Quetico Superior Foundation Board Member Profile: Emilie Hitch


Board member since 2010

Please tell us what your involvement with the Quetico Superior Foundation mean to you:

Being involved with the QSF means a few things to me. First, it means that I am a part of a community of people who share my belief that protecting the wilderness is important. Secondly, it means that I spend time and energy with people who are committed to the idea that the connection between people and the natural world is crucial for the health of our society. The Quetico Superior Foundation is dedicated to protecting the region, but we also believe it’s our responsibility to help people understand why we all need wild places.

What other ways have you been active in the Quetico-Superior Region?

I’ve been active in the region for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I spent every summer at Camp Warren where I learned the art of the canoe trip. Moving back to Minnesota after graduate school, I wrangled up some friends and we went to the Boundary Waters for a long weekend. It was like going back to a home I didn’t really realize I had left…. I felt the benefits of that trip physically and mentally for months and made the commitment to myself that I would go every year from that point forward. I had started grad school, took a job with heavy travel, and briefly lived in Cambodia since then, but I have not broken my promise.

What is the most pressing issue you see in the region today?

I know most people would say that “mining” is the most pressing issue for the region right now, but I think that this issue—along with others such as the legal battles over cell phone towers, land swaps, or wild rice rules—is an indicator of a much bigger problem. We, as a society, have lost sight of the long-term value of the wilderness. Each of these issues carves away at protection of the Quetico-Superior Region and with that loss of pristine land, water or air we lose a part of ourselves. The way I see it, we are, as a society, making excuses to rationalize the breaking of promises. And, many of these broken promises can have either long-term consequences or damage our land and people permanently.

What’s one of your favorite memories from the Quetico-Superior Region?

Most of my favorite memories include a beautiful view of nothing but water, trees, and sky, some kind of hot beverage heated over a fire, and great conversation. And, also, discussing great philosophical topics with adults, to strategizing the best way to find a chipmunk house with a toddler. All of my closest relationships have been strengthened by time spent together in the natural world. I believe I met a ghost in the Boundary Waters at the end of a portage one time… so that’s high on my list of favorite memories as well.

What is your favorite spot or way to see the Quetico-Superior Region?

My favorite spot is when the blue sky starts to peek through the trees on the portage… when you know you’re almost there, and you can almost feel the water seeping through your boots from those first few steps into the next cold, clear lake.

Read more in Wilderness News Spring 2015 >

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