History & Heritage

Oral

394552 - A History of Trade Routes and Water-Level Regulation on Waterways in Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota USA

Monday, June 4
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Location: Greenway CD
Co-Authors: Andrew LaBounty, International Falls, MN – National Park Service

Voyageurs National Park was established is 1975 to preserve the pristine scenery and waterway system that was part of the historic route of the voyageurs, or French-Canadian fur traders. Unlike most national parks, main access to the park is by boat or canoe. This remote system of interconnected waterways along the US-Canadian border was an important trade route for voyageurs from around 1680 to 1870. The Ojibwe people collaborated with the voyageurs and the two cultures developed a trade network that relied on the waterways to exchange European goods for furs, pelts, and canoes. By the mid-1800s, however, as European fashion changed, the fur trade in this area dwindled. The complexity of the waterways increased with the installation of dams on two of the natural lakes in the early 1900s. The importance of this waterway system continued throughout the 20th century, and today supports hydropower generation, the pulp and paper industry, game fisheries, and recreational opportunities. This presentation will focus on the history and heritage of Voyageurs National Park and the impact of the dams on seasonal water-levels, which in turn affect the water-quality, biology, and cultural resources of the area.

Victoria G. Christensen, MS

Research Hydrologist
U.S. Geological Survey

Victoria Christensen received her B.A. from Hamline University and B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Kansas. She is currently enrolled in the Environmental and Conservation Sciences PhD program at North Dakota State University. Her research focuses on nutrient enrichment and subsequent algal bloom formation in lake and river systems. Her interests and project work include real-time water-quality monitoring, effects of land use and conservation practices on water quality, and the fate of nutrients in agricultural and reservoir systems. She has worked for the U.S. Geological Survey since 1992 and the USGS Minnesota Water Science Center in 2002.

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