For countless generations, American Indians have quarried the red pipestone found at this site. These grounds are sacred to many people because the pipestone quarried here is carved into pipes used for prayer. Many believe that the pipe's smoke carries one's prayer to the Great Spirit. The traditions of quarrying and pipemaking continue here today. Pipestone National Monument, in the southwestern corner, preserves the sacred Native American quarries of soft red stone from which ceremonial pipes were carved.
Minnesota offers a variety of recreational facilities. Summer homes as well as tourist camps and resorts line the shores of the state's countless lakes. There are excellent facilities for water sports. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Voyageurs National Park are adjacent areas near the Canadian border. They comprise the state's largest wilderness area and provide numerous streams and lakes for campers, canoeists, and hunters.
Minnesota's abundance of ice and snow provide ideal conditions for skiing, bobsledding, hockey, ice fishing, and iceboat races. Ski runs and skating rinks are numerous, especially around the Twin Cities, where snow-making equipment, floodlights for night skiing, and indoor skating rinks have been installed.
Minnesota has two national forests. Superior National Forest, covering nearly 3.9 million acres in the northeast, is one of the largest in the United States. Chippewa National Forest, at about 660,000 acres, contains many lakes, including the large Winnibigoshish, Leech, and Cass lakes.
Voyageurs National Park, located near the border with Canada, contains interconnected northern lakes, dotted with islands. The region was once the route of the French-Canadian voyageurs. Also under National Park Service jurisdiction are the Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway and the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, whose waterways flow past noted cultural, historical, and industrial features.
Grand Portage National Monument, the site of the 18th-century trading post of the British North West Company and a vital link for water travelers, is located in the northeastern corner of the state.