I've read that it is possible to kayak the St. Louis River through Jay Cooke State Park.
Whatever. You'll never see Yooperproof on any other kind of floating device within this park.
"Portage" means carrying - and there's no other way to get upstream than by carrying your canoe or bark or whatever up these narrow passages and up the steep incline of the St. Louis River. If you foolw the St. Louis upstream, eventually you'll reach the Boundary Waters region of lakes and marshes - more importantly, you will find yourself not far from the headwaters of the Mississippi River valley. This portage area on the St. Louis River has played a crucial role in the transportation system of North America for thousands of years. But it was never easy to bring cargoes upsteam, as you can imagine even today.
Jay Cooke - who he? And how did he manage to get his name associated with this piece of real estate?
To find out, stop by the visitor's center - which is also the park headquarters. You'll need to come here anywhere to purchase a day pass for the park - or to arrange a camping spot.
Jay Cooke (1828-1905) was a 19th century industrialist and investor who was largely responsible for the development of Duluth as a major inland port. He believed entirely that Duluth had the potential to become a great American city, and he is remembered as one of the most important figures in the history of the city. Born in Ohio, he helped the Union cause in the American Civil War by helping the Federal Government "float" enormous bond issues. Later, he raised $100,000,000 (a considerable sum) for James J. Hill's Northern Pacific RR, and saw to it that its lines connected to Duluth.
When in the 1920s, the local power company donated this beautiful tract of land to the State of Minnesota for public use, it was decided to honor Cooke for his economic contributions to the region.