I want to talk about the best fishing habitat I have ever had the pleasure to enjoy, and that is the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, 1.1 million acres of beautiful, pristine wilderness that borders the Superior National Forest and Canada.

It is the most visited wilderness area in America, with more than 250,000 visitors each year from around the world.

The area is under assault from a Chilean mining company that wants to begin sulfide-ore mining for copper in the Superior National Forest at the edge of the Boundary Waters, threatening to pollute the eco-system with heavy metals like arsenic and lead that are by-products of this type of mining.

The Environmental Protection Agency has stated that this type of mining is the most toxic mining in the world, and wherever it has occurred it has been a major polluter of the environment – every place!

The last four U.S. Presidents have seen the problem and the danger to the Boundary Waters and have chosen to deny any mining leases in the area, but last year the current administration reopened the leases.

Many organizations have come together to fight this, and so far they have been successful in courts at delaying any permits or leases from going forward.

These groups have raised more than $500,000 to fight this legal battle and save the Boundary Waters.

Last week we received the first real good news about this issue. Congresswoman Mary McCollum of St. Paul, Minn., introduced in Congress a bi-partisan bill, H.B. 5598, that would permanently protect this wilderness area from any type of mining.

We can only hope that it will pass through Congress and the Senate. I am happy to say that our Congresswoman, Jan Schakowsky, and our two Senators, Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, are all in full support of this effort.

This has to be stopped or we will lose the complete eco-system we know as the Boundary Waters: The fish, the birds, the trees, everything will be lost.

Thanks for listening to me rant about this very special place, but it is that important to the environment. Until next time…keep a tight line.

Dick

hookedonfishing@comast.net