University of Minnesota Press

More than twenty years ago, a bizarre confluence of meteorological events resulted in the most damaging blowdown in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness’s history. It traveled 1,300 miles and lasted 22 hours, flattening nearly 500,000 acres of the Superior National Forest. Hundreds of campers and paddlers were stranded and dozens injured; amazingly, no one died. The historic storm ultimately reshaped the region’s forests in ways we have yet to fully understand. Here, author Cary J. Griffith is joined in conversation with scientist Lee Frelich and Peter Leschak, who was involved in the response and rescue effort.

Cary Griffith is author of several novels and four books of nonfiction, including Gunflint Falling: Blowdown in the Boundary Waters and Gunflint Burning: Fire in the Boundary Waters. He is recipient of a Minnesota Book Award and a Midwest Book Award.

Lee Frelich is director of the Center for Forest Ecology at the University of Minnesota. He is listed among the top 1% of scientists in the Web of Science, Ecology, and Environment and has authored more than 200 publications, and has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, and the Washington Post.

Peter Leschak was chief of the French Township fire department in Side Lake, Minnesota, for thirty years. He has written ten books and has worked in a variety of wildfire-related capacities and held positions of leadership in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service.

Gunflint Falling: Blowdown in the Boundary Waters is available from University of Minnesota Press.

"In the tradition of The Perfect Storm, Cary J. Griffith brings readers into the Boundary Waters moment by moment as an epic gale sweeps through. Ample maps and in-depth interviews with witnesses both immerse us in one terrifying day and offer a glimpse of the past and future of Minnesota’s boreal forest."
—Kim Todd, author of Sensational: The Hidden History of America’s “Girl Stunt Reporters”

"In Gunflint Falling, Cary J. Griffith provides an accurate, comprehensive narrative of those impacted by one of the region’s most devastating storms. The damage and pain brought by the derecho storm was more severe than anything previously experienced in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The reader is taken into the personal experiences of the injured and those searching for them for fourteen days in the million-acre wilderness, and Griffith’s narrative of these experiences demonstrates how, when faced with an emergency, we come together to help one another."
—Jim Sanders, retired forest supervisor, Superior National Forest (1996-2011), USDA Forest Service

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