Success Story 2023

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Mining Ban

Boundary Waters
Photo: Alex Falconer
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Mining Ban
Earthworks Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness Backcountry Hunters & Anglers
225,504 acres protected

On January 26th, Secretary Deb Haaland and the Department of the Interior announced a 20-year mining ban on federal lands around the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. This protection prevents the most-visited wilderness in the country from the negative impacts of copper mining on both the environment and the regional economy.

The Boundary Waters is home to 4.3-million-acres of wilderness comprising parks and wild lands, stretching north across the Canadian border. Each year thousands of people go to the Boundary Waters to camp, fish, paddle, dogsled, hunt, and hike. This healthy Wilderness supports 4,500 direct jobs and a $16 billion economy. For years, the Boundary Waters has been threatened with proposals for sulfide-ore copper mining on neighboring land, which would cause irreversible harm to water quality, wildlife, public health, and the sustainable outdoor recreation-based economy. The mining ban addresses the immediate threat to this landscape, helping to conserve its natural resources and biodiversity.

Save the Boundary Waters is a Priority Campaign for The Conservation Alliance. Since 2014, The Conservation Alliance has awarded $470,000 to three organizations working to protect this critical land in the Superior National Forest.