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Wilderness Love Story

Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Posted by
Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters

My husband and I married each other in the Boundary Waters. We both couldn’t think of any better venue considering our first date took place in the same remote wilderness. We read vows to each other in a place that holds significant meaning to us. Our love for the BWCA remains strong and steadfast and we have visited every year since we met. My husband continues to use the metaphor of canoeing being very much like our marriage; whether we are on smooth glass or choppy waters, as long as we communicate the ultimate direction of our goal, we will never be lost. 

Corey and I met at an open gym volleyball night in south Minneapolis. The next day I had to move to Missouri for a 6 month nursing travel contract. During that time, Corey and I kept in touch through texting, phone calls, and social media which definitely triggered some chemistry. That same summer while I was still living in Missouri, 2 friends of mine were begging me to take them into the BWCA for their first trip. Since canoe trips (in my opinion) work better with an even number of people, I decided to take a risk and ask Corey if he would be our 4th person. His enthusiastic “yes” was the start of him and I having our first date in BWCA.

Our first date trip was amazing. I got to guide 3 newbies on their first trips. We all got along great and my reservations about Corey quickly were shattered the more time we spent together cooking, pitching tents, slinging up our food pack, and relaxing campfire nights supported with the help of boxed wine.

We entered in Fall Lake and did the windy tour up to Basswood. I assumed since Corey had never paddled before that it would be best if I steered the back of the canoe and he provide the forward momentum. I quickly realized he was way too strong, so we swiftly switched roles. He was now in control of the canoes direction and I had more time to keep an eye on where our ultimate destination would be. I felt comfortable paddling with him. He was a natural paddler and learner and loved hearing little pearls of wisdom I had about paddling and map reading. I quickly realized how easy it was to fall in love with someone as I got to know him on the open water.

That first trip was so much fun. We had bears in our site (eating left over desserts) which we were able to scare off and watch swim away to Washington island. We sipped wine at night at the campfires and interacted with the curious Canadian Grey Jays birds who seemed to enjoy our presence. 

Each day on this first date trip I knew I was falling in love with this guy. He was into all things camping and never complained about anything. He showed all of us how to fish and we even had to rescue him from falling into the lake as he was wrestling a large mouth bass from out from the water above a rock cliff. Our trip ended with us both realizing we were meant to start dating. We’ve never been apart since.

Fast forward three years. After getting engaged on a cold starry night on Lake Nokomis, it was wedding planning time. We debated, like most couples, on what our families wanted for our wedding. In the end, we both agreed that the BWCA was the place our hearts wanted to tie the knot. Knowing we couldn’t invite basically anyone,  we asked our family and friends to write us intimate letters of encouragement about love and marriage. We took all these letters with us and read them each night around the campfire. In this way our closest supporters were still able to be present with us in spirit. A highlight of our marriage for sure.

Our wedding canoe trip also started in Fall Lake. We were a group of four once again. Our other two companions were our amazing close friend who got ordained for us and her boyfriend who was an enthusiastic photographer.  We had no destination set in mind of where we would marry. We decided to paddle and move each day knowing we would both mutually agree on the perfect spot when it revealed itself. We decided to wind our way up through Pipestone Bay and over into Basswood near the famous Basswood Falls. Eventually we found the perfect spot; two separate waterfalls cascading into one forming the start of the long and windy Basswood river - something we both intuitively noted as being symbolic to our soon to be union. I wrote my vows, Corey fished, and our friends decorated the site for our celebration.

The wedding ceremony was magical. We stood on flat rocks along the river with the water flowing through our sandals and the sun shining bright. Our boutonnière corsages were made by hand from the wildflowers abundant in our campsite. We committed ourselves to one another, eagles flying overhead with the Canadian border just behind us. There was a gentle breeze and the sound of cascading water with the majestic falls in the background. After, we celebrated with a playlist of music and drank boxed champagne. We strung a burlap “Just Married” sign on our canoe and spent several more memorable days and starry nights and even got to see the Perseid Meteor shower. The rest is history. 

We continue to go to the BWCA each year. Some years we go alone to reflect on ourselves and our marriage, and other years we bring friends who have never been to help guide them on their first trips to our favorite place. Our story of marriage is special to us and we continue to spread the word and advocate for the most amazing place on planet earth, the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness. 



Letter to Star Tribune from retired miner Bob Tammen

Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Posted by
Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters

Bob Tammen is a retired miner who lives in Northeastern Minnesota, and wrote a great letter in this week’s Star Tribune responding to the Editorial Board’s recent editorial “DNR sends 'totally wrong signal' on access to secret copper mining study.”  This strong editorial questions the DNR’s unacceptable decision to authorize temporary access to 680 acres of state land to Twin Metals Minnesota.

Read Bob Tammen’s letter here:

As a retiree with mining experience in several different states, I appreciate the conclusion of the June 21 editorial.

However, the editorial contains an error that is as common as it is damaging to the debate. It refers to the copper nickel ore body as being “rich.” It states that Antofagasta is “one of several companies aiming to eventually mine the rich deposits of copper, nickel and other precious metals in northeast Minnesota.”

It’s safe to say that Minnesota no longer has “rich” ore bodies. Admittedly, the Duluth copper nickel complex is huge, but it averages less than 1% mineralization. It will never be competitive on a global scale without subsidies and gutted environmental regulations by the Legislature, Department of Natural Resources and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Our iron mining industry exhausted our rich natural ore and now survives on low-grade taconite operations and the bankruptcy courts. Mining professionals have a saying that “grade is king.” There are no kings in Minnesota.

Our existing iron mines and proposed copper mines are unlikely to ever provide a net benefit to the state of Minnesota. According to the Department of Commerce, mining is less than 1% of Minnesota’s economy. When you deduct the cost of assets stripped, waters degraded and tribal resources diminished, hard rock mining is a liability to the state of Minnesota.

BOB TAMMEN, SOUDAN, MINN.


TAKE ACTION
 
Tell the DNR to use their power to stop further work towards allowing the Twin Metals copper mine on the edge of the Boundary Waters.

You can find the full Star Tribune letter here.


Trump Administration changes environmental rules that put the Boundary Waters in even greater danger.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Posted by
Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters

Amidst two national crises - the COVID-19 pandemic and demands for racial and social justice - the Trump Administration has aggressively moved to gut environmental protections that put America’s public lands, including the Boundary Waters, at grave risk. 

On June 4, 2020, President Trump signed a sweeping Executive Order declaring an “economic emergency” that allows agencies to bypass bedrock environmental laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Endangered Species Act, and could hasten dangerous projects, such as Antofagasta’s Twin Metals mine. These laws provide for a robust environmental review of large projects and standards and mechanisms to minimize environmental damage. Without them, project developers have free rein to devastate the environment to the detriment of the American people.

On June 12, 2020, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue ordered the U.S. Forest Service to expedite environmental reviews for projects. This will severely hurt efforts to fully vet and study the impacts of dangerous projects, including sulfide-ore copper mining right next to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. It will also minimize the opportunity for the public - including organizations like ours - to review and comment on environmental issues.

The Trump Administration in the last few weeks also finalized a rule undermining the Clean Water Act by blocking state and tribal governments’ ability to protect their own natural resources. 

These actions could make it easier to greenlight projects like the Twin Metals mine, located adjacent to the Boundary Waters, and push them toward completion without the necessary vetting. 

We need your help to continue the fight to protect the Boundary Waters. Join us!

Read on for more details on each of the Trump Administration orders:

Trump’s Executive Order 


New order just the latest in a long line of attacks on our nation’s environmental laws designed to protect clean air and water.

President Trump signed a sweeping Executive Order seeking to exploit the coronavirus crisis to circumvent public input and responsible review of the environmental and public health impacts of federal projects under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Order allows agencies to bypass other bedrock environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Endangered Species Act. This Presidential Order could hasten dangerous projects, such as Antofagasta’s Twin Metals mine adjacent to the Boundary Waters, and drive them toward completion without the necessary vetting. 

This Executive Order is another appalling attack on government transparency and accountability, and could significantly impact the environmental review process for dangerous sulfide-ore copper mining near the Boundary Waters,” said Becky Rom, National Chair of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters. “The use of a national emergency declaration to grant favors to extractive industries by forcing through risky projects is yet another example of the current Administration’s disdain for protecting America’s outstanding natural places.”

NEPA is one of America’s bedrock environmental laws. It requires federal agencies to assess the environmental effects of their proposed actions prior to making decisions. The range of actions covered by NEPA is broad and includes:

  • making decisions on permit applications,

  • adopting federal land management actions, 

  • reviewing environmental impacts of proposed hardrock mines, especially in sensitive areas, and

  • constructing highways and other publicly-owned facilities.

Using the NEPA process, agencies evaluate the environmental and related social and economic effects of their proposed actions. Agencies also provide opportunities for public review and comment on those evaluations.

This Executive Order is just the latest attack on our environmental laws that significantly heightens the risk for the Boundary Waters and surrounding communities. 

Sec. Sonny Perdue adds more shortcuts by expediting environmental review processes. 

On June 12, 2020 Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue ordered the US Forest Service, which his department oversees, to expedite environmental reviews of projects to hasten them towards completion. Among the changes announced are the setting of time and page limits on the completion of environmental documents, including environmental assessments and environmental impact statements, and expanding categorical exclusions from NEPA review. This will severely hamstring efforts to fully vet the impacts of particularly dangerous projects, such as proposed sulfide-ore copper mining right next to the Boundary Waters Wilderness. 

“The systematic shredding of the environmental protection fabric of this country is appalling,” said Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters Executive Director Tom Landwehr. “By limiting the size and scope of environmental review of complex and risky projects like Twin Metals the Federal government is guaranteeing a greenlight for the destruction of the Boundary Waters and the thousands of jobs in surrounding businesses that depend upon a healthy Wilderness.”

We must continue to fight for the Boundary Waters 

Since taking office in 2017 the Trump Administration has systematically shredded protections for the Boundary Waters, America’s most popular Wilderness. From arbitrarily reinstating dangerous mineral leases to canceling studies on the impact of sulfide ore mining on the Boundary Waters Wilderness to now changing the rules to make it easier for mining companies to pollute and harder for states and tribes to regulate, this Administration is doing everything it can to pave the way for this toxic project to move forward. This is why we need your support now more than ever. Donate now. 



What About Canada?

Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Posted by
Sam Chadwick

One of the frequently asked questions at presentations and events held by the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters is “what about Canada?

Proposed sulfide-ore copper mining on the edge of the Boundary Waters and within the Rainy River Drainage Basin is indeed a threat to waterways along the international border and into Canada. This includes Canada’s Quetico Provincial Park to the north of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The eventual flow of these waters is to Lake of the Woods and ultimately to Hudson Bay in northeastern Canada.

Pollution from sulfide-ore copper mining would violate the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909

In 1909, the United States and Canada signed the Boundary Waters Treaty in recognition that each country is affected by the other's actions in lake and river systems that form much of the international border. By treaty, each country agreed not to cause a variety of injuries to the other by mistreatment of their shared “boundary waters.”

Article IV of the Treaty commits Canada and the United States to ensure that neither country will pollute the waters forming or flowing across their common border to the injury of property or health on the other side.

The Treaty also created the International Joint Commission (IJC), which is composed of three commissioners appointed by each country, and charged with preventing and resolving disputes involving the boundary waters, according to the principles established in the Treaty. The IJC maintains a number of water system-specific boards to address issues, including water quality on several scales including rivers, lake systems, and watersheds. One such board is the International Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed (IR-LOWW) Board.

The International Joint Commission shares concerns about copper mining’s impacts

The IR-LOWW Board coordinates bi-national water quality efforts for the transboundary watershed, monitoring and reporting on its ecological health and water quality, and sharing with the IJC the status of the watershed and issues of concern.

The IR-LOWWB is informed by two advisory committees - a community advisory group and an industry advisory group. Active members of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters sit on both committees, and the committees have worked with the IR-LOWWB to elevate concerns about proposals for sulfide-ore copper mining on the U.S. side of the Rainy River Drainage Basin.

In October 2014, the IR-LOWWB brought to the IJC its concern that a large number of proposals for mining in the transboundary area draining to Lake of the Woods had the potential to increase mining contamination of the boundary waters in the IR-LOWW. The Board noted that it planned to study the vulnerability of the boundary waters to contamination from mining.

The Board also requested that the IJC seek guidance from the two signatory governments (the U.S. and Canada) as to how an analysis of cumulative effects from potential mining pollution should be coordinated between the two governments and their subdivisions.

The IJC responded that it shared the Board’s concerns, and in January 2015 wrote to the Canadian Foreign Affairs Office and the U.S. State Department, forwarding the request, asking for clarification from the governments on how cumulative effects and transboundary effects are being assessed not only in general but with a particular interest in the Lake of the Woods basin.

First Nations Communities are concerned about copper mining impacts on ancestral homelands

Representatives from the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters have met with officials from the government of Canada at the Minnesota Consulate and the Embassy in Washington, D.C. We have met with local elected officials on the Canadian side, as well.

Recently, during a trip to Fort Frances, Ontario, in 2019, Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters representatives met with staff and members of Grand Council Treaty 3, which consists of 28 First Nation Communities.

Lac La Croix is one of the Treaty 3 Communities. In 2016 and 2019,  staff and board members of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters 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.

During the Obama administration, the Lac La Croix First Nation Community and two Chippewa Bands on the U.S. side of the border requested that the U.S. ban sulfide-ore copper mining on federal public lands in the Rainy River Drainage Basin.

The Obama administration heeded science, law, and the public’s support for protecting the Boundary Waters and denied Twin Metals’ leases. This put in motion a 20-year ban on copper mining in the watershed, actions since reversed by the Trump administration.

Canada expresses concerns about renewing Twin Metals leases

The government of Canada submitted a comment letter to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in January 2019 during the public comment period of a draft Environmental Assessment on the Twin Metals lease renewal.

Canada expressed concerns about cross boundary impacts and cumulative impacts. The final Environmental Assessment did not respond to the concerns of Global Canada.

The U.S. Government is all but ignoring these risks and the U.S.’s treaty obligations

The U.S. federal agencies did not address the Boundary Waters Treaty when it reinstated and renewed Twin Metals’ federal mineral leases after they had been cancelled during the Obama administration.

In 2019, U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, the lead author of a bill for permanent protection of the Boundary Waters from copper mining (HR 5598), included a provision in an Appropriations Bill directing the U.S. State Department to respond to concerns about pollution impacts to Canada in a report back to Congress.

Rep. McCollum was able to view the confidential “report” - which consisted of just eight paragraphs. Rep. McCollum called the report “embarrassingly inadequate” and characterized it as comparable to an elementary student’s book report.

Canadian people, First Nations Communities, and the Canadian government are taking steps to protect these waterways, but the U.S. still needs to act

Awareness and activism from citizens and leaders on the north side of the border is important, and the Boundary Waters Treaty must be enforced.

Even with more Canadian involvement, the Twin Metals mine is likely to be decided at the U.S. federal government level and, to some extent, the State of Minnesota. Twin Metals needs federal mineral leases to proceed. These leases are the subject of current lawsuits brought by Save the Boundary Waters.

To make sure the Boundary Waters, Quetico, and waters leading north through Canada to Hudson Bay are not destroyed by a Twin Metals mine, we must make sure it is never approved and built.

The Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters is a growing coalition of over 350 organizations and businesses with a multi-pronged approach to permanently protecting the Boundary Waters and the Rainy River Drainage basin.

Immediate efforts of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters include our expert review of Twin Metals’ mine proposal to expose the risks of this project, fighting to win our lawsuits against the reinstatement and renewal of the federal mineral leases, and passing HR5598, the Boundary Waters Protection and Pollution Prevention Act.

TAKE ACTION 

DONATE



Our commitment to racial and environmental justice

Friday, June 12, 2020
Posted by
Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters


We at the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters
grieve along with all of America for George Floyd. His senseless murder at the hands of Minneapolis Police is a harsh reminder of the violent and systemic injustice that persists in our nation, particularly for black people. In our quest to preserve the Boundary Waters, we believe that environmental justice requires racial and social justice and that we cannot succeed in protecting the environment for all while systemic racism persists in America. 

In 2018, Save the Boundary Waters staff and board formed a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) working group to deliberate and act on our own organizational shortcomings as well as those of the outdoor industry and environmental movement as a whole. We recognized that we had much work to do - and indeed we still do.

Below is our DEI statement. We are committed to transparency about our goals, achievements, and failures as we continue this important work. You can expect more information as we develop additional strategies to achieve our DEI goals and strive to be anti-racist. We also welcome your input - please send ideas and questions to info@savetheboundarywaters.org

Wilderness and the pursuit of its protection should be made to be welcoming and accessible to all. Protecting Wilderness relies upon public engagement which cannot be expected when people are disenfranchised, unwelcome, hurt, or tokenized due to their sexuality, race, age, ability, size, gender identity, gender expression, culture, religion, political affiliation, or anything else. The pursuit of permanent protection for the Boundary Waters from sulfide-ore copper mining and other threats is no different. Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness (NMW) and the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters (the Campaign) is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of the organization as it works to protect this special place for everyone and for generations to come.

We ask you to continue to strive with us to become actively anti-racist, anti-homophobic, and a welcoming movement for all. 

ACT

You can take immediate action to combat environmental inequity right now - Black Millennials for Flint has asked citizens to contact your members of Congress and tell them to support H.R 5986, the Environmental Justice for All Act. Click here to take action today.

SUPPORT AND REBUILD

Join us in supporting the businesses and communities impacted by the events in Minneapolis these past weeks:

  • Incredible local indigenous nonprofit we’ve partnered with, Migizi, that needs to rebuild from major damage to their building. Give here.
  • Give to WBC in partnership with Northside Funders Group who will direct all donations to support Northside businesses that have been impacted. Give here.
  • Make a donation to help rebuild Lake Street’s small businesses and community organizations. Give here.

We also encourage you to support efforts in your local communities during these especially challenging times.   


Executive Order to Waive Environmental Review

Monday, June 8, 2020
Posted by
Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters

Press Release

Boundary Waters in even greater danger after new Executive Order waiving environmental reviews to expedite risky projects 

New order just the latest in a long line of attacks on our nation’s environmental laws designed to protect clean air and water

Last week President Trump signed a sweeping Executive Order seeking to exploit the coronavirus crisis to circumvent public input and responsible review of the environmental and public health impacts of federal projects under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Order allows agencies to bypass current laws requiring critical input from the public and environmental review and could hasten dangerous projects, such as Antofagasta’s Twin Metals mine adjacent to the Boundary Waters, toward completion without the necessary vetting. 

“This Executive Order is another appalling attack on government transparency and accountability, and could significantly impact the environmental review process for dangerous sulfide-ore copper mining near the Boundary Waters,” said Becky Rom, National Chair of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters. “The use of a national emergency declaration to grant favors to extractive industries by forcing through risky projects is yet another example of the current Administration’s disdain for protecting America’s outstanding natural places.”

NEPA is one of America’s bedrock environmental laws. It requires federal agencies to assess the environmental effects of their proposed actions prior to making decisions. The range of actions covered by NEPA is broad and includes:

  • making decisions on permit applications,

  • adopting federal land management actions, 

  • reviewing environmental impacts of proposed hardrock mines, especially in sensitive areas, and

  • constructing highways and other publicly-owned facilities.

Using the NEPA process, agencies evaluate the environmental and related social and economic effects of their proposed actions. Agencies also provide opportunities for public review and comment on those evaluations.

This Executive Order is just the latest attack on our environmental laws that significantly heightens the risk for the Boundary Waters and surrounding communities. Earlier last week the Trump Administration finalized a rule undermining the Clean Water Act by blocking state and tribal governments’ ability to protect their own natural resources. Recently the Minnesota Star Tribune covered how these changes impact the Boundary Waters.

The Star Tribune reported that:

The changes come at a critical time for Minnesota with one of the most controversial mine projects in the state’s history entering the regulatory review process. The huge sulfide ore copper-nickel mine that Chilean mining giant Antofagasta and its Twin Metals subsidiary want to build just outside the Boundary Waters will dig up 20,000 tons of ore per day.

The project could require an EPA Section 401 water quality certification if it’s determined that the mine could damage water quality in the Boundary Waters, where even motorized fishing boats aren’t allowed.

The Boundary Waters area enjoys special protections in Minnesota, which deems it an “outstanding resource value water” in state law.

Katrina Kessler, assistant commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), called the proposed Section 401 changes “a big concern for Minnesota.”

Kessler sent the EPA a comment letter last October after the agency first proposed the changes, saying the proposed rule “would leave us unable to address the potential water quality concerns in or near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.”

In an interview, Kessler said that Minnesota’s stricter standards would be overruled and the state “would only be directed to protect to a very low bar.”

Since taking office in 2017 the Trump Administration has systematically shredded protections for the Boundary Waters, America’s most popular Wilderness. From arbitrarily reinstating dangerous mineral leases to canceling studies on the impact of sulfide ore mining on the Boundary Waters Wilderness to now changing the rules to make it easier for mining companies to pollute and harder for states to regulate, this Administration is doing everything it can to pave the way for this toxic project to move forward. 

###

Media Contact: Jeremy Drucker (612) 670-9650


Thank you Patagonia

Thursday, May 21, 2020
Posted by
Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters

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.

EVENTS

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. 

OTHER

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!


Photo credit: Nate Ptacek

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. 



Explore this Tribal Nations Map

Thursday, May 14, 2020
Posted by
Save the Boundary Waters

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.

When the day will come, may the wilderness be there

Thursday, May 14, 2020
Posted by
Dan Swenson-Klatt, owner of Butter Bakery Cafe

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

As a spouse of 35 years, parent of two adult children, former middle school language arts teacher, writer, reader and performer, former soccer player now avid MN United Loons fan (as well as the real loons of the wilderness), gardener and facilitator of personal and community growth - Dan's winding path has led him to be the operator of Butter Bakery Cafe (a Boundary Waters Business Coalition member) for the past 14 years, where just being a neighbor has been one of his greatest joys.

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