National Parks Week begins April 22. Have you ventured into Voyageurs lately?
218,054Acres in Minnesota’s only national park—Voyageurs—which was established on April 8, 1975. One of the few water-dominated national parks, Voyageurs is also one of the most remote, revered for its towering pines, glacier-carved cliffs, and picturesque lakes—30 in all.
0miles. Length of the roadways leading into the interior of Voyageurs.
745Miles of shoreline within the park. In other words, bring a canoe, kayak, sailboat, houseboat, pontoon, or motorboat—or rent one from an outfitter near one of the four main entrances. Floatplanes are welcome, too. But leave your Jet Ski at home.
215Number of developed campsites within Voyageurs, all of which are accessible by boat only. Most are fairly luxe for this neck of the woods, equipped with a tent pad, fire ring, picnic table, privy, and bear-proof food locker. Camping is free, but an overnight permit is required. And reservations are accepted only for large groups—paddle up early.
150Approximate number of black bears living within the park. All of which are drawn to graham crackers, Hershey bars, and marshmallows, toasted or otherwise.
2,700,000,000years. Approximate age of the bedrock you’ll see along the shorelines within Voyageurs. That’s some of the oldest exposed rock in North America. In your face, Grand Canyon.
240Species of birds living within the park, give or take a warbler or two. You might be lucky enough to spot a soaring bald eagle. Or a pileated woodpecker, ruby-throated hummingbird, great blue heron, or boreal chickadee. Bring binoculars.
Contributing editor Sandra Hoyt loves a canoe with a view.
Things To Do Before…You Open the Turbo Tax Box1. Our environment has changed a lot since the first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970. Most Americans now have clean drinking water, PCBs have been outlawed, and recycling is commonplace. There’s still plenty to do, though. If you want to get the family off the couch after watching An Inconvenient Truth, bring them to the eighth annual Earth Day Half Marathon Festival on April 22 in St. Cloud. Besides the races—a half marathon, 5K run, and 1K junior run—the event offers a Kids Korner to make earth-friendly art, a health expo, and a pasta feed. Last year’s event included more than 1,700 runners and 4,500 spectators, and raised money for charity. Better the earth, yourself, and your community. —COURTNEY LEWIS
2. Attention foodies: Secure your seat at author Michael Pollan’s April 19 lecture at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska. Pollan will discus the ethics and aesthetics of eating, issues he tackled in his New York Times bestseller, The Omnivore’s Dilemma. What you put in your mouth isn’t just a matter of taste—it may determine our species’ survival. Call 952-443-1422 to register. —RACHEL HUTTON
3. Imagine seeing Duke Ellington, Count Basie, or Thelonius Monk. In a club setting. Right now. Well, you can’t, but you can catch Ahmad Jamal, a jazz innovator of the very same pedigree, at the Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant from April 30 to May 2. If Jamal, in his mid-seventies now, was in rock, he’d be playing the Target Center; thank goodness he’s not. —TIM GIHRING