Voyageurs National Park: The Battle to Create Minnesota's National Park

Voyageurs National Park: The Battle to Create Minnesota's National Park

Voyageurs National Park: The Battle to Create Minnesota's National Park

Voyageurs National Park: The Battle to Create Minnesota's National Park


"When President Nixon signed the legislation authorizing the establishment of Voyageurs National Park on January 8, 1971, almost eighty years had passed since Minnesota's government initially petitioned to create a national park in the northern portion of the state." "Voyageurs National Park chronicles the complex legal and political campaign to found Minnesota's only national park. Concentrating on the period from 1962 to 1975, Witzig identifies and explains the central issues surrounding the campaign, including land acquisition policy, local concerns and opposition to the park, interagency conflict over U.S. forest lands, antifederal attitudes in northeastern Minnesota, and the overstated case for the economic benefits a national park would bring. Witzig covers the dispute over the inclusion of Crane Lake in the park and focuses on the many individuals and groups who were instrumental in the establishment of Voyageurs National Park, such as Governor Elmer L. Andersen, John A. Blatnik, Sigurd F. Olson, and Rita Shemesh." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


Elmer L. Andersen

August 22, 1987, was a bright day at Voyageurs National Park. the sun was glancing off the ripples of Rainy Lake, making it a sea of diamonds. a large crowd in a festive mood had gathered for the dedication of Rainy Lake Visitor Center, the first visitor center in Voyageurs National Park, equipped so completely that a family could come without gear of any kind and have a Voyageurs Park experience. in addition to the visitor center, there was a dock and launches to take people out onto the water for a cruise around the islands, so they could get a real feeling for Voyageurs Park.

Fred Witzig has done a wonderful job capturing the story behind that accomplishment. It started in 1962 when a few people, including National Park Service director Conrad Wirth, son of Theodore Wirth of Minneapolis park-planning fame, toured the area. Those people decided that day that the area justified study for national park status. Twenty-five years later, in 1987, the job was complete: twenty years of planning, land exchange, state legislation, and other preparation to convince Congress to authorize and establish the park, and then five more years for the appropriation to outfit the park so it was ready to receive visitors.

Fred Witzig was in at the beginning. He must have kept careful notes because he has rendered a splendid service in recording things as they happened, in the way they happened, and with the cast of characters who caused them to happen. As I read the manuscript of his fine book, I kept wondering if he would mention this event or that event, and he always did; I wondered if he would give adequate recognition to this . . .

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