Board member since: I’d guess I’ve been on the QSF board for 25 years.
Please tell us what your involvement with the Quetico Superior Foundation means to you: I think it is important to protect the few remaining places that are still relatively untouched. I appreciate being on the QSF board because I can be involved in that process. Through our grants and mission we help preserve the wilderness areas in the Quetico-Superior region and through our newsletter we can educate folks on that specific area and broader environmental issues.
What other ways have you been active in the Quetico-Superior region? I am a paddler. I take 10-12 day trips and have spent over 400 days in Quetico Provincial Park over some 30 years. We started taking teenagers—our kids, nieces, nephews, and their friends—and over the years I have exposed dozens of people (mostly teenagers) to Quetico. They are our ambassadors of tomorrow who will carry on the mission of protecting this unique area. Through actual experience on extended trips people gain an appreciation for the area and the concept of wilderness that cannot be learned any other way. I am also involved with Wilderness Inquiry, a wonderful organization that exposes people from all walks of life, many with disabilities, to wilderness adventures including the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) and Quetico.
What is the most pressing issue you see in the region today? Today it is the mining issue with the environmental effects of sulfides affecting water quality in the BWCAW/Quetico region. The comic strip character Pogo said, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” People want to live and work in this wonderful area but therein lies the risk of spoiling it for future generations. It is a constant balancing act for the Quetico-Superior region in the 21st Century.
What’s one of your favorite memories from the Quetico-Superior region? I have never had a bad day in Quetico. My favorite memories are watching teenagers change during a 12-day canoe trip. A wonderful relationship/communication develops during a long trip without cellphones, TV and the “distractions” of modern life. It is rewarding to watch teenagers gain self-confidence from that timid first day to thinking they can do anything on the last! I have been lucky to have great canoeing partners, and to have made friends at Prairie Portage and Ely. Fishing, shore lunches, blueberry pies, head winds on Agnes, cooking over wood fires, sleeping under the stars on fall trips, the sound of rain on the tent during an afternoon nap, Ely Steam Bath….the list of good memories doesn’t end.
What’s your favorite area in the Quetico-Superior region? It is all terrific, but nothing beats Kawnipi.
This article appeared in the Summer 2013 edition of Wilderness News >