Current Threat of Sulfide-ore Copper Mining
For those who are unaware of the current threat to the Boundary Waters. There has been proposals of multiple Sulfide-ore Copper mines just outside the protected BWCA. So whats the issue with that? The proposed mines are located within the same watershed as the protected BWCA wilderness, leakage of toxic materials could potentially cause massive harm to the ecosystem.
To learn more about this issue visit https://www.savetheboundarywaters.org/the-threat
1. You can’t Find Sunsets like this Anywhere Else
Those of us who have sat and watched a sunset on a lakeshore, know that it gives us an overwhelming sense of euphoria, and bliss… At least until a jet ski comes screaming by at 40 miles per hour. Don’t get us wrong, we have nothing against jet skis, we actually very much enjoy them! However, there’s just something different about catching the sunset in a wilderness area. We can mainly attribute this to the watercraft restrictions (just canoes in most areas), and limited entry permits causing a lack of people, making for an amazing wilderness experience of a lifetime.
2. Life Lessons from Mother Nature are Taught Here
Anybody who has ever packed, and portaged canoes in and out of the Boundary Waters knows a thing or two about the importance of hard work, and preparation. Mother Nature does not care if you forgot bug spray. The flies and mosquito will not show mercy on you simply because they feel sorry for you, they will bite you. If you do not study the land and water you are going to cover, you probably will get lost. There are no refrigerators or cabinets here to get a snack when you’re hungry, you must pack it, prepare, and/or catch it. While these may seem like some obvious things, those who have gone out and actually done it, understand the importance of hard work and preparation not just in the BWCA, but in everyday life. Along with personal growth from vacation, non-profit organizations like Outward Bound rely on this area for their programs and trips. For example, the Voyageur Outward Bound School, has a base camp on the Kawashiwi River near the borders of the BWCA. This camp provides disadvantaged youth an opportunity to experience the outdoors.
3. Threat to the Local Economies
Eco-tourism is a booming industry for surrounding communities and provides for a large portion of income and employment to the area. If this ecosystem is damaged from mining, the eco-tourism industry will plummet as well, leaving nearby cities like Ely, MN (who rely on the BWCA) in economic decline.
4. World Renowned Fishing Destination
Anglers from around the world flock to Minnesota’s Boundary Waters for a chance to catch a variety of different species like; walleye, northern pike, muskie, lake trout, and smallmouth bass. These fish thrive in the BWCA because the water is unpolluted, and a lack of invasive species to out compete them. Damaging this ecosystem will result in the loss of one of the last pure undisturbed native habitats for these fish in Minnesota, and United States
5. To set a Precedent of Sustainability and Conservation as a Priority for other Wilderness Areas
Wilderness areas around the United States have been under constant threat of environmental, and political forces. Along with the BWCA, areas like Bear Ears National Monument, and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah are threatened as well. Most notably, by legislation shrinking the two monuments in size in favor of oil drilling and mining. If we wish to protect these lands moving forward, the movement towards a priority of sustainability and conservation begins with the Boundary Waters.
How to Take Action
Write to your local congressman or congresswoman, about supporting and drafting legislation that favors protection of wild lands. Or, sign the petition or donate to Save The Boundary Waters a campaign led by Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness a wilderness advocacy group created by residents around the BWCA.