Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness



While 200,000 people visit the Boundary Waters each year, many factors threaten the wilderness character of the area, including haze, noise, logging, mining, development, fire suppression, and loss of native species. Leading the effort to protect and restore the BWCAW from such threats is the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness. The organization formed in 1976 to protect this vulnerable area and two years later shepherded legislation through Congress that brought full protection to the Boundary Waters. Today, the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based organization of 4,000 members is a sentry against further harm in the BWCAW and the Quetico-Superior Ecosystem. By partnering with other conservation groups and activating its membership, the Friends ensures that a “voice of wilderness” is always heard during policy debates. 

Mission Statement

Our mission is to protect, preserve and restore the wilderness character of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the Quetico -Superior ecosystem.

Program Details

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

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.
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.
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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Secondary Issue
401 North 3rd Street, Suite 290
Minneapolis, MN 55401
United States
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Supporting Members