Along the forested northern border of Minnesota stretches glaciated lake country, including what is recognized as the finest canoe waters in America. For 300 miles west from Pigeon Point on Lake Superior to the Northwest Angle lies part of the famous Voyageurs Route from Montreal in Quebec to the hinterlands of the far Northwest 3,000 miles away. Here is not only an important segment of North America's first transcontinental highway, but the only significant part falling within the United States.
Two hundred miles of this route are administered by the U.S. Forest Service as the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of the Superior National Forest on the Minnesota side of the border, and by Quetico Provincial Park of Ontario on the Canadian side, the two adjacent areas giving the region its name, the Quetico-Superior. Through Provincial and United States regulations the wilderness character of this part of the border is being preserved.
This report is concerned with that part of the Voyageurs Highway lying immediately to the west of the Quetico-Superior area and east of International Falls. The preservation of this superlative area, so vital a part of the border lake country and its historic past, must be considered and planned for before the opportunity is lost. Here is a great opportunity and challenge to further the protective pattern for the Voyageurs Route and preserve for the public a region of great scenic, natural, and historic significance to the nation, and, at the same time, complement and strengthen what has already been done, and, through such additional recognition, perhaps stimulate further protection on the Canadian side of the border.
The interest of the National Park Service in this Minnesota border country was stimulated from several different directions with a background extending over a number of years. In 1956, the Minnesota Department of Conservation requested the Park Service to make a study of the Northwest Angle area. Subsequently the Department joined the National Park Service in making a statewide recreation survey, at which time special attention was given to the border lake country. More recently, the State specifically asked the Service to study the area east of International Falls to determine its potential for preservation within the National Park System. Field studies were made during the summer of 1962 jointly with representatives of the State and the U.S. Forest Service. Discussions were also held with some local people, including representatives of the Minnesota and Ontario Paper Company, a major landowner.
Last Updated: 03-Feb-2009