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Publication Information

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Title: Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness - A long history of management guided by science

Author: Cole, David;

Date: 2016

Source: Journal of Forestry. 114(3): 363-364.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) in northern Minnesota is one of the most iconic and cherished wilderness areas in the United States. One of the original wilderness areas established in 1964, the BWCAW protects a glaciated landscape of about 1,175 lakes, connected by several hundred miles of streams. Located adjacent to Canada's Quetico Provincial Park (also managed as wilderness), the two areas form a transboundary wilderness of about 2 million acres. Among the most heavily used wilderness areas in the United States (Cole 1996), most travel is by canoe, although motorized boating is allowed on a few lakes, and some hiking occurs. One of the unique things about the BWCAW - and something few people are aware of - is that more pioneering wilderness science has been conducted there than anywhere else in the United States. The purpose of this case study is to describe the role the BWCAW played in the early development of wilderness science and to show how some of the science conducted there has contributed to good wilderness stewardship.

Keywords: wilderness, wilderness management, visitor use, wilderness stewardship

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Cole, David. 2016. Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness - A long history of management guided by science. Journal of Forestry. 114(3): 363-364.


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