The BWCAW on a clear day
The BWCAW on a clear day
The BWCAW on a hazy day
The BWCAW on a hazy day

On a good day, visibility in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is 130 miles. On a bad day, it can be as low as 33 miles.

See what the air quality currently is,
with an automatically-updated image.

Haze in the BWCAW is the effect of pollution from power plants, taconite processing facilities, cars and trucks and other sources around the region. The Clean Air Act requires states to eliminate such negative impacts on air quality in Wildernesses, National Parks, and other jewels of our country’s public lands.

As mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has developed a plan to eliminate human-caused contributions to haze in the BWCAW and its neighbor to the west, Voyageurs National Park.

The Friends is working closely with the MPCA, as well as the Superior National Forest and Voyageurs National Park and our partner organizations Voyageurs National Park Association, the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy and the National Parks Conservation Association, to develop and implement the best plan possible to improve air quality in the Boundary Waters.

We also joined a lawsuit asking the EPA to act on a 2009 certification by the National Park Service that the Sherco coal-fired power plant was causing haze over the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Voyageurs National Park, and Isle Royale National Park. In June 2014, the EPA settled this lawsuit by agreeing to study the haze caused by Sherco and make recommendations about how to prevent it. You can read more about the suit and settlement here, and at news links below.

In meetings with MPCA staff, testimony at public hearings, and in comment letters, we have provided science-based advocacy to help identify the complex contributors to regional haze and identify solutions that will have the greatest impact.

In the news:

Additional resources:

More information: