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Wilderness Campaign

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Wilderness Campaign

February 2, 2005: Wilderness Campaign Launched
Minnesota wilderness campaign gains momentum Unveils website, hires coordinator to build statewide support MINNEAPOLIS – Efforts to bring wilderness protection to nearly 90,000 acres of federal land in Minnesota are gaining momentum after last month’s launch of a new website and hiring of a campaign coordinator.

The Protect Minnesota’s Wilderness campaign unveiled in January its new website www.protectmnwilderness.org. The site is a clearinghouse of information, including maps and descriptions of the 90,000 acres recommended for wilderness protection, arguments for permanent protection, and a list of the 55 organizations and companies supporting the campaign.

The Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, the campaign’s lead organization, hired James Flinn in January to build support among college and university students, conservation groups, businesses, churches, and other allies. Flinn will implement a volunteer program, deliver public presentations, and lead advocacy training.

“We hope people with questions and concerns about the protection of these roadless areas will visit our new website,” said Melissa Lindsay, executive director of Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness. “There is a lot of misinformation out there about the campaign, and we want to make certain that Minnesotans understand that this is not a ‘land grab,’ but an effort to protect lands that are already being used by hunters, anglers, paddlers, and others. Our goal is to make certain that the places they enjoy using today are here tomorrow.”

In November, four conservation organizations appealed the new management plan for Superior National Forest because logging would threaten some of the same 90,000 acres, most of which hug the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Under the forest plan, some of Minnesota’s last remaining wild lands will be opened to logging and road building. These special places in Superior National Forest include land near Seven Beaver Lake and Hog Lake. Seven Beaver is the headwaters for the St. Louis River, a source of drinking water for Duluth. The area near Hog Lake comprises 200 acres of some of the last cathedral white and red pine – more than 100-years-old.

Last November, more than 26,000 Minnesotans submitted comments to the Forest Service urging the agency to protect the remaining wild forest lands in Minnesota and across the country. This outpouring of support built upon the more than 2,500 comments Minnesotans submitted to Superior National Forest in 2003 in support of similar protections.


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