The University of Wisconsin Press

Environmental Studies / Great Lakes


Environmental Politics and the
Creation of a Dream

Establishing the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
Harold C. Jordahl Jr., with Annie L. Booth

Wisconsin Land and Life
Arnold Alanen, Series Editor

“There is not another collection of islands of this significance within the continental boundaries of the United States. I think it is tremendously important that this collection of islands be preserved.”

—Gaylord A. Nelson

The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is a breathtakingly beautiful archipelago of twenty-two islands in Lake Superior, just off the tip of northern Wisconsin. For years, the national park has been a favorite destination for tourists and locals alike, but the remarkable story behind its creation is little known. In Environmental Politics and the Creation of a Dream, Harold Jordahl, one of the primary advocates for designating the islands as a national park, discloses the full story behind the effort to preserve their natural beauty for posterity. He describes in detail the political and bureaucratic complexities of the national lakeshore campaign, augmented by his own personal recollections and those of such prominent figures as Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson and President John F. Kennedy. Writing in collaboration with Annie Booth, Jordahl recounts how activists, legislators, media, local residents, and other players shaped the islands’ future establishment as a national park.

“Bud Jordahl was one of those insiders with know-how who helped giants like Gaylord Nelson to achieve so much as champions of environmental preservation. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is just one shining example.”—Congressman David R. Obey

In detailing the intricacies and challenges of protecting the Apostle Islands, Environmental Politics and the Creation of a Dream makes clear that these difficulties are not isolated to particular places and times. To that end, Jordahl provides inspiration and guidance. While of particular interest to those interested in Wisconsin environmental history and politics, Jordahl's book reaches out to all visionaries concerned with the protection of the nation's natural resources.”

Harold Jordahl (1926–2010) was a professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and former chair of the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board.

Annie Booth is an associate professor in the Ecosystem Science and Management Program at the University of Northern British Columbia.

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The cover of Jordahl and Booth's book is illustrated with a collage of photos from the Apostle islands.

May 2011

LC: 2010044624 F
360 pp.   6 x 9
12 b/w illus., 3 maps

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Paper $24.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-28194-6
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“Political scientists, natural resource managers, and environmental historians are among those who will find the book most helpful.”
Minnesota History Fall 2011

“From Harold Jordahl’s memories of the battle, his very detailed and extensive personal collection of papers relating thereto, and years of dedication to preserving the environment, he has prepared a very rich, full account.”

—Margaret Bogue, author of Around the Shores of Lake Superior: A Guide to Historic



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