Wilderness Heals

Wilderness can be healing for veterans and others suffering from trauma.
The Boundary Waters is one such place. Threats of proposed sulfide-ore copper mining
could ruin its peace and serenity for those searching for healing.

sign the petition veterans for the boundary waters

Stories of Healing


 Erik's story nick's story ben's story

"When I returned from my 2008 deployment to Iraq, I began to struggle with PTSD, alcohol, depression and suicide. On the insistence of my wife and friends, I finally went back to BWCA. What I found back in the BWCA was a sense of peace that I thought I had lost forever. I could feel the poison that had infected my soul from the horrors of war being drawn out of me. The trip [with Voyageur Outward Bound School] started the healing process, and when I could make it back it would always refresh me ... Now that peace and quiet is threatened. The mine proposed near the BWCA will forever alter and destroy that peace of the wilderness. The BWCA and places like it are one of the reasons I pledged my life to this country. The BWCA is a rare commodity in this world, a place that has remained the same as God created it. We can visit it, play and pray in it, or we can destroy it. If this mine goes through, we will forever take away one of God’s most peaceful gift to all of us."
- Erik Packard

Erik's Story on Gear Junkie

 Flush In the Wild

In this film, Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters follows Iraq War Veteran Erik Packard into the Boundary Waters for his first grouse hunt. When Erik returned from duty, he suffered from PTSD. After struggling for years, Erik experienced the healing powers of wilderness during a trip in the Boundary Waters. Erik is the creator of the Save the BWCA Veterans Group and wants to use his story to help inspire others to discover the healing power of nature and to speak up to protect the Boundary Waters from proposed sufide-ore copper mining.

sportsmen for the BWCA

Our report looks at several aspects of the consideration of the character of a place and what it means to human beings in the context of federal agency decision making, with an emphasis on the South Kawishiwi River and Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). Among these are:

  1. What does the character of the place mean to people who live and visit the Boundary Waters and South Kawishiwi River, and how would changes brought on by sulfide-ore copper mining affect their sense of well-being?
  2. When have federal agencies made decisions that taking into account similar considerations?
  3. How does the field of ecological risk assessment support and provide a context for such considerations in National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis or other forms of environmental review? 
  4. What are the inevitable impacts of industrial sulfide-ore copper mining that would result in a transformation of the character of the South Kawishiwi area and would significantly impact the wilderness character of the adjacent BWCAW?

 read our report