A Year in the Wilderness

A Year in the Wilderness

Jun 22, 2015
Amy Freeman

Shortly after completing Paddle to DC, our 100-day, 2,000-mile expedition to raise awareness about the threat of proposed copper mines in a sulfide ore body on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the realization set in that we still have a lot of work to do to protect the Boundary Waters watershed from sulfide-ore copper mining. So we stayed engaged in the work of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters and came up with a new plan.

On the Fall Equinox (September 23, 2015) Dave and I will launch our canoe in the Kawishiwi River and paddle into the Boundary Waters. We will then remain in the nation’s most popular Wilderness area for a full year. We will camp at approximately 120 different sites during this Year in the Wilderness and travel more than 3,000 miles by canoe, foot, ski, snowshoe and dog team.

Why? We are wilderness guides and educators and this is a way to make use of our unique skill set. We care deeply about this place and we will do everything within our power to ensure that it remains intact for the next generation. As we travel, we will share the adventure through photos, videos, blog posts, radio interviews and other media outlets to try and amplify the voice of what Sigurd Olson called the “Singing Wilderness.” People can also experience the rugged landscape of this 1.1 million-acre wilderness firsthand by participating in resupply missions to meet up with us in the Boundary Waters.

The next year and a half is a critical time and we all must do everything we can to ensure that the Boundary Waters is protected from sulfide-ore copper mining. This is not your typical expedition geared toward traveling from point A to point B in X amount of time; rather it is about bearing witness to the very land and water we are fighting to protect.

We will get to know this special place more intimately than we ever have before, documenting flora and fauna, collecting water quality data from every major lake, and sharing the experience online and in person with the brave decision-makers, journalists, photographers, videographers, artists, storytellers, and individuals who choose to join us from time to time—not to mention 100,000 school children and their teachers who will participate in the educational aspects of the adventure through the Wilderness Classroom.

So stay tuned. We look forward to sharing the adventure with you!

Help support A Year in the Wilderness by voting for the Freemans in the Canoe & Kayak magazine Dream Your Adventure contest (Voting closed July 15).


Dave Freeman and Amy Freeman were named National Geographic's 2014 Adventurers of the Year.

[PHOTOS: Top, Nate Ptacek. Bottom, Van Conrad]