Category Archives: News

State of the Boundary Waters and Paddling to DC – Wilderness News Fall Winter Issue

State of the Boundary Waters and Paddling to DC – Wilderness News Fall Winter Issue

Cover Story: How will proposed mining, climate change, invasive species, nutrient loading, and algal blooms change the border lakes? The Quetico-Superior region of Minnesota and Canada bring to mind lake country—a landscape characterized by glacier carved lakes filled with clear, cold and clean water. Yet the list of possible impacts on northern Minnesota water quality is long: proposed mining, climate change, invasive species, nutrient loading, and algal blooms to name just a few…Continue Reading

Major Twin Metals Partner Declines To Increase Stake in Project

Major Twin Metals Partner Declines To Increase Stake in Project

Mine proposal near the Boundary Waters loses significant source of funding. Chilean mining company Antofagasta PLC has declined an opportunity to take a bigger financial stake in the Twin Metals project near Ely, MN. The move means the company—which has invested more than $200 million in the joint venture so far—will pass up the chance for a controlling stake in the project, and operations will revert to junior mining company Duluth Metals.Continue Reading

Summer 2014 BWCAW Permits Available Starting Today

You may now reserve BWCAW permits for the 2014 summer season on a first come first served basis. Permits are required for all day and overnight visitors to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Permits do not reserve a campsite, but rather grant access to a particular entry point. Booking ahead and paying a fee…

Release Date Set for Revised PolyMet Environmental Review

Starting late this fall, the public will have a chance to review and comment on the amended environmental review for the first proposed copper-nickel mine in northern Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has announced that the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for PolyMet will be released on November 22. A public comment…

MN DNR Updates Endangered and Threatened Species Lists

For the first time since 1996, the Minnesota DNR has updated the list of endangered and threatened animals and plants in the state, adding over 180 species. Listed species are categorized as either endangered, threatened or of special concern. The list is based on scientific field studies and public hearings held over the past year.…

Wolf Hunt Quota Lowered Due to Population Decline

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will allow 180 less wolves to be killed during the 2013 hunting season than last year. The new quota was announced after the DNR said earlier this month that Minnesota’s wolf population had declined by about 25 percent in the past five years. “The changes are a management response…

Wolf Numbers Decline, Range Increases in Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says the first survey of the state’s wolf population since last fall’s inaugural hunting season shows the population remains strong. Estimates of wolf numbers have declined by 710 since the last survey, in 2008. Despite the smaller numbers, the DNR says the population remains strong and the area of…

Popular Ely Bear Researcher Denied Permit

Bear feeding at the North American Bear Center in Ely. Photo by Michael Lore via Flickr. Lynn Rogers, who has studied black bears in northern Minnesota for 46 years, was recently denied a new research permit by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. In a letter to Rogers, the DNR says Rogers’ research, which includes…

Ontario Endangered Species Act Weakened

The Ontario Provincial Cabinet announced May 31st its approval of several exemptions for industry under the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA).  Many environmental organizations are incensed at the this government action. They fear it is an abdication of public government’s responsibility to protect Ontario’s endangered plants and animals. Specifically, the exemptions for the forest industry…

Sigurd Olson Exhibit Opens in Ely

The International Wolf Center in Ely, MN has opened a new exhibit dedicated to wilderness writer and author Sigurd F. Olson. The exhibit is focused on Olson’s legacy as a writer, wilderness advocate and wolf researcher. Before Olson was well-known as a conservationist and author, he did groundbreaking research on wolves. In a statement, Wolf…

New Version of PolyMet Environmental Review Released to Cooperating Agencies

A revised draft of the environmental review for the first-ever copper mining project proposed in Minnesota has been completed. PolyMet Mining Corp.’s new document has been distributed to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, tribal governments, and other state and federal agencies which are involved in the process. The release comes almost…

Cormorant Control Approved for Lake Vermilion

According to the Ely Timberjay newspaper the DNR recently announced their decision to kill up to 10% of the Double Crested Cormorants on Lake Vermilion, in Minnesota, this summer. In addition, cormorant eggs will be spread with vegetable oil to prevent them from hatching and at the same time not stimulate the birds to renest.…

South Kawishiwi River Named One of America’s “Most Endangered Rivers”

The South Kawishiwi River, which flows into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, has been named one of “America’s Most Endangered Rivers” as a result of the Twin Metals mine proposal and other mineral exploration nearby. The annual report by American Rivers, a national organization which works to protect and restore the nation’s rivers, highlights…

2013 Poll Indicates Public Opposition to Sulfide Mining Exceeds Support

48% of Minnesotans polled oppose sulfide mining in northeast Minnesota while 39% favor it. Results of the January, 2013 poll, sponsored by Minnesota Environmental Partnership, were the first to demonstrate that opposition exceeded support for the proposed mining. Annual polls on this subject have been held every year starting in 2008. Since 2009, there has…

Local Musher Wins Beargrease

Nathan Schroeder from Chisholm, MN won the nearly 400 mile sled dog marathon which started Sunday, March 10, and ended Wednesday, March 13. This is the second John Beargrease victory for Schroeder who also won in 2010. It was the 29th running of the event on Minnesota’s north shore. Complete results and videos of the…

Minnesota Senate Panel Voted Today in Favor of 5-year Moratorium on Wolf Hunts

Although still a long way from suspending the hunt, this vote is seen by the St. Paul Pioneer Press as a victory for the opponents of wolf hunting in Minnesota. On Monday, the Duluth News Tribune reported that a group that opposed this year’s wolf hunt, Howling for Wolves, released the results of a statewide…

EPA Issued Rule to Cut Haze over BWCAW

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Voyageurs National Park will both get added protection from haze under a new ruling from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. According to the EPA, the regulations should reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides by about 22,000 tons per year and sulfur dioxide emissions by about 2,000 tons. An article…

Obama Writes Letter for Ely Time Capsule

How’s this for a little Friday fun: A time capsule being buried in Ely, MN will include a note from President Obama expressing his hope that balance can be struck between energy use and wilderness protection. According to the Pioneer Press, the handwritten note came in response to a request made in March of 2012…

Boreal Owls Invade After All

Earlier blog post to the contrary, it appears as if the winter of 2012-13 is the year of the Boreal Owl in the Quetico-Superior region. In the last week, there have been several sightings of the owls all along the Minnesota North Shore of Lake Superior. Several Boreal Owls have been seen in Two Harbors,…

Boreal Owl Invasion Fails to Meet Expectations

Boreal owls are extremely rare resident birds in Minnesota. The first nesting pair was not recorded until 1978.  But every once in awhile, due to the boom and crash cycles of sub-arctic rodents, Boreal Owls invade northern Minnesota. Last fall, citizen naturalist Susan Plankis reported that Minnesota birders believed the winter of 2012-13 was going…

Increased Protection for Moose Does Not End Hunting

The Department of Natural Resources’s recent announcement that the moose will be listed as a “species of special concern” comes with a certain irony: the lowest designation on the Endangered Species List does not limit hunting of the animal. According to the Regional Roundup at the Pilot Independent, moose hunting will only be impacted if…

St. Louis County Board Favors BWCAW Land Swap

U.S. Representative-elect Rick Nolan may have gone on record saying the BWCAW Land Swap probably wouldn’t see traction this year, but this month the St. Louis County Board passed a resolution in favor of the swap anyway. According to an article on Northland’s Newscenter, the board voted 5 to 1 in support of the state law…

Iron Range to Get Two Ore Recovery Plants

Magnetation, LLC announced this week that it will build two plants in northern Minn. for iron ore recovery. It will also convert an old ethanol plant into an iron ore pellet plant in Reynolds, Indiana. Superior, Wis. had been competing for the facility. The company currently processes mining waste to reclaim iron ore in two…

Replinger Honored for Bringing Girls into Outward Bound Programming

We were happy to see Jean Replinger in a slew of newspaper articles this month–during the 1960s she helped open Outward Bound to girls. More recently, as an officer of the Oberholtzer Foundation, she’s been a great help and resource for Wilderness News thanks to her dedication to the north country. An article by Karin…

New Fires Burn in the Boundary Waters

Not long after the Forest Service contained the Cummings Lake Fire, new fires cropped up adjacent to and in the northern parts of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The Parley Lake Fire  east of the Beartrap River and north of Sunday Lake was estimated at 75 acres as of Thursday, September 13, with aircraft…

Boundary Waters Fires are Out, Closures Remain in Effect

The Cummings Lake Fire about 12 miles northwest of Ely, MN and the Wooden Leg Fire about 22 miles northeast of the town are officially out. According to an article in the Pierce County Herald, the Cummings Lake Fire burned about 50 acres and the Wooden Leg Fire burned about a quarter-acre. The latter fire…

Wildfire Burns Near Ely

Fire crews are battling a fire near Ely, MN. The fire was reported on Sunday afternoon and is burning on a peninsula between the west end of Cummings and the northeast side of Otter Lake. Current estimates place the fire at about 20 acres in size.Continue Reading

Duluth and the North Shore are Open for Business

Duluth Mayor Don Ness and north shore business owners are spreading the word that it is safe to visit Duluth. A story on Minnesota Public Radio reports that restaurants and shops at Canal Park are open for business, as is much of the north shore after last week’s storms and flash flooding. Still, it appears…

New Bills Could Open Wilderness Areas to Hunting, Fishing, Motors

When the U.S. House passed the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012 two months ago, it didn’t get much attention. But after further analysis, the bill is increasingly seen as a real threat to wilderness protections. It would expand access to hunting, fishing and motor vehicle use on public lands–including areas like the Boundary Waters Canoe…

Oberholtzer Foundation Wins Grant

The Ernest Oberholtzer Foundation recently received an Historical and Cultural Heritage Grant from the Minnesota Historical Society for restoration work at the late wilderness advocate’s Mallard Island residence.Continue Reading

Superior Forest Head to Retire

Jim Sanders, who has held the top post on the Superior National Forest longer than any other forest supervisor, will retire at the end of December after 15 years in the position.Continue Reading

Inside the Pagami Creek Fire

A couple of boundary waters paddlers found themselves on Lake Insula on Sept 12 when the Pagami Creek Fire took off – this video shows them caught off guard by the flames. If the video above does not play, click HERE for the YouTube Video.

Some BWCAW, National Forest Areas Reopening

Areas in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the Superior National Forest closed to the public because of their proximity to the Pagami Creek Fire have been reopened thanks to cooler, wetter weather and increased containment of the blaze.Continue Reading

Pagami Creek Fire 80% Contained

Despite last week’s hot, dry weather and high winds, firefighters battling the Pagami Creek Fire in northeastern Minnesota now have the blaze 80% contained, officials reported Monday morning.Continue Reading

Wildfire Grows in Boundary Waters

A lightning-caused wildfire in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness that smoldered for a week has grown to 130 acres and is now being closely monitored by U.S. Forest Service officials.Continue Reading

Wilderness News Summer Edition is Online

Wilderness News Summer Edition is Online

The Summer 2011 Issue of Wilderness News Print Edition is now online! Click here to download the PDF >           Featured in this issue: Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center By Rob Kesselring Take a drive to the end of the Gunflint Trail and spend a few hours at Chik-Wauk Museum, the…

MN State Parks Suffer during Shutdown

MN State Parks are losing $1 million a week in camping permits, trail fees, fishing licenses and concessions as the government shutdown drags on during the height of tourist season. How will the economies of northern Minnesota towns be affected?Continue Reading

Wilderness News Print Edition Summer 2010

Wilderness News Print Edition Summer 2010

The Summer 2010 Issue of Wilderness News Print Edition is now online! Download the full pdf, read the feature stories – from wilderness research on Fall Lake to the impact of climate change on the BWCAW, updates on mining controversy and a new hiking trail through the Arrowhead, find out what’s going on in the Quetico Superior region.Continue Reading

VNPA to Celebrate 45th Anniversary

The Voyageurs National Park Association will celebrate its 45th anniversary with Le Fete du Voyagers on Tuesday, July 27th. The “Celebration of the Voyageurs” will also commemorate Voyageurs National Park’s 35th year of existence as a National Park.Continue Reading

Museum Tells Gunflint Trail Story

A former fishing camp on northeastern Minnesota’s Gunflint Trail has reopened as a museum telling the story of the natives, voyageurs, miners, loggers, and recreationists who played a role in the region’s rich history.Continue Reading

Wilderness News Spring 2010 is Online

Wilderness News Spring 2010 is Online

Featured in this issue:
Big Bill Wenstrom — Last Man Standing by Barbara Wenstrom Shank and William P. Wenstrom. Special Report: New Trends in Visits to Quetico-Superior Wilderness by Charlie Mahler. Book Review: A Modern-Day Voyageur Family; Paddling the 3,000 Mile Fur Trade Canoe Route Across the U.S. and Canada, by Timothy J. Kent. Wilderness Essay: Moments of Clarity by Andy Wright. The Heart of the Continent Partnership Comes of Age, by Rob Kesselring.Continue Reading

Voyageurs National Park Turns 35

Voyageurs National Park will celebrate its 35th birthday on Thursday, commemorating the April 8, 1975 date of its authorization by Congress as the country’s 36th national park. The northern Minnesota park will remember the anniversary on its birthday and throughout 2010.Continue Reading

Voyageurs’ Park Ice Road Open

It’s truly winter at Voyageurs National Park these days: the ice road from the Dove Island Boat Landing to Rainy Lake City and the Black Bay Ski Trail is now open. In addition, all of the park’s ski and snowmobile trails are groomed and open for recreation.Continue Reading

Cross-Border Partnership Recognized

The Heart of the Continent Partnership was honored recently for its “ongoing effort to promote trans-boundary cooperation and research” at the World Wilderness Congress, the organization has announced.Continue Reading

Fall Issue of Wilderness News

The Fall 2009 issue of Wilderness News (the print edition) is here! If you’re a subscriber, watch for your mailed copy soon. Or download a PDF of the full issue, and read all of the stories, with full-color photographs, and help us save on mailing costs.Continue Reading

Ely Mayor Charged with BWCA Violations

Ely Mayor Roger Skraba has been charged with three counts of federal wilderness violations in the BWCA. He is accused of entering the wilderness area without a permit, possessing a motor vehicle within the wilderness, and removing property.Continue Reading

Update: Namakan River Dam Project

The Spring 2008 issue of Wilderness News covered a proposed dam at High Falls on the Namakan River west of Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario. A project with environmental impacts on both sides of the border, the Ojibway Power and Energy Group (OPEG) is preparing to release its Environmental Assessment as part of a proponent-led approval process.Continue Reading

Report: State Sweetened Vermilion Park Deal

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune is reporting that the State of Minnesota looked for ways to sweeten the deal for U.S. Steel to sell land to the state for a state park on Lake Vermilion. The paper questions whether laws were skirted to procure land for the park strongly supported by Governor Tim Pawlenty.Continue Reading

Time-Out Called in Roadless Tug-O-War

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a temporary order requiring all new projects in U.S. Forest Service-managed roadless areas be approved by his office. Apart from the permanently protected Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness, the Superior National Forest contains roughly 62,000 acres of roadless areas, mostly adjoining the BWCAW.Continue Reading

Sentence Upheld in BWCA Incident

A three-year prison sentence for Boundary Waters terrorizer Jay Andrew Olson was upheld by the Minnesota Court of Appeals this week. Olson was one of six men convicted of participating in a drunken shooting spree that frightened campers on Basswood Lake in the BWCA in August of 2007.Continue Reading

PolyMet Environmental Statement Delayed

PolyMet Mining, the Canadian company hoping to develop a copper-nickel mine near Hoyt Lakes, annouced in a media release this week that the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the project will not be released until the third quarter of this year.

The draft EIS was originally expected earlier this year.Continue Reading


Welcome to Wilderness News Online! We couldn’t be more excited to launch the online version of the Quetico Superior Foundation’s publication Wilderness News. Our goal is to become your online news source for the unique issues and challenges impacting the Quetico Superior region–because an informed public can practice informed stewardship of this ecologically and culturally…

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