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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/326

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

the 'State House' a pleasant relief from the more or less crude comforts of camp life. The charges, too, were extremely reasonable.

With the restriction upon hunting already mentioned, visitors are free and welcome to use the park as their own; and, barring the discomfort of the long, rough ride from Park Rapids, and the size, activity and voracity of the mosquitoes that swarm there in summer, it would not be easy to find a more delightful and satisfying place for an outing. The beauties of woodland, lake and stream, the pure air that blows always in the pine forests, the opportunities for boating, fishing and exploring, and above all its absolute retirement and out-of-the worldness, commend it alike to sportsman and the mere seeker for change and rest. Of the natural attraction of the valley one has written: "The multitude of clear little gems of lakes, embowered in picturesque hills, Lake Itasca itself a most lovely sheet of water, and especially the grand stretch of virgin forest, mark the park as a chosen corner of Nature's great garden." No less enthusiastic was Schoolcraft, who exclaims: "On reaching the summit our wish was gratified. At a depression of perhaps one hundred feet below, cradled among the hills, the lake spread out its elongated volume, presenting a scene of no common picturesqueness. . . . (It is) one of the most tranquil and pure sheets of water it is possible to conceive." Having had his first view of Itasca from almost the same spot the present writer can testify that the description is not overdrawn. Amid such scenes, with cold springs and grassy, well shaded campgrounds galore, and an abundance of fallen wood for fuel, one is in a veritable campers' paradise.

Utility and sentiment alike endorse the efforts made and making to save this valley from the lumber vandal. While many have lent their aid, the success thus far attained is due in large measure to the efforts of Hon. J. V. Brower, of St. Paul, who has not spared speech nor pen, time nor personal means in his endeavor to arouse the people and their representatives to a sense of what the loss of it would mean. His book on the source of the Mississippi and his large-scale map of the park, showing every detail most accurately, are recognized as authorities on the subject. His study of prehistoric remains on the upper Mississippi is by no means the least interesting part of his work.

The idea certainly is worthy of the great state which is carrying it out and of the sympathy and support of all who take pride in the natural wonders and beauties of our country. New York has made Niagara free; Minnesota is defending the Itasca basin from disfigurement and spoliation.