America the Beautiful Quarters 2018 is the 9th installment of a set of 5 beautiful coins being released by the U.S. mint since 2010. This year the ATB quarters honor Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Voyageurs National Park, Cumberland Island National Seashore, and Block Island National Wildlife Refuge. This post looks at the 2018 Voyageurs National Park quarter.
Voyageurs, the French Canadian fur traders of the 17th and 18th centuries who transported furs across great distances in North America, gave their name to this National Park. The Voyageurs National Park, which abounds in water resources, is a haven for kayakers, fishermen, canoeists, and other boaters. This year the Voyageurs National Park quarter honors this park in Northern Minnesota established in 1975.
Voyageurs National Park
The Voyageurs National Park covers an area of 218,200 acres and is near the International Falls city in Minnesota. It covers 4 major lakes; Rainy lake, Kabetogama lake, Namakan lake and Sand point lake. The National Park offers many activities like fishing,hiking, boating and snowmobiling in the winter.
The National Park's name came from the Voyageurs, French for travelers who transported fur from the interior region surrounding northern parts of U.S.A and Canada to the European settlements. These furs were then transported further to Europe by the corresponding companies of these Voyageurs. Beavers were the primary source of the fur trade and large numbers were trapped and slayed to get their furs. Beaver fur was preferred for the warmth it provided and were used to make top hats. The hunting for the furs caused a sharp decline in Beaver population in North America till it was regulated in the 1900's. Other animals which were trapped for fur were marten, otter, lynx, mink and fox.
Though the idea of Voyageurs; free spirited men roaming across uncharted lands; has been romanticised over the years, the reality was far from romantic. Voyageurs had to carry really heavy loads over dangerous terrain and had to work around 14 hour days with little or no food. Most couldn't make much money out of the furs that they captured and because of the dangerous times; hostile natives, animal attacks, canoe accidents, drowning, to name a few, hardly lived above the age of 40. Most of the voyageurs who escaped from the above dangers succumbed to spinal problems and hernias. The really heavy loads an average Voyageur had to carry ranged from 2 bales (180 lb) to 4 or 5 bales which caused tremendous strain on the spine.
The current Voyageurs National park covers most of the area that the Voyageurs of yore traveled and canoed.
2018 Voyageurs National Park quarter
The 2018 America the Beautiful quarters design depicts a common loon with a rock cliff in the background. The inscriptions are "VOYAGEURS," "MINNESOTA," "2018," and "E PLURIBUS UNUM.”