Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters

  • Protecting the Border Waters of Minnesota
  • Asking for Your Help to Prevent Toxic Mining; Understand the Threat
  • Defending a World Class Hunting and Fishing Destination

By Lukas Leaf

Who we are:

Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters is a coalition of hunters, anglers, businesses and conservation organizations that work to protect the Boundary Waters and surrounding wilderness for future generations.

Minnesota’s iconic public lands are being threatened by sulfide-ore copper mining. This toxic mining practice would harm productive habitats that support fish and game. Pollution from these sulfide-ore copper mines will flow directly into the Boundary Waters. A single mine in this watershed could pollute the areas where people fish or hunt for up to 500 years.

What we protect:

Sporting Heritage

Landscape along the Border Route Canoe Trail. Lukas Leaf Photo

The Boundary Waters is where generations of Minnesotans developed a lifelong love of hunting and fishing. Action is needed to ensure future generations can enjoy the clean water, world-renowned angling and incomparable scenery that so many have come to know and cherish.

A Thriving Economy

The Boundary Waters is the economic lifeblood of Northeastern Minnesota’s lucrative outdoor recreation and tourism industry. Tourism in Northeastern Minnesota generates $913 million per year in sales revenue and supports over 17,000 jobs. Minnesota also accounts for the 7th most spending on hunting and fishing of any state, supporting nearly 48,000 jobs and spending $3.17 billion annually.

Fish and Game Habitat

Casting for Smallmouth Bass in Rose Lake. Lee Latham Photo

The world class fisheries and the 1.1 million acres that make up the Boundary Waters provide critical habitat for wildlife, including moose, bear, whitetail deer, walleye, bass, trout, pike, grouse, waterfowl and more. All this habitat makes the Boundary Waters and Ely, Minnesota one of the top fishing destinations in the country, according to Field and Stream and Outdoor Life magazines, respectively.

What happened in 2017:

126,000 people weighed in during a U.S. Forest Service public input session saying NO to sulfide-ore copper mining in the watershed of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA), a world-class hunting and angling destination and the nations most visited Wilderness.

There have been a few legislative attempts to derail the review that have been pushed forward in 2017.  Introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives this July, H.R. Bill 3905 would immediately grant the mining company its expired mineral leases, exempt Minnesota from the Antiquities Act and amend bedrock conservation legislation that affects the Boundary Waters.  Unfortunately, the bill narrowly passed the House 216-204 with strong bipartisan opposition.

On December 22, 2017, the Friday before Christmas weekend, the Department of Interior announced a decision reversing President Obama’s previous decision denying renewal of mineral leases held by Twin Metals Minnesota. This reversal has major implications. First, it paves the way for the Interior Department and its Bureau of Land Management to grant federal mineral leases covering four sulfide-ore copper deposits on the edge of the most-visited and water-rich Wilderness Area in America. Second, if the leases are granted, then the Chilean mining company, Antofagasta, which owns Twin Metals, would have the right to build its mines, even if the Department of the Interior eventually puts the rest of federal lands in the Boundary Waters watershed off-limits to sulfide-ore copper mining.

Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters will continue to be the leading voice for hunters and anglers dedicated to protecting the Boundary Waters and Minnesota’s public lands.

Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters is joined in opposition to copper mining with many partners that include American Fly Fishing Trade Association AFTA, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, International Federation of Fly Fishers – Upper Midwest Council, Izaak Walton League of America, Minnesota Conservation Federation, National Wildlife Federation, Orion – the Hunter’s Institution, Pope and Young Club, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Wildlife Forever, the American Sportfishing Association, Bear Trust International and others.  Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters is also supporterd by many outdoor industry, hunting and angling businesses state wide and nationally.

Sulfide-ore mining on the edge of America’s most visited Wilderness threatens clean air and water, and the local economy of thousands of people.  As hunters, anglers and conservationists, it seems common sense and vital to take a stand to oppose the practice of mining that can alter the future and change undisturbed nature so much.  This is a national issue that requires congressional action.   Get educated and spread the word. Let your friends and family know about the issue, then please follow us on social media.

How can you help? Take Action Right Now.  

CLICK Below TO JOIN the petition and activities to protect this region.

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