Category Archives: Wilderness Protection

State of the Boundary Waters

State of the Boundary Waters

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. In some places, like Lake of the Woods, evidence suggests that changes are already under way. Continue Reading

Ely Explorers Paddle A Message of Wilderness Stewardship into Nation’s Capital

Ely Explorers Paddle A Message of Wilderness Stewardship into Nation’s Capital

Dave and Amy Freeman completed their cross-country journey from the Kawishiwi River to the Potomac. Two thousand miles and a hundred days after paddling away from the Voyageur Outward Bound School on the South Kawishiwi River, adventurers Dave and Amy Freeman have made it to Washington, D.C. The pair paddled their canoe – covered in signatures – up to the dock at the Washington Canoe Club this morning in cold, wet conditions.Continue Reading

Helping Northern Forests Survive the Heat

On the front page of October 20 Sunday Star Tribune, an article “Saving the Great North Woods” addresses many climate-related issues and their implications to the future of the Quetico Superior biomes. Star Tribune Online includes a few short videos that further clarify what is happening and what efforts are being made to measure changes…

Mining Truth Coalition Launches Summer Campaign

The environmental coalition Mining Truth, comprised of the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, Conservation Minnesota, and the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, has announced a new campaign. The “4 Simple Questions” effort is intended to educate the public about the risks of sulfide mining, and call on Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton to adhere to…

Anti-mining Activists to Open Office in Ely

New mine proposals in northeastern Minnesota have prompted a group of local citizens and businesses to plan an anti-mining “action center” on Ely’s Sheridan Street. The office will provide information to visitors and residents, and is expected to open by Memorial Day weekend. The effort is being spearheaded by Steve Piragis, proprietor of wilderness outfitter…

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…

The Heart Of the Continent Partnership Meets February 8-9 in Duluth

The next quarterly meeting of the Heart Of the Continent Partnership will be held February 7-8, 2013 at the Clyde Iron Works in Duluth, MN. The Heart of the Continent Partnership is a Canadian/American coalition of land managers and local stakeholders working together on cross-border projects that promote the economic, cultural and natural health of the lakes,…

Trust for Public Land: Protecting Gaul Island

Trust for Public Land: Protecting Gaul Island

How a collaborative effort is transferring private land to public stewardship. By Alissa Johnson In the summer of 2010, the Trust for Public Land (TPL) received an inquiry from the Listening Point Foundation. The owners of a 15-acre island across from Listening Point had notified the Foundation that they intended to sell their property. Gaul…

Proposed Legislation Could Undermine the Wilderness Act and the Protection of Wilderness

Proposed Legislation Could Undermine the Wilderness Act and the Protection of Wilderness

On the surface, two proposed pieces of legislation appear unrelated to wilderness protection. The Sportsmen’s Heritage Act seeks “to protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing and shooting.” The National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act was designed to provide “operational control” for border security on federal public and tribal lands within 100 miles…

Border Security vs. Wilderness Protection

Another new bill raises concerns about potential development in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives waives environmental regulations on public land within 100 miles of international borders.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.

Judge Denies Cell Tower Near BWCAW

A Hennepin County judge ruled Wednesday against AT&T’s proposed 450-foot lighted cellular communications tower which would have been visible deep into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.Continue Reading

Chain of Lakes: No Quota Change

In the latest chapter of an on-going saga rankling local residents and outfitters, the U.S. Forest Service will not adjust permit quotas for motorboats on the Moose Lake to Prairie Portage chain of lakes leading into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness near Ely.Continue Reading

North Country National Scenic Trail to Cross the BWCAW

North Country National Scenic Trail to Cross the BWCAW

By Matthew Davis The National Park Service and North Country Trail Association (NCTA) are trying to obtain passage of legislation in Congress that would enact the “Arrowhead Re-route”– a proposal to route the nation’s longest hiking trail through the BWCA Wilderness. This legislation, when passed, would bring the 4,600-mile long North Country National Scenic Trail…

Lake County Responds in Cell Tower Dispute

Lake County filed a “friend of the court” brief in Hennepin County District Court this week siding with AT&T Mobility in the cell tower suit brought against the company by Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness. The advocacy organization objects to the 450-foot tower due to its impact on scenic beauty in the Boundary Waters.Continue Reading

$1 Trillion in Metals Buried Near BWCAW

With an estimated $1 trillion worth of copper and other precious metals buried beneath the surface along the South Kawishiwi River near the southern border of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the tangle over mineral development and natural resource protection appears likely to continue well beyond those surrounding the PolyMet copper-nickel mine in nearby Babbitt.Continue Reading

Friends of the BWCAW Sues Over Cell Tower

The wilderness advocacy group Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness filed suit on Tuesday to halt construction of a 45-story cell-phone tower on a ridge close to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness near Ely. The group says the AT&T tower, which will be lighted, will be visible from within the BWCA.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

Cook County Board Opposes Buffer Zone

The Cook County Board of Commissioners recently voiced its opposition to the establishment of a buffer zone near the limits of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The statement comes as the U.S. Forest Service considers the impact of snowmobile noise in the siting of a new trail to South Fowl Lake.Continue Reading

Wilderness News Profile: Frederick Winston

In 1964, Fred Winston received an inquiry following Wilderness News’ inaugural publication: “I can see that there are many sides to Minnesota’s wilderness problem. But which side are you on? What are you trying to prove?” In his reply, Fred Winston set the tone for the Quetico Superior Foundation’s role in the ever changing wilderness debate and set an example of activism.Continue Reading

Forest Service Taking Comments on South Fowl Trail

The Forest Service is accepting public comments on the development of a new snowmobile trail from McFarland Lake to South Fowl Lake in far northeastern Minnesota. The new trail was necessitated by the closure of the Tilbury Trail which crossed land included in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.Continue Reading

Friends of the Quetico Celebrates 25 Years

It’s the 100th aniversary of Quetico Provincial Park this year, but 2009 is also the 25th birthday for the Friends of Quetico Park, an organization whose objective is “the preservation of Quetico Provincial Park as a unique wilderness area.”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

The State of the Wilderness 30 Years After the BWCAW Act of 1978

On the thirtieth anniversary of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Act of 1978, Wilderness News set out to assess the current state of the wilderness and its management. We uncovered a transformation in the challenges facing the region. Where issues like motor use once topped management concerns, they are giving way to increasingly complex challenges that defy man-made boundaries and may have significant implications for how we think about — and manage — the Boundary Waters.Continue Reading

The 100th Anniversary of the Quetico Superior Region

2009 marks the 100th Anniversary of the initial formation of what would become Quetico Provincial Park and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. What started as a long and jagged process of preservation and restoration resulted in a huge, roadless and protected forest being celebrated today.Continue Reading

Wolf Island Protected

Wolf Island Protected

Wolf Island is a place of legend and lore, holding the footprints of both Native Americans and Voyageurs. The Trust for Public Land (TPL) has taken advantage of a one-time opportunity to protect this prominent archeological site in the middle of Lake Vermilion, one of the premier lakes located in the Minnesota northwoods. Wolf Island,…

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