What Climate Change Means for the Boundary Waters, Birds in the Border Country – Wilderness News Summer 2016


Climate Change in the Northwoods Part II:
What Climate Change Means for the Boundary Waters Region

By Alissa Johnson

wnews-sum16-1In the last issue of Wilderness News, we learned about Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy, which is reframing the way that people talk about the issue of climate change, incorporating not only the science but the potential solutions. In this issue, we learn about some of the ways that climate change is expected to affect the Boundary Waters region.

While there are still those who deny climate change, scientists from all types of institutions—from universities to state agencies—have been working to understand the effects of climate change in the Boundary Waters region. There are still many unknowns, but from their work, one thing is becoming clear: the central question is no longer if change will occur but to what degree. Changes are being seen in temperature, precipitation, and plant species, and changing climate conditions are also placing stressors on animal populations. Over the next several decades, the boreal forest so iconic to the northwoods could significantly change. Read More >


Status Report: Border Country Birds

By Greg Seitz

wnews-sum16-2The loon’s famous song, echoing across wilderness lakes, makes solitude audible. It simply sounds like wilderness. The solitary birds are living emblems of the Quetico-Superior Region—along with white pines, wild rice, and moose. 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. Most birds live in the region during the short summer when it bursts with solar energy, staying only long enough to nest, raise chicks, and bulk up to fly far to the south in the fall. “It pays to undergo this long-distance migration to get to a place where there’s a massive abundance of food for a short seasonal time,” says Dr. Muir Eaton, an ornithologist with Drake University and the University of Minnesota’s Itasca Research Station. Read More >


Three Decades of Superior Hiking

By Greg Seitz

wnews-sum16-3This 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. Read More >


Climate Change and the Disassembly of the North Woods

wnews-sum16-4In an excerpt from John Pastor’s new book, What Should a Clever Moose Eat? Natural History, Ecology, and the North Woods, the author examines the impact of climate change on the North Woods and the personal responsibility that comes with it. Read More >






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