The following is an Op-Ed published May 1, 2014 in the Duluth News Tribune.
As winter ever so slowly turns to spring here in Minnesota, outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen turn their thoughts toward hunting turkeys and morel mushrooms, trout angling and walleye fishing — and the clean waters that define our state, making most of these outdoor pursuits and enduring traditions possible.
Water is nearly synonymous with Minnesota. The state claims 10,000 — some even say 14,000 — lakes. The mighty Mississippi starts here. The Great Lakes begin in northern Minnesota. And the St. Croix River was one of the first major waterways to receive federal protection as a National Wild and Scenic River. All in all, the state has 90,000 miles of shoreline; that’s more than California, Hawaii and Florida combined.
However, many of Minnesota’s waterways were put at risk thanks to two politically charged Supreme Court cases in 2001 and 2006 that threw out 30 years of legal logic and stability. The court took away Clean Water Act protections for intermittent streams.
Minnesota BHA Friends,
The second annual Minnesota Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Rendezvous is scheduled for August 15–17, 2014. We’ll be setting up camp at a Group campsite in Whitewater State Park west of Rochester. See the maps/links below for additional information: www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/whitewater
[Directions: The park is located 3 miles south of Elba on State Highway 74]
Whitewater State Park is adjacent to 21,050-acre Whitewater Wildlife Management Area.
We’ll be in group campsite GC2, and the event will begin as folks drift in Friday afternoon and evening, with an extended social hour and, weather permitting, a group campfire. If anyone is willing/able to haul in a load of community firewood, the contribution will be greatly appreciated.
Overall, this will be another relaxed, mostly unstructured “get acquainted” weekend, with a Saturday afternoon get-together and general membership meeting (starting at 4:00 p.m.) where we can exchange ideas, congrats, frustrations, etc.
Our meeting will be followed by a group wild game cookout, with BHA supplying the sides, chips/dip, etc. Let MN BHA co-chair Erik Jensen know if you can bring/contribute some wild game. We’ll also pick up plates/utensils, but feel free to bring/supply your own.
Please e-mail or call if you think you will probably come so we know how many to plan for, or if you have any questions. We look forward to seeing you in camp!
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers
The Sportsman's Voice for Our Wild Public Lands, Waters and Wildlife
-Report/photos from the first annual MN BHA Rendezvous (Sept. 2013):
The following op-ed by MN BHA Board Member, David Lien was originally published in the Duluth News Tribune, February 1, 2014.
PolyMet is one of several companies considering mining operations in Northeastern Minnesota to extract sulfide metals from the so-calledDuluth Complex of rock. During a recent public meeting in Duluth on the NorthMet/PolyMet Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement, an estimated 1,300 people packed the room.
Although pro-sulfide-mining interests reportedly sent seven busloads of sulfide-mining supporters, apparently to make a show of force, about two-thirds of the testimony was from mine opponents. Hunters and anglers are particularly concerned about the impacts of sulfide mining. “I’m an outdoorsman, and I’m concerned about water quality,” said Jim Juntti of Barnum, according to the News Tribune’s coverage. “I asked them what the plan is if something happens and that (tailings basin) opens up and things go bad … They didn’t really have an answer for me.”
That’s because sulfide-mining companies are bending over to gloss over (or to cover up) the fact that the generation of acid mine drainage will continue as long as sulfides, water and air mix. No new technologies have emerged that can stop the chemical reaction once it begins.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers seeks to ensure North America's outdoor heritage of hunting and fishing in a natural setting, through education and work on behalf of wild public lands and waters.