Voyageurs National Park

Founded in 1975, Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota is an oasis of interconnected waterways, ancient rock, and forest land in the heart of the continent, straddling the Canadian border. Remote and rugged, the park preserves the cross-country trade route canoed centuries ago by French fur traders known as voyageurs. Most of the 218,000-acre park is a peninsula accessible only by water--but still vulnerable to modern-day pollution problems.

The most popular reason to visit Voyageurs is the water. Four large lakes plus 26 smaller inland lakes together make up more than a third of the total park area, creating a paradise for boaters. The park also boasts two of the top ten lakes for walleye fishing in the country, Lake Rainy and Lake Namakan. If you don’t have a boat you can still enjoy NPS-run tour boat rides to historic sites and wildlife-viewing areas. There are also a few areas on the mainland that are accessible by car, such as Crane Lake, with opportunities for fishing, stargazing, and viewing wildlife. The park also offers about a dozen hiking trails, accessible by both land and water. Winter visitors, on the other hand, will find very different types of activities, including snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and ice fishing.

Due to the remote location, the park offers excellent opportunities for viewing wildlife. While many tourists visit the park in the hopes of seeing a moose or a wolf, sightings of white-tailed deer, beavers, otters, and muskrats are more common. Some 240 bird species also make their home in the park, as do more than a hundred black bears.

NPCA at Work in the Parks

Although Voyageurs National Park feels remote, the impact of air pollution is a particular problem in this part of Minnesota. Older power plants in the region and facilities that mine a type of iron ore known as taconite contribute to hazy conditions in the park. NPCA has been working to strengthen the EPA’s plan that governs coal-fired power plants in the state.

View the Slideshow

View NPCA's slideshow with beautiful images of Voyageurs National Park.








Shawn Mason

July 7, 2015

Voyageurs National Park is a national treasure. I live near the area and enjoy the park. It's also very exciting to talk to visitors from all over our great country and beyond who have vacationed here and continue to come back virtually every year. This place gets in your blood, and you miss it when you are away from it. Voyageurs is a majestic, water and island park, a beautiful wilderness setting that is accessible. Whether you are a paddler, or a motor-boater, a tent camper or a "house-boater", this is your park to enjoy. It's accessible, beautiful wilderness. Planning a vacation in the Voyageurs National Park area is a breeze. Go to and you will see the gateway communities that serve the park. There is a lot of good information on the site. Hope to see you in the park yet this summer or autumn.


July 2, 2014

Its to bad you have to criticize the mines for polluting. Its not like the old days, modern steps are taken every day, in production method's and technology, to combat this. They are the only thing keeping the area going and supporting 90% of the NE MN, directly and spin off employment. Anyone who is against it, should toss the cell phone, cars/trucks, and all appliances. If its not grown, its mined. So, unless you want to tour the park in a birch bark canoe, with wooden paddles, cut mining some slack. It would be a long horse ride from the cities to the park, because all vehicles are made of steel. SO, before you start criticizing the mines, trying to shut them down in the USA, you should think if you really want 90% of the stuff you buy to go up in price, due to importing steel. Ohhh, not to mention, in the other countries, there are no regulations, so they pollute 1000 times as much. A friendly reminder, this is all one planet, so it would get to us one way or another. So, you should support USA mining and be proud of the good environmental stewards we are, because why would we want to pollute our own back yards. P.S. do you realize how much the mines contribute to the MN tax base. Keeping several state employee's employed, especially the DNR & Forestry.


November 5, 2013

I believe this park is beautiful and wonderful to visit.


September 12, 2013

This is not the National Park page. This is one of those 'conservation' organizations that try to confuse you and convince you there's something horrible going on to take your money to get ridiculous laws in place. I live here. Power plant? Haze? Give me a break. There's no issue here. Keep your money in your wallets, folks. Better yet, come visit and see for yourself! :)


September 5, 2013

I lived on the park boundary for 45 years, and the most haze I saw was from the forest fires in the summer. As the prevailing wind is from the northwest according to NOAA, i find it hard to believe the coal plants over 100 miles south of the park, and on the other side of the continental divide, would affect the air quality. The worst haze i ever withnessed was attributable to the Big Guy, after Mount St Helens blew her top. I swept pumice from the sidewalks for months. Find another cause to blame so you can get more grant money to study nothing. I left this area because i couldn't stand the arrogant attitude of all of the feds asserting authority over public property.


August 16, 2013

Not really a national park in the traditional sense. Only serves to suppy locals with boat ramps, parking, and allied services. Very little unique about the park. Could better be defined as a wilderness area but services close by


July 16, 2013

I'm from Mpls/ St Paul but spent every summer of my life at my cabin on the Ash River (47 years). The only haziness I've EVER experienced is from forest fires from Canada or Colorado or other places from the west. I can only remember a few forest fires in Voyageurs in the past 47 years.


July 15, 2013

Thankfully, the air pollution that plagues Voyageurs and other national parks isn’t apparent every day. The trouble is, that there are many days every year where pollution from sources like coal-fired power plants and taconite facilities are realized at the park. According to the state of Minnesota, 11 facilities from these two industries are EACH responsible for degrading air quality at treasured places like Voyageurs and Boundary Waters between 10 and 530 days in a 3-year period. While you are right to point out that not all pollution comes from these sources, much does. And it’s not just Voyageurs that is effected by coal-fired power plants and other industrial facilities, it’s most iconic parks across the country. Readily available, cost-effective pollution controls can dramatically reduce the amount of pollution that comes from these sources. It’s the job of our regulators- the state and the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure that where good pollution reducing technology exists, it is used to protect human health and treasured ecosystems. We also think that it’s the responsibility of the Administration to ensure that sound policies encouraging the use of clean energy and greater efficiency are part of the park protection package. That’s what NPCA is advocating: less pollution impacting our parks. For this to happen, we need regulators and political officials to ensure that their air quality be restored to the places we love so that we, our children and grandchildren can healthfully enjoy them.


July 14, 2013

I live in northern Minnesota and was boating in the park yesterday. There didn't appear to be any visible haze to me. As a business owner who relies on tourists I was shocked to see a statement on the first page of the Voyageurs National Park website saying we have a haze problem. If I was a vacationer and looking for places to vacation I would probably consider going somewhere else since they have a haze problem. I also feel that blaming it on northern Minnesota industries is a bit of the stretch since our normal trade wins come from the Northwest in a easterly direction and not from the south. If the idea behind this website is scare visitors away you have done a great job because after looking at the first page I would consider looking elsewhere myself.

The man

January 4, 2013

Awesome park really want to go there doing a project for school wright now witch would normally suck but this park made it more fun

"The Web"

June 14, 2012

Have not been to Voyageurs Park for years, but will never forget our houseboat tour & the fun we 3 couples had. Planning to drive to Crane Lake this year & see what a couple of old timers can. Hope to take one of those boat trips on the lakes.

Post a Comment

Share your park story today. Post your park experiences, recommendations, or tips here.*

Enter this word:

* Your comments will appear once approved by the moderator. NPCA staff do not regularly respond to postings. We reserve the right to remove comments that include profanity or personal attacks, promote products or services, or are otherwise off-topic. Opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the position(s) of NPCA. By submitting comments you are giving NPCA permission to reuse your words on our website and print materials.


Want to learn more about the  ?

The   can be seen in the wild in America’s national parks. Why not join the National Parks Conservation Association community to protect and preserve our national parks?

Sign up to protect parks in   & other states

Why not join the National Parks Conservation Association Community to protect and preserve our national parks?

Sign up to protect   and other National Parks

Why not join the National Parks Conservation Association Community to protect and preserve our national parks?

Please leave this field empty
Yes, please sign me up for NPCA’s newsletter and other emails about protecting our national parks!

National Parks Conservation Association
National Parks Conservation Association

Log In

Or log in with your connected Facebook or Twitter account:


Welcome to our growing community of park advocates. Thanks for signing up!

Sign Up:

Or sign up by connecting your Facebook or Twitter account: