Tim Carpenter ’74 led the way up the steep portage carrying a canoe on his shoulders. We were on a trip in 1972 through the Boundary Waters with Geology Professor Bruce Goetz for his five-week class Geology of Lake Superior. We had planned to go to Isle Royale but the ice stayed late that year so here we were, a merry band of campers—Camp Northlanders—paddling and portaging through one of America’s wildest places.
“This is where the highway will go,” Tim said with a chuckle, referencing Northland’s motto from Isaiah 35:8 in the Old Testament of the Bible—“And a highway shall be there.”
The last time I saw Tim was on Big Twin Lake in 1985. He was one of more than a dozen state wardens standing as the thin gray line between more than one hundred angry protestors and a small group of Chippewa fishermen exercising their treaty rights. I was there reporting as the editor of the Rhinelander Daily News. Tim died in a car accident in 1989, and Northland established the Tim Carpenter Memorial Scholarship.
I couldn’t know it then, but my decision to go to Northland and the experiences I had here fifty years ago led me into an environmental career I could never have dreamed of. It was classes like Bruce’s, where I got to test myself in the wild, or Lee Stadnyk’s ecology class that elevated me intellectually. I first heard about the Greenhouse Effect in a freshman class with Kent Shifferd.
When I covered an Apostle Islands tour of Senator Gaylord Nelson, Interior Secretary Cecil Andrus, and Congressman David Obey in 1979, Park Ranger Rich Stavdal ’77 showed us Devils Island. In 1988 when I covered a huge firestorm in Yellowstone National Park, Rich walked out of the smoke, now a ranger at Fire Island in New York, on detail to Yellowstone. I remain close with many classmates.