There’s a Place for Everyone in the Boundary Waters

There’s a Place for Everyone in the Boundary Waters

There’s a Place for Everyone in the Boundary Waters

By: Save the Boundary Waters Team

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, located in the far northeastern part of Minnesota, along Canada’s border, is America's most visited Wilderness area. It’s known for its interconnected lakes, rivers, and unspoiled boreal forests that offer world-class recreation, critical habitat, and more. Millions of people have developed a lifelong love of nature through canoeing, camping, fishing, paddling, dogsledding, hunting & hiking experiences in this one-of-a-kind Wilderness.

Whether you hike in the woods, paddle along a rocky shoreline, or enjoy a peaceful day by the lake, there’s a place for everyone in the Boundary Waters. A place to experience solitude and adventure; it’s a spiritual and cultural necessity — a relief from the high pressure of modern life. 

The interconnected waterways in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness are among the cleanest in the world. Did you know this area is one of the few remaining places on earth where paddlers can drink water directly from the lake?

Not to mention, permanently protecting the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is important to ensuring climate change resilience. The Wilderness Society identified 74 places in the United States that are crucial to our ability to sustain biodiversity in the face of a changing climate. The analysis found that the Quetico-Superior region is one of the top places in the nation with this “Wildland Conservation Value,” making the Boundary Waters one of the most important natural places in the country in the fight against climate change.

Save the Boundary Waters is working to protect the Boundary Waters from sulfide-ore copper mining permanently. Hardrock mining is the nation's most toxic industry, as determined by the Environmental Protection Agency, and should not be allowed in the same watershed as the Boundary Waters. 

Minnesota has never had this kind of mining. Sulfide-ore copper mining is much more toxic than Minnesota’s taconite mining. Mining of this ore body would produce giant waste piles that leach sulfuric acid, heavy metals, sulfates, and sulfide when exposed to air and water. These byproducts pollute not just land, air, and soil but groundwater, wetlands, rivers, and lakes as well. This type of mining can generate pollution lasting more than 500 years. 

Save the Boundary Water's goal is to protect our invaluable natural resources from pollution, impairment, and destruction. 

This year they have achieved a federal 20-year copper mining ban! On January 26, 2023, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced protections for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Voyageurs National Park from sulfide-ore copper mining. The decision bans toxic mining on federal land in the headwaters of the Wilderness and Voyageurs for 20 years. This is the most significant Boundary Waters protection since 1978.

Their end goal is to  permanently protect this beloved Wilderness. 

The Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters is fighting to protect the Boundary Waters from risky sulfide-ore copper mining just upstream of the Wilderness. Read more about their organization and how you can take action: 


Read more of our stories in Issue 25 of Lake and Company.