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.
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 is the Minnesota Regional Program Manager with Big City Mountaineers.
Matthew Baxley, who goes simply by "M," lives in Grand Marais, Minnesota and calls the northwoods their home.
David Hicks: After leaving military service as a combat marine, David Hicks received degrees in Fisheries and Wildlife Management, and Environmental and Outdoor Education.
● 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!