Reader's View: Sulfide mines and wilderness don’t mix

Let’s not sell out the best of northern Minnesota to foreign-owned companies using mining practices guaranteed to decimate water quality and wildlife habitat for a quick buck.

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As spring takes hold across the Northland and thoughts turn toward summer and then fall, I start contemplating returning to Grand Rapids (where I was raised) for ruffed grouse hunting, then to the Superior National Forest for an October Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness trip, followed by hunting whitetails during November.

However, it’s disheartening to know that the pristine waterways and watersheds of the Boundary Waters, Voyageurs National Park, and beyond are at risk due to sulfide-ore copper mining proposals and plans being pushed by foreign-owned mining conglomerates. Much like Yellowstone National Park, we have an invaluable resource in the Boundary Waters, the Yellowstone of the Midwest and the largest wilderness north of the Everglades and east of the Rockies.

Thankfully, we also have the Boundary Waters Wilderness Protection and Pollution Prevention Act (H.R. 2794). This bipartisan legislation would permanently protect the Boundary Waters from the watershed-ruining ravages of sulfide mining. Modeled after the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act, H.R. 5598 holds the key to safeguarding the Boundary Waters and its world-class hunting and fishing.

The BWCAW should receive no less than the same protections as Yellowstone. This legislation would ensure America’s most-visited wilderness, along with the public land and water surrounding it, would be preserved for current and future generations.

Let’s not sell out the best of northern Minnesota to foreign-owned companies using mining practices guaranteed to decimate water quality and wildlife habitat for a quick buck.


In the words of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers President and CEO Land Tawney, “There has never been a copper/sulfide mine that hasn’t leached. Never. … There shall be no mine here … not ever … not on BHA’s watch.”

David Lien

Colorado Springs, Colorado

The writer is formerly of Grand Rapids, is a former Air Force officer, and is the founder and former chairman of Minnesota Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (

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