Stories of Voyageurs National Park

Many stories have been told from the shorelines within Voyageurs. A wide variety of stories can be found in the park's museum collections, but a few have been provided for your enjoyment.

I.W. Steven
The Story of I.W. Stevens

Ingvald Walter Stevens was born in Vang, Valdres Norway in 1885 and immigrated to the U.S. at age 19. In 1932 he purchased a 400-acre island in what is now Voyageurs National Park. “Steve,” as he became known, lived alone year round on the island for nearly fifty years and became a symbol of self-sufficiency and independence.

I love solitude, I love the wilderness, I love the wildlife. I do not like crowds. I do not like the city, where even the snow is dirty. I like my own company. I don’t want to live if I can’t take care of myself.

He heated his cabin with wood, grew his own vegetables, ground wheat and baked his own bread, read by gaslight, hauled water from the lake, in the winter chopping through thick ice. Civilization was 16 miles by boat or four miles on skis. An Associated Press article in 1977 made him a celebrity for awhile. A prolific writer, Stevens answered letters, wrote articles for outdoor magazines and kept a daily diary. He left Namakan Lake in 1979 at the age of 94 and lived to be 104.

For photos and excerpts from I. W. Stevens' journal, read "Tales from Namakan Lake."

Last updated: April 26, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Voyageurs National Park Headquarters
360 Hwy 11 East

International Falls, MN 56649


(218) 283-6600

Contact Us