Canoe in water with fog on top of the water

About Us

The story of the Boundary Waters is the story of individuals joining together to protect this unique place.

Our mission is to protect the Boundary Waters and to connect people of all backgrounds to the wilderness, so that this and future generations benefit from this special place. 

We envision a permanently protected Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Quetico ecosystem, where all people can experience the magic of the wilderness, and support its protection. 

Our Story

For nearly 50 years Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness has been a leading voice for the ongoing protection, preservation and restoration of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Our organization was instrumental in the passage of the 1978 Boundary Waters Protection Act, which made the Boundary Waters what it is today. Our supporters defend the Boundary Waters against activities that erode its wilderness character and work to ensure that the BWCAW, Superior National Forest and Quetico-Superior ecosystem are managed according to sound ecological principles. Advocacy is a broad endeavor. We believe the future of the wilderness depends on people and getting the next generation of diverse people to fall in love with the wilderness.

Rally with citizens signing the petition to save the Boundary Waters.
Rally with citizens protesting to save the Boundary Waters.
Group of people holding up the
Image of a group of people at the Boundary Waters
Image of a group of people standing at the Boundary Waters
Two women looking at paperwork while at the Boundary Waters

Our Work

Friends is at the frontline in the fight against the copper-sulfide mines that have been proposed at the doorsteps of the Boundary Waters. Through mobilizing citizens and initiating legislative and legal action, we are determined to keep this toxic industry out of Minnesota.

We are committed to promoting equity in the wilderness and fostering the next generation of wilderness enthusiasts through our No Boundaries to the Boundary Waters Program.

We also manage a strong volunteer program and provide resources to ensure the communities surrounding the BWCAW thrive.

The People

Meet the staff and board members dedicated to protecting clean water and continuing the legacy of wilderness stewardship.


Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness acknowledges that the land and water we are dedicated to protecting is on the traditional homelands of the Anishinaabe people, who continue to live in the area and exercise treaty rights on this land and water. We humbly work to honor this living history and learn how the Anishinaabe relationship with this land and water continues to grow and evolve. Together, we strive to build mutual respect, trust and understanding around what it means to protect the Boundary Waters.

Stay Up To Date

Browse our blog for the latest updates on our advocacy work, as well as stories about people with deep connections to the Boundary Waters and travel tips from wilderness experts.

| Art & Science | People | Recreation

1999 BWCA Blowdown – A Storm Like No Other

Revisit the 1999 BWCA Blowdown in Cary Griffith’s “Gunflint Falling,” with fascinating survivor stories, rescues and a forest’s recovery.

| People

Being Present to the Starlight

Delve into a new night sky book where Western science and Indigenous knowledge work together to explore our place in…

Canoe Raffle $10 at Minneapolis Cider - graphic with canoe paddlers on BWCA lake
| Uncategorized

Canoe Raffle

Win a 17′ Northstar Seliga canoe and other fabulous Prizes. Tickets at Minneapolis Cider Co. Drawing August 3, 2024.