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jonoester  
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01/16/2011 10:16AM
 
I was reading a post about how a member had found two cabins inside of the BWCA. I was just wondering if anyone else has ran across them? Where at?

I understand if you would not wish to divulge the information, because you fear of people ruining them.

Jon


Dripping in sweat, throwing up from food poisoning in the BWCA.. are we having fun yet? Hell yes!
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rlhedlund  
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01/16/2011 10:33AM
 
Think there is a ranger cabin on south side of Little Sag???


Life is Good, Living is Better. Everlasting Life is Best! Pray for Us Amok.
mr.barley  
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01/16/2011 11:02AM
 
I have come across remains of old trapper cabins, but nothing that was an intact cabin. Could these be ranger cabins?


Of all the things I've lost in my life I think I miss my mind the most
Savage Voyageur  
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01/16/2011 11:55AM
 
Not abandoned but there is a cabin that is used by the Forest Service on Insula. I think that it is a working cabin. A very small part of the lake just East of Stingray Island on the south end is part of the Superior Forrest and Insula Forrest land.


There also is an abandoned outhouse and shed on the of Kelso Mtn. Old lookout tower.


I have seen many of the building footings and fireplace footings where there used to be cabins.


I will be going to where the Root Beer Lady's/ Dorothy Molter's was in June.


"So many lakes, so little time."
mr.barley  
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01/16/2011 12:12PM
 
Ranger cabin on Little Sag.


Of all the things I've lost in my life I think I miss my mind the most
254Bow  
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01/16/2011 12:35PM
 
Seem to recollect a small, dilapidated cabin south out of Gillis into the lake just south, which escapes me now. Maybe Crooked? Always wondered about its origins.


Warrior mind, Warrior heart.
mr.barley  
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01/16/2011 12:51PM
 
It's along the portage between Gillis and Crooked


Of all the things I've lost in my life I think I miss my mind the most
Chilly  
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01/16/2011 01:14PM
 
There is an unbuilt cabin kit that was air dropped in and is sitting on pallets NW of Baskatong Lake. The receipt was from a place in Wisconsin and all the hinges and screws were there too.


"Now days these kids take out everything: radar, sonar, electric toothbrushs" Quint
kanoes  
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01/16/2011 01:35PM
 
quote Chilly: "There is an unbuilt cabin kit that was air dropped in and is sitting on pallets NW of Baskatong Lake. The receipt was from a place in Wisconsin and all the hinges and screws were there too. "
did you start on it?


bigfoot is blurry...
n8ville  
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01/16/2011 01:41PM
 
there is a cabin..ranger cabin i believe in the bay just below lower basswood falls.


"Anything worth doing, is worth doing right" -Hunter S. Thompson
missmolly  
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01/16/2011 03:02PM
 
I mentioned the cabins in another thread, but they were north of the BWCA. One was north of Chapleau. Three were northeast of Kenora. My sense is that trappers' cabins are pretty common outside of the BWCA, but from this thread, it seems that are a few in the BWCA too!


"The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine
mooseplums  
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01/16/2011 06:06PM
 
There used to be a trappers cabin near the mouth of the Boulder River. Sig Olson mentioned it in one of his books. So from the vague description he gave of it's location, I went looking for it, and found what remains of it, and there wasn't much. Just 3 horizontal logs with long spikes nailing them together, mostly buried, and once again becoming part of the forest floor.


We also found the remains of an old cabin on Tanner Lake in the Q.


"I am haunted by waters"~Norman Maclean "A River Runs Through It"
mocha  
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01/16/2011 07:17PM
 
white otter castle on white otter lake, ontario canada (photo March 1990). it's probably more common to find abandoned cabins in wilderness areas that don't have the strict rules like the usfs.


Jim McQuat, the builder
arctic  
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01/16/2011 07:30PM
 
There used to be quite a few outpost cabins in Quetico, but these were abandoned over the years, especially when air travel became widespread and reliable. Some of these were dismantled, and many burned during the big fire year of 1936.


Outside of the parks there are countless old trappers cabins scattered throughout the North, all the way up to the Barrenlands. Some are still used in winter, but most are in various stages of decay.
kanoes  
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01/16/2011 07:33PM
 
there is a nice chapter in callans "quetico and beyond" about that....white otter castle.


bigfoot is blurry...
bruceye  
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01/16/2011 08:05PM
 
There was one on an island about half way up Fraser that was privately owned till the 40's. USFS torched it about 15 years ago along with most of the island.


Bruceye
Kevlar  
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01/16/2011 08:27PM
 
Bruceye, that cabin on Fraser was there in about 1980. I talked to an older man there who said the owner had been a young man when he had to choose whether to sell the cabin to the F.S. or keep it and never be able to sell it or pass it on (when he would die, it would become F.S. property). He kept it and used it winter and summer for another 30 years or so. The F.S. would let him bring a snowmobile in in the winter, and a motor on his canoe in the summer. After the owner died the FS gave the family time to take anything they wanted, took all the metal stuff out, and then burned it.


Other cabins: another private cabin on an island in Knife Lake, gone since about 1995. The ruins already mentioned on the Gillis portage.
Ranger cabins on Little Sag, SW side of the lake, on LLC south and east of Tiger Bay, still in use (with a great old boathouse from back when the FS could have boats). Lower Basswood Falls had a cabin (Furtman stayed in it one summer and wrote a book about it) but that cabin burned, probably arson. A FS cabin on Kekakabic that was restored and used by a husband and wife ranger team, and they got it put on the Nat. Reg. of Hist. Places! That site lost most of its trees during the 99 storm. There is also a cabin just outside BW with easy access to Wood Lake. I know of another cabin still in use in the west end of the BW, probably with the very quiet permission of the FS...perhaps some arrangement made when buying other property from the owners back in about 1975.


I have seen over a dozen cabin ruins or cabin sites in the Q, probably all old trapper cabins. The trapper cabins almost all were on the north side of the lake, facing south to get as much winter sun as possible. You can often find bed springs from a bunkbed, and broken pieces of an old stove.


In the BW there were many resorts and private cabins that were bought out and burned. Often you can identify the site by the lack of bigger trees, just bushes, in an area the size of a small yard. They are often on a slope, near the water...the cabin must have been on stilts on the front side. If you go up and walk around the back side of the area, you can sometimes find a hole with old junk in it (I hope it isn't the latrine!).
arctic  
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01/16/2011 08:47PM
 
I remember camping by that cabin one winter many years ago. Must have been a great place to hang out on a cold winter's night.
Amok  
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01/16/2011 09:42PM
 
I was under the opinion that our USFS tends to dismantle/destroy/burn the old cabins once the owners die, and the lands are 'passed on' to Government ownership.


Under this assumption, there will be very few unused, old, abandoned buildings in the BW.


I do not know what the Canadians do to these types of buildings.


Trust, but verify. The Lord will provide !!!!
DTrain  
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01/17/2011 12:06AM
 
Here is a video that provides more color on the Frasier island cabin. The stuff about the cabin and the owner's story starts at about 13 minutes in.


BWCA Video
wetcanoedog  
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01/17/2011 11:45AM
 
for the best info on cabins in the Q read Quetico an illustrated history by Shirley Peruniak.they had a lot of cabins that the rangers wintered over in to keep the poachers out.when they went to the use of aircraft most of the cabins were burned--to keep "wandering tourists" from using them.by the way the first winter patrol by the game wardens was in 1909 and they used tents.


it's just a level trail thru the woods.
timatkn  
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01/17/2011 12:06PM
 
quote n8ville: "there is a cabin..ranger cabin i believe in the bay just below lower basswood falls."


Actually it is boathouse used by the FS for storage tucked back by Lower Basswood Falls. You have to go back in the bay to see it. I bet many people miss it in their hurry. If you hike back in the woods you can find the foundation of the old Ranger Cabin that was located at Lower Basswood Falls. Furtman writes about in one of his books. He stayed a few summers in that cabin working for the FS.


If you look around on Fraser you can find some logging relics and a fireplace.


Zupps resort used to be near Curtain Falls. You can find some foundations, dumps, and tiling if you look. It is amazing how the forest reclaims some areas.


T
mooseplums  
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01/17/2011 02:10PM
 
quote bruceye: "There was one on an island about half way up Fraser that was privately owned till the 40's. USFS torched it about 15 years ago along with most of the island."


In an earlier printing of the Beymer book, "The Western Region", he mentions the cabin on Fraser, and warned that if you hear the drone of a small outboard, not to panic, it was a resident of an island on Fraser Lake, one of the few allowed to live in the BWCA...I believe that was as current as the late 70's early 80's


"I am haunted by waters"~Norman Maclean "A River Runs Through It"
arctic  
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01/17/2011 08:25PM
 
My impression is that no one lived there, but it was a recreational cabin for a long time.
mooseplums  
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01/17/2011 10:04PM
 
All that is left now is a plaque bearing the guys name, and a set of concrete steps. I stopped there a few years ago.


"I am haunted by waters"~Norman Maclean "A River Runs Through It"
cowdoc  
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01/17/2011 10:17PM
 
Not BW, but I stumbled over this one while Elk hunting in the Flat Tops in Colorado.


"What could happen?"
The Great Outdoors  
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01/17/2011 10:19PM
 
Mooseplums
Are you sure you're not confusing Fraser Lake with Otter Track (Cypress)
Benny Ambrose lived there for many years, appeared to have died from a gas stove explosion when they found the body????
There is a plaque left on the island he lived on.
Had two cabins, the summer cabin overlooking the lake, and the winter cabin made out of huge white pine logs.
The forest service torched both of them.
Lightfoot  
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01/18/2011 01:00PM
 
This is the boathouse/cabin just below Lower Basswood Falls. After you portage around LBFs head west into a bay just beyond the campsite right at the falls. You'll spot the cabin as you enter the bay and there is a dock just in front of it.


Miami1  
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01/18/2011 01:54PM
 
There is a abandoned cabin on the north-west shore of Batchewaung lake in the Quetico, where the creek flows from the small lake to the north. Does anyone know of its previous purpose? Ranger cabin?
Anthony


Rod King
solotrek  
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01/18/2011 02:28PM
 

These photos were taken on the north side of Lake Three. According to Walter Okstad, Forest Service Historian, this is the remnant of a 1932 NIRA (National Industrial Recovery Act) camp. NIRA was only active for about one year before the law establishing it was declared unconstitutional so this camp was only active for a few months.


"It is in solitude, in quiet communication with nature that we reach most deeply into truth." Sam Campbell
HighPlainsDrifter  
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01/18/2011 08:43PM
 
MR. Barley
In what year was your photo taken? My photo was taken in 2007. The cabin in your picture looks exactly like the one in mine..... right down to the knots on the logs. Maybe my comments about maintenance are not appropriate


On Little Sag, supplies within this cabin (presumably used by Summer work crews) showed that the cabin was far from abandoned...... what has been abandoned was maintenance of the building....... need not get on that soapbox here....... but it don't make a lick of sense (to me) to let history die in the name of a wilderness designation





"Boredom, Tyler - that's what's wrong. And how do you beat boredom, Tyler?... Adventure...(Never Cry Wolf, 1983)
eagle93  
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01/18/2011 10:18PM
 
There is an old cabin in the Crystal Lake area (East BearskinEP) I was told to look for it in the fall. During summer it was possible to fall into the old mine pit.
mooseplums  
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01/19/2011 12:21PM
 
quote The Great Outdoors: "Mooseplums
Are you sure you're not confusing Fraser Lake with Otter Track (Cypress)
Benny Ambrose lived there for many years, appeared to have died from a gas stove explosion when they found the body????
There is a plaque left on the island he lived on.
Had two cabins, the summer cabin overlooking the lake, and the winter cabin made out of huge white pine logs.
The forest service torched both of them."



Nope it was on Fraser Lake. It was a wooden sign on a tree


"I am haunted by waters"~Norman Maclean "A River Runs Through It"
mooseplums  
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01/19/2011 12:23PM
 
quote HighPlainsDrifter: "MR. Barley
In what year was your photo taken? My photo was taken in 2007. The cabin in your picture looks exactly like the one in mine..... right down to the knots on the logs. Maybe my comments about maintenance are not appropriate



On Little Sag, supplies within this cabin (presumably used by Summer work crews) showed that the cabin was far from abandoned...... what has been abandoned was maintenance of the building....... need not get on that soapbox here....... but it don't make a lick of sense (to me) to let history die in the name of a wilderness designation



"



summer work crews do use it. There was a stack of new latrines, as well as tools. They raised it off the footings, as if they were leveling it, and it was freshly painted.
Barley and I were there in May of 2010.


"I am haunted by waters"~Norman Maclean "A River Runs Through It"
bdavid1157  
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01/19/2011 02:10PM
 
Solotrek is there some place to get more info about this cabin?
jamotrade  
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01/19/2011 03:20PM
 
quote solotrek: "
These photos were taken on the north side of Lake Three. According to Walter Okstad, Forest Service Historian, this is the remnant of a 1932 NIRA (National Industrial Recovery Act) camp. NIRA was only active for about one year before the law establishing it was declared unconstitutional so this camp was only active for a few months."



We found that cabin too while we were spending a night at the site. It seemed odd that it was so far from the water. Lots of small garbage pits around with rusty cans, bottles, and snus boxes.


solotrek  
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01/19/2011 03:43PM
 
quote jamotrade: "quote solotrek: "
These photos were taken on the north side of Lake Three. According to Walter Okstad, Forest Service Historian, this is the remnant of a 1932 NIRA (National Industrial Recovery Act) camp. NIRA was only active for about one year before the law establishing it was declared unconstitutional so this camp was only active for a few months."




We found that cabin too while we were spending a night at the site. It seemed odd that it was so far from the water. Lots of small garbage pits around with rusty cans, bottles, and snus boxes.



"

I, too, thought it was interesting that it was set so far back from the main lake. However, it appeared that the water was much higher at one time so they built the cabin on the back side of what may have been an island. There seems to be a shallow bay by the cabin which may have provided access to the main lake and also provide some shelter from the elements. Interesting....


"It is in solitude, in quiet communication with nature that we reach most deeply into truth." Sam Campbell
solotrek  
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01/19/2011 03:48PM
 
quote bdavid1157: "Solotrek is there some place to get more info about this cabin?"
I got my information from Walter Okstad. His email address (at that time) was wokstad@fs.fed.us


Good luck!


"It is in solitude, in quiet communication with nature that we reach most deeply into truth." Sam Campbell
timatkn  
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01/19/2011 04:19PM
 



Another view of the lower basswood falls boathouse.



The Fraser Island cabin site also has a cement engraving with a name and the date the cement was poured. The signifcance was June 6, 1944---D-Day. I am sure there is a cool story behind that.



T
mr.barley  
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01/19/2011 07:53PM
 
quote HighPlainsDrifter: "MR. Barley
In what year was your photo taken? My photo was taken in 2007. The cabin in your picture looks exactly like the one in mine..... right down to the knots on the logs. Maybe my comments about maintenance are not appropriate



On Little Sag, supplies within this cabin (presumably used by Summer work crews) showed that the cabin was far from abandoned...... what has been abandoned was maintenance of the building....... need not get on that soapbox here....... but it don't make a lick of sense (to me) to let history die in the name of a wilderness designation



"
My photo was taken last May. As you can see they have it jacked up and are doing some fixing on the foundation. There was a stack of the new latrines behind the cabin and also a huge aluminum canoe.


Of all the things I've lost in my life I think I miss my mind the most
tobiedog  
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01/19/2011 08:11PM
 
I think I stayed in that cabin in 1979. Please forgive us but we were young and rules were stretched. We had three permits and 24 people who went on a canoe trip together- three campsites each night. I think we came to this cabin one afternoon with rain starting to come and we were grateful for the shelter. The skies opened up and poured so all 24 of us wedged into the cabin overnight and stayed dry during the storm. In the morning we were visited by rangers who were quite kind and just told us to move on.
GraniteCliffs  
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01/19/2011 09:34PM
 
I visited two old cabins in the Quetico in August. I had seen both of them a number of times over the years but wanted to point them out to the younger group of guys I take one trip a year with.
Sure enough, both cabins have now completely fallen in and are barely visible in the overgrowth.
Both the cabins and I have been at this for a long, long time. I guess I, too, will be fallen in and lost in the overgrowth.....
HighPlainsDrifter  
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01/19/2011 11:03PM
 

Barley and Plums


Your picture jogged nice memories of our fall 2007 trip (came up from Kawishiwi Lake via Boulder, Ledge, Hoe, Vee, etc)


Some of the character of the old cabin has been lost in the face lift. I do not like the paint color. I think the old faded green fit the environment a bit better. They should have kept the moose jaw and thermometer on the wall....... the place looks way to sterile.


I have a tooth from that jaw. In my picture, I was holding a little tin Log Cabin Syrup container. I left that there. The aluminum canoe was on the side of the cabin when I was there (you can see the bow)


The place had a special feel. I am glad they fixed up the cabin.


What about the 70 year collection of crap out back? ...... from old mattresses to cast iron stoves..... Have they hauled the junk out? Was the log out house still there? How about the flat bottom wood boats?


"Boredom, Tyler - that's what's wrong. And how do you beat boredom, Tyler?... Adventure...(Never Cry Wolf, 1983)
254Bow  
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01/20/2011 09:09AM
 
quote mr.barley: "It's along the portage between Gillis and Crooked "


That's it! Thanks for the pic. Been about 4-5 years since I was there. Love that portage.


Warrior mind, Warrior heart.
mooseplums  
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01/20/2011 11:05AM
 
quote HighPlainsDrifter: "
Barley and Plums



Your picture jogged nice memories of our fall 2007 trip (came up from Kawishiwi Lake via Boulder, Ledge, Hoe, Vee, etc)



Some of the character of the old cabin has been lost in the face lift. I do not like the paint color. I think the old faded green fit the environment a bit better. They should have kept the moose jaw and thermometer on the wall....... the place looks way to sterile.



I have a tooth from that jaw. In my picture, I was holding a little tin Log Cabin Syrup container. I left that there. The aluminum canoe was on the side of the cabin when I was there (you can see the bow)



The place had a special feel. I am glad they fixed up the cabin.




Yeah that stuff was all there. The wooden boats were pretty rotted out.


What about the 70 year collection of crap out back? ...... from old mattresses to cast iron stoves..... Have they hauled the junk out? Was the log out house still there? How about the flat bottom wood boats?"



"I am haunted by waters"~Norman Maclean "A River Runs Through It"
Stumpy  
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01/21/2011 12:41AM
 



March Lake, Quetico


As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly
jamotrade  
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01/22/2011 01:22PM
 
quote solotrek: "quote jamotrade: "quote solotrek: "
These photos were taken on the north side of Lake Three. According to Walter Okstad, Forest Service Historian, this is the remnant of a 1932 NIRA (National Industrial Recovery Act) camp. NIRA was only active for about one year before the law establishing it was declared unconstitutional so this camp was only active for a few months."





We found that cabin too while we were spending a night at the site. It seemed odd that it was so far from the water. Lots of small garbage pits around with rusty cans, bottles, and snus boxes.




"

I, too, thought it was interesting that it was set so far back from the main lake. However, it appeared that the water was much higher at one time so they built the cabin on the back side of what may have been an island. There seems to be a shallow bay by the cabin which may have provided access to the main lake and also provide some shelter from the elements. Interesting...."



Hmmm. We didn't even consider the higher water theory but we did notice the shallow bay. Our theory was that it was a trapper's shack and he wanted to be closer to the backwater areas.
bolavand  

11/29/2011 07:30AM
 



"...Distant fires are around us everywhere. They do not burn just in the North. But in the lands, in the woods and among the lakes and the streams they are easier to see, easier to follow." -Scott Anderson
schweady  
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11/29/2011 08:47AM
 
A warm welcome to the site, bolavand. A very touching first post.



"You can observe a lot by watching." -- Yogi Berra
fitgers1  
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11/29/2011 09:18AM
 
quote bolavand: "The cabin on Fraser was owned by my grandfather, Nordal Anderson. He purchased the island in the 1920's and was allowed access to it until his death in 1991. He spent 60 quality years up there."


Thanks for the history bolavand. How cool it must be to have a link to the past in that area. Did you ever get to spend any quality time there with him?
Welcome to the site.


“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Ralph Waldo Emerson...and...“Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading".
awbrown  
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11/29/2011 10:22AM
 
On my first canoe trip, in 1967, we came upon an old abandoned Geologist camp on the "Man Chain" in the Q. It was fallen in, but chocked full of drilled rock "core samples".


At one time in the 60's, geologist's were all over that area looking for "oil" of all things.


So far, this is the oldest that I've ever been.
bolavand  

11/29/2011 10:29AM
 





"...Distant fires are around us everywhere. They do not burn just in the North. But in the lands, in the woods and among the lakes and the streams they are easier to see, easier to follow." -Scott Anderson
egknuti  
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11/29/2011 12:08PM
 
There is a nice cabin that is still in use that is located between Range Lake and Sandpit Lake. I'm not sure who owns it.
mooseplums  
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1 trip report(s) Current Donor Gear Reviews
11/29/2011 04:56PM
 
quote bolavand: "
Thanks for the history bolavand. How cool it must be to have a link to the past in that area. Did you ever get to spend any quality time there with him?
Welcome to the site."




My grandfather passed away when I was quite young, just short of his 89th birthday. Unfortunately, I have no memories of him. I have grown up hearing fantastic stories from my parents, older brother, and other people who knew him. I have made an effort to visit his cabin-site at least once a year, beginning when I was two years old."


I read somewhere or it was told to me that asparagus still grows there


"I am haunted by waters"~Norman Maclean "A River Runs Through It"
quark2222  
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Photo Journal
11/29/2011 06:17PM
 
Bovaland - Any pictures of the cabin? Thanks.


Tomster
smuts  
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11/29/2011 08:18PM
 
Ranger cabin, complete with outhouse on Insula Lake. Believe that it burned to the ground following the fire this fall.


Not every turtle has a campsite; but every campsite has a turtle.
cheesewiz  
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Photo Journal
11/30/2011 07:07AM
 
My grandfather passed away when I was quite young, just short of his 89th birthday. Unfortunately, I have no memories of him. I have grown up hearing fantastic stories from my parents, older brother, and other people who knew him. I have made an effort to visit his cabin-site at least once a year, beginning when I was two years old."


That's really cool! I'd love to hear some of those stories.


I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal labotomy!
bolavand  

12/01/2011 11:19AM
 






"...Distant fires are around us everywhere. They do not burn just in the North. But in the lands, in the woods and among the lakes and the streams they are easier to see, easier to follow." -Scott Anderson
schweady  
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Current Donor
12/01/2011 01:33PM
 
Thanks, bolavand!!



"You can observe a lot by watching." -- Yogi Berra
cheesewiz  
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Photo Journal
12/01/2011 02:25PM
 
quote bolavand: "quote cheesewiz: "That's really cool! I'd love to hear some of those stories."



Nordal was born in Cottonwood, Mn. in 1902, he was one of 10 children born to Anton Anderson. As a teenager he became a skilled trapper, selling pelts to help provide for the family. Nordal moved to Duluth in the mid-1920's and became a teacher. On weekends and in the summer he found himself taking frequent hunting and fishing trips. He eventually decided that he needed more land for these pursuits. At some point he purchased a waxed-canvas and wood canoe and began to look for a suitable location in what is now the BWCAW. He and several friends pooled their money and purchased the land on Fraser in the late 1920's. By the 1960's Nordal was the only owner left. He received help building the cabins from an old Scottish trapper named Hugh MacMillan, who was living nearby and from a seasonal resident of Insula by the name of "Doc" Williamson. In 1933, Nordal began guiding groups to the area during the summer, to fish and enjoy the wilderness. When the BWCAW was formed, Nordal opted to retain life rights to his property, under the agreement that upon his death the land would be forfeit to the government. He was able to keep motor and snowmobile rights as well. He died in 1991, just short of his 89th birthday. During the more than 60 years my grandfather owned that land he exposed literally hundreds of people to the pristine beauty of the BWCA. "



Your Grandfather sounds like a really interesting person. That era was around the time my Grandfather lived. I always thought that would have been a very neat time to be alive.


I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal labotomy!
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