents and kids thought they needed.

We needed folders, notebooks, pens, pencils and a calculator.  Can you believe there was only one package of #2 pencils left and since we had to ask an associate to help us purchase a calculator we both completely forgot about it and left without getting it?

The place was beyond chaotic and there were way too many people there for my comfort level. Hopefully next year I’ll remember to check UMD’s calendar and make sure it isn’t move in day before I make a trip to Duluth.


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Thimbleberries are Good and Good for You

Boundary Waters Blog - Mon, 08/22/2016 - 11:34am


While driving with my kids recently they threatened to put blinders on me. I could see thimbleberry bushes lining the road and I wanted to stop and pick them. I did stop a couple of times and that’s when the kids started to use their hands as blinders.  For all of our safety I decided I wouldn’t stop to pick anymore.

Thimbleberries taste good and contain Vitamins A and C.  They can be a bit tart but it’s a flavor I enjoy. They are fun to pick because you can usually do so standing upright. Thimbleberries are a delicate berry similar to raspberries so you have to pick them carefully or you can cause other ripe berries to fall off of the plant.  If they aren’t quite ripe they will be a little more difficult to pull off and if they are too ripe then they will end up as red mush on your fingers. When they are plucked off of the plant they resemble thimbles so that is how they got their name.  I love their leaves because they are big and have a fuzzy feel to them.

If you see me on the side of the road, don’t worry, I’m probably just picking thimbleberries.  Here’s some more information about this great berry.


Thimbleberry’s real name is Rubus parviflorus. It is in the Rosaceae (Rose) family and is in the same genus (Rubus) as raspberry, blackberry, loganberry, boysenberry, tayberry, dewberry and many others. Rubus fruit are an aggregate fruit composed of small, individual drupes, each individual is termed a drupelet. In a sense they are many little berries grouped together to make one large berry.

The young shoots, roots and leaves have been used to treat many ailments. A tea is made of the leaves or roots as a blood tonic in the treatment of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and dysentery. Its effects are believed to tone and strengthen the stomach helping increase appetite. Rich in vitamin C, Thimbleberry helps boost your immune system and was used to ward off scurvy. A poultice of the dried powdered leaves treats wounds and burns and the fresh leaves can be crushed and applied to treat acne. A decoction of the roots has also been taken to treat acne.



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