Dave and Amy Freeman are doing something most people would consider insane. They’re spending 365 days living in the Minnesota wilderness in order to prevent copper mining from polluting the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
Located in the northern portion of the Superior National Forest, the BWCAW is an incredibly unique and diverse area that is considered to be one of the most beautiful areas in the country. It’s also the most visited wilderness area in all of the United States.
When word spread that a proposed copper mine could ruin the watershed of this beautiful expanse of 1 million acres, the Freeman’s decided they would fight for it in the best way they could – by showing others how amazing this piece of nature was over the course of a year.
Tuesday was their 315th day living in the wilderness and their efforts for conservation have not been in vain. 65,000 signed petitions were recently turned in to stop a lease renewal that would allow mining in the BWCAW.
The main concern of petition signers is of significant water pollution. Even though many believe a mine would create much needed jobs, the detrimental environmental impact isn’t worth it. Others, on the other hand, believe mining could negatively affect almost 17,000 jobs in areas like tourism and cause millions of dollars in economic damage,
“We do not want to frame this issue as jobs versus the environment. We see this issue as what is best for the common good. We do not think this is good for Minnesota,” Gay Trachsel with the League of Women Voters said.
“This new type of risky sulfide–ore copper mining creates sulfuric acid and that’s the problem, sulfuric acid pollutes the watershed,” Jason Zabokrtsy, a campaigner to save the Boundary Waters said.
On the issue of mining – or any other activity that negatively impacts this area – Char Miller sums it up best via his article for The Conservationist: “From its inception 90 years ago, the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area has been a striking reminder that some places are simply too biologically significant, spiritually transcendent and gloriously wild to mar.”
Hopefully the Freeman’s efforts combined with petitioners manage to save this amazing piece of nature. It’d be a shame to lose such a gorgeous piece of the outdoors.