Due to the recent snowmelt on the University of Minnesota campus, the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness acquired the campus as a temporary piece of land in the early spring season. The puddles across campus became the size of small lakes as the glaciers of plowed snow began to melt. Furthermore, the clear portages between puddles and lack of motor boats in the area exemplify the ideals of the pristine wilderness area.
Students at the university wore waterproof shoes and tried their best to avoid walking through the puddles, but some had the brilliant idea to bring kayaks to take advantage of the flooding. It was a peaceful mental getaway for students who were stressed about upcoming midterms and it served as great exercise for students accustomed to simply walking to class.
Several student groups at the university were seen holding practices in these small ponds with beginner lessons for the new recruits being held in ponds on campus. The University of Minnesota men’s Crew team was seen holding practices in the section of sidewalk on Walnut street between Territorial Hall and Sally’s Saloon. This new location for practice is both affordable for the team and great for advertising in terms of gaining exposure to new potential recruits.
While the Crew team held practices on campus, the outdoors club was the student organization that actually contacted the U.S. Forest Service to attempt to add the campus to the BWCAW. The many officers of the club scheduled a meeting at the university and gave a tour to several employees of the Forest Service. They toured the many new lakes on campus and after talking to the university’s president, Eric W. Kaler, they have received permission to protect the flooded sidewalks of the University from motorized boats and retain the purity of the many lakes of the University of Minnesota. President Kaler has approved a new construction project to deepen and widen the many depressions on campus in order to expand the lakes for student use. He has agreed to the proposal on one condition. He decreed that the largest body of water is to be named “Lake Kaler” to preserve his legacy and tenure as the university’s president.
This proposal will far surpass the proposed renaming of Coffman Memorial Union as President Kaler’s most significant contribution to this campus. The U.S. Forest Service has determined that they will offer permits for canoeing on campus, much like those available for the bulk of the BWCA in the northernmost part of the state. These permits will become available in August 2019 and will be charged to the student accounts of those who would like to canoe to classes on campus. A campground will be set up in the grassy area of Nicollet Mall as well as along the East and West River Parkways.
The university hopes to promote an environmentally friendly attitude on campus, especially in the wettest months, when many students turn to motorized vehicles to stay dry on their way to class. Students should expect to see a sharp rise in the number of canoes and tents on campus next spring. Additionally, the Outdoors Club will be releasing a promotional video in the coming months so that outdoors enthusiasts on campus feel welcome to enjoy the beautiful wilderness that is around them.