It’s the 100th anniversary of Quetico Provincial Park this year, but 2009 is also the 25th birthday for the Friends of Quetico Park, an organization whose objective is “the preservation of Quetico Provincial Park as a unique wilderness area.”
The Atikokan Progress recently published THIS comprehensive story about the history of the organization born in 1984. As Jessica Smith reports, the nature of the organization has evolved over the decades. Originated primarily as a citizen-based educational and promotional arm for the park, over time, however, the Friends of Quetico Park found itself paddling into more political waters.
In the early 1990s, the Friends of Quetico Park opposed an amendment to the park’s management plan that permitted the Lac la Croix First Nation to operate airplanes and motorboats on ten lakes in the western third of the park on a rotating basis. The Friends of Quetico Park allied with the Canada-based Quetico Foundation [not to be confused with the Quetico Superior Foundation] and the U.S.-based Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness to oppose the plan, which was ultimately adopted.
In a return to its less issue-oriented early history, the Friends of Quetico Park in 2004 signed an agreement with Ontario Parks saying that the two entities would not take public stands against one another. The focus of the roughly 300-member organization is now more focused on Quetico and Atitkokan-area tourism development.