20th Century, Environment, History, Intercession, Jesus, law, Minnesota, Native Americans

Superior National Forest

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February 13, 1909

President Theodore Roosevelt establishes Superior National Forest. Exploitative practices are restricted in these areas, thereby preserving the beauty of lakes and trees for future generations. Six weeks later, Ontario’s government responds in kind by creating the adjacent Quetico Provincial Forest Reserve.*

Again, how fitting it is to be awed by such natural beauty as I watch this event with you: the creation of Superior National Forest. My first thought, dear Lord, is to acknowledge that our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. I’ve seen the North Shore, explored the Gunflint Trail, and the Boundary Waters many times, but cannot imagine how much greater the awe of those who saw it at the end of the 19th century. How humbling it must have been to walk as a grasshopper among the pine, fir and spruce forests!
I can smell the crisp scent of Your evergreen forest Lord, even as I write this. Will You forgive us for over-harvesting your forests in Minnesota? This we have done, this I acknowledge to you.
Next, I thank You for moving the heart of President Roosevelt to preserve such areas, and to be mindful of future generations. That said, I also acknowledge that sometimes self-interest drives our attempts to be nature’s caretaker. It is good to be your steward of nature! I just want to remember to You that we are also subject to impure motives even when doing good.
So I ask You, did Roosevelt establish this forest with a pure heart? Was he looking to enhance his legacy? Were there commercial interests that he was motivated to favor or disfavor? Perhaps he was motivated to increase Federal authority over state lands? If so, how did he gain the legal rights if they were not implicitly stated in the Constitution?
His actions allude to his belief that our state’s authority had failed this parcel of land. Did Minnesota trust the logging or mining industries too much? Did the President trust our state’s rights too little? Only You know the heart Lord.
In your mercy, hear my prayer. Will You forgive us our impure motives even while we do good whether past, present, or future? Will You forgive our prideful hearts? We honestly act, at times, as if we will save Your lands. We act as if we will improve Your creation, but often, at our best, we simply do no harm.
Our government established Federal authority to protect and preserve this land. Did we also seek Your celestial authority to protect and preserve it, or were we too busy making commerce? We often rule the land. We stake our claims declaring ourselves it’s savior, but in the end, we simply rule over other men. Will You forgive how we have fought over the title to Your land? Will You grant us humility of heart in Your state known as Minnesota? Will You give us the necessary self-control in land issues that we remain in balance with nature and each other? Will You preserve our hearts from the greed of over-harvesting, or the fear that locks the same lands up subjecting them to the ravages of under-harvesting?
Will You forgive our short memories? We forget that Natives managed Your forests here long before the Department of Natural Resources, or a Bureau of Land Management. They did so well that the first European explorers and settlers were dazzled by its bounty. Remember these tribal stewards Lord Jesus!**
As a final thought, dear Father, I do not suggest we as humans necessarily err in our “doing good”. After all, we are made in Your image, therefore capable of brilliance, ingenuity, and true greatness. I simply want to bow to You, to record and remember, that such brilliance, ingenuity, and greatness often builds a monument to our name. Will You make us a people humble and realistic in our land management successes?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

** Read the relationship of American Indians to the land, and the differing views of historians on the subject. This excellent article by William Cronin and Richard White for the American Heritage Society shows the breadth of variety of Native American responses to environmental change and conservation of land and species. http://www.americanheritage.com/content/indians-land

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19th Century, Exploration, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, State Government

Itasca State Park Established

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1891
Conservationists win a bitter fight against lumber interests to establish Itasca, Minnesota’s first state park, at the headwaters of the Mississippi River.*

“Even after Schoolcraft’s discovery, a few other explorers claimed they had found the source in various tributaries of Lake Itasca. The controversy continued until 1889 when Jacob V. Brower studied the topography of the Itasca basin. He concluded that several creeks do contribute to Lake Itasca, but only at the lake’s outlet is a river formed. To learn more about his great North American River, stop at the interpretive center next to the parking lot before leaving. A souvenir shop is located in the same complex.
Brower struggled for years to preserve Itasca. In 1891, the legislature established Itasca State Park. It is Minnesota’s first state park, and one of the oldest in the country. But Brower, appointed the first park commissioner, received no pay and no funds or support to make the park a reality. Logging companies muscled their way into the park and began to clear-cut the timber. It wasn’t until 1919 that the major logging operations were completed. Today, however, there are still stands of virgin red and white pine in the park with some of the oldest and largest pine trees in Minnesota.” http://mntrails.com/trail-log/itasca-state-park-log

Help me with this, Lord of the Forests! I’m neither a man of the woods or of the city, but have empathies with both. What shall I pray?
First, let me say thanks for the discovery or rediscovery of the source of the Mississippi. May You bless this river, and keep, and make Your face shine on it! Thanks for the creation that it has blessed and upheld! Thanks for this pathway across our nation!

I thank You that You are not offended by our science! I thank You that You do not bristle at our questions! I thank You that, though You may hide the truth for a time, You bless those that earnestly seek it.
With this in mind, will You bless Schoolcraft, Brower, and any other unnamed or unrecorded explorer for the source of the Mississippi? Will You bless their heritage of family, friends, and any who would follow in their path to study and discover new aspects of this Creation?

Also, I ask Your blessing on those who sought to gather a harvest from this land. Every human on the face of this planet uses its resources on a daily basis. Thankou for those who worked the logging camps, fished, hunted, mined, or sought a better life in this region. Will You also bless their heritage of people who gather resources or repurpose those resources?
And here comes the guardian lie, that the motives of the former are superior to the latter, or that the actions of the latter are superior to the former, etc. You have made some to explore, some to study, some to harvest, some to gather, some to refine what is gathered, but NONE can claim superiority! We are all independently dependent on the Author of Life! We are necessary parts of the same body, but we have failed to recognize this, acknowledge this point of separation, or seek forgiveness, or give honor where it is due.
Will You forgive us of our zealous judgments and counter-judgments regarding the land use of Itasca? Will You forgive our arrogance towards our neighbor for whom Christ rose and highly esteems? Will You remove the curses that have bound this land, this state, and this river? Will You help us remember the wisdom that You already have given regarding land? **

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

** See The Year of Jubilee Leviticus 25 http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0325.htm

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