• Voyageurs NP Winter Black Bay Frozen Beaver Pond


    National Park Minnesota

Nature & Science

Overlooking a beaver pond.

Voyageurs National Park is a mosaic of land and water, a place of interconnected waterways that flow west, and eventually north as part of the arctic watershed of Hudson's Bay. It's a place of transition, between upland and aquatic ecosystems, southern boreal and northern hardwoods forest types, and both wild and developed areas.

Here in the heart of the continent lies a unique landscape formed by earthquakes, volcanic activity and mountain building. The most recent period of glaciation ended just over 10,000 years ago, exposing ancient Precambrian rocks. The forests that now drape the upland portions of the park exist on a thin layer of soil that has formed in the comparatively short period of time since the last glacier receded.

This ecosystem has been affected and altered by fire, wind, logging, changes in population of plant-eating animals, non-native species encroachment, and climate change but it still retains a diversity of plants and animals.

The topsoil deposited and changes that have occurred, allow life to thrive here. The flora of the park is outstanding and is host to an array of wildflowers including a variety of orchids, ferns, shrubs, and an abundance of blueberries, to name a few.

While many of the trees one sees today are secondary growth (due to years of logging) they are majestic in their own right and supplied the Ojibwe Indians with many of their basic needs. While hiking the park's trails one can view the flora in-depth and get spectacular views found nowhere else but in the heart of the park.

One commonly forgotten beauty of the park (that is until one arrives here) is the park's night sky. Voyageurs is where the Aurora Borealis glows brightly and brilliantly and constellations can be seen year round. Voyageurs' scenery is another reason the park was established.


Did You Know?

An immature bald eagle perches on a branch on its former nesting tree.

Voyageurs National Park experienced a large, lightning-ignited fire on the Kabetogama Peninsula in 2004. This young eagle survived the fire and returned to its former nesting tree in time for park researchers to take this photo!