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Rolf Skrien is perhaps one of the most knowledgeable local historians about the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness located on the U.S.-Canadian border in Minnesota. This area, known simply as the Boundary Waters, lies on the northwestern shore of Lake Superior at the beginning of the Gunflint Trail. Rolf spent a lifetime connecting people to the wilderness. His motto is to expose people to raw nature by “getting the wilderness in you,” and he has lived his life believing that “man cannot make the wilderness, but the wilderness can make the man.” 

Arriving in the Gunflint Trail area in the 1940s, Rolf learned country while he paddled many of its five thousand lakes and guided with the Indians. He originally lived on Sea Gull Lake, and started one of the first full-service canoe outfitting businesses, aptly called the Way of the Wilderness. 

A popular local interest legend, Rolf was featured in the original Hamm’s Beer commercials, on outdoor calendars and magazine covers, and in other publications, but his first commitment has always been to connect his customers and friends to the wilderness. 

Rolf has been a notable influence in helping to preserve the Boundary Waters, and is an important figure in the history of the Gunflint Trail. He spends his summers in Grand Marais, Minnesota and his winters in Arizona. 

It has been said that a successful life is one in which knowledge and wisdom will impact generations in a positive way. As Bill Sanderson tells about his own experiences in the Boundary Waters and shares personal interviews with Rolf and others, you will learn about the people, the places, and the wilderness life on the Gunflint Trail over the past sixty years.

Anyone looking for armchair adventure or willing to travel to the Boundary Waters and experience the wilderness firsthand will find Getting the Wilderness in You full of camping advice, helpful tips, and humor. Most important, you will be endeared to the man who offered to slip countless cans of “dehydrated water” in the packs of four generations of wilderness seekers.