Originally home to native tribes, these massive woods soon became an economic engine for the early European explorers of the region. The wealth coming first from furs then from logging and eventually from gold rush brought more and more settlers of European-descent into the region, pushing out the native inhabitants and bringing in modern industry. By the time the various booms and busts of these industries had run their course, the region had become a popular summer resort area. Those who spent their summers here soon found the need to preserve the natural beauty they enjoyed. Sometimes called the heart of the continent, this region of the North Woods stretches up into Canada. It is the only national park in Minnesota: Voyageurs.
While hiking is the activity associated with the bulk of the national parks, most believe that Voyageurs is best seen from the water. Rivers, lakes and islands can be explored via canoes, kayaks and motorboats with some interior areas of the park only accessible by boat - that is unless the water is frozen over in the winter. The majority of the hiking trails in the park are located in this area only accessible by water. Tours through the park bring to life not only the history of the North Woods region but Minnesota itself. Voyageurs National Park truly fits in with the state’s legacy as being the land of 10,000 lakes.
The wonders of Hot Springs are both natural and man-made. The geothermal waters have created unique water formations and the mineral content of these waters have long baffled researchers trying to find what healing elements can be gleaned from them. Visitors to the park not only marvel at these natural wonders but at the beautiful hotels and bathhouses constructed during the Gilded Age, constructed to accommodate the many famous and wealth visitors to the area. Hot Springs was a popular vacation destination for baseball teams in spring training during the late 1800s as well as supreme court justices, gangsters, gamblers, World War I and II veterans, and robber barons. Today, bathing in the waters is still allowed for a price, but there is much more than healing waters to this national park.
While many communities have survived the state’s tumultuous history, not all have been so lucky. As Louisiana’s lands changed hands, so did the culture and center of its population. Cities rose and fell based on who was in power, some disappearing completely off the map when their residents were forced elsewhere. Changes in nature ranging from the flowing waters of mighty rivers to the merciless winds of hurricanes destroyed others while some fell victim to more man-made disasters. The story of Louisiana’s lost cities are the story of the state itself, showing changes in society, economics and even the very nature of the Bayou State.
Alberta - The Sawmill City
Dedicated to all things travel, places I have been and places I want to go.