Paddlesongs: How one country songwriter married his love of music and canoeing

Paddlesongs: How one country songwriter married his love of music and canoeing

In 1994, Nashville singer-songwriter Jerry Vandiver, whose song “It Doesn’t Get Any Countrier Than This” had just been recorded by Tim McGraw, portaged a behemoth of an aluminum canoe across a rocky and root-filled portage. He was no stranger to paddling; he’d moved that canoe from his hometown of Kansas City, Missouri, to Nashville when he set out to see if he could make it in the country music business. But this was his first trip to Quetico Provincial Park, and lugging that canoe over such a challenging portage inspired himContinue Reading

Paddling Into the Past on Rainy Lake

Paddling Into the Past on Rainy Lake

Editor’s Note: Whenever possible, Quetico Superior Wilderness News highlights partners committed to protecting or enhancing the wilderness character of the region. The following piece is reposted with permission by the Voyageurs National Park Association. by Eric Grunwald, National Park Service It was a calm and warm mid-September day when my friend Jeff and I put…

Sawbill Canoe Outfitters: The family behind the legacy

Sawbill Canoe Outfitters: The family behind the legacy

There is an outfitter at the end of the Sawbill Trail where customers and staff return year after year, a network of people connected to the place and the family at its center. The Hansens, and now the Shirleys, have been running Sawbill Canoe Outfitters since 1957, where annual traditions, lifelong friendships and marriages have been born.
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New Water Trail Benefits from Collaborative Cross-Border Partnership

New Water Trail Benefits from Collaborative Cross-Border Partnership

This summer, Ontario Provincial Park wardens, the Gunflint Ranger District of the Superior National Forest and members of the Northwoods Volunteer Connection came together to work on a water trail that runs from Kenora to Thunder Bay, Ontario. Called the Path of the Paddle, it’s part of a larger effort to connect three oceans…
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North House Folk School: Crafting a Lifestyle and Community Along the North Shore of Lake Superior

North House Folk School: Crafting a Lifestyle and Community Along the North Shore of Lake Superior

In Grand Marais, Minnesota, gateway to the Gunflint Trail and canoe country, there is a place where the traditional crafts of the north are celebrated. From timber framing and boat building, to basketry and knitting, craftsmen and women gather to share their knowledge and skills—often using traditional resources like birch bark. Continue Reading

Morning Light – A Canoe Built by Campers at Ogiche Daa Kwe

Morning Light – A Canoe Built by Campers at Ogiche Daa Kwe

There is something delicate about the look of a skin-on frame canoe. In the sunlight, the wooden frame shows through its skin, as do the shadows of paddlers. Looking down into the boat, the line where water meets air is visible. Yet it is a seaworthy craft, light enough for the youngest and oldest of paddlers to carry, and, at girls’ wilderness camp Ogiche Daa Kwe, a perfect metaphor for community. Last summer, campers and staff at the Rainy Lake camp built a 17.5-foot wilderness traveler skin-on frame canoe. Continue Reading

Climate Change in the Northwoods Part III: What People Are Doing

Climate Change in the Northwoods Part III: What People Are Doing

In the last two issues of Wilderness News, we’ve taken a look at climate change in the northwoods. In this final installment, we look at some of the things people are doing to cope with and address climate change. In the Quetico-Superior Region, climate change is not something looming on the horizon. Continue Reading

Status Report: Border Country Birds

The loon’s famous song, echoing across wilderness lakes, makes solitude audible. It simply sounds like wilderness. Many other bird species also find the habitat they need to breed amid the forests, lakes, rivers, and wetlands of the Boundary Waters, giving unique voice to the wild landscape. Here, a tongue of Canada’s boreal forest creates ideal conditions for an array of bird species—for a few months each year. Continue Reading

Three Decades of Superior Hiking

Three Decades of Superior Hiking

This summer, thirty years after a pair of trailbuilders first started flagging a hiking route along the ridges overlooking Lake Superior on Minnesota’s North Shore, the Superior Hiking Trail will be finished—mostly. The final section of the trail, connecting it to the Wisconsin border southeast of Duluth, should be completed by Labor Day. Hikers will then be able to travel from that point all the way to the Canadian border on the trail that has been called one of the best in America. But the work is never done. Hundreds of volunteers will continue to put in thousands of hours each year keeping the trail in good condition.Continue Reading

Voyageurs—A Must Visit National Park

Voyageurs—A Must Visit National Park

The National Park of Minnesota’s north woods celebrates the Park Service’s Centennial. One hundred years ago this August 25th, President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the National Park Service. For the century since, the agency has managed an ever-growing roster of places deemed worthy of perpetual protection. There are mountains and deserts, coasts and ocean,…

Mining Update: First Months of 2016 Include Major Moves for Northern Minnesota Mining Proposals

Mining Update: First Months of 2016 Include Major Moves for Northern Minnesota Mining Proposals

By Greg Seitz Gov. Dayton declares opposition to copper-nickel mining in Boundary Waters watershed Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has halted new leases of mineral rights on state lands near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. He announced the decision in a March 6th letter to Twin Metals, the company seeking to open a massive copper-nickel…

Something in the Water Bent Paddle Brewing

Something in the Water

Bent Paddle Brewing of Duluth joins the call to protect the planet’s most precious resource. By Greg Seitz The water of Lake Superior is famous for its beauty, depth, cold, and power. It is also gaining a reputation for making great beer. It is pure and pristine, perfect for brewing. The owners of Bent Paddle…

Talking About Climate Change, Celebrating Voyageurs – Wilderness News Spring 2016

Talking About Climate Change, Celebrating Voyageurs – Wilderness News Spring 2016

IN THIS ISSUE: Climate Change in the Northwoods Part I. Something in the Water: Bent Paddle Brewing of Duluth joins the call to protect the planet’s most precious resource. Voyageurs—A Must Visit National Park: The National Park of Minnesota’s north woods celebrates the Park Service’s Centennial. Mining Update…Continue Reading

Why Do We Return to Wilderness? Wilderness News Fall-Winter 2015

Why Do We Return to Wilderness? Wilderness News Fall-Winter 2015

At the Quetico Superior Foundation (QSF), our mission is to protect the wilderness character of Minnesota’s border lakes canoe country and Ontario’s Quetico region. We do that through the publication of Wilderness News and by giving grants to non-profit organizations that share our mission. We know that leaving a lasting legacy is better done through the actions of many. Here, we pay tribute to and thank some of the organizations that have put our grants to use over the last few years…Continue Reading

Wild Minds: Scientists Study the Boundary Waters Brain

Wild Minds: Scientists Study the Boundary Waters Brain

by Greg Seitz Does your brain work better in the Boundary Waters? Paddlers have been pondering the profound psychological shifts that take place in the wilderness for as long as humans have been seeking refuge there from the hectic modern world. Now, a researcher from Nebraska has shown that creativity and other cognitive abilities skyrocket…

Poem: Listening by Larry Christianson

LISTENING . . . Listening . . . to wilderness wind sweeping through forest and across water, speaking with wisdom for all who pause. In the distracting clamor of modern life, and the numbing noise of busyness. Listening . . . to inner voices struggling to break free of new anxieties and old burdens, whispering…

Why Do We Return to Wilderness? Thoughts From Our Readers

Why Do We Return to Wilderness? Thoughts From Our Readers

  “On my early trips it used to take several days for the wilderness to “sink in”; now I find myself immersed almost immediately. I think it is because it is now a comfortable place for me. In my memories I can’t capture this feeling, contentment, and peace of mind. I can’t even describe it.…

Creating a Legacy: The Quetico Superior Foundation Grant Program

At the Quetico Superior Foundation (QSF), our mission is to protect the wilderness character of Minnesota’s Border Lakes Canoe Country and Ontario’s Quetico region. We do that through the publication of Wilderness News and by giving grants to non-profit organizations that share our mission. We know that leaving a lasting legacy is better done through…

YMCA Camp du Nord: The Family That Goes to Camp Together, Stays Together

YMCA Camp du Nord: The Family That Goes to Camp Together, Stays Together

All summer long, families stream to the North Arm of Burntside Lake, outside Ely, for a week at camp. There, for the past 54 years, YMCA Camp du Nord has provided opportunities to learn about nature, do arts and crafts, play silly games, acquire skills to explore the wilderness, and have profound shared experiences. The…

A Winter Wolf Story

A Winter Wolf Story

by Paul Schurke Ask most of us dogsledders and skiers about what we find so compelling about the Quetico Superior country in the snow season, and the answer is often the same: the wilderness is somehow wilder in winter. Visitors are certainly less evident. Of the quarter million trekkers who visit the region annually, less…

BOOK REVIEW North Shore: A Natural History of Minnesota’s Superior Coast

BOOK REVIEW North Shore: A Natural History of Minnesota’s Superior Coast

By Chel Anderson and Adelheid Fischer Published by University of Minnesota Press Reviewed by Stephanie Hemphill A book of more than 500 pages invites comparison to the Bible. North Shore: A Natural History of Minnesota’s Superior Coast is like a bible in some ways: it is vast in scope, thought-provoking, and poetic in places. It…

Cultivating Stewardship in Northern Minnesota

Cultivating Stewardship in Northern Minnesota

By Alissa Johnson A new program in northern Minnesota aims to connect people with a passion for the northwoods with opportunities to take care of the places they love, including the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. A volunteer board of directors has been working with input from Forest Service liaisons to create a nonprofit organization…

Sigurd Olson’s Legacy Returns Home

Sigurd Olson’s Legacy Returns Home

By Greg Seitz The soul of Sigurd and Elizabeth Olson lives on at their home in Ely. The soul smells of fresh-baked cookies in the kitchen. In the writing shack on the property, it smells of cedar. It sounds like a breeze rustling the tall red pines Sig planted as seedlings, of croaking ravens and…

Northern Lakes Canoe Base

Northern Lakes Canoe Base

By Alissa Johnson Picture the Girl Scouts, and it’s likely that young girls selling cookies come to mind. And while that can be part of the experience, Northern Lakes Canoe Base is offering up a very different image of what it can mean to be a Girl Scout: girls working together to meet the challenges…

Quetico Superior Foundation Board Member Profile: Emilie Hitch

Quetico Superior Foundation Board Member Profile: Emilie Hitch

Board member since 2010 Please tell us what your involvement with the Quetico Superior Foundation mean to you: Being involved with the QSF means a few things to me. First, it means that I am a part of a community of people who share my belief that protecting the wilderness is important. Secondly, it means…

Quetico Provincial Park Superintendent Trevor Gibb: Maintaining a Pristine Wilderness Experience

Quetico Provincial Park Superintendent Trevor Gibb: Maintaining a Pristine Wilderness Experience

At 32 years old, Trevor Gibb is relatively young to hold the position of Park Superintendent for Quetico Provincial Park, yet he is no stranger to remote and wilderness areas. He got his start in Ontario’s Provincial Park System as a backcountry warden at Killarney Provincial Park in northern Ontario, which is smaller than Quetico…

Supporting the Protection of the Minnesota-Ontario border region and Superior National Forest including the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Quetico Provincial Park, Voyageurs National Park, La Verendrye Provincial Park, Isle Royale National Park, and Lake Superior. Published by the Quetico Superior Foundation Since 1964. More About Us >
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