Steve Piragis, Piragis Northwoods Company
I, like most of our clients, enjoy fishing the wilderness lakes of the BWCAW. More than 50 percent of our clients travel by canoe in the region. Any industrialization on the perimeter of the Wilderness will inevitably degrade the wilderness and change the purity of this experience. Basswood Lake lies just downstream from the proposed Twin Metals sulfide-ore mine. If acid and heavy metals pollute the Kawishiwi River, as I believe they inevitably will, Basswood Lake will be among the first to be affected. It would not take long for recreational economy we have worked so hard to develop for the last 100 years in Ely to be adversely affected.
Joseph Goldstein
Wilderness is important. It is important for its own sake. It is also important for the sake of all of us. My dad says that wilderness is a place to learn and grow and be challenged to be more. My mom says it’s a place that can heal who we already are. I think they both are right. I know that the BWCA is a place I want all my friends to see and experience. It is a place I want my brothers to grow up with, too. It is a place I want my kids to know and love someday. It is a place that can change who we are, for the better. It also is a place that can’t protect itself – wilderness relies on us to understand its importance in our lives and guard it for the future. (March 10, 2015)
Erik Packard, Veterans for the Boundary Waters
When I returned from my 2008 deployment to Iraq, I began to struggle with PTSD, alcohol, depression and suicide. On the insistence of my wife and friends, I finally went back to Boundary Waters. What I found back in the BWCA was a sense of peace that I thought I had lost forever. I could feel the poison that had infected my soul from the horrors of war being drawn out of me. The trip started the healing process, and when I could make it back it would always refresh me.
Land Tawney, President/CEO of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers
"Industrial mining a quarter-mile south of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the most visited wilderness in America, makes no sense. Short-term economic gains and a lifetime of cleanup must not be allowed to trump the solace, adventure and outdoor economic engine that is the Boundary Waters."
Tom Myers, Ph.D., hydrologist
If sulfide mines are developed in the Rainy Headwaters [part of the Boundary Waters watershed], it is not a question of whether, but when, a leak will occur that will have major impacts on the water quality of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
Former Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton
As you know the BWCAW is a crown jewel in Minnesota and a national treasure. It is the most visited wilderness in the eastern US, and a magnificently unique assemblage of forest and waterbodies, an extraordinary legacy of wilderness adventure, and the home to iconic species like moose and wolves. I have an obligation to ensure it is not diminished in any way. Its uniqueness and fragility require that we exercise special care when we evaluate significant land use changes in the area, and I am unwilling to take risks with that Minnesota environmental icon. (Twin Metals Letter, March 6, 2016)
Representative Betty McCollum, MN Fourth District
For decades, Minnesotans and Americans have turned to our Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Voyageurs National Park as treasured areas of unparalleled natural beauty and unsurpassed recreational opportunities ... Working with Governor Dayton and a grassroots coalition of Minnesotans and Americans, we have fought to conserve the million acres and thousand lakes that form these national treasures. I am delighted that Secretaries Tom Vilsack and Sally Jewell have acted to save our Boundary Waters. While all Minnesotans should celebrate today’s victory, we have more work to do. I will keep advocating for the full withdrawal of these federal lands from mining, including fighting for legislation in Congress that will protect our Boundary Waters forever. (December 15, 2016)
Ben Weaver
I say it every chance I get. We need wildness and we need the places where wildness can thrive. These places are restorative to our souls. They offer us quiet and contemplation. They ask us to participate rather than consume, to move at the pace of trees, rivers, rainfall, and woodpeckers, instead of highways and data. (Granite Gear, October 31, 2016)