Campaign Updates

Recap our Annual Supporter Meeting in Ely

Jan 9, 2024
Libby London, Save the Boundary Waters
Recap our Annual Supporter Meeting in Ely

A packed room of supporters joined us at the Ely Folk School on Sunday, December 10, for a summary of our 2023 work from Save the Boundary Waters Executive Director Ingrid Lyons. Then we heard from three of the partner organizations (Big City Mountaineers, Bear Witness Media, and Cast Outdoors) we supported this year through our mini-grants program, which we have run since 2021 and now has a new name: Wilderness Equity Initiative.


2023 Highlights
Ingrid emphasized how we’ve grown this movement over ten years, and how a decade of persistent, strategic work culminated this past January with a historic victory: a 20-year ban on mining on federal lands in the watershed of the Boundary Waters signed by U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. Ten years ago, Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness was a strong local group but very small, and now has grown to a $2.7 million effort with 15 full-time staff and a coalition of 400+ businesses, conservation, access, and sporting groups that has achieved what many thought was impossible.

We are working to protect the Boundary Waters permanently, through our many programs including Kids for the Boundary Waters, Boundary Waters Connect, the Boundary Waters Business Coalition, our expert science and water quality monitoring program, our legislative and legal efforts, and more. Read Ingrid’s full 2023 recap here.

Watch this short film that recaps our 10 years of building and leading the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters.

Wilderness Equity Initiative In 2023

We supported 11 organizations’ trips and projects through our mini-grants program, which now has a new name for 2024: Wilderness Equity Initiative. Through this program, which we started in 2021, we support and partner with people who face barriers to outdoor recreation, and together we broaden the future of our conservation movement. As people who treasure this unique wild place, it’s important to remember why we are protecting it, who we are protecting it for, and who we are protecting it with.

Read more about the inspiring work from three of our partners. These following folks shared about their missions, Boundary Waters trips, and the youth and communities they’ve introduced to the Boundary Waters.

Megan Parkinson

Megan Parkinson is the Minnesota Regional Program Manager with Big City Mountaineers.

She has spent many days in the Boundary Waters and paddling the Mississippi River, and attended Concordia College. BCM is a national organization that provides transformative experiences through connections to nature that strengthen life skills and build community for youth from disinvested communities. One of their bases is in Tower, Minnesota.

Watch her 12 minute presentation here >>

Matthew Baxley

Matthew Baxley, who goes simply by "M," lives in Grand Marais, Minnesota and calls the northwoods their home.

Working as a storyteller, they run Bear Witness Media as a means for sharing our most powerful human experiences. This includes the beloved Boundary Waters Podcast. M will share about a recent LGBTQ+ trip for local youth in the BWCA.

Watch their 15 minute presentation here >> and watch a short video clip from the “Fruity Pebbles” Boundary Waters trip >>

David Hicks

David Hicks: After leaving military service as a combat marine, David Hicks received degrees in Fisheries and Wildlife Management, and Environmental and Outdoor Education.

He has completed certifications through Solo Wilderness Medicine and teaches wilderness first aid & first responder courses. David operates a non-profit organization with his wife Heather called Cast Outdoor Adventures Inc. which facilitates leadership and skills development in youth and young adults with varying levels of disabilities. Over the past six years, David has led and facilitated trips into the BWCAW. These trips include skills development and education which cultivate client independence, resilience, and understanding of their wilderness experience.

Watch his 12 minute presentation here >>

 Happy New Year! Please join us at an upcoming event this winter in Minnesota, including:

● January 23: Backcountry Film Festival, Minneapolis, MN - get tickets now!
● February 8-11: End of the Road Film Festival, Ely, MN
● February 17-19: Loppet World Cup, Minneapolis, MN - volunteers needed!