Lunch with the Friends – Gunflint Falling Blowdown Author Cary Griffith

Zoom/Virtual Presentation

Chris Knopf standing in front of a BWCA map with Cary Griffith, holding up his book Gunflint Falling

Lunch with the Friends – Gunflint Falling
February 15, 2024, 12pm

Join us for an exciting Lunch with the Friends, exploring stories of the 1999 BWCA blowdown with Cary Griffith’s, author of the new book “Gunflint Falling.” We’ll hear what it was like to document stories that illustrated the terrifying power of this historic storm, and what it was like to experience it in the Boundary Waters without adequate shelter, help or access to medical treatment. We’ll also hear a firsthand account from Friends staffer David Meier.

On July 4, 1999, in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), a bizarre confluence of meteorological events resulted in the most  damaging blowdown in the region’s history. Originating over the Dakotas,  the midsummer windstorm developed amid unusually high heat and  water-saturated forests and moved steadily east, bearing down on Fargo,  North Dakota, and damaging land as it crossed the Minnesota border. Gunflint Falling tells the story of this devastating storm from the perspectives of  those who were on the ground before, during, and after the catastrophic  event—from first-time visitors to the north woods to returning paddlers to Forest Service Rangers.

By the time the storm began to subside, falling trees had injured  approximately sixty people, and most needed to be medevacked to safety.  Amazingly, no one died. The historic storm laid down timber that would  later blaze in the Ham Lake fire of 2007, ultimately reshaping the  region’s forests in ways we have yet to fully understand.