A coalition of organizations has developed a national campaign to save the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) from proposed copper-nickel, or sulfide, mining projects that would inject toxic waste into the pristine waters of the nation’s most visited wilderness. Coalition participants include the Sierra Club, as part of the Our Wild America campaign, and the Club’s Minnesota North Star Chapter. The lead organization is Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness.
A major project of the campaign has been Paddle to DC, a 100-day canoe trip to deliver to Congress and the White House a canoe signed by two thousand and petitions anticipated to reach over 50,000 signatures. The trip focused on raising awareness about the threat to the Boundary Waters from sulfide mining, as well as to waters across Minnesota’s Arrowhead Region. The paddlers were Dave and Amy Freeman of Ely, Minnesota, wilderness explorers and educators who were named 2014 Adventurers of the Year by National Geographic. That’s Amy & Dave, below.
The trip began in the BWCAW on August 24, moved across the Great Lakes, through Lake Champlain, down multiple rivers and canals along the East Coast, and concluded on the banks of the Potomac on December 3.
Sierra Club-related events played a substantial role at several points during the 100-day trip. On November 20, volunteers from the New Jersey Chapter met the canoers, below, and assisted them on portages.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Group hosted a group paddle on the Schuylkill River, below, and a reception at the Girl’s Rowing Club of Philadelphia on November 22. Both events were successful and provided settings for several of the more than 50 media events arranged during the trip.
Current campaign goals include: 1) requesting the Bureau of Land Management deny requests to extend the only two federal mineral leases in the Superior National Forest (which surrounds the BWCAW); and 2) requesting the Department of the Interior withdraw from the federal leasing program all federal mineral interests in the Rainy River Watershed which is the major component of BWCAW waters.
For more information, check out the campaign to Save the Boundary Waters.
All photos courtesy of Save the Boundary Waters or the Sierra Club.
Cross posted from Lay of the Land, the national Sierra Club blog celebrating the great outdoors.