Joe Friedrichs

Joe Friedrichs holds a journalism degree from the University of Montana. He lives in a lakeside cabin near Grand Marais and hopes to one day land a brook trout “big enough to alter the course of humankind.”

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Recent Articles by Joe Friedrichs

Shrinking Homes a Growing Trend
posted on Wednesday, Mar 15, 2017
A growing trend in the housing market seems to have its roots in something natural, realistic and geared toward the future: The tiny-house movement. “I’ve talked to a lot of people in (Cook) County who think they have too much house,” said Mark Hansen, a builder of small homes who lives in Grand Marais but is staying in his tiny house on wheels in Duluth for the winter. “It costs them so much to heat these big structures. But I think the handwriting is on the wall. Most people are…

Cancer Survivor Fulfills a Dream
posted on Friday, Feb 24, 2017
In 2010, Montana resident Jonathan Haun was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma at the age of 28. Doctors gave him a minimal chance to survive. Haun grew up and lives in rural Montana. He presently resides in the town of Thompson Falls, a small community about 70 miles northwest of Missoula situated along the banks of the Clark Fork River. A lifelong fisherman and outdoorsman, Haun decided to spend as much time in nature as he could once the prognosis came in. He changed his diet and worked hard to find…

Kicksled trend hits the Gunflint Trail
posted on Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017
Gunflint Trail—As he prepared to enter his first winter in the Northern Wilds, Gunflint Lodge owner John Fredrikson wondered about a new means to travel across the snow and ice that was sure to come. Already equipped with skis, snowshoes and other means of traversing the landscape for both himself and the guests who visit Gunflint Lodge each winter, Fredrikson wanted something unique for the business he and his wife, Mindy, purchased in the summer of 2016. And satisfying this urge for uniqueness came in the form of something known…

Wilderness rangers survive the Pagami Creek Fire
posted on Tuesday, Dec 27, 2016
Ely—A video posted online in late November of 2016 details how close Minnesota’s Pagami Creek Fire came to taking the lives of six U.S. Forest Service employees. The video comes to the surface five years after the massive fire was put to rest. First detected on Aug. 18, 2011, the Pagami Creek Fire eventually raged across approximately 93,000 acres of land in and around the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). Nancy Moundalexis, one of the Forest Service employees interviewed in the video, told Northern Wilds that safety of all…

Grand Marais pioneers had one wish for Christmas: A road
posted on Monday, Nov 28, 2016
Walking the North Shore during the winter
Grand Marais—If someone told Henry Mayhew in 1895 that future generations would joyously hike on a trail from Duluth to Grand Marais for recreational purposes, the North Shore pioneer would likely have toppled over with laughter. After all, Mayhew and many of the early white settlers to the North Shore and surrounding region did not take casual strolls through the wilderness for the purpose of exercise or amusement. Embarking on a hike and taking photographs to post on social media would have been inconceivable for Mayhew and his compatriots. It…

Herring: Lake Superior’s most important and underrated fish
posted on Friday, Oct 21, 2016
Under the assumption that each day is a unique adventure for a fish in Lake Superior, the chronicles of an adult herring found in the greatest of the Great Lakes must contain some amazing tales. And Cory Goldsworthy believes he knows the reason why. “Although herring are relatively small fish, they are long-lived, as are most fish species native to Lake Superior,” said Goldsworthy, the Lake Superior area supervisor with the Minnesota DNR. “We still see a few herring from the huge 1984 year class, which are now 31 years…

South Lake Trail
posted on Tuesday, Sep 27, 2016
GUNFLINT TRAIL—The first time I hiked on the South Lake Trail, I saw a moose and caught an 18-inch lake trout. It’s no wonder I continue to make this six-mile round-trip journey a frequent location to place my boots on solid ground. The South Lake Trail is an easy trip in the mid-Gunflint Trail region. | MAGGIE FRIEDRICHS The South Lake Trail (SLT) is one of the pathways not classified as a portage into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). The trail is easy to moderate and passes though old…

Maple Hill History
posted on Friday, Aug 26, 2016
For many visitors to Cook County, the “Four Corners” intersection of Devil Track Road and the Gunflint Trail is of mild significance. It’s simply the turning point for a golf course or perhaps a vacation rental on the shores of Devil Track Lake. Others pay no attention at all, focused on reaching the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. But for longtime local resident Charlene Anderson, the Four Corners represent a junction of important history. “My grandfather would come and pick us up there on Christmas and Thanksgiving in a sleigh…

Troll'n Troll'n Troll'n
posted on Monday, Aug 01, 2016
On certain lakes throughout the Northern Wilds, it’s worth forking over the necessary funds to hire a fishing guide or charter captain. On one particular lake, it can be a matter of life or death. Just ask Darren Peck, the owner and charter captain of Lake Superior based Tofte Charters. “When fishing on Lake Superior, changing weather conditions, equipment failure or lack of preparation can change a great day on the water into a life or death struggle,” Peck said. “Charter captains are not only experienced in catching fish, but…

Fish find refuge near Fitger's
posted on Monday, Aug 01, 2016
Duluth—The next time someone hooks a lake trout in Lake Superior, they might have the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to thank for it. And while it might seem an odd pairing, MnDOT did make a sizeable effort in the early 1980s to build spawning grounds for lake trout in Lake Superior. A fine idea for anglers and public relations, perhaps, but one that came about when the tunnels in Duluth were being blasted and created. “The truth is, it was a convenient way to get rid of a lot…

So what is glamping?
posted on Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016
Grand Marais—For most who opt to pitch a tent in the wilds of Ontario or along Minnesota’s North Shore, a leather recliner and silk robe are not considered essential items. Satellite television and being able to check email with the click of a button aren’t often requirements that will make or break a trip for early season lake trout anglers heading toward Quetico Provincial Park. But for glamping expert MaryJane Butters, an extended list of luxury items are the exact ingredients required for her recipe to enjoying quality time in…

Slow progress for Gitchi-Gami bike trail
posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Grand Marais—For Bill Blank, the most challenging aspect of building a non-motorized, multi-purpose trail along the North Shore of Lake Superior has nothing to do with pouring asphalt or finding outdoor enthusiasts to visit the region. Rather, as with many things snared in the perpetual state of planning, the rate of completion comes down to mathematics and dollars. “The easiest part is the construction once we get funding and get started,” said Blank, president of the Gitchi-Gami Trail Association (GGTA). “It’s the engineering and getting the money in place that…

Invasive species
posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Grand Marais—Spotted knapweed. Sea lamprey. Emerald ash borer. What do all three have in common? They’re all invasive species. And they’re all coming, or have already arrived, to the Northern Wilds. Invasive species can travel in many forms, show up in a variety of sizes and move through air, on land or via water. Regardless of how an invasive species spreads, they often share the same disturbing traits and tendency to destroy valuable habitat. “Along the North Shore, invasive species are anything that’s not native and causes economic or ecological…

Fishin' Fools
posted on Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016
Eating mushy peanut butter sandwiches with her grandfather on Saturday mornings ranks among Julie Collman’s most treasured memories from her youth. Rain or shine, the duo would often head out before 5 a.m. to go fishing among the many scattered lakes in central Minnesota. And while this might not sound pleasant to some cartoon-watching youngsters as a means to spend their Saturday mornings, Collman said one thing sticks out above the rain-soaked sandwiches and the constant early mornings. “We always caught fish,” Collman said. Julie Collman grew up fishing with…

Climbers Take to the Ice
posted on Wednesday, Mar 02, 2016
Minnesota and Ontario, the lands of 10,000 … hobbies. Among the hottest (and maybe the coldest) on the list of outdoor opportunities the area provides: ice climbing. While mainstream recreational outlets and hobbies are obvious, such as ice fishing and snowmobiling, ice climbing is quickly rising in popularity among winter sports in the Northern Wilds. Ice climbing is not for the faint of heart. | ARIC FISHMAN “In Minnesota, ice climbing is on a significant upward trend,” said Lucas Kramer, president of the Duluth Climbers Coalition. “In a state known…

Crossing the Boundary Waters, One Step at a Time
posted on Thursday, Aug 27, 2015
In the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), ditching one’s watercraft for an old school, foot-to-earth backpacking adventure is often a forgotten notion. It’s understandable, as the second largest wilderness area east of the Rocky Mountains, its name plainly states what most people come here to do: canoe. However, hundreds of miles of hiking trails wind through Minnesota’s canoe country, including the Border Route Trail (BRT), Kekekabic and Superior Hiking Trails trails. Though the latter is arguably the region’s most popular, it is the BRT that gives hikers solid ground…

Fishing with a Legend
posted on Wednesday, Jul 08, 2015
Accomplished fly caster & fly tier, Bob Nasby, was recently inducted in the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. When the arrangement was finalized for Bob Nasby to visit the Gunflint Trail for a few days of fishing this summer, I envisioned a man showing up wearing an Orvis fishing hat, the trendiest $300 fishing vest available and weatherproof pants, with the word Patagonia emblazoned on them. After all, Nasby was a fly fisherman. A hall-of-fame, legendary, one-in-a-million type of fly fisherman, in fact. However, much to my delight, Nasby…

As Moose Numbers Drop, Controversy Climbs
posted on Friday, Apr 10, 2015
Sue Prom once saw 17 moose while driving from the end of the Gunflint Trail to Grand Marais. That was in 1998. These days, she feels fortunate to see one moose while making that same trip. “We don’t see that many now, but people have great memories of seeing moose on the Gunflint Trail,” said Prom, co-owner of Voyageur Canoe Outfitters. “And everyone loves our moose, visitors and locals alike.” In recent years, there has been a tremendous amount of discussion, media coverage and concern about Minnesota’s declining moose population.…