Boundary Waters Chronology

by Stephen Wilbers


The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) is a 1.1 million acre wilderness located in northeastern Minnesota. This overview of its history is presented in four versions so that you may choose according to your interests.

The long version contains all entries, the short version is a knock-down version of the long one, and the wilderness management and natural history versions contain entries specific to those topics.

Please send comments, information, and corrections to me at Thanks.

Books by Stephen Wilbers

A Boundary Waters History: Canoeing Across Time
depicts efforts to preserve a remarkable wilderness on Minnesota's
northern border while telling the story of canoeing for nearly 30 years
with his father.

Canoeing the Boundary Waters Wilderness: A Sawbill Log
continues the story of the challenges, dangers,
and rewards of wilderness canoeing.

Mining Truth

AT&T cell phone tower will scar wilderness         AT&T tower diminishes wilderness

If you would like to show your appreciation for the work that goes into compiling and updating this chronology and also demonstrate your commitment to protecting and honoring the environment, please contribute to the Ernest Oberholtzer Foundation, whose mission is "the preservation of Ober's North Woods' legacy as a source of inspiration, renewal, and connection to the natural world."

To make your tax-deductible donation, please use one of the PayPal buttons below or send a check to

             The Oberholtzer Foundation
             c/o Beth Waterhouse, Executive Director
             818 Third Avenue
             Excelsior, MN 55331





No donation is too small (or too large). Thanks so much for your interest and support.




Wilderness Management

Natural History


Please send comments, information, and corrections to me at Thanks. Stephen Wilbers

Three photographs by Craig Blacklock          Principal Sources

Click here for free daily poems and photos from nature poet John Caddy.

Home          Contents          What’s new          Presentations

Weekly error       Weekly tip       Weekly word       Column of the month       Books

“Better Writing in Six Weeks”
(weekly lessons by e-mail)

Weekly columns
(delivered to your inbox)


























Wilderness Management

Natural History




Principal Sources

Michael Furtman, Magic on the Rocks: Canoe Country Pictographs (Birch Portage Press, Duluth, 2000)

Miron "Bud" Heinselman, The Boundary Waters Wilderness Ecosystem (University of Minnesota Press, 1996)

Duane Lund, Our Historic Boundary Waters (Adventure Publications, 1980)

Joe Paddock, Keeper of the Wild: The Life of Ernest Oberholtzer (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2001)

Kevin Proescholdt, Rip Rapson, and Miron L. Heinselman, Troubled Waters: The Fight for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (North Star Press of St. Cloud, 1995)

Newell Searle, Saving Quetico-Superior, A Land Set Apart (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1977)

Jerry Stebbins & Greg Breining, Boundary Waters (Nodin Press, 1983)

Boundary Waters Journal articles by Larry Ahlman, Michael Furtman, Mary King Hoff, Patrick Karns, Helen Sue Manzo, and Jon Nelson

Friends of the Boundary Waters Timeline for Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Superior National Forest at

W. J. McCabe Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America at

Superior National Forest History at

Please send comments, information, and corrections to me at Thanks. Stephen Wilbers