Protecting Special Places is Important for Local Businesses
Today’s guest blog about the #6 Boundary Waters- a part of our America’s Most Endangered Rivers® series- is from Jane and Steve Koschak, owners of River Point Resort & Outfitting Co. in Ely, Minnesota. They discuss the impact that mining would have on their local business.
River Point Resort & Outfitting Company, located on the South Kawishiwi River and Birch Lake (adjacent to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness), has been in the Koschak family since 1944. The resort has always been a place to reconnect with nature, family, and friends in the heart of the Superior National Forest’s multi-use recreational lakes district.
Visitors from the United States and throughout the world come to our resort to vacation and recreate, to view wildlife and the natural world, to fish, and to enjoy the peacefulness and serenity of nearby rivers, lakes, and one of the three crown jewels of Minnesota— the Boundary Waters— which is the most popular wilderness area in the U.S.
The resort lies across the river from the Twin Metals sulfide metal mining exploration area, which caused the Boundary Waters to be declared one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers® of 2013. Visitors do not come here to listen to the drone of drills and heavy equipment going on across the lake in an area considered “ground zero” for sulfide mining exploration. The area surrounding the Boundary Waters provides key habitat for wolves, moose, and lynx, and as such should not become trampled by exploration for metallic minerals and the possibility of a full-scale sulfide metal mining district.
One would ask— where is the common sense in allowing sulfide metal mining in this area, which is so blessed with a healthy and beautiful forest, abundant wildlife, clean water, and clean air?
If mining commences, water pollution would threaten our businesses, including the dozens of resorts and canoe outfitters downstream from River Point, all the way to Voyageurs National Park and on to the Lake of the Woods. This 300 mile-long water rich recreational area from the South Kawishiwi River to the Manitoba border makes our region an eco-tourism treasure that must be preserved and protected from the toxic and destructive dangers of metallic sulfide mining. This is one of the world’s most special places, and as such, sulfide metal mining is totally incompatible with it.
Mining of precious metals should not trump the value of our precious and irreplaceable clean water and the South Kawishiwi River’s majestic beauty and legacy for the generations to follow.