In wilderness settings, there are connections people can make to the land, regardless of their age, race or gender, by walking in the footsteps of those who have come before them.
With this in mind, a group of Minnesota paddlers set out in the fall of 2020 to travel across the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to retrace the steps of a wilderness pioneer named Arthur Carhart. Their journey took them across abandoned portages, streams plugged by beaver dams and through remote territory inside the nation’s most visited wilderness area.
Carhart made his journey to the Boundary Waters in 1921. Though a century has passed since his expedition, there were generations of people who lived in this landscape that is now defined as a ‘wilderness area.’ The Indigenous communities were here long before white voyageurs and government officials put their canoes on this countless collection of lakes, streams and pathways through the Boundary Waters.
In this episode of the MinneCulture Podcast, producer Joe Friedrichs takes a look at what the term ‘wilderness’ means in the past, present and future of the Boundary Waters.
Support for MinneCulture on KFAI comes from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Support also comes from the Hennepin History Museum.