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The Boundary Waters region is a vast wilderness of quiet beauty, stretching 115 miles along the border of Minnesota and Ontario north of Lake Superior. It is visited by more than 200,000 people each year and has become a favorite destination of nature lovers everywhere. The Boundary Waters Wilderness Ecosystem is the first comprehensive guide to the geology, biology, and ecology of this unspoiled and fascinating area.
The wilderness of the Boundary Waters contains the largest uninterrupted areas of virgin forest remaining in the eastern United States. Its ecosystem is remarkably intact, and includes many mammals, fish, and birds that are absent, rare, or endangered elsewhere in the lower 48 states. In The Boundary Waters Wilderness Ecosystem, Miron Heinselman provides an accurate and detailed source of information about the history, landscape, climate, forests, and wildlife of this region, as well as a reliable, useful guide to locating and understanding natural features and historic sites.
Among the topics discussed are the origins of the lakes and landforms, forest communities, early human history, logging activity, the role of mammals and birds in the ecosystem, the effect of visitors, and the future of the area. Heinselman has mapped all the forest stands and uncut portions of the Boundary Waters area, and includes a fascinating discussion of the integral role played by fire in this ecosystem. Two sixteen-page color sections contain 62 photographs of the many natural features to be found.
Miron (Bud) Heinselman (1920-1993) spent his life studying and raising awareness about the Boundary Waters area. He was a forest ecologist with the North Central Forest Experiment Station of the U.S. Forest Service from 1948 until 1974. Upon his retirement he changed his focus to wilderness advocacy, serving as chairperson of the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, and was a central figure in the movement to protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness from logging, mining, and mechanized recreational activities.
"The Boundary Waters are for paddlers, stargazers, and seekers of silence. Bud Heinselman was all of those. But for most of his professional life, the Boundary Waters were his ecologist's laboratory. His book is a fascinating harvest of decades of explorations into how their waters and forests came to be, how they were abused, and how they are still vulnerable. It's also his requiem to thousands of days in which he fought to preserve those waters. He doesn't talk about that, but those who were with him in the struggle will remember."
– Jim Klobuchar, author of Heroes Among Us
"Bud Heinselman has translated his knowledge and love of the outdoors and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness into one of the most comprehensive descriptions of a wilderness ecosystem I have ever seen. [...] What a wealth of information about the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness written by one of the most dedicated ecologists and outdoorsmen I have ever known. The book is a model description and history of a wilderness ecosystem that I doubt will be surpassed. [...] Only a person with Bud Heinselman's professional experience and total dedication could have written this magnificent history and characterization of his beloved Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. What a tribute!"
– L. David Mech
"The boundary Waters represents the largest virgin forest in the eastern U.S. and Heinselman's studies of the role of natural fire and forest dynamics in this unique ecosystem have become classics in ecology. In The Boundary Waters Wilderness Ecosystem Heinselman's unsurpassed knowledge of the BWCAW and his passion to preserve and share it with others come through clearly in each chapter."
– David R. Foster
"This splendid book truly culminates a life devoted to understanding Minnesota's Boundary Waters Wilderness [...] His is a clear, well-written account of all aspects of the area's ecology: climate; plant and animal communities, both terrestrial and acquatic; pre- and postsettlement human influences; and future management [...] An indispensable work for serious students of the area."
"If you are one of the 200,000 visitors who journey each year to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, you are sure to find something in this book that will enhance your appreciation of the area [...] You can find the answer to almost any question about the BWCAW in the late Miron "Bud" Heinselman's recently released The Boundary Waters Wilderness Ecosystem."
– The Minnesota Volunteer