The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness represents 1.1 million acres of clean freshwater and remote woodlands. Located in Northeastern Minnesota, the Boundary waters is home to trophy northern pike, walleye, smallmouth bass, lake trout and brook trout. Its pristine environment makes Northern Minnesota’s $913 million tourism industry possible.

Unfortunately, some people think that this beautiful region is less valuable than sulfide-ore copper mining operations. These mines pose a significant risk to the pristine beauty of the Boundary Waters. The proposed sulfide-ore copper mines would be located just outside of the Boundary Water region and could cause sulfuric acid, heavy metals and sulfates to leach into surrounding waterways.

This region was previously protected by the Boundary Wilderness Canoe Area Wilderness Act signed by President Jimmy Carter. In response to proposed mines, the Obama administration issued a moratorium on all mining activities in the region. However, in September of this year, the Trump administration eliminated the Obama restrictions and, consequently, the barriers for mining operations in the Boundary Waters Region.

Now, serious efforts are being conducted to protect this valuable resource. Save the Boundary Waters, a campaign that is motivated to bring national attention to this environmental threat. The campaign has been endorsed by Patagonia’s Action Works and has partners in the Outdoor Industry Association and American Rivers, to name a few organizations. 

Check out the Save the Boundary Waters website for more on this major threat to clean water and sign the petition, if you want your voices heard!

Photos Curtesy of Dave Freeman.