Tornado touches down in Voyagers National Park for 1st time in park history

An EF-1 tornado touched down in Voyagers National Park in northern Minnesota earlier this month, the first in the park’s history.

The National Weather Service confirmed the tornado touched down on the Kabetogama Peninsula in the park on July 17 sometime between 7:49 p.m. and 8:06 p.m. 

The tornado, which had maximum winds of up to 100 mph, downed trees and caused significant damage along an estimated 3.5-mile path. It went northeast from Locator Lake to Marion Bay on Rainy Lake, according to the Voyagers National Park Association. 

In all, park officials estimate the tornado affected less than 500 acres of forest. The damage will result in the regeneration of a young forest, which actually benefits species such as moose, forest grouse, songbirds and other wildlife. 

A portion of the Locator Lake trail and a few houseboat sites on Marion Bay were affected by the tornado. The trail has since reopened, but at least one of the houseboat sites remains closed. The park hopes to have the site cleared and opened within a few weeks.