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Northern Research Station
11 Campus Blvd., Suite 200
Newtown Square, PA 19073
(610) 557-4017
(610) 557-4132 TTY/TDD

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Kawishiwi Activities

Current Activities

The Northern Research Station is working with the Northern Bedrock Conservation Corps and the State Historic Preservation Office to develop an adaptive re-use of the Kawishiwi Field Laboratory site. The Northern Bedrock Conservation Corps expects to complete a proposal and a feasibility study in 2012.

With help from a National Trust for Historic Preservation grant, the Northern Research Station has submitted a nomination of the Kawishiwi Field Lab to the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register is expected to make a decision later this year. Designation as a historic site may help generate interest in re-use of the buildings and funding for restoration.

Because the buildings are not safe for occupation, U.S. Geological Survey scientists have relocated wolf researchers from the Kawishiwi Field Lab to space in the Superior National Forest district office in nearby Ely, Minn. The Northern Research Station is doing routine maintenance and preparing the buildings to be closed during the winter months. Work includes:

•Treating a powder post beetle infestation.
•Remove sagging power lines that pose a fire hazard.
•Winterizing the water lines.

Next Steps

Northern Research Station staff will continue to work with partners to identify a compatible re-use for the historic structures and a partner who can adapt the buildings.


The Kawishiwi Field Lab has 11 structures, nine of which are eligible for inclusion as a Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. The historical significance of the buildings relates to the quality and workmanship of their construction, and the representation of various styles of log and framed construction characteristic of an historical era. Seven of the historic structures are Rustic/Adirondack Style log cabins built in 1934 and 1935 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The Field Lab also includes a stand-alone underground concrete cellar poured by the CCC at the site, and a balloon framed residence built in 1931 with funds from Herbert Hoover’s Public Works Administration.

Part of the U.S. Forest Service’s Research and Development arm, the Northern Research Station conducts research on a wide range of forest ecology topics in 20 Northeast and Midwestern states. The Station includes 22 Experimental Forests where long-term research is focused on ecosystem processes, silviculture and forest management options, wildlife habitat characteristics, and forest growth and development. Research on the Kawishiwi Experimental Forest explored methods of converting jack pine, quaking aspen and birch forests to white and black spruce forests, and ended more than 20 years ago. The site has been used by U.S. Geologic Survey scientists for wolf research for many years.

In 2010 the Northern Research Station released an environmental assessment that evaluated several alternatives for the Field Lab’s future, ranging from restoration to demolition after complete historic documentation of the site. Public comment on the environmental assessment was strongly in favor of preserving the structures, and the Northern Research Station is pursuing finding an adaptive re-use of the structures.

Last Modified: 10/14/2011

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