The committee has its origins in the 1909 establishment of the Quetico Provincial Park by the Dominion of Canada, accomplished in order to protect the Canadian side of the unique Rainy Lake region from poaching and other environmental depredations. Shortly after that, the U.S. reciprocated when President Theodore Roosevelt established the adjacent Superior National Forest. The joint preserves gave the entire watershed its present name, the Quetico-Superior country.
Proposals for roads into the wilderness area in the 1920s resulted in successful opposition by conservation groups to maintain it as a roadless area. A further challenge came in 1925 with a proposal to create a giant power reservoir along the border, which would incorporate high dams and resulting flooding of the wilderness lakes. Early enthusiasts of the Quetico-Superior area like Ernest Oberholtzer, Fred Winston, Charles Kelly, and Frank Hubachek--all of them influential conservationists--galvanized U.S. support and succeeded in organizing a private support organization known as the Quetico-Superior Council, which proposed and lobbied for a long range management plan for the area. Canadian and American legations both endorsed its proposals in 1929 and, in 1931, congress passed the Shipstead-Nolan Act, which gave protection against logging or flooding to the federally owned shorelines on the Minnesota side of the border.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in 1934, appointed the first President's Quetico-Superior Committee to work toward realizing the Council's program, and the eventual dedication of a Peace Memorial Forest in the area. In the same year the International Joint Commission investigating the longstanding power development applications affecting the area, denied them on both sides of the border. Over the years the U.S. government continued to add acreage to the forest areas and the committee, along with the council, continued to oppose intrusions into the wilderness, including military and commercial flyovers, and snowmobile trails.
This historical information was taken from: Wilson Ornithological Club Conservation Committee, "Voyageur's Country: The Story of the Quetico-Superior Country," The Wilson Bulletin 65 (1953): 56-59.
From the guide to the Committee records., 1927-1987., (Minnesota Historical Society)