The following is a letter that was sent to Minnesota DNR Commissioner Tom Landweher on behalf of MN Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, in support of the expansion of more Hunter Walking Trails (HWT). The letter was signed by 200 Minnesota sportsmen who agree that a better balance of motorized and non-motorized hunting opportunities on state lands is needed.
Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
500 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155
Dear Commissioner Landwehr,
We write as avid hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts on behalf of the Minnesota Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA), a group formed with the goal of protecting our public lands, waters, and wildlife from threats like the ever-increasing specter of motorized overuse and abuse. We seek to maintain high-quality habitat and hunting experiences, as well as a strong code of fair chase ethics. BHA members share the values of solitude, tradition, challenge, freedom, health, and family, and want to ensure that our public lands are preserved for future generations of hunters and others.
MN Backcountry Hunters & Anglers has been working hard on a campaign to expand non-motorized hunting opportunities through the expansion of Minnesota's popular, but limited Hunter Walking Trails. This program ensures Minnesotan hunters have opportunities to hunt undisturbed public lands that offer the same sense of tradition, solitude and challenge that generations of hunters have experienced before us. Further, public lands managed for quiet, non-motorized use provide some reasonable assurance to foot hunters that their experience will not be disturbed by motorized use.
MN BHA commends the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for offering sportsmen a choice when they hunt: motorized or non-motorized. We would like to see this program expanded to provide a better balance of choice available to hunters and to ensure wildlife have the wild habitat needed to grow and thrive. MN BHA has already developed significant
by David Lien, Outdoor News, 2-3-12
As explained by Dan Bergeson of the American Long Rifle Association (Outdoor News: 3/12/10), back in the early 1980s, a group of hunters lobbied the DNR to get a special season for their primitive weapons (i.e., the old flintlock, Daniel Boone kind of weapon that had limited accuracy). However, today there are inline muzzleloaders that can out-perform modern centerfire rifles. Put a scope on them, and they are no longer primitive firearms.
During September of 1901, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt unexpectedly (but prophetically) became America’s 26th president, and during his tenure as commander-in-chief, Roosevelt personally established the first 21 forest reserves. They evolved into the present-day 192 million-acre national forest system, which includes Minnesota’s Superior National Forest (SNF).
It has been over 100 years since TR signed Presidential Proclamation No. 848, establishing the SNF and laying the foundation for protecting the few unscathed stretches of Minnesota’s north woods, and at the heart of today’s SNF is the 1.1 million-acre Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) — one of the world’s 50 greatest destinations, according to National Geographic.
Ely resident and Boundary Waters Journal editor Stuart Osthoff wrote, “There are areas with more deer and areas with more top-end deer, but I contend the BWCAW is the highest-quality public land wilderness whitetail hunting in America.”
by Darrell Spencer, Duluth News Tribune, 12-13-2011
When I visit beautiful and unique places like the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Voyageurs National Park I expect the air to be clear and healthy to breathe. These wonderful locations were set aside through the wisdom of our leaders so our children, like us, can enjoy the beauty and diversity of nature without being impaired by haze-filled skies and polluted air.
Northern Minnesota is a destination for hunters, anglers, canoeists, sightseer’s and berry pickers, from near and far. Amongst those who value the quiet, pristine backcountry hunting and angling that Northern Minnesota provides, concerns have arisen over the potential impacts that a series of sulfide mining proposals could have on this unique place.
Over the past few years, Minnesota Backcountry Hunters & Anglers has served as a vocal defender of one of Minnesota’s last wild places. Located in Northeastern Minnesota the area currently undergoing extensive mineral exploration borders the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) Southeast of Ely. There are however known mineral deposits throughout the greater arrowhead region which are currently being explored. Until recently, these deposits were considered economically irretrievable, but as global demand for metals like copper and rare earth has grown, so have the prospects for new large-scale mines in an area known for its lakes, fish and lack of development.
Minnesota BHA acknowledges that mining can be an appropriate use of public lands and that mining is an important part of the Minnesota economy. However, under current regulations, there is little assurance that the equally-important hunting and fishing economy, will remain intact if the current mining proposals continue to move forward. The Minnesota fishing industry alone supports 50,000 jobs and recreational fishing brings in $3 billion a year. In addition, the BWCA (which borders the mining proposals) draws 250,000 visitors a year from around the world, which in turn fuels a $1.6 billion tourism economy.
And if the mines do in fact impact the water and land on which our fish and wildlife depend? As of right now, tax payers would be stuck footing the bill, as they have for the other 63 mining operations designated as Superfund sites by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – costing tax payers between $20 and $54 billion in clean-up costs.
By David A. Lien - co-chairman, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Minnesota Chapter
Minnesota Daily, 11-23-2011
As a lifelong outdoorsman who grew up fishing and hunting in the backcountry of Minnesota's public lands, I've seen the cycles of nature ebb and flow. Today, I'm starting to worry that our northern Minnesota outdoors heritage might be headed for an irreversible decline — and this time the cause is human-made.
MN BHA Friends,
As stated by DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr, “the Game and Fish Fund–the fund that pays for conservation officers and a whole lot of game and fish work–is in dire condition. It is projected to go negative by as early as July 2013. This means DNR will need to make significant cuts that affect the quantity and quality of hunting, fishing and natural resource protection unless the State Legislature approves license fee increases during the 2012 session … If you have an opinion on this matter, I encourage you to express it to your local senator or representative.” For additional information, see the links below:
By: Erik Jensen, Duluth News Tribune , 10-29-2011
A recent News Tribune contributor who supports sulfide mining said, brazenly, “It is time for the dirt to fly.” This writer was referring to two foreign-owned northern Minnesota mining ventures: The largest is the open-pit NorthMet Project by PolyMet Corp. of Canada, with its partner, the Swiss metals company Glencore. The other mine is the underground Nokomis Project, a partnership of Duluth Metals of Canada, Twin Metals Minnesota LLC and Chile’s Antofagasta, the world’s largest copper producer.