Ely, Minnesota (July 15, 2015) – Educators and explorers Dave and Amy Freeman will kick off A Year in the Wilderness this September, continuing their efforts to gain permanent protection for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. For this expedition, the Freemans will spend a full year in the Boundary Waters. Last year, for the pair’s Paddle to DC journey, they paddled and sailed 101 days and 2,000 miles from Ely, Minnesota, to Washington, DC, to help protect the Boundary Waters.
"We are wilderness guides and educators and this is our way of working to help keep this wilderness wild," said Amy Freeman. "We care deeply about this place and we will do everything within our power to ensure that it remains intact for the next generation."
Their new expedition will continue their efforts to permanently protect the Boundary Waters from the proposed sulfide-ore copper mines on the edge of the Wilderness and support the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters. "We made a commitment to protecting the Boundary Waters when we took on the Paddle to DC, but we know we still have a lot of work to do to protect the Boundary Waters watershed from sulfide-ore copper mining and we want to do what we can to finish the job," said Amy Freeman.
"On September 23, 2015, Dave and I will launch our canoe in the Kawishiwi River and paddle into the Boundary Waters and become immersed in the Wilderness for a full year," said Freeman "We will camp at approximately 120 different sites during this Year in the Wilderness and travel more than 3,000 miles by canoe, foot, ski, snowshoe and dog team. This trip is about bearing witness to the very land and water we are fighting to protect."
Dave and Amy Freeman have traveled more than 30,000 miles by kayak, canoe and dogsled through some of the world’s wildest places, from the Amazon to the Arctic. They are 2014 National Geographic Adventurers of the Year.
The Freemans also run the Wilderness Classroom Organization, an educational nonprofit geared towards inspiring kids to get outside and explore their world. Wilderness Classroom’s current reach is 100,000 elementary and middle school students, and 3,200 teachers around the world.
Throughout A Year in the Wilderness, the Freemans will invite others on resupply missions that will allow them to personally witness the beauty of the Boundary Waters and what’s at risk from the proposed sulfide-ore copper mining.
Dates and locations for A Year in the Wilderness kick-off events, resupply missions and other information will be announced closer to the launch of A Year in the Wilderness.
More info: savetheboundarywaters.org/WildernessYear
Bryan Hansel from paddlinglight.com has highlighted what should be a wake-up call to the entire outdoor industry.
The results from a long-term survey were recenrtly released by the US Forest Reserve. The survey (which was completed back in 1969, 1991 and finally in 2007) has been looking into who the users of the Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe Area (BWCAW) are.
The survey result paints an interesting picture into the health of canoe tripping in the BWCAW and I feel could also be anecdotally applied to other major canoeing areas across North America as well.
…we found out that the average user age in 1969 was 26 and in 2007 it was 45. We also found out that first time visitors have dropped from 30% of visitors to 6%. This means that fewer people are being introduced to the BWCAW. I’d guess that also means that the age of the average visitor will continue to rise and current users grow older. As a point of reference, the average age in Minnesota is 36. The study suggests that one way to explain this is: “While it is important to recognize that younger individuals and first time overnight visitors continue to use the BWCAW, trend data suggest that a strong and substantial cohort of aging, repeat visitors to the BWCAW exists.”
One interesting observation from the study is “Just less than half of the visitors in 1969 had visited other wildernesses besides the BWCAW at that time, but this rose to 57% by 1991 and 75% by 2007.” To me that seems to suggest that once people experience how magical wilderness areas are, they want to visit more of them.
What does this mean for the outdoor industry and outdoor camping? It means that current participants are getting older and we are not introducing young people to the outdoors as our parents did to us. If something isn’t done soon I feel an entire generation will miss out.
Flickr Photo Credit: Big Sag - http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/deed.en_CA / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
If you are looking out your window to a frozen wasteland of car slush I have got a real treat to keep the dreams of summer canoe or kayak trips going a bit longer.
Alex Horner recently released this two part short film highlighting the magic and beauty of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, located in Minnesota.
Shot over a weekend canoe trip back on the 24th of September, 2010 it has everything I would expect from a canoe trip. Good scenery, cracking fire and misty mornings.
I'm ready to shut down everything right now and head-out except for the fact that up north everything is covered with snow and ice.
Until then keep pressing play below.
Recently, Confluence Water Sports announced Andy Knapp as the Paddle Sports Person of the Year. Andy is a 30 year veteran to the paddle sports industry as a buyer for Midwest Mountaineering, and has one of the most impressive adventure resumes around. He has logged over 155,000 miles of human-powered travel in over 45 years of outdoor adventures including a bicycle trip to Alaska and back in 1967, climbing Denali. Paddling credentials include a 1136-mile circumnavigation of Lake Superior in 30 days, the first without re-supply, a North-South crossing of Lake Superior, and countless paddling trips to the Boundary Waters.