Fordlandia

S01 E05

The Wolves and Moose are Out of Whack

Rolf Peterson is 68 years old, bearded and lean. He’s hiked every part of Isle Royale National Park in the northwest section of Lake Superior where he’s spent much of his life leading the world’s longest running predator-prey study, documenting the effects of too many moose and too few wolves on the island. Peterson and his wife also raised their kids on Isle Royale.

We travel to Isle Royale to walk in Peterson’s shoes (hiking boots, actually). No trails connect his old fishing cabin to the main island, so a dock is his driveway. A little wind turbine spins and captures precious energy, joined in the effort by solar panels.

“There is a limited amount of battery power,” Peterson explains.

“We're not streaming videos and going to the movies or anything like that. The food comes out in the summertime, once a week. You have to order it way ahead of time. You don't have ice cream and some of those amenities, but nothing that's really important that I miss. We do not have a flush toilet and that's a blessing. No plumbing to worry about. Nothing can leak when you don't have any pipes in the first place."