Voyageurs National Park
Voyageurs National Park is located in the state of Minnesota in the United States. The park contains 218,200 acres of land ancient Native Americans. The first explorers of European descent arrived in the area in 1688. These were French fur traders and explores, known as voyageurs, the people for which the park was named. Logging began in 1880’s and 1890’s and was such a lucrative and uncontrolled industry that the forests there no longer contain abundant adult trees. Gold mining also brought in many citizens, especially on a small island on Rainy Lake now known as Little American Island. Many people settled in the area before the establishment of the park, which occurred in 1975. At this time, the park contained 12 resorts, 120 privately owned vacation homes, and 97 rental cabins. Many residents sold their homes and land to the national park, with some leaving at the time and others remaining in their homes by signing a contract. The park is still undergoing development in these areas.
Voyageurs National Park is comprised mainly of Kabetogama Peninsula, but also holds bodies of water including Rainy Lake, Sand Point Lake, Kabetogama Lake, and Namakan Lake. The park is bordered by three of these lakes along the Canada and United States borders and by the Crane Lake shore in the south.
Voyageurs National Park can only be accessed by boat and it is closest to the city of International Falls, Minnesota. The area around the park holds many visitor centers, including Rainy Lake Visitor Center, which is open year round, and Ash River Visitor Center, which occurs in the southern portion of the park, and numerous boat ramps. Visitors can use motorboats, canoes, and kayaks to travel through the park, but must use the marked channels within the water in order to remain safe. Visitors must also remain vigilant in order to avoid the dangerous rocks that occur under the surface of the water, of which less than ten percent are marked. Visitors can partake in other activities including hiking, fishing, or camping in one of the 175 campgrounds in the park. Most of the campgrounds require permits, but some public campgrounds are located along the edges of the park. Voyageurs National Park offers many winter activities including ice fishing, winter camping, cross-country skiing, snowshoe hiking, and snowmobiling. Snowmobiling is one of the most popular winter activities, but visitors must be careful around bodies of water and their borders. There are many “place of interest” within the park including the Kettle Falls Hotel, Rainy Lake City, Moose River Indian Village, and Grassy Bay.
Image Caption: Lakeside cliffs at Grassy Bay in Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota, U.S. Credit: Ed Lombard/Wikipedia