Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

Voyageurs National Park

The Battle to Create Minnesota’s National Park

2004
Author:

Fred T. Witzig
Foreword by Elmer L. Andersen

Voyageurs National Park

A chronicle of the legislative process that made Voyageurs National Park a reality

Voyageurs National Park chronicles the complex legal and political campaign to found Minnesota’s only national park. Fred Witzig’s thoroughly documented and referenced research allows him to offer a detailed view of the unanticipated disappointments and defining moments of achievement that accompanied this complicated legislative battle, and focus on the individuals and groups who were instrumental in its establishment.

Fred Witzig does a wonderful job of showing the twists and turns of the legislative process: the frustrating moments, and the joy when countless hours of hard work pay off.

David Backes, author of A Wilderness Within: The Life of Sigurd F. Olson

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. Witzig’s thoroughly documented and referenced research allows him to offer a detailed view of the unanticipated disappointments and defining moments of achievement that accompanied this complicated legislative battle. 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.


Voyageurs National Park

Fred T. Witzig is professor emeritus of geography at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.

Voyageurs National Park

This conscientiously detailed legislative history reveals the long struggle from 1962 until 1974 to create Minnesota’s national park. This book offers a useful and detailed look at the creation of a single park that environmental historians of parks can use for both its unique regional aspects as well as its broader representative qualities.

Environmental History

Fred Witzig offers in this book a first-rate analysis of the long campaign to establish Voyageurs National Park, which stretches from Rainy Lake on its western side to Crane Lake. This book will make a fine contribution to the literature on national park history in the United States. Witzig’s tightly written treatment is mindful of the various interest groups in Minnesota both in favor of and against the park.

Minnesota History

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.

Wilderness News

Fred Witzig does a wonderful job of showing the twists and turns of the legislative process: the frustrating moments, and the joy when countless hours of hard work pay off.

David Backes, author of A Wilderness Within: The Life of Sigurd F. Olson

Voyageurs National Park

Contents

Foreword Elmer L. Andersen
Preface
Acknowledgments

Introduction

ONE The National Park Service in Northeastern Minnesota: The Early Years
TWO Developing a Proposal for Voyageurs National Park
THREE Delay and Frustration
FOUR Progress on Voyageurs Stalled
FIVE State Administration Leads National Park Cause
SIX The Introduction of Voyageurs National Park Legislation
SEVEN The Reintroduction of Park Legislation
EIGHT Deadlocks and Bottlenecks
NINE Congressional Hearings
TEN Final Passage
ELEVEN The Final Step to Establishment: Land Donation and the State Legislature
TWELVE The Four Years to Establishment

Epilogue

Appendix A. Voyageurs National Park Legislation
Appendix B. Legislative Chronology for Voyageurs National Park, 1891-2001

Notes
Bibliography

Index