Listen: Minnesota Public Interest Research Group / Boundary Waters Canoe Area

MPR’s Claudia Hampston reports on formation of group called Friends of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Hampston interviews two members of group on it’s purpose in preserving the wilderness designation of BWCA.


text | pdf |

CLAUDIA HAMPSTON: They're calling it Friends of the BWCA and are hoping to build a nationwide network of friends and supporters. Members thus far are largely people who already hold membership in other broad spectrum environmental associations, but who have come together as individuals to create a bulwark against what they view as encroachment upon the true wilderness nature of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

At present, their particular concern is Congressman James Oberstar's bill, which on one hand would increase the size of the area by 120,000 acres, but on the other would divide it into two distinct categories of use, with only a little more than half being primitive wilderness, the rest allowing motorized vehicles, logging, and road building. That is not to say that such activities are not permitted under current BWCA management practices. Dick Wyman, Friends of the BWCA.

DICK WYMAN: Boundary Waters was declared a part of the federal wilderness system in 1964. However, there were qualifying clauses, added on the floor of the Senate at that time, which allow logging and motorized use. The Friends of the Boundary Waters is organized to eliminate these uses as soon as possible.

CLAUDIA HAMPSTON: While stating that they are not opposed to Oberstar's bill, and that they have had and will continue to have conversations with him about strengthening it, it is apparent that the Friends fear the eventual disappearance of all wilderness in the BWCA. Chuck Stoddard, a member of the Friends executive committee, formerly with the Department of the Interior, under the Kennedy Johnson administration.

CHUCK STODDARD: We hope that in the process of presenting the position of the conservation fraternity, as it were, that we will be able to get the kind of protection that the area deserves and has not received for the last 50 years. There have been 50 years of battles. Conservation victories are temporary, but the defeats are final. And the only reason we have this area left is because people have been fighting for it for 50 years. And this is the only reason it's there.

Now, the question I think we've got to get before the people in Northern Minnesota and before the country as a whole is whether we want to protect this area permanently, whether we value the little bit of last frontier that we still have left, enough to want to pass that on to future generations.

CLAUDIA HAMPSTON: Friends of the BWCA, organized to lobby or, if necessary, fight for the cause of preservation of the wilderness area. I'm Claudia Hampston, in Duluth.


Materials created/edited/published by Archive team as an assigned project during remote work period in 2020

This Story Appears in the Following Collections

Views and opinions expressed in the content do not represent the opinions of APMG. APMG is not responsible for objectionable content and language represented on the site. Please use the "Contact Us" button if you'd like to report a piece of content. Thank you.

Transcriptions provided are machine generated, and while APMG makes the best effort for accuracy, mistakes will happen. Please excuse these errors and use the "Contact Us" button if you'd like to report an error. Thank you.

< path d="M23.5-64c0 0.1 0 0.1 0 0.2 -0.1 0.1-0.1 0.1-0.2 0.1 -0.1 0.1-0.1 0.3-0.1 0.4 -0.2 0.1 0 0.2 0 0.3 0 0 0 0.1 0 0.2 0 0.1 0 0.3 0.1 0.4 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.5 0.2 0.1 0.4 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.2 0 0.4-0.1 0.5-0.1 0.2 0 0.4 0 0.6-0.1 0.2-0.1 0.1-0.3 0.3-0.5 0.1-0.1 0.3 0 0.4-0.1 0.2-0.1 0.3-0.3 0.4-0.5 0-0.1 0-0.1 0-0.2 0-0.1 0.1-0.2 0.1-0.3 0-0.1-0.1-0.1-0.1-0.2 0-0.1 0-0.2 0-0.3 0-0.2 0-0.4-0.1-0.5 -0.4-0.7-1.2-0.9-2-0.8 -0.2 0-0.3 0.1-0.4 0.2 -0.2 0.1-0.1 0.2-0.3 0.2 -0.1 0-0.2 0.1-0.2 0.2C23.5-64 23.5-64.1 23.5-64 23.5-64 23.5-64 23.5-64"/>