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Boundary Waters Canoe Area History


Witch Tree
Photo Bea Brophy

Acts of Congress

The Boundary 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.

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.


Boundary Waters Canoe Area Web site
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Web site
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Published from the edge of the Boundary Waters
Canoe Area by Chad Jones

Updated Aug 26, 2016

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