You can view the Gunflint Trail Historical Society Newsletter by clicking on the link below.
You can view the Gunflint Trail Historical Society Newsletter by clicking on the link below.
The snowshoe hare are starting to change from their beautiful pure white in the winter time to the brownish color you recognize all rabbits have during the rest of the year.
The snow bunting birds are passing through again on their way back north for the spring. We see them in the fall when they travel south for the winter and again in the spring on their way back north. If you have driven the Gunflint Trail in either the fall or the spring you will see these birds fluttering around by the side of the road.
Some of the residents on the Gunflint Trail have probably started planting some tomato, squash and other variety of seeds indoors to get a jump start on their garden for the season.
We have also had some changes at the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center this spring, Ada Igoe has moved on to another adventure after 5 years of organizing and handling everything the museum and nature center offered. I have been a resident on the Gunflint Trail for the past 24 years. I am really looking forward to working with the local residents that help out at the museum everyday and also to meet the people that visit the museum and here their stories of the area.
Spring also brings time to start getting the museum open for the season. Fred Smith and his crew of volunteers were up at the museum this past week to get the coverings off the windows and also to turn the heat on in the building. Now I can start working in the building and getting familiar with the surroundings.
We do not open until the 23rd of May but I am sure I will be keeping busy until then.
See you this season, Bonnie Schudy
Remember how excited we were five years ago with the opening of the Chik-Wauk Museum? We have so much to be proud of and so much to celebrate! The museum is a top-notch showcase of our natural and cultural history.
We have even more to get excited about this year. We are starting Phase II of the museum project which will give us the facilities to fulfill our goal of sharing and preserving more of the history and heritage of our community.
Our plan is to break ground this spring for our new Chik-Wauk Nature Center, a modest administration building, and a vaulted biffy. The Chik-Wauk Nature Center will be the hands-on center for learning. We have a team working with Split Rock Design Studios on displays that will set the tone for curiosity and exploration. It will have plenty of seating for presentations as well as tables and workstations to be used for classes.
In 2016, we will collaborate with the North House Folk School on building our boat pavilion. This will be a timber frame shelter to protect and display historic watercraft in the Gunflint Trail Historical Society collection with descriptive panels for each boat or canoe. We will also build a cabin that represents a typical rental unit from the 1950s at Chik-Wauk Lodge. Finally, we will put up a metal building for maintenance equipment and larger storage items.
It is an ambitious plan. Our construction budget for this Phase II is $500,000. To date, we have raised about half the needed money. We hope you will chip in to help us raise the remaining money, as your funds and budget allow. You can make a donation online easily through our online payment server . Just use the contributions (restricted) field on the website and put “Phase II” in the designation field.
With your continued support, our excitement for the future of the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center can become a reality.
Bruce Kerfoot, Board of Trustees
The Gunflint Trail Historical Society is hiring a museum manager for the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center located at the end of the Gunflint Trail.
Responsibilities include oversight of various museum and gift shop daily operations, grant writing, planning and scheduling public programming, oversight of GTHS membership, managing social media, working with general public, reporting to the GTHS board. A successful candidate will be an independent, self-directed, organized worker with strong interpersonal skills, the ability to learn specific software programs, and proficiency in writing and editing. Candidate must possess an interest in local history and be willing to learn the basics of historic preservation.
Application deadline: February 21, 2015. Click for full job description and application here.
At Chik-Wauk, the new year is a pretty static time. The museum is buttoned up for the off-season and the staff is quietly plugging away at archival projects and other behind the scenes work.
But in 2015, the new year does bring about changes in the Gunflint Trail Historical Society membership rates.
Our membership rates are now:
*Also covers your children ages 18 and under.
Why the increases? Our membership rates have been basically unchanged since the Gunflint Trail Historical Society was formed in 2005. Ten years in, the GTHS Board of Trustees feels an increase in rates is a reasonable way to increase revenue for future projects at Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center, including a number of buildings that will start to go up this summer.
Your membership is truly an investment in the Gunflint Trail Historical Society and Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center and ensures quality exhibits, facilities, and historic preservation. It means the world to us that in 10 years, we’ve able to amass 1000+ member supporters! Thank you for your endorsement of the work we do and for helping Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center grow and thrive.
If you’d like to join or renew, you can do so easily with our online payment server. We can’t do our work without your support. Thank you, thank you!
Please note, our admission rates for the 2015 remain the same: $3 for aduluts, $2 for children ages 5-18, and free for kids under 5 and GTHS members.
Golden tamaracks lining the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center driveway mean autumn is upon us and the 2014 museum season is quickly drawing to a close. Be sure to visit and catch this year’s temporary exhibit on Butterflies, Skippers, and Moths of the Gunflint Trail before we lock up our doors for the winter months at 5 p.m. on Sunday, October 19th. (Until then, we’re open every single day from 10 a. m. – 5 p.m.)
As you drive up to the museum, you might notice large flocks of brown birds along the Gunflint Trail roadside. These are Lapland Longspurs, making their way to their southerly wintering grounds. Soon the longspurs will be replaced by snow buntings and not too long after that, the snow will fly in earnest. Here’s a nice photo of the Chik-Wauk bay in its autumn colors to distract you from the ever-approaching winter. 🙂
While you’re at the museum, get a head start on your holiday shopping with our gift shop sale, offering up to 40% off select items.
Sunday, October 19 is the final day the museum will be open this year. After that, you’ll have to wait until May 23, 2015 to visit and see the 2015 temporary exhibit, “The Gunflint Trail’s Paper Trail” featuring brochures, diaries, correspondence, and other paper items that originated on the Gunflint Trail.
You know what? It’s been one fun Gunflint Trail summer at Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center.
We kicked off Kids’ Day, which sees a couple dozen kids through the museum on Mondays: making journals, learning about pond life, seeing if they can jump as far as a frog, and all sorts of other fun, hands-on activities. We host our last Kids’ Day of the season, tomorrow, August 25. Last Tuesday, our U.S. Forest Service naturalist friends put on their last presentation of the season at Chik-Wauk. And we’ve finished up a series of special guest presentations on Sundays as well. We’ve been having such a good time, it’s hard to believe that it’s nearly back to school time. We hope you found some time to play with us this summer!
To celebrate Smokey Bear’s 70th birthday, Smokey came for a visit to Chik-Wauk on August 4th, along with some U.S. Forest Service and Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department friends. Kids got to learn Smokey’s story and learn about fire is fought on the Gunflint Trail. A good time was had by all. Happy Birthday Smokey!
Thanks to all those who attended the Gunflint Woods, Winds, and Strings Benefit Concert on August 16. Several local and guest musicians entertained a sellout crowd of over 150 Gunflint Trail neighbors and guests. Thanks also to the organizing committee and all the volunteers who worked to put on this important fundraising event for the Gunflint Trail Historical Society and Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center.
The pace at Chik-Wauk always slows down a little during the week between when the MN State Fair starts off and Labor Day weekend. Things don’t stay quiet for long though. Come the Sunday of Labor Day weekend (August 31), we’ll have a full house for the Annual Old Fashioned Pie and Ice Cream Social Fundraiser. This beloved event features homemade pie, ice cream, book signings (with local authors John Henricksson and Nace Hagemann), and a gift shop sidewalk sale. The festivities go from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. , or until the pie runs out. Sorry, you won’t find any pie on a stick at the pie and ice cream social. With homemade pie this good, you don’t need a gimmick.
While you’re at the museum, don’t forget to pick up a few items in gift shop. These sales are so important to keeping Chik-Wauk strong and Christmas is just four months away, eh?
This has been a devastating spring for loons in northern Wisconsin and Minnesota wth 70 % of loon nests abandoned. The host specific black fly species, simulium annulus, feeds exclusively on the Common Loon. Forever bothersome to nesting loons, these flies appeared in larger than normal swarms this year. According to Walter Piper, a Chapman University researcher of loon behavior in Wisconsin, the late ice out and late snow melt is part of what causes an extra large population of these flies, which differ from the black flies that leave huge welts on our human hairlines and pollinate blueberries.
Simulium annulus flies feed on a loon’s head as they sit on their nest, causing the loon to continuously dive off the nest to try to rid themselves of the pests. However, even when loons swim underwater, the flies can still stick to the loon’s head. Whenever the loons dive underwater to escape the flies, the eggs are exposed to cold and predation.
On Hungry Jack Lake, a loonwatcher observing a loon nesting on a man-made platform reported a huge cloud of flies swarming the loon’s head that was visible without binoculars from 100 ft away. That loon repeatedly got off the nest to dive and then had to fight off a crow going for the exposed eggs. The pair finally abandoned the nest and after one week the eggs were taken to the DNR office in Grand Marais to be transferred to Grand Rapids, MN for contamination studies.
This tragedy of events also touched the loon pair who nest on the man-made loon nesting platform in the Chik-Wauk Museum bay. Over the winter, the platform had broken loose and when Kathy and Mike Lande towed the refurbished platform back to the nesting site in mid-May, the pair swam alongside, diving under the canoe and pecking at the platform. The loons started nesting on May 19th and had been on the nest for two weeks before the flies hatched. The pair abandoned the nest after 20 days of incubation, 8-10 days short of hatching. When Kathy went out to the nest a week after it had been abandoned, there were no eggs so it is assumed that the flies drove them off the nest and a predator got the eggs. Although the pair stayed around the nest for awhile and showed signs of renesting, they finally swam away. Sadly after two successful nesting years in 2011 and 2012 producing two chicks each year, both 2013 and 2014 have been unsuccessful nestings.
Some of the pairs on Gunflint Trail lakes renested, with chicks hatching in mid-July. This is very late in the season for loon chicks to be hatching and the loons now have a finite amount of time to learn how to survive on their own before the autumn migration.
Now is the time for boaters to be very “Loon Aware” as chicks in their first three-four weeks are very vulnerable, especially to speeding watercraft and boats pulling waterskis and tubes. Anglers should be cautious when loons are near, since bait on the end of a line looks like free lunch to loons. Loons may dive for the bait, swallowing hook and line.
The re-nesting loon on Hungry Jack Lake has a fishing line dangling from his or her beak. When the loon is not on the nest, it spends more time trying to get out the line than eating. DNR officials contacted say it is impossible to catch a loon and remove the hook, so the loon will most likely have a slow and painful death. Local business owners and anglers have reported loons taking bait, so it is a problem that anglers should be aware of. When loons are about, anglers should pull in the line and go elsewhere to fish.
The DNR is collecting any abandoned eggs and/or dead loons. If found, they should be put in plastic bags, frozen, and labeled with the information on where and how the specimen was found, then taken to the DNR office in Grand Marais. Local DNR wildlife manager Dave Ingebrigtson can be reached at 218-387-3034 with any questions or concerns.
Report submitted by Gunflint Trail Historical Society board member Phyllis Sherman.
If you’ve been up at the museum on Monday in the last month, you might have run into a bunch of kids seeing if they can jump as far as a frog, playing at the water’s edge, or making their own personalized nature journal. That’s because every Monday at Chik-Wauk through August 25th is Kids’ Day, where kids age 18 and under enjoy free admission and when there’s a whole bunch of kid focused crafts, nature activities, and hikes happening.
We know families on vacation don’t necessarily want to have to show up at a set time for activities, so on Kids’ Day the activities run all day. When you show up, the activities begin, or you can jump in on some activities already in progress. A favorite activity to date has been doing a pond dip at the lake shore and discovering all the amazing life in the lake, including a bunch of big leopard frog tadpoles. If you’re in the area with kids or grandkids, please consider checking us out for Kids’ Day.
Another question we’re hearing a lot lately is, “what are the blueberries like?” The blueberries are starting to ripen on the property. Last week we had a family pick just enough blueberries for a pie, but with the late spring, the blueberries have been slow to ripen and we predict prime picking won’t start until sometime next week. It might be a little spottier harvest this year than in years’ past, but if you have to work a little harder for your berries, they’ll taste even sweeter. 😉 Right now, if you’re looking for a handful to toss in pancakes or muffins, you should be able to find that fairly easily as you walk along our hiking trails. The raspberries are starting to ripen too.
Tickets are now on sale for this year’s “Gunflint Woods, Winds and Strings Chamber Music Concert Fundraiser.” The concert will be held Saturday, August 16 at 4 p.m. at Gunflint Trail Fire Hall #1 (Mid-Trail, Poplar Lake). Tickets are $20.00 for adults, $5 for children up to 18. You can buy your tickets in person at the museum or by calling 218-388-9915. Starting next week, you’ll also be able to buy the tickets online at our website GunflintTrailHistoricalSociety.org. Tickets are limited, so purchase your tickets soon to avoid disappointment; last year’s concert sold out.
Yesterday the United States turned 229 and Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center turned 4. As we cruise into the summer high season, be sure to make room in your schedule for some of the fun goings on at the museum.
Chik-Wauk Kids’ Day
Kids under age 18 visit the museum for free. Kid-friendly activities offered throughout the day. A parent or guardian must accompany children at all times at the museum.
Tadpoles have been a favorite activity during Chik-Wauk’s kids’ day. Please stop in for a variety of hands-on nature activities. Inside the museum, kids can do dress up, make a journal, play a board game, or enjoy a picture book.
U.S. Forest Service Naturalist Programs
Tuesdays, 3 p.m.
Naturalists Steve and Katie present on a different topic each week. Topics include loons, birds, wildfire, wildflowers, and more. Call ahead to get the topic of the week. Free and family friendly. Meet on Chik-Wauk front porch.
Stories with Harriet and Bill
11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Harriet Boostrom Taus and Bill Boissenin grew up on Clearwater Lake in the mid-Trail region of the Gunflint Trail and share childhood stories with museum visitors.
Sunday, July 20
Rails across the Border: The Paulson Mine and the PAD&W Railway with historian Dave Battistel
2 p.m., museum front porch
Although these enterprises originated on different sides of the border, the history of the Paulson Mine and the Port Arthur, Duluth and Western Railway would forever become intertwined during the late 19th century. The rise and failure of both ventures would forever shape the history of the Boundary Waters area. Dave Battistel is a railway historian and history teacher from Thunder Bay, Ontario. Since 1994 he has been actively researching the history of the Port Arthur, Duluth and Western Railway, as well as its associated ventures (silver and iron mining and logging) and speaks regularly about these topics.
Sunday, July 27
Gunflint Trail Wild Edibles with author Teresa Marrone
2 p.m., museum front porch
Join author Teresa Marrone in a pleasant hike to explore wild berries, mushrooms and other wild edibles near Chik Wauk. Teresa Marrone is the author of several cookbooks and has also written a field ID guide about wild berries and fruits of Minnesota.
See you soon!