Waters Canoe Area became a special area thanks to the U.S. Congress. You may read the
full text of two landmark acts here. The 1964 Wilderness
Act (Public Law 88-577) established the National Wilderness Preservation
System, defining wilderness and its uses.
Also, in 1964, the Selke Committee was
established by the Secretary of Agriculture in response to increasing controversy over
BWCA management. This review committee made recommendations on motorboats, snowmobiles,
mechanical portages, and logging within the BWCAW, some of which became part of the BWCA
Wilderness Act of 1978 dealt with a number of major issues concerning the
area. It took a compromise agreement between two citizen groups during a marathon
negotiating session to break the four-year Congressional deadlock over the
BWCAW. President Carter signed this act on October 21, 1978.