Remembering Wilderness Hero Bud Heinselman

Wilderness advocate, Bud Heinselman, via Friends-bwca.org

Chuck Dayton wrote recently in a tribute to Miron “Bud” Heinselman, for the Friends of the Boundary Waters:

“People who visit the Boundary Waters are quick to realize that this is a truly unique place. The maze of lakes, portages, and vistas are like nowhere else. Bud knew this, and he knew that protecting this area was a national issue and ought to concern all of the American people.”

“Bud is one of our greatest and least recognized heroes. A giant figure in the battle for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, he was also the founder of modern fire ecology in North America, and his research into the role of fire in the boreal forests still form the foundation wilderness fire management in both the United States and Canada. It’s hard to imagine it, but there are many scenarios in which history would have turned out differently. It is safe to say that without Bud’s dedication, and the dedication he inspired in others, we would not have the Wilderness we enjoy today…”

“Week after week, he trod through the halls of the U.S. Capitol, carrying his tubes stuffed with maps and laying out the case for granting full wilderness protection for the BWCA…”

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area was not always designated as ‘wilderness’ and Bud worked for the U.S. Forest Service during a critical time, when commercial logging was allowed, and motorized travel was debated in canoe country. His research and his voice was instrumental in the 1978 passage of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Act, and his book The Boundary Waters Wilderness Ecosystem is a comprehensive guide to the geology, biology, and ecology of the region.

The University of Minnesota Center keeps a digital archive of maps and research by Miron Heinselman here.

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