Showing posts with label Boundary Waters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Boundary Waters. Show all posts

Couple Completes a Year of Living in the Wilderness

Remember Dave and Amy Freeman? They're the couple that not only were named Nat Geo Adventurers of the Year back in 2014 for their 11,000 mile (17,700 km) journey across North America, but last year they embarked on a 12-month odyssey that saw them living in the wilderness in an attempt to raise awareness of threats to the environment in Voyageurs National Park. I even wrote about the start of that adventure last September. Now, a year later, they have emerged from the wilderness at last, bringing an end to this stage of their project.

Last Friday, September 23, Dave and Amy paddled their canoe up the Kawisihiwi River in Minnesota, finishing their epic 12-month journey near a sulfide-ore copper mining operation, which is exactly the threat they've been battling. Those mines have the potential to spoil the natural environment of the Minnesota Boundary Waters, something they've shared a great deal of information about on their Save the Boundary Waters website.

During their year in the wilderness the Freemans travelled more than 2000 miles (3218 km) by canoe, dogsled, on skis, snowshoes, and by foot. Over that period, they paddled more than 500 lakes and rivers, and called 120 different campsites home. Along the way they faced steamy hot days in the summer, and frigid nights in the winter, when temperatures dropped to -30ºF (-34ºC). Those extremes were to be expected of course with the changing of the seasons, but it was a challenge for them to maintain the correct gear and stay focused nonetheless.

Now, the married couple will begin reintegrating back into normal life, where they'll welcome being home for a while and enjoying the luxuries of civilization. But they weren't completely cut off during their year in the wilderness. They often made blog posts while they were exploring the Boundary Waters, and more than 300 visitors helped to keep them fully supplied or spent a few days traveling with them as well. Still, the return to the daily life will be both welcomed and challenging at the same time.

Of course, their fight against the mining companies is far from over, and the duo are urging government officials to not renew the leases for the Twin Metals company that is operating in the area that the Freemans are trying to protect. To that end, they'll head to Washington, D.C. today to talk with lawmakers, and are already planning both a book and a documentary about their experience. After a year in the wilderness, I'm sure they have some good stories to share.

Couple Begins Year of Living in the Boundary Waters

Back in July I told you about Dave and Amy Freeman's plan to spend one year living in the wilderness in an attempt to raise awareness about challenges to the environment in Voyageurs National Park in northern Minnesota. The couple are hoping to rally support to prevent sulfide mining from taking place too close to the Boundary Waters, which could have a potentially dramatic impact on the region. Today, the Freemans – who are former National Geographic Adventurers of the Year – will set off on their 365 day adventure with the hopes of saving the place they love.

Dave and Amy will be joined by a gathering of family, friends, and supporters who will join them for the start of their journey. A flotilla of canoes and kayaks are expected to escort them into the Boundary Waters following a brief discussion about their why they are embarking on this expedition. They plan to set off from Ely, Minnesota at about 2:15 PM local time.

In the weeks and months ahead, the couple will travel on foot, by canoe, and dogsled as they explore northern Minnesota's remote and rugged wilderness area. They will make regular dispatches from the field, and will share their findings about the potential impact of sulfide mining on the region. While those mines haven't opened just yet, the leases have been granted and operations are expected to begin soon. It is believed that pollution from those mines will flow directly into the boundary waters, spoiling the pristine environment that currently exists there. You can find out more about this project at SaveTheBoundaryWaters.org.

This isn't the first time Dave and Amy have embarked on a long expedition. In the past, the couple have traveled across North America under their own power, covering some 11,000 miles (17,700 km) and more recently they paddled to Washington D.C. to protest the sulfide mines as well. Spending a year living in the wilderness will simply be their latest challenge, and one that they hope will have an impact on a part of the world that means a great deal to them.

Find out more about this project in the video below.

A Year in the Wilderness - Bear Witness from Save The BWCA on Vimeo.

Adventurers to Spend a Year in the Wilderness to Stop Mining

Remember Dave and Amy Freeman? They're the couple that were named National Geographic Adventurers of the Year back in 2014 for their 11,000+ mile (17,700 km) journey across North America, during which they established the Wilderness Classroom as a way to use adventure to help educate kids. Last year they also took a paddling trip to Washington, D.C. as a way to raise awareness of the threat of sulfide mining to the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota. Those efforts did not go unnoticed, but the threat remains very real. So now the husband and wife adventure team are planning to take yet another step in their campaign to protect the area they love, but this time they'll be spending a whole year in the wilderness to draw attention to the cause.

Starting on September 23 of this year, and running until September 22 of 2016, Dave and Amy will embark on a 365-day adventure in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. During that time, they'll travel by canoe, snowshoe, and dogsled as they explore more than 500 lakes and streams that are threatened by sulfide-ore mining that is taking place on the edge of these protected lands, as well as Voyageurs National Park.

Dave and Amy hope to save the Boundary Waters by putting an end to mining operations there. Those mines sit on private lands just off the protected areas, but still threaten to have a harmful effect on the environment. This is an area that the couple knows well, and has fallen in love with, so they have made it their mission to protect it from this challenges.

The start of their year-long adventure is still two months away, but the duo is busy preparing for the challenges ahead. Once underway, you'll be able to read updates on their journey at SaveTheBoundaryWaters.org.

Veteran Polar Explorer Trekking and Paddling the Boundary Waters

Veteran polar explorer Will Steger has set out on a new adventure this week. The 70-year old who has visited the North and South Pole, traversed northern Greenland, and traveled from Russia to Ellesmere Island in Canada, all by dogsled. But this time out, he's making solo journey along the Boundary Waters between the U.S. and Canada, trekking and paddling the remote region of Minnesota's northern border as he goes.

Steger launched his latest expedition yesterday. He'll begin by pulling a canoe behind him as he skis through the northern wilderness. That canoe will serve much the same way a polar explorer's sled would in both the Arctic or Antarctic, carrying his supplies and equipment across the snow. As he travels, he'll reach sections of the Boundary Waters that have thawed for the spring, and he'll transition to using the canoe in the more traditional way, but in the early days of the trip he'll be pulling it behind him as he goes.

The 200-mile journey started on Lake Saganaga at the end of the Gunflint Trail. Steger moved into the Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario and continued out onto the border lakes of the Boundary Waters. Over the course of the next few weeks, he'll be traveling through a remote and rugged wilderness that sees few visitors at any time of the year, but will be especially empty so early in the spring. Along the way he'll find frozen waters just beginning to thaw with the arrival of warmer season ahead. As he makes his way further along the route, Steger will be forced to navigate through rising rapids, steep narrows, and a chain of interconnected rivers and lakes. He has brought enough fuel and supplies to last about four weeks, although rationing could stretch that time a bit further.

Due to an unprecedented spring thaw, Steger was forced to start his expedition a week earlier than he had anticipated. The rivers and lakes are already starting to swell with rising water, and it now appears that he could do more paddling than trekking along the way. But in the early stages of the trip he'll still be hauling the canoe-sled as he makes his way along the chosen route.

You can follow Will's progress on his official website. He is releasing daily audio dispatches from his expedition that will share the journey with listeners in a very personal way. Steger promises to give us insights into what crosses through his mind as travels, which considering his 50 years of exploration experience should prove very interesting. It should be fascinating to hear about the challenges of the journey from a man who has spent more time in remote, and very cold places, than just about anyone else on Earth.

Adventurous Couple Paddling to DC to Save Their Favorite Wilderness

Dave and Amy Freeman are quite the inspirational couple. Over the course of their adventures, they have traveled more than 30,000 miles (48,280 km) by canoe, kayak, and dogsled through some incredibly remote wilderness areas ranging from the Amazon to the Arctic. They've also covered some incredible distances on foot too. Last year, they wrapped up an 11,647-mile (18,744 km) expedition across North America, which earned them National Geographic Adventurers of the Year status. With that project behind them, you knew it was only a matter of time before the set out on their next journey, and in late August they did just that. The couple is now on another long distance journey, this time Paddling to DC to save one of their favorite outdoor wilderness area.

Dave and Amy are residents of the state of Minnesota, which is home to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. This spectacularly beautiful and remote place is truly a fantastic escape for outdoor enthusiasts looking to get back in touch with nature. Surrounded by the Superior National Forest, it is a fantastic place for a paddling expedition by kayak or canoe. It is also being threatened by sulfide mining on its borders, which could have potentially disastrous consequences for the environment there. 

To protest this mining activity, and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act – which created the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness – Dave and Amy have taken on a 100-day paddling journey from those waters, that will eventually end with their arrival in Washington, D.C. All told, they will cover approximately 2000 miles (3218 km) along the way, as they carry their important message about the dangers of sulfide mining along with them. 

So far, they have covered about 160 miles of paddling through the Boundary waters, and have now started to sail across a 200-mile section of Lake Superior. The couple are posting regular updates to their blog, and will be sharing stories from the journey at the National Geographic Adventure Blog as well. You can follow them as they paddle all the way to DC.

The video below explains a bit more about their cause.