Voyageurs National Park

Special History:
The Environment and the Fur Trade Experience in
Voyageurs National Park, 1730-1870

Canoe Party around Campfire
Canoe Party around Campfire.
Frances Anne Hopkins, artist.
(Courtesy of National Archives of Canada)

Chapter Four
The Natural Environment in the Fur Trade Era

Voyageurs National Park was established for the purpose of preserving "the outstanding scenery, geological conditions, and waterway system which constituted a part of the historic route of the Voyageurs who contributed significantly to the opening of the Northwestern United States." Pursuant to this congressional mandate, the National Park Service manages the natural resources in Voyageurs National Park with the goal of approximating as nearly as possible the natural conditions that prevailed during the fur trade era. Natural resource managers have acquired data on past natural conditions from various sources including studies of pollen and charcoal layers found in lakebed sediments, faunal bone counts recovered from archeological sites, and limited use of historical documents. No systematic study of historical sources has heretofore been done. The purpose of this chapter is to familiarize natural resource managers with the breadth and depth of information about the environment that can be gleaned from historical documents. The chapter addresses four topics: climate, flora, fauna, and fisheries.

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Table of Contents | Introduction | Rainy Lake Region | Fur Trade Experience | Material Culture | Natural Environment | Bibliography
Last Updated: 01-Oct-2001