A couple weeks ago Steve Piragis of Piragis Northwoods Company was on the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers podcast talking about hunting and fishing the Boundary Waters and efforts to prevent a copper-nickel sulfide mine from being sited just outside the wilderness. It’s an excellent talk that touches on a wide range of topics and is well worth a listen.
One of the things that I like best about this conversation is the way it touches on the overlap between traditional outdoor sporting pursuits like hunting and fishing, and the rest of the modern outdoor specialty industry. It seems like much of the outdoor industry in the US is on the left of the political spectrum, while much of the hunting and angling community falls on the right. This despite the fact that everyone who recreates in the outdoors needs access to public lands and benefits from clean air and water, healthy wildlife populations and intact ecosystems. We all need to come together on these issues so that we can preserve the unique gift that public lands grants to all Americans.
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers does an outstanding job of bridging the divide between the hunting and fishing community and specialty outdoors. The organization is focused on preserving access to public lands for outdoor recreation and represents a diverse range of outdoor enthusiasts. At a recent BHA pint night I saw folks wearing everything from Patagonia trucker hats to Vortex Optics T shirts emblazoned with the American flag–all enjoying a beer together and talking about backcountry adventures. BHA brings together the fly fishing “greenies” and “cast-and-blast” backcountry hunters into a coalition of like minded people who are concerned about wildlife, access and the environment. BHA is an organization that every outdoor enthusiast should be a part of.
Piragis is active with Friends of the Boundary Waters, an organization that is working to permanently block sulfide mining in the Boundary Waters watershed. Sulfide mining has a known history of surface water pollution and the potential for sulfuric acid runoff into the BWCA Wilderness from such a mine is very real. Anyone who is concerned about clean water, good fishing and preserving the Boundary Waters wilderness experience for future generations should be deeply concerned about this proposed mine.
We need more conversations like the one in this podcast. We all have something to gain by preserving our unique American heritage of public lands, wildlife and wilderness adventure. I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did.
Here’s a link to the podcast on the BHA website:
As a note–I had a heck of a time trying to embed the podcast player on this page and had to upload the podcast to my site in order to offer a player that would function on this page. I would have preferred to embed the player directly and will revise the post in the future if I’m able to do so.
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