I had an eye-opening experience with some adventurous St. Paul youth in Superior National Forest in early summer. It was eye-opening due not only to the brisk, northern air, but also to the smart and surprising youth on the trip.
Wilderness Inquiry (WI), the U.S. Forest Service and the YWCA of St. Paul partnered this year to create an amazing opportunity for St. Paul youth in their IMPACT program. Seventeen energetic young people along with youth leaders ventured north in WI vans to Superior National Forest in June to enjoy fresh air, clear lakes and close encounters with wildlife. Most importantly, they learned about jobs in the Forest Service.
The campers showed their outdoor grit by braving rain showers and temps that dipped into the thirties on the first night. They also learned the teamwork and solidarity that comes with facing the unfamiliar and tackling uncertainty and new experiences together.
Superior National Forest is 3 million acres of boreal forest, a mix of spruce, pine, aspen and dozens of clear, cold lakes. One million acres of it is officially designated wilderness as the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA).
Upon arrival, YWCA youth and leaders met with Brenda Halter, Forest Supervisor, Superior National Forest. She described the difference between national forests and wilderness. National forests are managed for resources and recreation: timber and minerals, as well as motorized recreation, fishing and hunting. Motorized recreation like boats and snowmobiles are allowed in our national forests, but not in…
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