Group sitting on a rock in Boundary waters

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Justice

Our Commitment

In 2018, Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness formed a Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion workgroup of staff and board members to deliberate and act on our own organizational shortcomings as well as those of the outdoor industry and environmental movement as a whole. We recognized that we had much work to do - and indeed we still do.


A Wilderness for All

Wilderness and the pursuit of its protection should be made to be welcoming and accessible to all. Protecting Wilderness relies upon public engagement which cannot be expected when people are disenfranchised, unwelcome, hurt or tokenized due to their sexuality, race, age, ability, size, gender identity, gender expression, culture, religion, political affiliation, or anything else. The pursuit of permanent protection for the Boundary Waters from sulfide-ore copper mining and other threats is no different. Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness and the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of the organization as it works to protect this special place for everyone and for generations to come.

Each department and staff person has Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice plans built into their work, and our board DEIJ Committee and staff DEIJ Workgroup help direct and evaluate our progress around our workplace culture, operations, and organizational processes, recruitment and hiring, whose stories get told/shown, where we hold accessible events, who we partner and do business with, and how we support and collaborate with partner organizations including those that guide a wide diversity of people into the Boundary Waters.

To build an effective, grassroots movement to permanently protect the Boundary Waters, we must challenge ourselves and our community to be actively anti-racist, and help make sure sure that everyone can not only visit the Boundary Waters Wilderness but is part of the movement to protect it.

Wilderness Equity Initiative - Small Trip and Projects Grants

Save the Boundary Waters/Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness’ grants program will continue in 2024! We are again awarding small trip or project grants to people or groups that too often get disenfranchised within and excluded from efforts to protect the Boundary Waters. Grant amounts range between $1000-$3000.

2024 Wilderness Equity Initiative Application

The second round of our grant cycle has now ended. 

Please stay tuned in fall 2024 for the next cycle!




  • Renew Earth Running - Native-led nonprofit and running team based in Mpls, running to promote stewardship of the land. Participating in the Ely Marathon. 
  • The Loppet Foundation - Connects people to the outdoors through experiences that grow community. BWCA trip for BIPOC and/or LGBTQIA+ youth. Read about their trip here!
  • YMCA Camp Menogyn - YMCA wilderness tripping camp based on West Bearskin Lake, leading a BWCA trip in partnership with Youth and Family Services
  • Wilderness Canoe Base - Boundary Waters experiences for all ages, year round. BWCA trip in partnership with Urban Village
  • Urban Bird Collective - Twin Cities, MN BIPOC-led birding and environmental stewardship group. Planning overnight and day trip experiences in the BWCA in the fall. 
  • Ely Community Resource - Focus on serving LGBTQ+ youth, creating a wilderness experience of positive challenge. BWCA trip in August. 
  • Bear Witness Media - In partnership with Cook County Pride Committee, LGBTQ Youth Support Group, and First Congregational Church to offer BWCA day trips, education, and mentoring
  • Urban Boatbuilders - Apprenticeship program for underserved youth facing barriers to employment. BWCA trip for graduates in August. 
  • MN Transitions Charter School - Winter Camping experience at YMCA Camp Menogyn, primarily students of color living in Minneapolis. Hear more about their trip here!
  • Ely Folk School - 2nd year of their Anishinaabe Storytelling series
  • Troop 100 - Scout troop for Hmong boys started by Minneapolis Public School educators, BWCA trip for two groups. 




We are members of Camber Outdoors - a workplace equity organization for the outdoor industry

In 2020 we signed the Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge

Read our annual DEIJ Reports:

Read our 2023 Report

Read our 2021 Report

Read our 2020 report  


Check out the Outdoorist Oath training opportunities

Blog: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice Is Central to our Mission

The Boundary Waters is Anishinaabe land

Outside Safe Space Sticker. Pine tree with rainbow colors

Outside Safe Space Sticker 

The Outside Safe Space tree represents welcome to LGBTQ+ people. Whether you’re an ally or identify as LGBTQ+, wearing or displaying this symbol nonverbally communicates your support for folks being their authentic selves in rural and outdoor places--those outside traditionally welcoming spaces. This is the brain child of road trip and national parks expert Mikah Meyer, who uses outdoor adventure advocacy to bring awareness to the OSS project. 

The OSS symbol was thoughtfully designed to incorporate the history and diversity of the LGBTQ+ community. Use #AdventurePride on your favorite social media channels to share your support of inclusive environments for all!

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