Fire History and Historic Land Management of Quetico Provincial Park Along the Kaministiquia Route of the North American Fur Trade

Authors: Dan Brumm*, University of Wisconsin-Platteville Tree-Ring, Earth, and Environmental Sciences Laboratory (TREES Lab) , Adam Donaldson, University of Wisconsin-Platteville Tree-Ring, Earth, and Environmental Sciences Laboratory (TREES Lab), Jared Stachiw, Quetico Foundation, Lane Johnson, University of Minnesota Cloquet Forestry Center, Kurt Kipfmueller, University of Minnesota, Evan Larson, University of Wisconsin-Platteville Tree-Ring, Earth, and Environmental Sciences Laboratory (TREES Lab)
Topics: Environmental Perception, Land Use
Keywords: Fire Ecology, Dendrochronology, Pinus resinosa, North American Fur Trade, Quetico Provincial Park
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Forests of the Border Lakes Region of Northern Minnesota and Northwestern Ontario have hosted human influences since the end of the last ice age. Two federal wilderness areas in the region, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Quetico Provincial Park, contain two historic trade routes used during the North American fur trade from ca. 1700–1850. From the 1730s to 1803, commerce primarily occurred along the Border Route, before political changes shifted travel to the Kaministiquia Route. Culturally modified and fire scarred Pinus resinosa archive human activities as wounds responding to Native American bark removal and damage by passing fires. This questions the area’s dominant wilderness narrative; asking whether the ignition sources were people, or lightning. Previous research established fire history for Border Route pine stands and identified reductions in fire activity in the early 1800s. Here, we investigate fire activities along the Kaministiquia Route during this same time. We collected cross sections from 57 fire-scarred trees and 20 culturally-modified trees along the Kaministiquia Route in Quetico Provincial Park. Thus far, fire years from 35 crossdated trees illustrate potential land use shifts in the early 1800s along these two trade routes. The first fire event recorded occurred in 1705 and the peak in fire occurrence took place during in the first decade of the 1800s, possibly reflecting known changes in the dominant fur trade route. These data will inform revision of the Quetico Provincial Park fire plan and may help develop new fire management practices within the park.

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