Boundary Waters Business Coalition

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota


About Us

Local, state, regional and national businesses support permanent protection for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness from risky sulfide-ore copper mining proposed on the edge of this iconic Wilderness.

The Boundary Waters is the crown jewel of Minnesota, the most visited Wilderness Area in the country and a special place for millions of Americans who love hunting, fishing, paddling and outdoor recreation. This is no place for sulfide-ore copper mining.


Support protection of this amazing Wilderness and the communities it supports.

Who We Are



Steve Piragis
Owner, Piragis Northwoods Company

"I, like most of our clients, enjoy fishing the wilderness lakes of the BWCAW. More than 50 percent of our clients travel by canoe in the region. Any industrialization on the perimeter of the Wilderness will inevitably degrade the wilderness and change the purity of this experience. Basswood Lake lies just downstream from the proposed Twin Metals sulfide-ore mine. If acid and heavy metals pollute the Kawishiwi River, as I believe they inevitably will, Basswood Lake will be among the first to be affected. It would not take long for recreational economy we have worked so hard to develop for the last 100 years in Ely to be adversely affected."

Jade and Carl in the Mountains-crop.jpg

Paul Schurke
Explorer & Owner,
Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge
Sue Schurke
Owner, Wintergreen Northern Wear

"Since 1989, the viability of our Ely-based recreation and manufacturing businesses and the significant area employment they provide has been dependent upon their association with the Superior National Forest and the reputation of the Boundary Waters Wilderness. Our customers are spread across the globe but hold one passion in common: their affinity for Minnesota’s Northwoods and the wildness, serenity and pristine lakes and streams of the Boundary Waters. This is a business matter for us and for our region. The watershed of the Boundary Waters is no place for a sulfide-ore copper mine.”

Dave Seaton, Owner
Hungry Jack Outfitters

"Our region markets to people in a way that is authentic and real. The experiences people are looking for here are sustainable and realistic. The proposed Twin Metals mining project can change all that. Tourism is the main game in town and along most of the north shore of Lake Superior. If the expired mineral leases at the edge of the BWCAW are renewed, it will have a drastic negative impact on people’s view of the whole area.  People know sulfide-ore copper mining pollutes surrounding waters, and it would damage public perception of the BWCAW.  Harming the idea of pristine wilderness would deal a blow to the local economy, and that could cause many businesses to suffer."

Carl Haensel, Owner

"Clean, unspoiled waters are at the heart of what fly anglers love and cherish.  We need waters like the BWCAW not only for our clients to fish around the region, but to highlight the wild lands and clean waters we have lost elsewhere. Mining and industrialization on the doorstep of the most visited Wilderness in America will undoubtedly impact the Wilderness and change its character. Some of the most traveled routes in the BWCAW are directly in the downstream path of any pollution from the proposed Twin Metals sulfide-ore mine. If acid and heavy metals from the mine pollute this area, the recreation value that is the real lifeblood of Northeastern Minnesota will be affected.  Mining at the edge of the BWCAW is not a risk worth taking."


Our Economy

The Wilderness Supports Us

The Boundary Waters Business Coalition includes hundreds of small businesses, outfitters, manufacturing companies, hunting and fishing businesses and others that rely on and support this world-class Wilderness for employment and quality of life.

Photo by Becca Dilley

Photo by Becca Dilley

MN Outdoor Recreation Economy

Minnesota’s strong and growing outdoor recreation economy: $11.6 billion annually in consumer spending and 118,000 direct jobs statewide.  (Outdoor Industry Association)



Photo by Nate Ptacek

Photo by Nate Ptacek

Northeastern Minnesota Tourism

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Voyageurs National Park help drive the economy of Northeastern Minnesota, where
tourism supports 17,000 jobs and brings $913 million in sales annually to the region. (Explore Minnesota)


Photo Lukas Leaf

Photo Lukas Leaf

Hunting and Fishing in Minnesota

Minnesota has a strong hunting and fishing tradition. Minnesota ranks seventh nationally in spending by sportsmen and women. Minnesota hunters and anglers spend $3.17 billion and support 47,901 jobs annually. (Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation)

The Threat

We Need to Protect the Boundary Waters

America’s most visited Wilderness area is threatened by sulfide-ore copper mining proposed on the Wilderness edge. This toxic mining practice has never before been allowed in Minnesota.

Pollution from these mines will flow directly into the heart of the Boundary Waters. Even conservative models of pollution show that waterways would carry contaminants into the Wilderness. A single mine in this watershed will continually pollute the wilderness for at least 500 years. This toxic mining practice would harm productive habitats that support fish and game and the thousands of jobs sustained by this popular wilderness.

Business Supporters List

WE SUPPORT permanent protection for the Boundary Waters watershed from the threat of sulfide-ore copper mining, by preventing future sulfide-ore copper mining on federal lands in the Rainy River Drainage Basin.


Aaron Peterson Photography 
Abel Automatics
Adipose Boatworks
Airflo Fly Lines
Alpine Shop LTD
Athena & Artemis Women's Flyshop
Bedrock Sandals
Bending Branches
Black River Sleds
Buff, Inc.
Catch and Capture Guide Service
Charna Pottery
Cheeky Fishing
Chicago Fly Fishing Outdoors
Chota Outdoor Gear
Clean Designs LLC
Cold Water Guide Service
Council Tool Co.
Crescent Moon Snowshoes
Danny Vitali Music
Decorah Hatchery
DeYoung Studios
Double Reed Outdoors
The Dyrt
Eagles Nest Outfitters
Emerger Strategies
Far Bank
Fibre Athletics
First Lite
Fontana Sports Specialties
Gitchi Adventure Goods
Gorilly Goods
Great Lakes Proud
GSI Outdoors
Hanz Extremity Wear
Heather's Choice Meals for Adventuring
Hunting Insider
Hursthouse Landscape Architects & Contractors
Iacono's Pizza & Restaurant
Jackson Kayaks
Joy Trip Project
Julia Buckles - Author
Kickback Shack Co.
Klean Kanteen
Little River Co.
Loon Outdoors
Lost Creek Adventures & Folk School
Luke Chiropractic & Wellness
Marmot Mountain, LLC
Milestones, Inc.
MTI Adventurewear
Multi-Diagnostic Services Inc.
Mystery Ranch
Nate Ptacek-Photographer & Filmmaker
Natural Path Health Center
Northern Prairie Builders
Okuma: Inspired Fishing
>Savage Gear
>Water Wolf HD
One Percent for the Planet
Onila Farms
Orion Coolers
Osprey Packs
Outdoor Alliance
Outdoor Industry

Outdoors Weekly
Paddle Planner, LLC
Pnuma Outdoors
Ptacek Home
REI Co-op
Rio Products
Ross Reels
Royal Robbins
Rutabaga Paddlesports
Sanitas Sales Group
Sea to Summit
Seek Outside
Sigurd Canoe Co.
Simms Fishing Products
Smith Fishing
Spencer Real Estate Group
St. Croix Canoes
St. Croix Rods
Stone Creek Coffee

Strike King Lures
Taxa Outdoors
The Conservation Alliance
Temple Fork Outfitters
Toad & Co.
Velo Ink
Waterworks Lamson
Western Rise
Wigwam Mills, Inc.


The Boundary Waters is Good for Business

Ely’s Susan Schurke is bringing her anoraks back (Duluth News Tribune, May 2015)

Steger Mukluks and Moccasins poised to expand in Ely (Star Tribune, May 2014


Key Log Economics LLC: The Need to Consider Real Economic Tradeoffs (2017)

Explore Minnesota: Tourism and the Economy (2017)

Outdoor Industry Association: Outdoor Recreation Economy-Minnesota (2013)

Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation Economic Impact Report - Minnesota (2013)

American Sportfishing Association - Economics of Fishing in Minnesota and District 8 (2011)

Why Business, Manufacturing and Wilderness Thrive in Minnesota (BWBC Summary)




In January 2017 the U.S. Forest Service initiated a two-year pause on sulfide-ore copper mining activities in the Boundary Waters watershed and study to determine if this is the wrong place for sulfide-ore copper mining. ACT NOW.



Become a Business Supporter

Become a part of this growing coalition of businesses who support
permanent protection for the Boundary Waters Wilderness.