Oct 11, 2023 12:00 PM
Barb and Kurt Soderberg.
47 Days in the BWCAW - 1973.
Our presenters this week are Kurt and Barb Soderberg.
Their presentation is: 47 Days in The BWCAW - 1973.
Kurt Soderberg was born and raised in Ely, and Barb grew up and graduated from Tower High School, both in 1967. In addition, both spent their first two years of college at Vermilion Community College, with each ultimately receiving a degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth. Barb graduated in 1972 with a degree in Physical Education and Sociology, while Kurt graduated with a degree in Psychology, and then a Masters in Educational Psychology.
Their family consists of one daughter, Erin, who has three children – boy and girl twins who are Sophomores and a daughter who is a Senior - all attending Washburn High School in Minneapolis. But in addition, there were many exchange students and teachers from a variety of countries who lived with them in Duluth for up to a year, including several through the Rotary Exchange Program. Erin is a professional author and her husband, Greg, works in sustainability for Cargill Corporation. 
Kurt’s primary career was at the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District in Duluth. His career began in Human Resources and ultimately brought him to the position of Executive Director, a position held for 17 years until retirement in 2008. He was involved in a variety of issues that related to protection of Lake Superior, the St. Louis River, the Great Lakes, and the many aspects of waste management.
Barb’s career was spent nearly entirely working for the US Forest Service, starting first as a seasonal employee and ultimately becoming the Public Service Team Leader for the Superior National Forest in Duluth, one of the top leadership positions. She had overall responsibility for the BWCA Wilderness, recreation, trails, land purchase and exchange, special uses, heritage resources, and public information programs. Barb was among the first wildland firefighters in the US Forest Service, assigned to many western fires during the years of high fire danger. 
During college, Barb worked as a summer employee with the Forest Service, as did Kurt. After being married in 1970 they also became the first husband/wife wilderness ranger team in the BWCAW. That is how they spent 47 days in the wilderness.