By: Ethan Brown & the Save the Boundary Waters team
There’s a reason the Boundary Waters is America’s most-visited 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.
At 1.1 million acres, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is one of the most iconic landscapes in the country. Millions of people have developed a lifelong love of the outdoors through camping, fishing, paddling, dog sledding, hunting, and hiking experiences in this one-of-a-kind Wilderness. The Boundary Waters has shaped the lives of many.
The Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters and its national coalition of businesses and organizations have been working tirelessly for a decade to permanently protect the Boundary Waters against copper mining proposed on the edge of the Wilderness.
Permanent protection for the Boundary Waters is necessary for continued sustainable economic development in the region and the fight against climate change. Local outfitters and other businesses rely on a clean Wilderness area for their livelihoods. A polluted Boundary Waters would spell disaster for the endangered species and climate change-resistant boreal forests.
In January 2022, the Department of Interior terminated two federal mineral leases for Chilean mining conglomerate Antofagasta's Twin Metals project after determining the leases had been unlawfully renewed.
Further administrative action took place in June 2022 when the U.S. Forest Service released a draft environmental study outlining the Twin Metals project's extreme threat of pollution to the Boundary Waters. Its findings included a recommended 20-year ban on sulfide-ore copper mining near the Wilderness.
In July 2022, the House Natural Resources Committee voted Rep. Betty McCollum's Boundary Waters Protection and Pollution Prevention Act out of committee, making the bill eligible for a vote on the House floor. The bill would permanently protect 234,328 acres of federal land and waters within the Superior National Forest from risky sulfide-ore copper mining.
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. Visit their website to learn more.