Priority Landscape: Boundary Waters

Saturday, June 6, 2:15PM MDT

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the surrounding watershed is a critically important landscape – not only to hunters and anglers and local communities but to North America as a whole, including our strong and growing outdoor recreation-based economy. The development of a copper-nickel mine within the wilderness area watershed poses an unprecedented threat to the region. Hear from diverse Boundary Waters voices – Spencer Shaver with Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters, Steve Piragis of Piragis Northwoods Company, and Mark Kenyon of MeatEater – about the wild stories of their experiences in America’s No. 1 most visited wilderness.

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From the hills of central Massachusetts Steve Piragis found nature at an early age. His dad took him out fishing the brooks around the Quabbin Reservoir as a kid and on summer vacation on the ocean off the Cape for stripers and blues. He took up birding in junior high because of a most amazing science teacher. All this lead to a degree in zoology and a job in Ely, Minnesota, doing zooplankton research for the EPA in 1975. Life seemed ideal in this small town at the end of the road at the edge of true wilderness. The Boundary Waters became his family's source of income and spiritual renewal. Since 1979 Steve and Nancy, and now their daughter Elli, have dedicated their lives to build an outfitter and retailer to the paddlers and wilderness advocates for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. It's been a good life. (Check out Hal Herring's interview with Steve on BHA's Podcast & Blast.)     

Spencer Shaver, a 6th generation Minnesotan, lifelong hunter and angler, has guided canoe trips in the BWCA since 2014. A graduate of the University of Minnesota’s environmental science, policy and management program, Spencer also led trips for the University’s Center for Outdoor Adventure. Spencer works with hunters and anglers across the country to permanently protect the Boundary Waters from proposed copper mining upstream.

Mark Kenyon, the author of That Wild Country: An Epic Journey through the Past, Present, and Future of America's Public Lands, is a lifelong outdoorsman, a nationally published outdoor writer, and one of the hunting and fishing community’s most prominent voices through his podcast, Wired to Hunt. He has appeared on the Netflix Original Series, MeatEater, and been featured in USA TodayThe HillOutdoor LifeOutside, and more. He is a contributor to MeatEater, Inc., an outdoor lifestyle company founded with the belief that a deeper understanding of the natural world enriches all of our lives. (Listen to Hal talk public lands and hunting with Mark on BHA's Podcast & Blast.)