Saturday, July 4, 2009

Heart of The Continent Partnership

Hey everyone,

A quick post to let you all know about a great organization that we recently had the pleasure of learning about.

Heart of the Continent is a group of people & organizations from both sides of the Canada / US border that are working together to find ways to benefit the lakes, forests, wildlife & communities / people of this vast area.

Specifically speaking, this "vast area" is the largest public greenspace in North America covering 5.5 million acres and including Quetico Provincial Park, The Superior National Forest, Voyageur National Park & the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness.

These folks are very pure in motive - they're "non - political" which I really liked, and in my dealings with them they are a class act.

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of Quetico & The Superior National Forest there is a rotating group of 9 people that are canoeing pretty much a circle around the area in a 24' voyageur canoe. They hit Atikokan for Canada Day on July 1, they're supposed to be in International Falls today for the US celebrations (btw - Happy Independence Day to all our US friends!), heading down through Crane Lake, over to Grand Marais, Grand Portage & then finishing at Fort William near Thunder Bay for the Rendezvous & Dragon Boat Festival (on July 17 & 18).

On July 2nd, we welcomed them at our camp for breakfast as they paddled through. It was great meeting them and a great learning experience. The contingent that we met had a vast array of experience, from scientific knowledge to historical expertise, and of course a love of the land that presented itself in many anecdotes. They were passionate, creative, good spirited, humourous and energetic.

To bring awareness to one of the issues facing the area, the bottom of the 24' voyageaur canoe was painted with many of the invasive aquatic species that jeopardize our ecosystem.

The group that we welcomed included:

Rich Kelley, Chair of Heart of the Continent Partnership and Trustee of
the Quetico Foundation from St. Paul, MN

John Rafferty, Member of Parliament - Thunder Bay/Rainy River, resident
of Fort Frances,

Pamela Cain-Hawley, Curator of Fort Frances Museum

Spencer Scott, 2nd year student at Lakehead University,

Brian McLaren, professor, Lakehead University - Forestry, Thunder Bay

Darryl Bathel, retired, Department of Natural Resources - Fisheries -
Duluth, MN

John Radosevich-Craig, Superior National Forest Volunteer and group chef

Liz Roat, U.S. Forest Service, Superior National Forest, Duluth, MN

Robin Reilly - Superintendant of Quetico Provincial Park, Atikokan

If you'd like more info on this very worthwhile organization their website is:

Anyway, here's a couple of pics from their visit....

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