A letter-to-the-editor (LTE) is a letter from a reader that is printed in the ‘opinions’ section of a newspaper or other publication. They’re used to show readers’ issues of concern. Since the opinions section is often the most read, letters to the editor are very important for our movement to reach new eyes. We encourage our supporters across the country to write in a way that conveys their love for and desire to protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
Information on how and to whom to submit an LTE is usually found right on the ‘letters’ page in the paper. Follow these guidelines to increase the likelihood that your letter will be printed. If you can’t find the information you need, simply call the paper and ask how to go about submitting a letter.
The most effective letters have three main components
1. Your personal story for why the Boundary Waters and/or Wilderness areas in general are important to save and preserve for future generations. We often find that people’s personal stories about why the Boundary Waters is so important to them is the most effective way to show others the need to protect this special place. Be yourself and let your passion shine through. To get started, ask yourself some questions like these:
When did you first learn about the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW)?
Why is the BWCAW or wilderness in general important to you?
What motivated you to join the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters?
How would the proposed mines directly affect your future experiences in the BWCAW?
2. Include Facts. Refer to our fact sheets that can be found on the Save the Boundary Waters website under the “Media” tab. These provide excellent source material that can be used for your letter. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Courtney Otto (firstname.lastname@example.org) or another staff member.
3. The ask. Main message. This is an extremely important part of the letter. This is when you call the readers to action and tell them how they can make a difference. Here’s our recommended ask:
“The proposed sulfide-ore copper nickel mining projects on the doorstep of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness are the greatest threat our beloved canoe country has faced. If permitted these mines will irreparably harm the waters flowing into the heart of the Wilderness, putting the ecosystem, and everything that depends on it, at risk. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is one of the oldest and most embattled Wilderness areas in America and it is up to us to protect its legacy for current and future generations. In order to accomplish this we need (insert name, org, etc) to take a stand and do what is right to protect our beloved Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.”
A few things to remember:
Refute, advocate, and make a call to action. Most letters to the editor follow a standard format. Open your letter by refuting the claim made in the original story the paper ran. Use the next few sentences to backup your claims and advocate for your position. Then wrap your letter up by explaining what you think needs to happen now, make your call to action. Write the letter in your own words. Editors want letters in their papers to be original and from the reader. Be sure that you take the time to write the letter in your own words. Include your contact information. Be sure to include your name, address, and daytime phone number; the paper will contact you before printing your letter.
If you have any questions, please reach out to Courtney Otto or other staff for help, and request our how-to guide. We recommend checking in with staff before submitting your letter.
Lucy Soderstrom is a Minnesota native who took her love of the Boundary Waters with her all the way to Tacoma, Washington. She’s a Save the Boundary Waters Volunteer Ambassador who leads a group of volunteers in the Tacoma/Seattle area. She started her team in the summer of 2019.
At monthly meetings, Lucy and her team write letters to editors of local newspapers and try to spread the word about the organization’s mission. The team tables mainly at the University of Puget Sound, where Lucy is a student, but also at local coffee shops. Soon, they’ll be setting up a table in Patagonia in Seattle. Lucy also spends a lot of time connecting with local groups like the Sunrise Movement, a group of young people looking to make fighting climate change a priority across the United States. They’re currently working on collaborating on a crowd-sponsored event.
Lucy spends as much time as she can in her family’s cabin in Ely, Minnesota, at the edge of the BWCA. As a kid, she went to Camp Widjiwagan, a YMCA summer camp for canoeing and backpacking in the Boundary Waters, for 7 years as a camper, and 2 as a counselor. She says she “loved being able to invite kids to explore the boundary waters, learn about themselves through that space, and watch them grow in confidence in themselves and love of nature.”
One of her favorite memories from the Boundary Waters comes from Camp Widjiwagan. As a counselor, she led a trip with four 13- and 14-year-old girls “and it was like 29 hours of rain, straight rain, no pauses, and it was difficult to stay positive during that. And then the next morning, the sun came out and we were all so excited. We got out, we all just ran into the lake and went swimming because it was really nice.”
Lucy became interested in Boundary Waters activism in the 10th grade when she wrote a research paper about the PolyMet mine project. Soon afterward, she began volunteering for Save the Boundary Waters. After moving to Washington for college, she kept up to date on what was going on in the Campaign. After some reflection, she says, “there were a lot of people that I knew who care about the Boundary Waters, and I knew we could harness that energy. . . I realized that this is a perfect spot for a regional team,” she said. She loves hearing stories about people’s unexpected connections to the Boundary Waters.
After moving to Washington, being an ambassador for Save the Boundary Waters has connected Lucy to her former home. “I just love feeling like I can do something, and that I’m involved, and I’m seeing tangible accomplishments being made, because out here in Washington, it feels far away, and I miss the Boundary Waters,” she said. “It feels good to still be having an impact on the places I care about most.”
Learn more about our Volunteer Ambassador program here!
On October 9, 2019 the Campaign held the second annual Boundary Waters Gala. Thank you to everyone who joined us to celebrate America's most visited Wilderness. We raised over $250,000 to protect the Boundary Waters from sulfide-ore copper mining.
Over 450 guests joined us, including former Governor Mark Dayton, Vice President Walter Mondale, Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak, partner organizations such as The Wilderness Society, Voyageur Outward Bound School, and National Wildlife Federation, Crow River Trail Guards, and partner businesses such as Northstar, Wenonah, Hungry Jack Outfitters, Wintergreen, Women's Wilderness Discovery, Piragis Northwoods, Ely Outfitting Co., and more!
Every season offers a new experience in the Boundary Waters, but fall is always a favorite. With a changing palette of colors surrounding your visit, there's more than one reason to visit the Wilderness this fall. Not only will campsites be yours for the choosing, but seldom-seen wildlife literally come out of the woodwork, prepping for the cold months ahead.
Here are a few reasons you should fall for the Boundary Waters this fall:
1. Fall Colors: While the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters is fighting to stop copper mining on the edge of the Wilderness, we fully support taking in the beauty of the copper-colored leaves and foliage that add to the beauty of this one-of-a-kind Lakeland Wilderness.
2. Moose are in rut: Through late September, early October, Minnesota's arguably favorite mammal is slightly easier to spot as the moose are in rut, which means the bulls (males) are fighting each other for the chance to mate with a cow (female).
3. Bear sightings increase: As these majestic creatures prepare for winter hibernation, bears become a more frequent sight in the Boundary Waters as they scavenge for food.
4. Claim any campsite: With crisper nights and greyer days, many of the summer tourists have come and gone which means not only is it easier to get a permit in September to your favorite lake, you most likely will get your choice of scenic campsites.
Rising Sun yawned and crawled across tops of tall pines standing at attention. Sky had just cast off its predawn blanket revealing a deep bronze tinged blue, and looked at itself mirrored in Vermilion’s still waters. Canoe was eager for us to slide in, paddles laying along side her Ash gunnels. Shoving off, she moved her way toward a sliver of land and a tree holding a high plush branch pointing off to the northwest. Out of nowhere three eagles appeared, gliding toward that branch. One veered off while the others slowed together, like two ballet dancers landing softly as one on a gently swaying cushion of dew glistening green. They turned their majestic white heads and embraced rising Sun, as we glided below in awe.
Doug Wallace, August, 2019
A lot has happened since our last update. Here is a breakdown of recent developments and some insight into what's coming up.
As you can see, it has been a busy few months, and things will continue that way. Your support is greatly appreciated and critical to our success. Look for a lot more activity as we approach the winter, and, as always, let us know if you have any questions!
Bernie Wire Photography
We had another wonderful time at the Minnesota State Fair this year! It truly was a “Great Minnesota Get-Together,” with the Fair setting a record attendance for visitors this year, near-perfect weather most of the time, and as always, delicious fried foods.
We had fun in our booth in the Dairy Building for the 5th year in a row, and more than 10,000 people signed our petition telling their elected officials to work for permanent protection of the Boundary Waters from sulfide-ore copper mining. What a success! Thanks to all of you who came by the booth and signed the petition, and if you did not get a chance to sign - you still can!
Bernie Wire Photography
We also had an exciting new opportunity to sell Save the Boundary Waters merch, and to partner with True North Maps Co who worked with us on creating a new large map in our booth and designed awesome commemorative map bandanas. Take a look at their maps here.
Thank you for signing petitions and buying our new merch, and of course, thank you to all who volunteered at the Fair! Our volunteers are critical to our mission of permanent protection of the Boundary Waters. Learn more about volunteer opportunities and get involved here.
Thank you for speaking loudly for this quiet place,
The Team at Save the Boundary Waters.
Thanks to all of you who came out and supported the Wild Waters music fest on Friday, August 16! In addition to our Wild Waters sponsors above, we'd like to thank Northern Coffeeworks for helping us thank the performers. Thanks to all the supporters, collaborators, volunteers and attendees, it was a wonderful event -- and we raised funds and awareness to Save the Boundary Waters!
View more photos from the event here.
Heading to Wild Waters Music Festival on Friday, August 16?
To reduce our impact, we've teamed up with r.Cup! Their mission is to reduce the environmental impact of live events by disrupting one of the most visible and widespread waste issues in the industry: the single-use disposable plastic cup.
r.Cup is looking for like-minded volunteers to join them at Wild Waters Music Festival. Help reduce single-use plastic waste + enjoy event access too! Volunteers educate fans on how r.Cup works, assist with r.Cup returns and are friendly representatives that answer fan questions.
HOW IT WORKS
1. Grab your first drink & make a $3 deposit for use of the r.Cup
2. Bring the cup back throughout the day for more drinks
3. At the end of the day, return it to the r.Cup stands to get your $3 back
OR take the cup home as a souvenir!
r.Cup on Social:
3:30 PM Doors Open
4:30 PM War Bonnet
5:05 PM The Lioness
5:40 PM deM atlaS
6:15 PM jeremy messersmith
7:05 PM Low
8:00 PM Cloud Cult
8:40 PM DJ Keezy
8:55 PM Doomtree
9:55 PM Atmosphere
All times subject to change pending weather and/or delays.