Two incredible places. Two big wins.
Two of America’s wildest places are now more likely to stay that way, thanks to new actions by the Biden administration.
First, the wolves, moose and other wildlife that live in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness won’t be poisoned by an extremely toxic form of mining upstream for at least another 20 years (or, we hope, forever).
And, the bald eagles, grizzly bears and all five species of Pacific salmon that thrive in 9 million wild acres of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest will be spared the noise, pollution and ecological disruption of logging and road-building.
Here’s why: The Biden administration’s Interior Department withdrew 225,000 acres of public lands from a leasing program that could have resulted in a toxic copper mine upstream from the Boundary Waters.1 And its Department of Agriculture reinstated “Roadless Rule” protections for more than half of the Tongass.2
Within the Boundary Waters, you could paddle through a maze of winding creeks, rivers and streams connecting nearly 2,000 lakes.3 At dusk, you might spy a moose noshing water lilies in those waters. As night falls, you might even hear the howl of a wolf echoing through the forest.
Bring a rain jacket if you go to Alaska’s Tongass. The world’s largest old-growth temperate rainforest can get up to 225 soaking inches of rain per year in some spots.4
But if you don’t mind the damp, you might catch a glimpse of the world’s largest concentration of bald eagles, with hundreds, sometimes thousands, flocking to the Chilkat River each fall to feast on spawned-out salmon.5
If you can’t make either trip, know that your voice, along with those of thousands of wilderness lovers, is among the reasons these wild places are staying wild.
Thousands of Environmental Action supporters like you called on the U.S. Interior Department to reject the proposed mine in the Boundary Waters watershed and thousands more urged the Agriculture Department’s Forest Service to reinstate roadless protections for the Tongass.
As the writer Edward Abbey once said, the idea of wilderness needs no defense; it only needs more defenders. Thank you for being one of the defenders.
- Lisa Friedman, “Biden Administration Sets a Mining Ban in Boundary Waters Wilderness,” The New York Times, January 26, 2023.
- “The U.S. reinstates road and logging restrictions on the largest national forest,” The Associated Press via National Public Radio, January 25, 2023.
- “Boundary Waters Canoe Area Lakes and Streams,” Boundary Waters Canoe Area, last accessed January 31, 2023.
- “Staying Safe on the Tongass National Forest,” U.S. Forest Service, last accessed January 31, 2023.
- “Tongass National Forest,” U.S. Forest Service, last accessed January 31, 2023.