“The howl of a wolf, the cry of a loon, the lap of clean water against an untrammeled shore constitute the only common currency; to defend them is to labor in the most elementary way for the general good.” – Paul Gruchow
In the Upper Midwest, we know we’re blessed to live near a wild tract of boreal forest and glacial lakes. Minnesotans enjoy the clean air and water, protected wildlife habitat, and wild places to explore that this wilderness provides. But Minnesota’s wild lands are disappearing at alarming rates.
Development gobbles up an area the size of the Mall of America each day. Without protection, nearly 90,000 acres of wild woods and lakes in the Superior National Forest could be deforested, developed or degraded.
Protecting these roadless areas ensures that the wild and natural places we love today will be here for future generations.
Wilderness is our American heritage
- Wilderness expeditions and frontier explorations, like the voyage of Lewis and Clark, have shaped our national culture and identity.
- Our national forests were established for all Americans more than 100 years ago by President Theodore Roosevelt.
- Wild lands activities like hunting, fishing, and wildlife watching are American family traditions. In Minnesota, more than 75 percent of citizens participate in these forms of outdoor recreation.
- In the Boundary Waters region, canoeists still paddle the paths of the Ojibwe and the original “Voyageur highways.” Hunters, anglers, and trappers still follow the seasonal cycles of their quarries.
Wild forests provide a legacy of clean air and water and protected wildlife habitat
Nationally, roadless areas shelter more than 2,000 major watersheds that contribute to public drinking water sources for over 60 million people across the country.
- Minnesota’s roadless areas protect habitat for a variety of wildlife.
- These areas are key links in stretches of unfragmented forest that house the largest wolf population in the continental U.S.
- The Echo River Unit provides excellent habitat for grouse, ducks, deer, and moose.
- Homer Lake in the Homer Lake Unit provides good walleye fishing.
- Several of the areas foster Minnesota’s rebounding lynx population, a species once thought to have left the state forever.
Roadless area protection enjoys widespread support
- Minnesotans sent 26,000 comments to the U.S. Forest Service asking that nearly 60 million acres of roadless areas across the country be protected through the Roadless Area Conservation Rule.
- A national poll determined that 84 percent of hunters and 86 percent of anglers support efforts to prevent development in roadless areas.
- More than 300 newspapers nationwide published editorials supporting the Roadless Rule. In a 2001 editorial, the Minneapolis Star Tribune called the Rule “sensible resource policy, an overdue recognition that taxpayer subsidized logging, mining and drilling are not always the highest uses of the nation’s best remaining wilderness.”