US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



A.P. Wydeven et al. (eds.), Recovery of Gray Wolves in the Great Lakes 15 Region of the United States, DOI: 10.1007/978-0-387-85952-1_2.


The seeds for the blossoming of the wolf (Canis lupus) population throughout the upper Midwest were embodied in a long line of wolves that had persisted in the central part of the Superior National Forest (SNF) of northeastern Minnesota, probably since the retreat of the last glaciers. This line of wolves had withstood not only the various natural environmental factors that had shaped them through their evolution but also the logging, fires, market hunting of prey animals, and even the bounties, aerial hunting, and poisoning that had exterminated their ancestors and their dispersed offspring only a few wolf pack territories away in more accessible areas. The dense and extensive stretch of wild land that is now labeled the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness had proven too formidable a barrier even for the foes of the wolf who had strived to eliminate the animal and had succeeded everywhere else in the contiguous 48 states of the United States. The wolves of the SNF became the reservoir for the recolonization of wolves throughout Minnesota and into neighboring Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.