Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Vacation at Voyageurs National Park

Voyageurs National Park lies on the US border with Ontario in northern Minnesota. The site is immediately west of Superior National Forest. The topography of the region is diverse with rolling hills interspersed between bogs, beaver ponds, swamps, islands, small lakes and large lakes.

Geologically speaking, the park lies in the southern part of the Canadian Shield, encompassing some of the oldest exposed rock formations in the world. This bedrock has been shaped and carved by at least four periods of glaciation. In the years since the last glaciation, a thin layer of soil has been created which supports the boreal forest ecosystem, the "North Woods" of Voyageurs National Park.

This land is rich in human history. Named for the Voyageurs , French-Canadian canoe-men who traveled these waters in their birch-bark canoes from the Great Lakes to the interior of the western United States and Canada. Modern voyageurs continue to ply these waters. The water, accompanying scenery, geology and rich cultural and natural resources that give Voyageurs its national significance, significance that merits its protection for the enjoyment of present and future generations.

This park with its varied terrain supports many outdoor opportunities throughout the year. An excellent way to find out how to spend you time in this vast region is to begin at the visitor center. A 15-minute film and interpretive exhibits provide an overview of the park's natural and cultural resources.

Summer time brings hikers, boaters, anglers and swimmers to the park. There are several trails for hiking with and without water access within the park. Boating and fishing are the most common recreational uses of the park. Known as some of the best walleye and bass water in the nation, the lakes attracted sport anglers long before the park was established. A Minnesota fishing license is required and Minnesota boating regulations apply. We hired a fishing guide, Frank House, who was born and raised in the Lake Kabetogama area of the park. I would highly
recommend getting a guide for at least one day of you r visit. They are well worth the money.

Voyageurs National Park provides, free of charge, canoes and/or rowboats on the following interior lakes of the Kabetogama Peninsula: Locator, Quill, Ek, Cruiser, Brown, Perry, Little Shoepack and Shoepack. Boats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations to use these boats can be made one week in advance at the visitor centers. The trails leading to these interior lake boats are accessible only by water; water taxi service can be arranged for visitors without transportation to these trailheads. The lakes of Voyageurs National Park are large enough to support canoe and kayak trips varying in length from day-trips to over a week. The Kabetogama Peninsula can be circumnavigated in approximately one week.

Individuals interested in camping will enjoy the varying opportunities available at this site. There are 210 water accessible campsites distributed throughout the park designed for either tent camping or houseboats. Designated tent sites have a mooring aid, tent pad or level area, fire ring, privy, picnic table and bear-proof food-storage locker. Houseboat sites include two mooring aids and a fire ring. There are currently no fees, permits, or reservation requirements; camping is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Because of the long winter season many visitors come to Voyagers to take advantage of 110 miles of developed snowmobile trails. These trails cross the frozen surfaces of the four large lakes in the park. These groomed and marked trails have portages around areas of thin ice and connect with the regional trail system outside the park. In addition to these trails, the one-way, ungroomed, Chain of Lakes Snowmobile Trail twists and turns through the backcountry of the Kabetogama Peninsula.

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are great ways to see the backcountry during the long winter. The Black Bay Ski Trail and Echo Bay Ski Trail are groomed and marked for winter travel. Snowshoe Trails traverse through Blind Ash Bay and Sullivan Bay and include Oberholtzer Trail.

Northern Minnesota has a cool climate with short warm summers followed by long winters. Average summer highs range from 60 degrees F to 80 degrees F. Winter highs range from 10 degrees F to 30 degrees F. Annual precipitation averages 28 inches. We have been to Voyageurs National Park the first week of July on a number of occasions (usually we are there for the 4th of July) and have had weather ranging from near 100 to days never getting over 55 so bring plenty of clothes even in July and August.

The park lies on the northern edge of Minnesota's border. Fifty-five miles of the park meanders along the Canadian border with Ontario. Voyageurs is about 15 miles east of International Falls, Minnesota, and 300 miles north of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota.

A boat, either your own or a rental, is needed to see this park properly. Kettle Falls Hotel is a must see.

LAT: 48.5001857
LONG: -92.8334833

1 comment:

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