The story of The boundary waters is the story of individuals coming together to protect this unique place


Though the Boundary Waters is officially protected, it faces numerous threats. It needs people like you to help Preserve it and keep it wild

Photo courtesy of Blake Edwards

Photo courtesy of Blake Edwards

Since 1976 the 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.

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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.

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Currently, we’re 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.

Photo courtesy of    Benjamin Olson

Photo courtesy of Benjamin Olson

We dedicate resources to preserving recreation resources within the wilderness, building conservation capacity in communities surrounding the BWCAW and fostering the next generation of wilderness enthusiasts through volunteer and youth engagement programs.

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We believe advocacy is a broad endeavor, and that the future of the wilderness depends on passionate people and getting next generation and diverse people involved in wilderness



Our vision for the future involves the connection between people, communities and the wilderness

Wastewater from a mine

Protecting clean water - stopping Sulfide Mines

Proposed sulfide mines on the edge of the Boundary Waters represent one of the biggest threats the area has ever faced. If opened, these foreign-owned mines would leak sulfuric acid into millions of acres of interconnected lakes and rivers, causing irreversible damage to the some of the most pristine waters in the country. Sulfide mining is an existential danger to the Boundary Waters and we need everyone to stand up against this highly toxic industry.

Kids in the Boundary Waters

ensuring there are no boundaries to the boundary waters

In our digital era, when so many young people are inundated by technology and suffer nature deficiency disorder, we know that time spent in wilderness is a curative, positive force. We also know that the future of the Boundary Waters depends on getting the next generation to experience and fall in love with the wilderness.

trail maintenance in BWCAW

wilderness stewards

In partnership with REI and the U.S. Forest Service, we work to recruit and deploy volunteers to partake in restoration, maintenance, and education projects in the into the BWCAW and Superior National Forest. The goal of the Superior Wilderness Volunteer Connection is to improve portage trails, campsites, latrines, and fire grates and keep the Boundary Waters pristine and accessible.

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SUPPORTING Strong Gateway Communities

Economically healthy communities are essential to the longevity and preservation of the BWCAW. A vibrant wilderness economy, consisting of outfitters, resorts, restaurants and manufacturers, has sprung up in several gateway communities to the Boundary Waters. This sustainable economy provides a viable alternative to natural resource extraction and provides stable economic opportunities and long-term employment for residents, allowing these communities near the BWCAW to flourish.


Learn More About us


the people

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

Canoe adventure

stay up to date

Catch up on the latest news, read up on tips to make your trip to the BWCAW even better and learn something about the history of the area — all in our blog!

Fun in the Boundary Waters


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