We invite you to be part of Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness’ continuing legacy of conservation at the edge of the Boundary Waters.

The BWCA is part of a greater ecosystem where land, air and water are connected in profound ways. Pollution and land degradation originating at the edge of the wilderness can impact the wildlife and character of the Boundary Waters.

A patchwork of private land at the edge of the Boundary Waters threatens to fragment this water-rich ecosystem by cutting off important wildlife corridors and restricting public access.

If these private lands are not set aside and conserved, they will be developed. Currently, the US Forest Service does not have the administrative capacity to add these properties to the rolls of public, protected lands, and land conservation organizations have other priorities.

Seeing this urgent need, Friends took action.

We established the Edge of the Wilderness Fund almost 40 years ago to identify and purchase prime conservation properties adjacent to the Boundary Waters.

The goal is to preserve the health of the ecosystem and expand public access to lands surrounding the Wilderness. Based on the ideal of conservation and public land, the Fund is a continuation of the work that protected the Boundary Waters and opened millions of acres of pristine wilderness to all.

An Opportunity to Expand the Wilderness  

Recently, an opportunity has opened up to purchase and conserve 441 acres of forestland and over two miles of shoreline at the edge of the Boundary Waters.

The two tracts of land, on Snowbank Lake and the South Kawishiwi River, are superb forest habitat for moose, gray wolf, Canada lynx, black bear, fisher, marten, bald eagle, ruffed and spruce grouse, northern goshawk, and other iconic Northwoods species.

If we do not act, this land will be put on the market and sold for private development, eroding the wilderness character.

Snowbank Lake and South Kawishiwi River Conservation Properties
Snowbank Lake and South Kawishiwi River Conservation Properties

South Kawishiwi River Conservation Property

We are currently fundraising to raise a total of $850,000 to purchase over 360 acres of land along the South Kawishiwi River. This capital campaign has been jumpstarted with a generous donation of $250,000 from Elizabeth Crown and Bill Wallace.

Detail Map of the South Kawishiwi River Conservation Property

You can be part of this! Leave a legacy and preserve this priceless wilderness in perpetuity.

… or to discuss how you can help permanently expand the wilderness, contact:

Snowbank Lake Property

In 2022, we purchased two parcels of land at the edge of Snowbank Lake, totaling 80 acres and 3,500 feet of shoreline. The video below showcases the natural beauty and shows just why it is so important to protect land that adjoins the wilderness.

Be Part of a Legacy of Land Conservation

Under the leadership of Bud Heinselman, a legend in the history of conservation and one of our founders, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness began to raise funds for land acquisitions and conservation in the early 1980s.

Today, we invite you to continue Bud Heinselman’s legacy to conserve land at the edge of the Boundary Waters. When we achieve our fundraising goals, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness will buy the Snowbank Lake and South Kawishiwi River parcels and continue to own and manage the properties. To ensure that we protect the conservation values of the properties, we have formed a conservation advisory council that includes the Director of the University of Minnesota Center for Forest Ecology.

Leave a legacy and preserve this priceless wilderness in perpetuity. To discuss how you can help permanently expand the wilderness, contact:

The Boundary Waters is a rare place that unites generations, that unites people. Along the shores of these magical lakes families bond, friends gather, and we discover something essential about ourselves. It’s no wonder that, for over one hundred years, people have been inspired to protect this area.