The Singing Wilderness

Photo: Layne Kennedy

Photo: Layne Kennedy

The Singing Wilderness

Few had a greater impact on the protection of wild places in the 20th century than Ely, Minn.-based writer and naturalist Sigurd Olson (1899-1982). His 1956 collection of sage and lyrical stories, The Singing Wilderness, immortalized the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) and Canada’s Quetico regions. Olson fell in love with Minnesota lake country as a canoe guide and avid angler in the 1930s and ‘40s, seeking out hidden waters to explore and call his own. Later, when recreational canoe tripping was in its infancy in the 1950s and ‘60s, Olson pioneered bold routes in northern Canada. But all along, this Border Country remained closest to his heart, a sentiment shared by thousands of canoeists today. —CM

Redux route: With more than 2,000 lakes and 1,200 miles of canoe routes, it’s easy to see how paddlers like Olson have filled lifetimes exploring the BWCA and Quetico. Olson’s favorite lake was Saganaga, a sprawling, island-pocked body of water along the historic voyageur route tracing the current Canada-U.S. border. It’s accessed via the Gunflint highway in northern Minnesota. From Saganaga the options are endless: Head west, following Ottertrack and Knife lakes to the big waters of Basswood Lake and Lac La Croix, or clear customs and venture north into the quieter lakes of Quetico. (Info, guided trips: canoeit.com)

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  • mohammad

    oh, i see ,so nice

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