About HWRC

The University of Minnesota’s Hubachek Wilderness Research Center (HWRC) offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity for wilderness research and education. Our boreal forest fronts two lakes on the edge of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness near Ely. The land base is primarily passively managed and serves as a key site to study the effects of climate change on northern forests. 

Minnesota map showing the locations of the 10 CFANS Research & Outreach Centers

HWRC is one of 10 unique Research and Outreach Centers throughout Minnesota within the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS).

HWRC has its beginnings in the Quetico-Superior Wilderness Research Center (QSWRC) of the Wilderness Research Foundation (WRF) of the late 1940s and was a generous gift to the University by the family of Frank Brookes Hubachek, Sr. in 2014. The Hubachek family’s bequest established the Hubachek Wilderness Research Center, to promote wilderness research and education with a focus on the forests of northeastern Minnesota. The gift created an endowment to be used to fund HWRC operations as well as ecological research and education.

Contemporary and future research at HWRC and across the Quetico-Superior landscape is informed by the past work of Cliff and Isabel Ahlgren. The Ahlgrens were resident scientists with the WRF at both its historical QSWRC location on Basswood Lake until the early 1970s and at its current HWRC location until their retirement in the early 1990s. They published numerous research articles and reports on the ecology of the Quetico-Superior region. Their work included breeding blister rust resistant white pine, conducting landscape-scale botanical inventories and tree phenology, and the study of forest regeneration following disturbances like fire and timber harvest.


HWRC Fact Sheet