Boundless Waters

U of M Senior Fellow Stephen Wilbers will be reading from his new book, “A Boundary Waters History”

U of M Carlson professor and writer Stephen Wilbers will read from his new book at the True Colors Bookstore on Thursday, September 22nd.

U of M Carlson professor and writer Stephen Wilbers will read from his new book at the True Colors Bookstore on Thursday, September 22nd.

by Carter Haaland


What: Stephen Wilbers reads from his new book âÄúA Boundary Waters History: Canoeing Across TimeâÄù

When: 7:00 p.m., Thursday

Where: True Colors Bookstore,

4755 Chicago Av. S., Minneapolis

Cost: Free

Last Sunday night, while camping in the Boundary Waters, Stephen Wilbers smelled smoke. The next morning he awoke to a daunting pyrocumulus cloud that looked like âÄúan erupting volcano stretching across the horizon.âÄù

The wildfire thatâÄôs been running rampant throughout the Boundary Waters was a mere 25 miles from WilbersâÄô campsite, and it ushered in an apocalyptic storm that wouldâÄôve made seven Robert Fitzpatrick followers sound their trumpets.

âÄúWe saw thunder, lightning, rain, hail. All the while ash was falling from the sky,âÄù Wilbers said. âÄúWhen we got out they told us that the winds were 70 mph.âÄù

Despite this recent hellish experience and a rushed evacuation, WilbersâÄô admiration for northern MinnesotaâÄôs most esteemed preserved wilderness remains unwavering.

HeâÄôs been going there for years. And he just wrote a book about it.

âÄúA Boundary Waters History: Canoeing Across TimeâÄù is a comprehensive history of the glacially carved landscape interwoven between a personal narrative of WilbersâÄô trips there with his father.

âÄúI thought itâÄôd be a nice way to make history come alive by interweaving the personal story,âÄù he said.

Harkeningback to youthful trips he can hardly recall, Wilbers translated numerous journal entries into descriptive recollections of canoeing, campfires and good olâÄô father-son bonding time. Right alongside these personal anecdotes is a geographic and cultural account of the 4.6 billion years that went in to making the Boundary Waters what they are today.

All this culminates in a vehement testimonial calling for the unrelenting preservation of MinnesotaâÄôs natural landscape. Pioneering environmental activistErnest Oberholtzer would be proud.

âÄúI think itâÄôs worth preserving because it shows us a wonderful example of what this extraordinary, beautiful, vast continent was before we altered it,âÄù Wilbers said.

And his prose isnâÄôt as cut and dry as youâÄôd expect from a University of Minnesota senior fellow and former Carlson School of Management professor.

Wilbers spent years making business writing his business. Offering training seminars, email courses and even Skype training sessions âÄî his self-promotional website is a reflection of Internet-driven entrepreneurial spirit. Nearly every word heâÄôs ever written is for sale.

But years of instructing whether to put the period inside or outside a parenthetical hasnâÄôt sucked him dry of his creative spirit.

âÄúIn 1990 I started making my living teaching these business writing workshops, but I never lost my love for creative writing,âÄù he said.

This piece of creative non-fiction is an informative reflection on the most awe-inspiring part of our state âÄî the part we havenâÄôt cultivated for farming or ripped down to put up buildings. Wilbers will tug on your heartstrings while striving to educate about the importance of our beloved Boundary Waters.