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How to set up your #GiveatHomeMN Fundraiser!

Thursday, April 30, 2020
Posted by
Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters

Create your own fundraiser for #GiveatHomeMN

Give at home to #SavetheBWCA. Join us for a special week of generosity and unity for the Boundary Waters from May 1 - 8, 2020. 

Schedule your donation today or create your own fundraiser!

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?

    1. Click here to go the Campaign's GiveMN page.
    2. Create a profile. 
    3. Click "Start a fundraiser".
    4. Select "Save the Boundary Waters" as your cause.
    5. Give your fundraiser a title.
    6. In the description of your fundraiser tell people why the should donate to the Campaign!
    7. Select your fundraising goal (whatever you like, average is $200-$1000. All fundraisers go towards the Campaign's goal and $30,000 match.)
    8. Select May 1-8, 2020 as your duration. 
    9. Add a short story about the Boundary Waters or what it means to you in the "story" section.

You can also follow along in the video below:

Drive-In Rally

Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Posted by
The Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters

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 to offset the impact of driving from the MN Capitol to the Governor’s mansion.

Check out this awesome video feature of the Drive-In Rally in the Star Tribune! 

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!

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!

Let me introduce you to Boundary Waters Blueberry!

Friday, April 24, 2020
Posted by
Sue Kakuk

Click here to enter the Kakookies Giveaway!

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

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

Click here to enter the Kakookies Giveaway!


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.

Enter the Giveaway here

The Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters goes back to court

Friday, April 17, 2020
Posted by
Tom Landwehr

On Friday, April 17, 2020, a group of partners led by Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness, the lead organization in the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, filed an appeal to a recent court decision. The March 17, 2020, decision by Washington, D.C. U.S. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden denied our challenge to the reinstatement of two federal mineral leases (see our March 18, 2020, blog). The lawsuit alleges that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) unlawfully reinstated mineral leases that had been terminated in 2016. In May of 2018, the Trump Administration resurrected these leases from the grave and unlawfully ignored fifty years of lease interpretation and practice in order to reinstate these leases for Chilean-based mining giant Antofagasta.

Despite the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19, the Trump Administration is continuing its assault on the Boundary Waters, and we are continuing to fight back. You can help protect this Wilderness and keep the momentum going by rushing a critical gift to the Campaign today.

The appeal, which was filed with the Washington, D.C., U.S. Court of Appeals, restates our position that the reinstatement was unlawful.  The leases were originally granted in 1966 and twice renewed at the discretion of the U.S. Forest Service and the BLM without any environmental review of impacts to the Boundary Waters. The termination of leases in 2016 was the result of a careful and scientifically-based two-year analysis conducted by the U.S. Forest Service that found the proposed sulfide-ore mine would create unacceptable risks of harm to the Boundary Waters and to the Superior National Forest. The Appeals Court will take a fresh look at the facts and the law and, we believe, substantiate our position that the reinstatement is unlawful and the leases were lawfully terminated in 2016.

Court cases take time - one or two years, for sure - so we will keep you updated as developments happen. Thanks for your patience and ongoing support - the Boundary Waters deserves no less! Please give today.

Protecting the Boundary Waters during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Posted by
Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters

In this challenging time, the team at Save the Boundary Waters hopes you and yours are safe and healthy. Just like so many people around the globe, our lives have been turned upside down by the pandemic and its continued fallout. Times like these remind us how critical good health is. It is also a reminder of how important the Boundary Waters is to our physical and emotional health, and we all long to get back there soon.

As we work to maintain our personal and community health, we are also working to maintain the health of America’s favorite wilderness. The federal government and Antofagasta are working overtime to get this mine approved; we cannot slow down our work.

We are so grateful for you, our passionate and dedicated supporters, and we know that our work to protect the Boundary Waters can and must go on. Campaign staff are working remotely from their homes as we continue our scientific, legal, advocacy, outreach and organizing work to protect the Wilderness from sulfide-ore copper mining. 

Here are a few ways you can stay connected to this Wilderness, its surrounding communities, and the fight to protect it for generations to come.

Staying Connected:

  • Attend our weekly “Opt Inside” webinars for supporters with different topics each week. RSVP here
  • Check out this page of Boundary Waters activities you can do from home on our OptInside resource page
  • Reach out to any of our staff or through social media.
  • Join us as a Digital Volunteer during these more isolated (and digital) times. Learn more here.

Supporting the Boundary Waters Community

Small businesses and our wilderness-edge communities need your support right now. Here are some ways you can help:

Trip planning questions

We all want to go to the Boundary Waters and are looking forward to paddling season. But you might be asking - can I go on my trip?

We hope you are staying safe during these unprecedented times. 

Feel the call of Paddler’s Paradise

Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Posted by
Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters

Boundary Waters Trip-Planning Resources

Photo Credit: Ellen Hawkins

In this time of “social distancing” many people are spending more time than usual indoors. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t daydream and prep for a future paddling trip in the Boundary Waters. 

Since we all need to #optinside and stay close to home right now to slow the spread of COVID-19, so many people are safely exploring the beauty of nature close to home in your yards and neighborhoods. 

You may be eager to plan for your future Boundary Waters adventures, and if you’ve never undertaken a canoe trip to the Boundary Waters, we’re here to help and share some of the best resources and trip planning options.

Most of the businesses featured below are independent Minnesota businesses that rely on your support.

We hope you are staying safe during these challenging times. 

Digital Tools

For overnight trips into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness between May 1 and September 30, you’ll need to reserve a permit for a designated entry point and date. Head to to secure permits. Many outfitting companies will assist you in planning your trip and selecting the best entry points and routes, so you can also reach out that way.

Paddle Planner is a great resource that offers interactive paddling maps, campsite ratings, portage information, detailed lake and entry point information, and more. Point your web browser to Paddle Planner to scout out your next Boundary Waters trip from the comfort of your own home! 

Check out our Boundary Waters Business Coalition for a list of all the wonderful businesses that have joined the fight to protect the Boundary Waters from copper mining! Please support these businesses as you are able.

Recommended Northern Minnesota Lodging & Outfitting 


Water navigation can always be a little tricky. Don’t get lost! Check out True North Map Company for wearable, durable, and functional cloth maps. A portion of all proceeds go back to the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters as well! 

Plan out your next trip with a map from Voyageur Maps, a Minnesota business that makes time-tested Boundary Waters route maps to help you navigate the beautiful wilderness.

Gear Up! 

Get ready to safely paddle this season with MTI Adventurewear life jackets. MTI is a family-owned business and longtime supporter of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters. MTI is currently open online for business and offering free shipping!

Help your furry friends get ready for paddling season with Ruffwear performance dog gear! Ruffwear has all the outdoor needs for your best friend to comfortably take on the outdoors with you this Summer.

Check out Granite Gear for backpacks, dry sacks, canoe accessories, and more! They even have a shop in Two Harbors on the North Shore!

Shop the Piragis Northwoods Catalog for the best Boundary Waters gear and resources while supporting this main street Ely business!

Minnesota family-owned business Cooke Custom Sewing also makes awesome Boundary Waters canoe packs and equipment! 

Start planning out the ‘menu’ for your upcoming trip with these gourmet meals from Backpacker’s Pantry and Trailtopia.

Satisfy your snack cravings on trail with muesli from Seven Sundays or a Boundary Waters Blueberry cookie from Kakookies.

Been thinking about finally purchasing a beautiful canoe of your own? Consider Wenonah Canoe Manufacturers and Northstar Canoes - both are Minnesota companies and closely involved in our efforts to protect the Wilderness.


Get ready to paddle with your own beautiful, handcrafted paddle from one of these local companies- Glørud Design or Bending Branches.

If you simply want to shop in a way that supports small businesses and gives back to the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters - check out our shop to support page for current merch and promotions.

BWCAW Rules and Regulations

  • Nine (9) people and four (4) watercraft are the maximum amount allowed gathered together in the wilderness. You may not exceed this limit at any time or anywhere.

  • You must enter the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) at the entry point and on the date shown on your permit.

  • Cans and glass bottles are not allowed

  • Fires are allowed within the steel fire grates at designated campsites unless campfire restrictions are in place. Make sure your fire is completely out before you leave. 

  • Camp only at Forest Service designated campsites that have steel fire grates and wilderness latrines.

  • Fireworks of any kind are illegal. 

  • See all rules and regulations here:

Always remember to practice Leave No Trace (LNT) principles and leave your campsite or lunch stop better than you found it!

Happy and healthy trails everyone! 

Power structure at McCollum-bill hearing shows what local BWCA supporters are up against

Friday, March 27, 2020
Posted by
Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters

Power structure at McCollum-bill hearing shows what local BWCA supporters are up against

ELY, MN--This week MinnPost published an opinion piece by Steve Piragis, a local Ely business owner, that outlined the power structure arrayed against those local Minnesotans who love the Boundary Waters. This power structure was on full display at the Feb. 5th hearing in Washington, DC on Rep. Betty McCollum’s bill that would permanently protect the Boundary Waters from the threat of sulfide-ore copper mining. In the piece he writes:

The nature of the power structure arrayed against those of us who love the Boundary Waters and whose livelihoods depend on it were on clear display in the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 5. I went to Washington with other local Ely business people, including another canoe trip outfitter, an owner of an outdoor clothing manufacturing company and winter dogsled business, and the executive director of a wilderness-focused nonprofit organization that has been taking people into the Boundary Waters for many decades. Together the payrolls for our five businesses provide over $4 million in annual income to the Ely area…..

…..Although sulfide-ore mining boosters like U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber of Minnesota’s 8th District are quick to claim that opposition to copper mining near the Boundary Waters is an “insult to local people,” the Antofagasta supporters at the Feb. 5 hearing were not local people. They were instead an Antofagasta/ Twin Metals executive, a Minnesota Power executive, the chief lobbyist for the Minnesota copper-mining industry, and an employee of a mining construction company. In fact, the real insult to locals like me and my employees, friends, and colleagues, and to the thousands of other people who live in northeastern Minnesota because of the Boundary Waters, is the determination of powerful organizations to ride roughshod over the public interest. The great majority of Minnesotans get this — poll after poll shows a strong majority of people in every part of the state opposed to copper mining near the Boundary Waters.

You can read the full piece here.

Lawsuit Update

Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Posted by
Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters

Court Upholds Illegal Mining Leases Next to Boundary Waters

This week, a U.S. District Court Judge in Washington, D.C. issued a ruling in our federal lawsuit that challenged the May 2018 U.S Department of Interior decision to reinstate two federal mineral leases held by Antofagasta’s Twin Metals.   

Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness, the leader of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, and nine northeastern Minnesota businesses sued in federal court to challenge the unlawful reinstatement of mineral leases that had been terminated in 2016. Four conservation groups later filed similar lawsuits, and the cases were consolidated. 

This decision is a blow to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, our nation’s most visited Wilderness Area. It allows the Trump Administration to continue its reckless march toward authorizing an industrial mining complex that will replace a legacy of conservation and recreation with pollution and environmental degradation. The Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters will fight this bad idea - and Judge McFadden’s decision - every step of the way.

Judge Trevor N. McFadden decided to give deference to the Department of the Interior’s decision to reverse its 2016 position. He concluded that the Department’s actions were not arbitrary and capricious and not “‘a guise for changing previous decisions’ based on policy preferences.” 

We strongly disagree. We believe the record clearly shows that the Trump administration reversal was a political decision to benefit Antofagasta. Our legal team’s request to introduce documents from the Department of Interior that demonstrated that the Department’s actions were motivated by politics and Trump Administration policy changes, not the rule of law or science, was denied.   

Moreover, the decision ignores the plain language of the mineral leases in question, the administrative record from the Department of the Interior and its agency, the Bureau of Land Management, and the consistent interpretation and application of these leases over the past five decades. Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness and its nine business partners intend to appeal Judge McFadden’s decision to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

This decision failed to recognize the clear, plain language of the leases and twisted itself into knots to justify the predetermined policy decision of the Trump Administration to sell out America’s most popular Wilderness to a Chilean billionaire who also happens to be the landlord of Ivanka Trump." - Executive Director, Tom Landwehr

We need your help to bring this to the Court of Appeals. Help continue our advocacy for the protection and preservation of the Boundary Waters. We will have more information to share as we learn more and dig in, but please help us take this fight to the next level with a donation today

More information:

History of the leases:

Twin Metals Minnesota’s mineral leases were originally terminated by the Obama Administration in December 2016. At the end of a three-year review and a public comment period that included two heavily-attended public meetings, the Forest Service concluded that this was the wrong location for a risky copper mine. Former Forest Service Chief Thomas Tidwell stated, “A regionally-untested copper-nickel sulfide ore mine within the same watershed as the BWCAW might cause serious and irreparable harm to this unique, iconic, and irreplaceable wilderness area.”


This 2016 decision was reversed on May 2, 2018 by the Trump Administration, which unlawfully reinstated Twin Metals’ expired minerals leases. Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness (NMW), the lead organization of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, and nine Minnesota outdoor recreation businesses challenged the unlawful reinstatement of federal mineral leases by the Trump administration by filing a lawsuit in federal court in June 2018. Two additional lawsuits were subsequently filed by four conservation groups. After the three lawsuits were consolidated into a single case, and Twin Metals intervened on the side of the Trump Administration.

The nine plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Voyageur Outward Bound School, Piragis Northwoods Company, Ely Outfitting Company, Hungry Jack Outfitters, Sawbill Outfitters, River Point Resort and Outfitting Company, Northstar Canoe, Wenonah Canoe, and Women’s Wilderness Discovery.

On Friday, December 20, 2019, NMW’s pro bono lawyers at Morrison & Foerster presented the case for NMW, nine businesses, and four conservation groups before US District Court Judge Trevor McFadden. National Chair Becky Rom and Matt Norton, Policy and Science Director for the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, and many of our supporters and partners attended the oral arguments.

Judge McFadden unfortunately ruled in favor of the Department of the Interior and Twin Metals this week, and upheld the Trump Administration reversal of Twin Metals lease termination. We are disappointed in the decision and do not agree with it.

What happens next:

We will continue our legal challenge to the unlawfully reinstated mineral leases by filing an appeal of this decision to the U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Donate now to help us continue our efforts to protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness for future generations. Your support is critical. 

Campaign events canceled due to COVID-19

Thursday, March 12, 2020
Posted by
Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters

We are grateful for you and your activism to protect the Boundary Waters. The sanctitude of that special place seems even more important in this time of crisis, and our fight even more important. Regrettably, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are officially canceling all events scheduled in the coming 6+ weeks, and are postponing our spring 2020 Boundary Waters Gala until October 2020 (specific date yet to be determined).

If you have already purchased your tickets for this year’s gala, they will remain valid for our rescheduled October 2020 event.

If you have questions, comments, or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to Ingrid Lyons or Carter Sample. We look forward to staying connected. We are working on multiple fronts to stop this mine, and that work cannot stop. We know these are unprecedented times, and we are continuing to work towards protecting the Boundary Waters from the impacts of toxic sulfide-ore copper mining. 

Thank you to those of you who have donated and had planned to come to these events -- we are grateful for your support. 

We will keep you updated on the status of future film screenings and events as we monitor the effects of COVID-19. You can stay updated by visiting:

We are working on a digital way for you to enjoy this documentary, please check your email and our social channels in the coming weeks to learn more. 

Have questions? Please reach out to

Sixty Pages Redacted from Environmental Study

Friday, March 6, 2020
Posted by
Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters

Last week, U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum stood in a congressional hearing and showed the almost completely redacted report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This report was supposed to show the findings of a (now-cancelled) two-year-long, unfinished study on the risks of sulfide-ore copper mining near Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. 

60 blacked-out pages...

“Would you say that this level of redaction to a Forest Service study is normal? To have something that is so redacted?”

Congresswoman Betty McCollum has repeatedly asked for this information and even included report language in the Interior-Environment funding bill at the end of December to get the study finished and released. That language was aggressively stripped out of the final bill by the White House.

Everything except for the cover has been completely redacted. The scientific findings of this study are being kept from Elected Officials and the general public. We the taxpayers deserve to see the findings of this study. We deserve to know the real cost of putting a copper mine right next to America’s most visited Wilderness.

You can find the document here.

Timeline of study:
Obama Administration denied mineral leases and started a two-year study.

In December 2016, after a years-long consideration of the risks involved with sulfide-ore copper mining, the U.S. Forest Service sent a 21-page carefully-reasoned letter to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), announcing that the Forest Service would not consent to renewal of two expiring federal mineral leases held by Antofagasta’s subsidiary, Twin Metals. The next day, the BLM rejected Twin Metals’ lease renewal applications. Also the next day, the BLM and Forest Service announced that a 20-year ban on mineral leasing and exploration permits in the Boundary Waters watershed would be considered and studied.

Shortly thereafter, the Forest Service, with assistance from the BLM, launched an environmental review that would last two years. This study was designed to analyze the environmental, economic, and social impacts of the proposed 20-year mineral leasing and exploration moratorium, and to consider the risks that sulfide-ore copper mining would pose for the region if the moratorium were not adopted. The environmental review study initially announced as an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) but later downgraded to an Environmental Assessment (EA), is required under the federal law known as the Federal Land Policy Management Act (FLPMA).  The study’s purpose was to inform and guide the Secretary of the Interior’s decision on whether to order the requested 20-year mineral leasing ban. 

Study Abruptly Cancelled

In September 2018, 20 months into the two-year study, the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, which includes the Forest Service, abruptly revoked the Forest Service’s request for a 20-year mineral leasing ban and cancelled the nearly-complete environmental review. The Department of Agriculture’s explanation was that no new science had been found during the first 20 months of the study.  This was not only untrue (dozens of new scientific reports and papers had been delivered to the agencies during the study), but even it had been true, it would have supported the Forest Service’s original decision - that sulfide-ore copper mining carries an unacceptable risk of causing irreparable harm to the Superior National Forest and the Boundary Waters.

Since the study’s cancellation, the Forest Service and the Department of Agriculture have refused to share the study’s reports with the public. The federal agencies have even ignored written and in-person requests from Congress. Only a federal lawsuit by The Wilderness Society’s 2019 under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) caused federal agencies to release the report. Before doing so, however, the agencies blacked-out the entire report except for the cover page. 

Leases Renewed

By May 2nd, 2019, the BLM had reinstated and renewed the terminated leases. It did so after releasing a sham of an environmental review document -- an EA -- that ignored the negative environmental, economic, and social impacts of renewing leases whose only purpose is to enable the same dangerous sulfide-ore copper mining that the Forest Service had already rejected.  

Sulfide-ore copper mining risks the destruction of land and forest, and the permanent pollution of the lakes, rivers of America’s canoe country.  We must prevent sulfide-ore copper mining if we are to protect the Boundary Waters for future generations. 

Betty’s Bill

On January 15, 2020, Congresswoman McCollum introduced HR 5598. This bill would protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Quetico Provincial Park, and Voyageurs National Park by putting federal lands in the Boundary Waters watershed off-limits to sulfide-ore copper mining. 

Tell your representative today to co-sponsor HR 5598, a bill to protect the Boundary Waters!

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