POL 371 Wilderness Politics at the Wilderness Field Station in Minnesota

The Wilderness Politics course is a field course in public policy taught on location in the Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe Area of Northern Minnesota, the most visited, most legislated, and most litigated wilderness area in the entire National Wilderness Preservation System. The course meets with the United States Forest Service personnel and collects field data in support of forest service wilderness management policy. This year, the Berry Center was able to award scholarships to three students in the course: Chris Marzen '09, Yuri Mitchell '10, and Joy Thompson '10.

According to Marzen, "This trip was indescribable. The atmosphere, the wildlife, the people on the trip made this one of the best moments of my Cornell career. To compare this to hiking and camping in normal parks is unfair. This was an once-in-a-lifetime experience and to see nature at its finest without electronics, or internet, cell phones, or anything that is normal to us in the world today was what made this trip memorable for me. I was able to not only enjoy the boundary waters and canoe about 10 miles per day, take turns cooking, carrying canoes and bags, and taking pictures at all the great sites, but learn about how they became into existence, the history of wilderness areas, comparing national parks and wilderness areas, and many other aspects and looking how they have an effect on the wilderness that we enjoy today."

He continues, "I know this class will definitely affect future aspirations regarding wilderness politics. I know that because of this class I have changed as a person with a different view on civilization and wilderness in general. I feel since the trip that I want to dive deeper into the world of politics regarding the issue of wilderness politics and wilderness management. I have always had an appreciation for parks and nature, but since this trip it has only grown. I am hoping that someday I will be able to utilize my biology and politics in a way that will let me be involved in some of the policy that will affect wildernesses and national parks."