Patagonia, the well-known and visionary outdoor clothing company founded by Yvon Chouinard has been one of the most important allies in the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters since this effort began in 2013 and we are incredibly grateful for this support.
Through its retail stores, digital teams, and grants Patagonia has provided vital support in the way of thousands of dollars in donations, event hosting, social media and web activation, and the talents and time of its own employees.
The Patagonia team has done so much for the cause it would be impossible to list everything here, but here are some of the key ways Patagonia has helped reach and inspire hundreds of thousands of people to protect the Boundary Waters:
CONTRIBUTING MONEY, TIME, GEAR
The Patagonia team has contributed to all our major film projects through thousands of dollars of direct media grants and through the involvement of their own staff, like filmmaker Nate Ptacek, on projects including Paddle to DC: Quest for Clean Water, Bear Witness, and Public Trust.
They’ve also awarded us, Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness, with generous monetary grants for our programs including for outreach, litigation, and political advocacy.
Patagonia is of course known for their apparel and gear, and the company is incredibly generous when it comes to providing gear for an event, raffle, or silent auction. The team at the St. Paul Patagonia store and others eagerly send us luggage and other valuable items that our supporters love and are always excited to bid on or enter to win.
Multiple Patagonia staff over the years have been supported through the company’s paid “internship” program where they spend time working directly on behalf of our cause on the company’s dime.
Patagonia stores in Minnesota, Illinois, and Washington DC have hosted fabulous events for us (we’ve even recently done a virtual event with the Ontario/St. Paul/DC stores’ teams and customers!) over the years. Highlights have included several celebrations in the Georgetown, Washington DC store for our capital fly-in visits with Kids for the Boundary Waters and overflowing crowds for explorers Amy and Dave Freeman at the St. Paul store.
PATAGONIA ACTION WORKS
Patagonia Action Works meaningfully connects their customers and community with grassroots environmental groups such as Save the Boundary Waters as part of their commitment to the 1% for the Planet program. Each month they promote and share our events, petitions, advocacy actions, and more with their audiences, and it makes a huge impact on building awareness about the Boundary Waters online.
The Patagonia team has supported Save the Boundary Waters in so many other creative ways - designer Geoffrey Holstad designed our series of very popular Boundary Waters wildlife stickers, Patagonia has written about the issue in their widely-read Cleanest Line Blog, invited our senior staff to attend their Tools Conference with top public lands advocates in the country, and the St. Paul store even reorganized part of their floor plan and decorated their front windows with Boundary Waters pictures, and displayed one of our signature canoes in the retail store!
Patagonia has produced and is now screening a feature-length documentary Public Trust, which highlights three major public lands issues facing America today: Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the slashing of Bears Ears National Monument, and threat of copper mining near the Boundary Waters. Our partner organization, Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters, has been closely involved with the Patagonia team and is featured in this new film screening.
Patagonia was just featured in a New York Times article about their careful response to the COVID19 crisis and how the company and it’s staff are managing through the pandemic. Read the article here.
We are incredibly grateful for the support from Patagonia. Their support is helping us reach and inspire hundreds of thousands of people to protect the Boundary Waters and attract the attention of national leaders who can take action this year to protect this great canoe country wilderness.
Check out this detailed map created by Aaron Carapella who is a cartographer of Cherokee and European ancestry. He has heavily researched indigenous history and lands to create many beautiful maps featuring native people and tribes.
We invite you to zoom in, scroll around, and explore this map of tribal nations and indigenous names in what is also known today as North America. Link to PDF of map here. Please be patient as this map loads - it is large and very detailed.
Save the Boundary Waters strives to keep diversity, equity, and inclusion at the forefront of our work and when our DEI team came across this map, we wanted to share it with you (with the artist's permission)!
This is also an opportunity to share a bit about tribal nations in northeastern Minnesota where our organization is based, and how tribes have interacted with the Boundary Waters sulfide-ore copper mining issue.
Indigenous people have lived in the Boundary Waters region for countless generations. Much of Minnesota’s “Arrowhead” region, including the Boundary Waters, is within the 1854 Ceded Territory, where Anishinaabe people (also known as Ojibwe or Chippewa) retain hunting, fishing, and gathering rights. Hunting, fishing, and gathering activities of two northern Bands are coordinated by the tribal government-run 1854 Treaty Authority - read more about the Treaty Authority here.
On the east side of the Boundary Waters lies Grand Portage Indian Reservation which contains Grand Portage National Monument, and to the west of the Wilderness are the three sections of the Bois Forte Reservation.
In 2016, three Chippewa Bands (Fond du Lac, Grand Portage, and White Earth) and one Canadian First Nation Community (Lac La Croix) requested that the U.S. federal government ban sulfide-ore copper mining on federal public lands on the U.S. side of the Rainy River Drainage Basin. The decision by the U.S. Forest Service Chief in December 2016 to recommend a 20-year mining ban was in part a response to the request of the three Bands and the First Nation Community.
In 2016 and 2019, Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters staff and board members paddled to the Lac La Croix Village as guests during the community’s annual PowWow. During the 2019 visit, we learned about how Basswood Lake, located in the Boundary Waters and Quetico Park and along the international border, is an ancestral homeland of the Lac La Croix First Nation Community and a sacred place for Anishinaabe.
In 2019, the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe (consisting of 6 Minnesota Chippewa Bands) stated its support for legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congresswoman Betty McCollum that would ban sulfide-ore copper mining on federal lands in the Rainy River Drainage Basin, part of 1854 Ceded Territory. This bill would permanently protect areas where the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe exercises its treaty rights of hunting, fishing, and gathering.
Unfortunately, the Bois Forte Band, a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, received blowback from some mining proponents who launched a boycott of Bois Forte’s Fortune Bay Resort because of support by the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe for protection of the Rainy River Drainage Basin. This blatant attempt to silence the Tribe - who derive food and medicine from areas that would be degraded by sulfide-ore mining - is regrettable. We encourage people to support the Bois Forte Band and the Boundary Waters by enjoying leisure time at Fortune Bay Resort on Lake Vermilion in Tower (resort temporarily closed during Minnesota’s Stay At Home order due to COVID-19 - check with Fortune Bay for opening information and safety.)
Explore the map to see whose ancestral and current-day lands you live or recreate on.
This Tribal Nations Map is not to be printed or reproduced. Support a native-owned business by purchasing this or other maps and browsing the selection of books and other resources from Tribal Nations Maps.
Every May I find myself longing for a trip northward. For the past 35 years, I’ve only missed a handful of opportunities to make the journey up highway 61 and along the Gunflint Trail to a canoe base near the border. These early-mid May trips have been a part of a volunteer opening weekend for Wilderness Canoe Base, and for me, an opening into life after winter. This year, especially, after the stressful months of trying to maintain my business during the covid-19 pandemic, the wilderness is calling to me very loudly for an opportunity to restore my spirit, but the current sheltering restrictions have me waiting for a later visit. I will try to be patient.
I grew up just three blocks from a lake, albeit a suburban one ringed mostly with houses and roads. I had a short bike ride to open fields and natural wooded undeveloped areas (now all but gone) that provided me with childhood adventures of many kinds. And as a child, I made many car trips into NW Wisconsin where my grandmother lived on the edge of the Chippewa Forest, nestled next to a resort and fishing lake. Being outdoors, camping, and studying nature were all part of my family’s attempt to bridge the gap between living in a tidy suburban development and the honoring the wilderness.
It was a visit into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area when I was 12, three years before its official federal designation, that gave me an entirely different perspective on wilderness. To go for days without cars, boat motors even, no homes and few if any people other than the group I was traveling with opened up my imagination to how the earth can get along just fine without humans. I didn’t have to pretend the homes weren’t there or try to block out the sounds of cars as I sat in the midst of this vast expanse. It was bigger than anything I could explore; it was awesome.
I found ways to return year after year on other trips, and while there were always familiar parts about the visit, there was always something new or at least new to me. Even if I was returning to the same lakes or portages, they were never the same. As I became more comfortable and familiar with the area, I also grew to understand that I was a visitor, an outsider, and that other creatures made this their home, I was just their guest.
Over the years I have tried to introduce this love and respect for the BWCA to my own children, to students I taught, and to friends and family who’ve been willing to join me on the long trek into the wilderness. And now, nearly 50 years later, I find myself fighting alongside others for its existence. How is it even possible after all these years that a federally protected area must defend itself against a multi-national mining corporation?
A few years ago, I visited a retreat center built from the remnants of a copper mining site. For all its beauty, deep in the cascades, there was a sadness there as well. The site was being remediated for issues from tailings and leaking. The destruction of the area was evident. The ability of the retreat center to function was a challenge as well. The costs were high, but just part of the ongoing operations of a multi-national mining corporation. Just another line item in doing business, pay the fines, spend the money for cleanup, move on and go extract somewhere else.
But for the creatures, the trees, the plants that make the BWCA their home, moving on is not an option. For the millions who have enjoyed the wilderness area for what it is and what it has to offer us freely, moving on is not an option. If the poisons of mining waste are allowed to leech and drift their way into the ecosystem, this beautiful area will just be gone.
Choosing to honor this area while choosing to make decisions that benefit our planet and people and business can be made. They are decisions that are about right time, right place, right scale. Unfortunately, these are likely not going to be in the best interest of a multi-national mining corporation, but that’s okay, because those kinds of corporations don’t have our best interests or the earth’s best interests in mind either. We have come so far in these past 50 years since that first Earth Day, yet the arguments must still be raised for why the earth itself deserves our respect and stewardship.
May we find the collective will and strength to make the arguments for preservation of the wilderness and to make decisions that will allow future generations to find the same wonder and beauty in our Boundary Waters Wilderness Area that I have been able to make. And I do hope to see you on that blue Green Path through the wilderness.
Join me in supporting the work of Save the Boundary Waters
During the week of what would have been our largest fundraiser of the year, our annual Gala, we were able to participate in a week of generosity through GiveAtHomeMN, and it was a huge success! Thank you to everyone who participated in our events. Whether it was watching the documentary at the film screenings, attending our social hour webinar, or participating in the silent auction, we were thrilled to see the support and passion for protecting the Boundary Waters from sulfide-ore copper mining.
$136,000 raised in a week!
900+ donors from 45 states
$40,000 in matching gifts
$10,650 from the Silent Auction
Our original goal was to raise $60,000 and it only took a few days until we had to raise that goal due to the overwhelming generosity from Boundary Waters defenders like you!
When you support Save the Boundary Waters, you are supporting a strategic, multi-pronged approach to achieve permanent protection for the Boundary Waters watershed from copper mining.
Save the Boundary Waters is working on multiple fronts to protect this special place. These efforts include:
Thank you for supporting permanent protection for the Boundary Waters!
Didn’t get a chance to give? It’s not too late to donate! When you make a gift today, you support this comprehensive approach to protecting this incredible Wilderness. GiveMN is waiving transaction fees through the end of May, so you can still donate today!
Today (May 6, 2020) Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness, the leader of the Campaign To Save the Boundary Waters, nine Minnesota outdoor recreation businesses, and four conservation groups filed a new federal lawsuit. Today’s lawsuit challenges the recent actions of the federal government to facilitate the unconscionable development of a sulfide-ore copper mine on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).
As the plaintiffs, we allege that the defendants - the Departments of Interior and Agriculture and their agencies the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service - prepared a completely inadequate Environmental Assessment (EA) to renew two federal mineral leases held by Chilean mining giant, Antofagasta, through its subsidiary, Twin Metals. Federal law - the National Environmental Policy Act - requires that a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) be completed. Such an analysis would demonstrate the significant and harmful environmental, social, and economic impacts this proposed mine would have on the Boundary Waters, and the air, land, water, wildlife, and people, and clearly show that sulfide-ore copper mining is unacceptable in the watershed of the Boundary Waters. Instead, the BLM prepared a wholly inadequate short Environmental Assessment which completely ignored scores of scientific studies, including dozens of reports previously considered by the Forest Service and many additional directly relevant scientific and economic reports brought forward by the Campaign. Like the “report” prepared recently by the U.S. State Department in response to federal legislation requiring a study of impacts to Canada from a Twin Metals mine, the EA was comparable to a grade school student’s book report.
WE ARE LEADING THE WAY
Our staff led a strong working group of partners, who together developed and submitted a comprehensive set of comments and dozens of scientific documents that were submitted to the BLM during the EA comment period. Thanks to our partners The Wilderness Society, Center for Biological Diversity, Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters, National Parks Conservation Association, Earthjustice, and Voyageurs National Park Association for their contributions to the official comment letter on the EA, which laid the groundwork for our lawsuit challenging the EA. Working with our broader coalition of over 350 conservation groups, hunting and fishing groups, and businesses, our staff organized nearly 100,000 people to submit comments - a strong showing despite a comment period that ran over the year-end holidays, during a partial federal government shutdown, with periodic breakdowns of the comment submittal website, and for an unconscionably short comment period.
In April, we also appealed an unfavorable decision by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. That case challenges the interpretation of the language of the leases, and is a completely separate issue from this lawsuit.
The Trump administration has demonstrated, time and again, that it has no regard for protecting the environment. From gutting bedrock environmental regulations like the Clean Water Act (see StarTribune article here); to fast-tracking catastrophic projects like the Twin Metals mine, the administration has put corporations, including Chilean mining giant Antofagasta, in charge of our public lands and waters. We simply cannot allow that to happen.
Once again, we have outstanding legal representation by the Morrison & Foerster law firm. Two other law firms are also assisting, making this is a very high-powered legal team. Legal representation is on a pro-bono basis on our behalf. We are deeply appreciative of their help.
Even so, the legal challenges require a great deal of resources. Your donations are critical to keeping these challenges going. We are confident we will ultimately be successful, but the legal process moves very slowly. Thank you for your continued support of this precious place, and stay tuned as this case moves through the legal system.
WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW
Many have already joined our team. We want you to join our team too!
Donate ANY amount today and your dollars will be instantly doubled thanks to a generous donor match to help us further our legal efforts and stop a Twin Metals mine in its tracks.
If you want your donation dollars to go to permanently protect the Boundary Waters from sulfide-ore copper mining, click below to donate now!
My dad, Bill Rom, owned and operated Canoe Country Outfitters in Ely, Minnesota for thirty years, from 1946 to 1975. He sold the outfitting business after the canoe trip season in the fall of 1975.
Every winter my dad sent a newsletter to customers of Canoe Country Outfitters, who were about 25,000 in number. Many of the people who outfitted with Canoe Country Outfitters for Boundary Waters and Quetico canoe trips knew my dad personally and treated him as their friend. During winter months, my dad talked to customers on the phone and at sport shows about canoe trip plans for the next summer, and he greeted them before and after canoe trips during the spring/summer/fall. His newsletters were another way he communicated with his customers, and the newsletters were viewed as letters from a friend.
This newsletter was written in the winter of 1975 before the summer canoe season. It was the last newsletter he wrote as owner of Canoe Country Outfitters.
We are in a particularly tough moment in time. Our global community is facing new challenges, in more ways than one, during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are all trying to manage financial pressures, adjust to our home environments and responsibilities, and are experiencing new normals. We continue to take care of and worry about our friends, families, and neighbors the best that we know how. Among these tribulations, we are looking for stability, familiarity and direction in order to survive. We don’t have many answers to our difficult questions and issues. We look for moments of respite in between the uncertainty.
To help soothe some pangs of cabin fever, I have been able to take in the writings of Sigurd Olson, an American author and environmentalist who lived near and loved the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. I have a copy of his classic book, The Singing Wilderness, that has been sitting on my bookshelf for a while. Reading these essays has transported me to the places I enjoy being in most: Minnesota’s natural world. I wholeheartedly know that walks in my local park are one of the main reasons I am mentally, emotionally and physically surviving. In this time spent outside, I can find a stable foundation, as I always have throughout my life. I am able to bear witness to the beautiful and grounding fact that nature is continuing on its course, despite our human challenges. It is there for us to take care of, quietly observe and take solace in. It has been calming to be able to both read about and see the changes that are occurring outside here in Minnesota--winter is giving way to spring, a refreshing time of regeneration, aliveness, and growth. These seasonal processes remind me that we are still connected through nature, and that we will adapt through our challenges, similar to the wildflowers that give rise after the snow melts.
I am looking forward to the day where I can again be in one of my favorite special places that always grounds me, as it did for Sigurd: The Boundary Waters. In the meantime, I can live vicariously through his words, and experience the changing of the seasons in my own backyard, and I can envision the same natural changes that are surely happening in the BWCA as well. I enjoyed his essays on Spring (and I must admit I dabbled in his Summer essays as well, as I am dreaming of the days of again safely paddling in Canoe Country with my family while wearing shorts).
"…The grouse was drumming on its log and the frogs were tuning up in the little pond. The killdeer were quiet now and the blackbirds had gone to sleep, but I heard the song of the hermit thrush, the clear villain notes that in a little while would make every valley alive with music. Spring in the Northeastern was worth waiting for and dreaming about for half the year." -The Singing Wilderness, The Winds of March essay
"Of all the resinous odors in my experience, balsam seems to have the power of awakening the most vivid memories...I never walk through a stand of it without rubbing some of the needles in the palm of my hand so I can breathe in a concentrated dose. That heady smell brings memories of camps all over the wilderness lake country, of balsam beds on hundreds of little islands and rocky points." -The Singing Wilderness, Smell of the Morning essay
"I had seen the stars very close, had heard the song of the coyotes and listened for the first full breathing of the lake. I had made medicine with the chickadees and the whisky-jacks, had played a game of hide-and-seek with the ravens, had caught a trout and seen its ghostly flash in the blue-black depths of the lake. I had spent some days as leisurely as a bear coming out of its den, soaking up the warmth of spring." -The Singing Wilderness, No Place Between essay
"That night it was still, and in the moonlight the loons began as I had heard them before, first the wild, excited calling of a group of birds dashing across the water, then answers from other groups until the entire expanse of the lake was full of their music. We sat around until long after dark and listened, but instead of becoming quiet as the moon went high, the calling increased and there again was the wild harmony, the music that comes only once a year, when it is spring on Lac La Croix." -The Singing Wilderness, The Loons of Lac La Croix essay
"There is magic in the feel of a paddle and the movement of a canoe, a magic compounded of distance, adventure, solitude, and peace. The way of a canoe is the way of the wilderness, and of a freedom almost forgotten. It is an antidote to insecurity, the open door to waterways of ages past and a way of life with profound and abiding satisfactions. When a man is part of his canoe, he is part of all that canoes have ever known." -The Singing Wilderness, The Way of a Canoe essay
Give at home to #SavetheBWCA. Join us for a special week of generosity and unity for the Boundary Waters from May 1 - 8, 2020.
The fight must go on to permanently protect the Boundary Waters. #GiveatHomeMN is a special week of giving to raise awareness and funds during these unprecedented times, and every dollar matters. Plus, as a special gift to nonprofits like us, there are no transaction fees when you donate through Give at Home MN during this time.
How do I create my own fundraiser for #GiveatHomeMN?
You can also follow along in the video below:
On Earth Day, well over 200 supporters joined the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters to show support for the permanent protection of the Boundary Waters from proposed sulfide-ore copper mining by participating in a social distance compliant drive-in rally. We encouraged supporters to strap a canoe on their car, make homemade signs, and to stay in their cars while showing support for the beautiful Boundary Waters that we are all dreaming of during these times of social distancing. The line of cars stretched over 1 mile long as it drove from the Minnesota State Capitol to the Governor's mansion. The purpose of the rally was to remind everyone that despite the current pandemic, the Trump Administration is still continuing its assault on the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
While a Drive-in Rally on Earth Day was not our first choice, the current global pandemic called for some creative shifts both online and through social distancing, while continuing to raise awareness of the importance of permanently protecting the Boundary Waters from the threat of sulfide-ore copper mining. To accommodate this change, and in the spirit of Earth Day, we purchased 22,500 lbs of carbon offsets for the event from carbonfund.org to offset the impact of driving from the MN Capitol to the Governor’s mansion.
Another purpose of the Rally was to thank Governor Walz for his continued support of protecting the Boundary Waters, and ask him to keep fighting for it. Didn’t get a chance to thank the Governor?
Call now! 651-201-3400
Here are some quotes from Rally participants:
Thank you to all of our wonderful supporters who were able to come out and join us on this beautiful Earth Day!
It's times like this, during Covid 19 crisis that many of us reflect on a simple question: How did this happen or how did we get here? As a small local business, we are frequently asked, how did we get to where we are today?
Every founder has a story. It usually stems from a particular passion or finding a solution to a problem. I originally created Kakookies for my daughter when she was a collegiate cyclist because I didn't feel good about her and her teammates stopping at Dunkin' Donuts before or after their races. My solution to that problem was, send them cookies (everybody loves cookies right?) that would satisfy their hunger and sustain energy. An oatmeal cookie recipe (power packed with nuts and chia seeds) was born and a business soon followed.
After we launched our business with 3 flavors, I was soon challenged to develop a nut-free cookie. As a food maker, I find inspiration from past experiences. I had recently spoken with my college friend from Alaska and we reminisced about our 3 week trip to the BWCA. More specifically, the group of men from Georgia that we "rescued" and fed after they swamped their canoes their first day out. We had just pulled a pot of oats from the fire when we heard the un-mistakable sound of aluminum clashing against rock and the voices of distress. With everything soaked, we invited this motley crew into our camp to warm up and put some food in their bellies. To extend our pot of porridge for sharing, we added freshly picked wild blueberries, home dehydrated apples and a handful of sunflower seeds. A pot of goodness that nourished these poor souls, gave us girls stories to talk about for many years, and... the inspiration for Kakookies nut free flavor - Boundary Waters Blueberry (BWB for short)
I've been proud of BWB - with blueberry muffin like flavor, it brings smiles to children with allergies and is a popular after-school snack. It is filled with antioxidant rich blueberries, apples, nutrient rich sunflower seeds to help fuel your outdoor adventures and is a convenient hand held breakfast for those mornings when you need to break camp quickly. We even have customers share their BWCA adventures with us!
If you're reading this story, I trust you've probably spent time in this beautiful wilderness area; a magical place where it is easy to learn new skills, discover our strengths and find inspiration. Inspiration to create new things, get involved, and lead better lives! If you have a BWCA experience that inspired you to create something or make change, I'd love to hear your story.
Be well. Keep calm. Eat Kakookies! ~Sue firstname.lastname@example.org
As a former YMCA camp counselor, Sue credits her cooking skills to the summers of cooking over an open campfire and finding creative ways to make trail food more exciting. She is a two-time Pillsbury Bake-Off finalist and founder of Kakookies; a MN local business that produces plant-based grab-n-go cookies to help fuel busy and active lifestyles. To learn more, visit https://www.kakookies.com/
The Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters is collaborating with Kakookies for a giveaway! Enter to win a Save the Boundary Waters Tote Bag and a dozen Boundary Waters Blueberry cookies! Enter the Giveaway here.