Friends Of The Boundary Waters Wilderness

A nonprofit organization

$135,755 Raised by 610 Donors

100% complete

$126,100 Goal


What does clean water mean to you? How has the Boundary Waters shaped who you are?

If you're reading this, there's a good chance you've experienced the beauty and wonder of the Boundary Waters. This is a place that has transformed thousands of lives. It's a national treasure, our national treasure.

But it's under threat.

Two copper-sulfide mines threaten northern Minnesota's clean waters: Twin Metals and PolyMet. If opened, these mines would spew toxic acid mine drainage into surrounding water sources, permanently polluting this pristine ecosystem. 

This year, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness introduced a powerful piece of legislation to stop these mines – the Prove It First Bill. 

This commonsense piece of legislation is simple: Before a copper-sulfide mine in Minnesota could be permitted, the Prove It First Law would require independent scientific proof that a copper-sulfide mine has operated elsewhere in the United States for at least ten years without causing pollution and that the mine has been closed for at least ten years without causing pollution. 

If no copper-sulfide mine has met these standards, why would we allow Minnesota’s clean waters be the guinea pig?

Despite gaining widespread support and gaining the maximum number of coauthors in the Minnesota House of Representatives, deep-pocketed copper-sulfide mining interests worked hard to silence the bill. 

We’re in this for the long term. We have science on our side. We have the vast majority of Minnesotans on our side. We have clean water on our side. 

We have you on our side.

Our goal with the SpringForwardMN campaign is to raise the funds needed to expand our grassroots efforts that will force elected officials, from Aitkin to Zimmerman, to stop playing politics and do what’s right for Minnesota. This includes:

  • Virtual town halls with Elected Leaders Supporting Prove It First
  • Mobilize citizens for taking action across Minnesota
  • Reaching tens of thousands of Minnesotans through public awareness campaigns
  • Organizing volunteers in Greater Minnesota for organized legislator visits
  • Advocacy Workshops Across Minnesota to train citizen activists


For over 40 years, Friend of the Boundary Waters Wilderness has worked to protect, preserve and restore America’s most visited Wilderness Area. Our supporters are part of a legacy of individuals who have stood together to protect the pristine waters of this unique, and sacred ecosystem.

In a stressful, hyper-digitalized world, we need the solace and quiet of wilderness. In turn, the wilderness relies on people to speak up and give the wilderness a voice. Such a harmonious relationship, between people and nature, is at the heart of everything we do.


  • Leading the fight against copper-sulfide mining. Proposed copper-sulfide mines on the edge of the Boundary Waters represent the biggest threat this area has ever faced. If opened, these foreign-owned mines will leak sulfuric acid into millions of acres of interconnected lakes and rivers, causing irreversible damage to the some of the most pristine waters in the country. Sulfide mining is an existential danger to the Boundary Waters and we are on the front lines in the fight against this highly toxic industry.

  • No Boundaries to the Boundary Waters. As public lands, the Boundary Waters is open to everyone to use and enjoy. There should be no barriers to those who wish to experience the best of the north woods. Through our Thomas Flint Memorial Canoe Trips and wilderness curriculum programs, we bring kids from underserved communities into the Boundary Waters, supporting the next generation of wilderness stewards.

  • Wilderness restoration. Hiking routes, portage trails and campsites all need to be maintained. Through a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, we bring volunteers into the BWCAW to clear out fallen trees, debris and clean up campsites to make sure everyone, from day-trippers to intrepid travelers, can explore the far corners of this northern wilderness.

From introducing young people to the wilderness to taking on some of the most powerful industries in the world, we believe advocacy comes in many forms. 

Above all, it is the work of passionate individuals like yourself who have made this wild place what it is, and who will ensure it stays this way for generations to come.

Organization Data


Organization name

Friends Of The Boundary Waters Wilderness

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2550 University Ave W Suite 180S
Saint Paul, MN 55114


612 332 9630

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