The Rootbeer Lady

I sometimes forget snowmobiles were once allowed in the Boundary Waters or should I say the area that is now the BWCA? I came across an article about the Rootbeer Lady of Knife Lake and it talked about how a group of people were allowed to snowmobile to her island 2 years after snowmobiles had been banned from the BWCA. It was for a special memorial service after Dorothy had died and there were 500-1000 people who made the 15 mile ride to her cabin.

Dorothy Molter made her way in September 1980 along Knife Lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. She lived on Isle of Pines for more than 56 years. She died at age 79 in 1986.

It wasn’t unusual for folks to make the snowmobile trek from the end of the Gunflint Trail over to Moose Lake. It’s only about a 40 mile snowmobile ride as compared to close to 200 miles by car. People would snowmobile to many different lakes in the BWCA for ice fishing.

Don Enzenauer who owned Voyageur Canoe Outfitters before us would bring propane out to Benny Ambrose’s place via snowmobile. His homestead was on Ottertrack Lake just west of Saganaga via Swamp Lake. Benny and Dorothy were the last two people allowed to live in the wilderness. How lucky those two were.


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