New Club Fights to Preserve Boundary Waters

Lucy Snow, Staff Writer

For many high school students, it can feel like their childhood is disappearing. In the case of freshmen Amelia Olson, ‘26, and Evelyn Long, ‘26, it’s true. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) could disappear, and with so many core memories made in the wilderness, it hits close to home for them. Now that they are older, they have something to say about it. Actions and words could save the Boundary Waters from harmful mining practices. That’s why they brought back Boundary Waters Club: to unite students with a similar passion for the wilderness and make their voices heard. Olsen, the club’s leader, says that this club will add to the school community by “bringing people together[…], help[ing] raise awareness and hopefully get[ting] more people to visit.”

The issue facing Minnesota’s wilderness is that mining conglomerates are trying to open copper sulfide mines in northern Minnesota next to some of the most unpolluted waters in the world. Sulfuric acid, a byproduct of the mining, runs off into the water. Friends of The Boundary Waters Wilderness, an organization that fights to prevent this, says that  “in addition to acidifying lakes and rivers, sulfuric acid leaches out heavy metals such as mercury, lead, arsenic and other toxins from the rock to produce acid mine drainage. This type of mining is so toxic that there has never been a sulfide mine that has not contaminated surrounding water sources.” In other words, catastrophic pollution in a massive watershed is extremely likely if the mining companies succeed. 

The good thing is that people can and have prevented this, through activism, education and getting involved in the local legislature. Education is the catalyst that leads to these solutions and having resources to do this is essential. At MHS, Olson and Long are ready to make an impact on the community. Their club focuses on, as Olson says, “bring[ing] people who love or want to learn about the boundary waters together.” Meetings are every other Tuesday morning at 7:15, and members will work together in a fun and inclusive environment to learn and do their part in protecting the delicate environment of the BWCA. Olson and Long invite “anyone who is interested in the Boundary Waters, no matter the experience they have.”