MPR International Falls series shows Paper Town woes

A postcard from International Falls, Minnesota, send in 1962. Creative Commons / Paul Sedra

A postcard from International Falls, Minnesota, sent in 1962. Creative Commons / Paul Sedra

Holy moly, how have I been missing this fantastic series from MPR’s Ground Level about the struggles facing International Falls, Minnesota, after Boise Cascade announced a big layoff and sale this year.

From the layoffs, to economic development in a one-industry town, to geographic remoteness, so many of these issues relate to communities throughout northern Minnesota, though admittedly none as starkly as they do in International Falls.

This latest piece from Jennifer Vogel is an example of the generation-old distrust between several northern Minnesota communities and the federal parks and wilderness areas that formed about 30-40 years ago. The tone suggests the benign local neglect in which hopes for a diversified economy have been trapped, and also the old wounds over the creation of places like Voyageurs National Park. Those bad relations, however, have had to improve quickly as the old ways no longer seem possible.

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