Reader's View: Protected BWCAW a boost to local economy

This was a win for our local economy.

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Protecting the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is critical to Minnesota’s local economy. The Boundary Waters is the most-visited wilderness in the U.S. According to the Ely Chamber of Commerce, every year, approximately 250,000 people visit the area for camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, and more.

The numerous visitors to the Boundary Waters have created a strong outdoor recreation economy with thousands of jobs and generating millions of dollars a year from local resorts, lodges, campgrounds, and more. My family’s business is one of those local businesses dependent on the wilderness remaining just the way it is, unpolluted. We are thriving and will continue to grow, creating even more jobs and attracting many more visitors to the Ely area.

Like many Minnesotans, I was so relieved when the administration of President Joe Biden announced its decision to cancel Twin Metals’ mineral leases, related to the company’s risky proposed mining project near the Boundary Waters. This was a win for our local economy. I applaud the Biden administration and Sen. Tina Smith for standing up for the place we all cherish.

Elli Piragis



The writer’s family owns and operates Piragis Northwoods Company (

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