Boundary Waters Podcast

Episode 98 WTIP Boundary Waters Podcast Mallard Island

Ernest Oberholtzer is a name that will forever be connected to the Boundary Waters. And yet, far too many paddlers of the canoe-country know neither his story nor his legacy of wilderness protection.

Oberholtzer, more commonly known as ‘Ober,’ first arrived to the Boundary Waters region in 1909 during a college trip to the North Woods. Three years later, an Anishinaabe canoe guide, Billy Magee, traveled with Ober on a canoe journey across Canada. The trip cemented a place in Ober’s mind about the power and importance of water and healthy forests.

Rainy Lake is located on the far northwestern side of the Boundary Waters region, about 100 miles from Ely. Oberholtzer lived on Mallard Island in Rainy Lake for most of his adult life. These days, Mallard Island is the base of operations for the Oberholtzer Foundation. Each summer, artists, Boundary Waters enthusiasts, and people who appreciate the legacy of Ober, come to gather, create, and connect. Podcast Host Joe Friedrichs was among those who came to Mallard Island in the summer of 2023, as we learn in this episode.

Featured in the episode are Rebecca Otto, the executive director of the Oberholtzer Foundation, and Tanya Piatz, a Minnesota artist and birder.

Follow the link below to learn more about the Oberholtzer Foundation.