Canoe in the BWCA

Our Work

Though the Boundary Waters is federally protected, it faces numerous threats. It depends on the work of people like you to keep it wild. Along with leading the fight against copper-sulfide mining, these are ways we work to keep the Boundary Waters wild for this and future generations

Promoting Equity
in the Wilderness

Through our No Boundaries to the Boundary Waters program we provide opportunities to BIPOC students to experience the life-changing power of the Boundary Waters. Opening the doors to communities that have been historically excluded from the wilderness is key to the long-term protection of the BWCA. The wilderness depends on people. The future of the Boundary Waters depends on a new generation falling in love with this magical place.

Documenting The Effects
of Climate Change

In a warming world, iconic species, such as the moose, lynx, timber wolf, loon, and white pine may soon disappear from the BWCAW. The Friends sponsors research into the impact copper-sulfide mining would have on the climate as well as artists who document the effects of climate change on the northern ecosystem. Learn about mining and climate change

Monitoring Invasive Species

Non-native species have spread to the BWCAW. Some of these invasive species seem innocuous, like dandelions at a campsite. Others, like zebra mussels, could dramatically alter the ecology of the BWCAW. Because visitors are the primary way that non-native species are spread, our outreach focuses on educating visitors. We have partnered with the Superior National Forest and REI to publish a booklet to help BWCAW users identify non-native invasive species and to prevent their spread.

Additional Causes We Support

Fighting for Clean Water and Air

Fresh air and clean water define the Boundary Waters. Friends is part of a team of organizations that has pushed for stronger, science-based limits on the coal pollution that causes haze in the BWCAW and Minnesota’s National Park. In public hearings and testimony, we have provided science-based advocacy to help identify the complex contributors to regional haze and identify solutions that will have the greatest impact.

Preserving Wild Horizons

Visitors cherish wild horizons, free from signs of human civilization, such as cell towers and signal lights. At the same time, we know that reliable emergency communications are needed for public safety. Much of our work to protect the wild horizons of the BWCAW happens behind the scenes. We work with local residents and officials to provide alternatives early in the planning process.

Forest Management

The wilderness is not an island. Water, air, noise, and wildlife do not recognize human-drawn boundaries. The health of the wilderness depends on a surrounding forest that provides wildlife habitat, and protects air and water quality. The forest bordering the BWCAW allows for multiple uses and multiple forms of recreation. We actively monitor and participate in project planning that affects the BWCAW and the surrounding ecosystem.

Do Your Part to Protect the Boundary Waters

The wilderness needs you. There are many ways you can give back to the wilderness and be the voice of the BWCAW.