Posts tagged ‘BWCA’

April 19, 2017

What harm could mining do in the watershed of the BWCA and headwaters of the Mississippi River?

In light of the ongoing process to permit the Polymet to mine copper in Babbitt with a processing center in Hoyt Lakes, I am reposting my article first published in November, 2012:

A view of Northern Minnesota as the battle rages for copper, sulfide mining near the Boundary Waters Wilderness Area.


May 11, 2016

Pondering a picture of an Alberta lake …

Glacier Lake in Alberta

glacial lake in Alberta


I took this picture in the 1970’s of water in the mountains of Alberta. Since that time there have been changes but not to my memories.  How many memories would fill a mountain stream in West Virginia that is now being destroyed by mountain top removal?  How many memories do we, as a species, have of the waters that ran clear and cool before mining, drilling and fracking for fossil fuels?

I  remember the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness before the fires, and before the drills from companies seeking copper, gold and other “precious” metals took its toll.  I remember the stands of thousand year-old cedars in the west as I drove into Seattle to see waves crashing on the shore of the Washington coast … before the Fukushima disaster, before garbage islands and the Exxon oil spill … before so many bad decisions.  The cedars along the highway have been lumbered.  The oceans, and the species that depend on it’s health, are endangered … including mankind.

As I watch the destruction of trees, water, the air and the land  … all to greed and short term profit, I wonder if man will learn before it’s too late, too late for our species and the species doomed by our shortsightedness.  As the Minnesota “Department of Natural Resources'” approval of Polymet’s Final Environmental Impact Study for the NorthMet Project opened the way for the permitting process, we wait … wait to see what matters most.  Water or money?



October 25, 2015

As we approach a decision on the Polymet Copper Mine …

Mn lake and loon

As Governor Dayton proposes funding for a study to determine Polymet’s finances at the present moment, I wonder how possible it would be to determine those finances into the distant future? Are there any reassurances possible that will predict this corporation’s ability or willingness to clean up the inevitable long term effects of copper mining pollution, into perpetuity? Shouldn’t we consider the already abundant information that promises otherwise?

Grateful that the Governor will be exploring other mines in other areas, I wonder,  is there any other area quite like that proposed in St Louis County on the borders of the Boundary Waters Wilderness Area?  Pollution from mining ore has already done harm in this ecologically fragile area, at the heart and head of three great rivers, and Lake Superior, along Giants Ridge and the Laurentian Divide, in the Arrowhead region of Minnesota.

Will we learn from our own experience and say no to any further degradation of an area so rich in natural beauty and a most essential commodity, water?

You will find several articles linked below concerning this area and the proposed copper mine::

December 30, 2014

Wilderness Tourism versus Mining in the Arrowhead

Bear Head Lake, MN

Bear Head Lake, MN

One of the most beautiful wild areas in the world, with some of the last remaining original wolves … the source of three of the greatest river systems in North America.  This is a portion of the treasure that Minnesota holds in its boundaries.

What will remain if we choose mining over this?


December 10, 2012

A Case for writ of CERTIORARI in the case of Canis Lupus

If the wolf has grown to such a large “nuisance” population in Minnesota that it must be managed, then why does it take 6000 hunters to bag 400 pelts?
The fact is that the grey wolf’s preferred prey in this state is deer, not man, his stock, or his pets – taking only a fraction of the deer that Minnesota hunters kill each year. As a benefit, wolves contribute to healthier deer populations by taking the weaker animals, while the same cannot be said of man. Ordinarily shy as well, wolves are also territorial and so it is man’s encroachment that causes conflict.
It is crucial for our species to take a broader view concerning the wolf and see how its demise hurts us all. Do we truly believe that these takings are wise in the long term? How is it possible that we have failed to use rational thought to this extent, and allowed this killing to proceed without the necessary studies and, above all, caution? Do we honestly believe, as it would seem, that our species is the only one that has any relevance; and failed to see that access to wild land, clean air and water by other creatures, as well as man, determines a healthier life for all? The wolf’s survival and its access to wilderness, in essence, protects this resource for all.
For thousands of years Native Americans have understood that no one “owned” the land. They were stewards in the most profound sense and, like the wolf, respected nature’s cycles and maintained a balance with nature and its creatures. We could learn from their teachings, their respect and understanding of the inter-connectedness of man’s well-being with that of the wolf as well.
Is one “gullible” to protest when the wolf, without being a problem truly, is murdered, slaughtered, tortured through trapping, or hunted as vermin and for trophies? Since when did the DNR stop protecting our resources to preserve the rights of the few for this taking? The case against this hunt of our native populations of wolves should be taken up and defended for good reason.
Truth be told, the timber wolf of Minnesota is a treasure. It’s delisting off ESL and this hunt should be protested along with other hunts across the country. Canis lupus stands at a fraction of its original numbers worldwide. Fact. Minnesota has a diverse original wild gene pool that is priceless for future propagation. Fact. The size of that population is crucial. Fact. The DNR did not do the proper due diligence to determine its current numbers before allowing the 2012 hunt. Fact.
The wolf is important and beautiful because it is wild, and a prime indicator species that contributes to the health of this environment. Its populations notoriously disappear with the loss of wilderness. Through fear and historical competition with wolves for food, man had developed and has maintained an adversarial relationship. Times and conditions have changed. Shouldn’t we?
The wolf is a sentinel, a guardian of the wild, these diminishing wellsprings of life as crucial to our survival as that of the wolf. As the wolf goes, so goes the wilderness; and to understand why civilization cannot afford this, one need only review the long history of what has gone before – the facts.

Anita Suzanne Tillemans
December 4, 2012

October 26, 2012

Brother Against Brother

Thoughts on the upcoming Minnesota wolf hunt November 2012

How would we treat this planet if we saw wolf as our “brother” and earth as our “mother” ? 

Sigurd F Olson believed that the wolf was an impressive influence in the wilderness and that its removal could change a situation that has been in the making for centuries.   He saw how integrated its well-being was with the well-being of all creatures, and understood that artificial management of the wolf would change the character of the wilderness.defender of the wilderness, advocate of the BWCA and Superior-Quetico

Chief Seattle believed, like Olson, that all things are connected.  He understood, like John Donne, not to ask “for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee”… for all of us.  Whatever happens to one essentially happens to all.  How can we continue to contaminate our water, our air, murder our brothers and sisters, destroy the wild places and animals under the guise of “management”, without suffering the consequences of this disrespect?

The North American Indian understood this and respected the earth as “mother”, the wolf as “brother” ….  As we propose to slaughter this creature starting in the upcoming Minnesota deer hunting season with 6000 hunting and trapping licenses for 400 pelts, how could the purpose be any clearer?   We have made the wilderness our battleground – for what?  The wolf will be gone or “managed” into a tame shadow of its true self.  Our wilderness areas will be turned into amusement parks, game farms, and vacation areas for the wealthy or sold to corporate greed for timber and precious metals.  Our children will never know the true wealth and beauty of life-affirming and pristine wilderness.  We will have arrived at the “end of living and the beginning of survival” as Chief Seattle so wisely predicted some 157 years ago.wolf_portrait_drawing

As a friend once asked, “what has become of us when we can’t tell the difference between a national park and a battlefield?”  Battlefields, historic buildings, and monuments to men’s wars are now included as National Parks alongside our park lands.  How can this be reconciled with the original intent of the National Park System to preserve the masterpieces of creation for all time and all people?

If you would like to speak up against the wolf hunt scheduled to begin this November, 2012 in Minnesota, please contact your representatives, the DNR and check out the links below.  Through your understanding and support perhaps we can move in a more rational direction and stop the taking of another priceless treasure, pitting brother against brother.

Anita Suzanne Tillemans

October 26, 2012

Office of the DNR Commissioner, 500 Lafayette Rd, St Paul, MN 55115    651-296-6157

Office of the Governor, 130 State Capitol, 75  Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, St Paul, MN 55155   651-201-3400, 1-800-657-3717, Minnesota Relay:800-627-3529Fax: 651-797-1850