We were excited to paddle to Washington, D.C. to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, which established the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, America’s most popular wilderness area. Our canoe was signed by thousands of people who oppose sulfide mining in Northeastern Minnesota.

On September 3, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Wilderness Act, which set aside an initial 9.1 million acres of wildlands, including the one million acre Boundary Waters, for the use and benefit of the American people. Over the past 50 years, Congress has added over 100 million acres to this unique land preservation system.

We were also paddling to protect the Boundary Waters – the proposed sulfide-ore mines in the watershed of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness would cause acid mine drainage, threatening the pristine waters of the BWCA with sulfuric acid and other contaminants, as well as the livelihood of the 18,000 people who work in the thriving recreation and tourism industry in Northern Minnesota.

We are relying on you to help us spread the word and tell your friends. Learn how you can get involved today!

Paddles Up!

Dave and Amy Freeman


  1. Andrew

    I love your planned journey! And I signed that canoe in Ely a couple months back. So happy you are doing such a fantastic job of educating and publicizing! Great video illustration of the flow of contaminated water both north to Hudson Bay and east to the Great Lakes. And also, great video depiction of just how close the test drilling is to the BWCA. These both really help show why sulfide mining in Northeastern Minnesota is such a bad idea.

    • wildernessdave@gmail.com

      I am glad you enjoyed the video. I hope that you will help us share PaddletoDC.org with your network of friends. We need more people to understand the threats that sulfide ore mining pose for Minnesota.

    • wildernessdave@gmail.com

      Thanks Andrew. I hope that you will help us spread the word about threats that sulfide mining and Paddle to DC. I am glad that you were able to sign the canoe and visit Sustainable Ely, I hope that you will visit Sustainable Ely the next time you are in the area and see what is new. There are a lot of exciting things going on.

  2. Keith Blomstrom

    I work with, The Minnesota Conservation Federation,
    we work at the state capitol.
    I also lobby for The National Wildlife Federation in D.C.

    • Dave Freeman

      My email is wildernessdave@gmail.com. We would love to look for ways to get you as well as the Minnesota Conservation Federation involved in Paddle to DC.

  3. Mary

    Great video! I signed one of the paddles here in the Twin Cities and am looking forward to following your journey to D.C. Count on me to do what I can to help stop sulfide mining in northeastern Minnesota. I don’t have deep pockets either, but I have a voice, which I plan to use.

  4. Gary Clements

    Our names are on the canoe, and we spent time volunteering in the Sustainable Ely house last summer. Our hearts will be with you as you travel!
    Jane and Gary

    • wildernessdave@gmail.com

      Thanks Gary! I hope that you can continue to volunteer at Sustainable Ely, they are doing good work. Thanks for signing the canoe! Please tell your friends about this issue and our paddle to DC and encourage them to stop in and sign the canoe as well.

  5. Julie Stryker

    I am from Madeline Island in the Chequamegon Bay of Lake Superior. We too are fighting to keep the proposed largest iron ore mine from being dug in the Penokee Mountains adjacent to the lake. It would destroy everything that we hold dear. Thank you for your journey to convey the all important message for the water, earth and creatures we need for the future generations of this beautiful area!

  6. Stephen Jay

    Marvelous presentation Dave and Amy. Godspeed in your journey from Ely to Washington. You carry a message supported by science, wisdom, experience, common sense and public opinion. Our cabin on S. Kawishiwi is within hearing range of mining companies test drilling sites and only a modest portage distance from BWCA. We wish you the best for obvious reasons! SJ

  7. Nicholas Williams

    Dave. Great video. I love watching all the progress you have made over the years. I hope our paths cross again. Take care and good luck on your journey.

    • Dave Freeman

      Thanks Nick. I hope you can help us spread the word about how special the BWCA is. I hope you are doing well.

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