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Boundary Waters Canoe Area Controversy: Primary Sources: Archives & Records


Papers Relating to the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness
(1970-1978) Contains newsletters, reports, fact sheets, maps, drafts of bills, printed material, and correspondence produced or collected by this coalition of conservation groups formed in 1976 to lobby for the preservation of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in the Superior National Forest.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Friends of the Wilderness Records.
(1917-1981) Includes correspondence, printed materials, clippings, and miscellaneous items (mainly 1949-1975) related almost entirely to the activities of its executive secretary, William H. Magie. During 1949-1954 the organization concentrated on opposing the use of aircraft and on supporting federal land acquisition in the roadless areas of the Superior National Forest Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA). Later it opposed logging, mining, and other commercial activities in the area, and supported efforts in Congress to pass a wilderness act (1957-1964), designate the BWCA as a wilderness area, and create Voyageurs National Park (1964-1971).
MNHS call number: See the finding aids in the library (P630 and ALPHA- Friends of the Wilderness).

Izaak Walton League of America, Duluth Chapter Records.
(1963-1970) Consists of correspondence, clippings, reports, booklets, financial statements, fact sheets, and promotional literature pertaining to the chapter's membership and activities, wildlife and resource management, water resources and water pollution, Superior National Forest, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Voyageurs National Park, timber wolf protection, hunting and fishing, conservation education, and the Quetico-Superior Council.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (P1008).

Ernest C. Oberholtzer Papers.
Consists of the papers (1856-198-) of a noted conservationist, explorer, and wilderness philosopher of the Rainy Lake area. He is most closely associated with the struggle to preserve the wilderness character of the border lakes region between the United States and Canada, especially as founder and an officer of the Wilderness Society. The papers focus on northern Minnesota conservation issues, particularly the creation and management of Superior National Forest, the Quetico Provincial Forest Reserve (Canada), Kabetogama State Forest, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, and Voyageurs National Park; lake levels and hydroelectric power development in the Rainy Lake watershed; and attempts to marshal support for forest reserves, natural resource conservation, and wilderness values in general among the United States and Canadian governments and public. His correspondents included many noted conservationists and public figures. The collection also includes Oberholtzer's short stories, essays, and articles; notes on photography; personal journals; detailed reports of his field investigations of flood and timber conditions; and information on International Joint Commission lake level hearings.
MNHS call number:  Digital finding aid

Sigurd F. Olson Papers.
(1920s-1989) Contains correspondence, graduate school papers, published and unpublished literary manuscripts, book drafts and publication proofs, film scripts, a bio-bibliography, maps, photographs, research notes, subject files, minutes, speeches and lecture material, schedules, newspaper and magazine clippings, reports, surveys, land use studies and proposals, newsletters, and other printed material related to the literary career and environmental advocacy of Sigurd F. Olson, one of Minnesota's leading outdoor writers and wilderness preservationists. The papers include information on Olson's involvement with various conservation organizations, particularly the National Park Service, the National Parks Association, the President's Quetico-Superior Committee, the Friends of the Wilderness, the Izaak Walton League of America, and the Wilderness Society, as well as his role in issues related to the Superior National Forest and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area are exceptionally well detailed.
MNHS call number:  Digital finding aid

Quetico-Superior Council Records.
(1906-1967) Includes the records of the council's origins, administration, programs, conservation philosophies, and efforts, and consist of correspondence, scrapbooks, publications, memoranda, reports, speeches, financial records, clippings, and other materials documenting the history of an organization established in 1928 to work for the preservation of wilderness areas in the Rainy Lake and Pigeon River watersheds of northern Minnesota and Ontario. Some of this area is now part of the Superior National Forest and Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota and Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario.
MNHS call number: Digital finding aid

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Act Litigation Files
Correspondence, legal briefs, and miscellaneous litigation files relating to a lawsuit brought by the State of Minnesota and various landowner associations against the U.S. Government, the Sierra Club, and other environmental groups regarding the 1978 Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Act.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (Snyder, Stephen J.).


Government Records

United States, Forest Service, Superior National Forest Records.
(1903-1969) Contains correspondence, reports, maps, clippings, memoranda, and federal bills and documents selected from the files of the Superior National Forest office in Duluth, documenting the forest's expansion, consolidation, management and use policies, and general history. Management Files (approximately 8 reels of microfilm) concentrate on administration of the "roadless areas" that eventually became the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, including automobile and aircraft trespass, timber cutting, road construction, establishment of primitive and wild areas, water levels, and motorized watercraft. Also included are files on regulation of international boundary waters and relations with adjoining Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (M211).

United States. President's Quetico-Superior Committee Records.
(1927-1987) Includes correspondence, minutes, printed materials, newspaper clippings, newsletters and news releases, maps, and legal files documenting the many activities of a committee established on June 30, 1934, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Executive Order No. 6783, to deal directly with U.S. government agencies in matters relating to conservation, preservation, and use of wilderness lands in northeastern Minnesota. The committee worked closely with the Quetico-Superior Council, a private organization sharing the same goals. The records also include materials produced by other closely affiliated organizations.
MNHS call number:  Digital finding aid

Oral Histories

Ernest C. Oberholtzer Oral History Interviews (1948-1968).
Oberholtzer discusses a wide range of topics and issues, including his early life, education, family and friends, work and travels. The interviews focus on his conservation work, including the establishment of the Quetico-Superior National Forest.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Oral History Interviews of the Minnesota Environmental Issues Oral History Project
This project documents Minnesotans’ ongoing concern with their environment. Efforts to conserve Minnesota’s natural resources have not occurred without controversy and the debate continues over issues such as timber wolf preservation, acid rain control, and forest management policies. The project includes interviews with individuals representing a variety of viewpoints on the conservation and utilization of natural resources.
MNHS call number: Digital Audio and Transcripts

Other Publications

BWCAW: The Recent Events that Have Shaped the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, by Mike Majeski. 
Washington, D.C. : U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service ;Saint Paul, Minn.: Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources, 1993.
MNHS call number: KF5646.B68 B833 1993

Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness Newsletter
Minneapolis, MN : Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, 2003-
MNHS call number: Periodicals Storage (Current issues)

BWCA Wilderness News
Minneapolis, Minn. : Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, 1985-2003.
MNHS call number: F614.B6 B923

Your Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Needs Help Now!, by the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness.
Duluth : The Friends, 1976.
MNHS call number: F614.A7 B847

After the Shouting Stopped: Implementation of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Act, by Kevin Proescholdt.
Minnesota : s.n., c1984.
MNHS call number: QH76.5.M6 P76 1984

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