Historic 1965 BWCAW Joseph Perko land exchange threatened

ELY ECHO LETTERS

Dear Editor:
The concept of setting aside a large block of road less land in northeast Minnesota as public property for wilderness recreation dates back to the early 1900s when writers, scholars, and others first begin to discuss exploitation of natural resources and coined the word conservation as it applied to timber, game and other material uses of the land.
The campaign to accomplish the feat of setting aside an area we now know as the Quetico Superior canoe country was one that eventually reached every major level of government, the courts, individuals and organizations throughout the nation and presidents of the United States.
Across northeast Minnesota it would set neighbor against neighbor, friend against friend in a bitter battle regarding whether the greatest value of the land was for cabins, resorts, hydroelectric utilities, paper mills, logging and other businesses or for public recreational use as a wilderness area...   ...The Perko land exchange is as iconic as the Tank Man in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June 4th of 1989 when a man of tiny stature, stopped a column of Chinese military tanks during the government crackdown on protesters. Equally a hero that day was the government driver in that lead tank.

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