Conservation Minnesota

Day 1: Grand Marais to Sawbill Canoe Outfitters

Protecting the jobs we have is priority one.

Frank Moe recaps day one of his 350-mile sled dog adventure to raise awareness about sulfide mining pollution.  Keep tabs on Frank’s progress by following Conservation Minnesota on Twitter, Facebook, or on our website.

“Lots of local supporters showed up this morning to see us off on our weeklong voyage to St. Paul. As the dogs and I headed out of town, the drum circle from the Grand Portage reservation helped ease our transition into the wilderness. While the weather today was perfect for the musher, the dogs always seem to prefer a bit more chill in the air. After stopping for a snack at the Caribou Trail crossing, we reached the hospitality of the Sawbill Canoe Outfitters right on schedule at 6 p.m. The warm meal provided by Bill Hansen was greatly appreciated.

Sawbill Outfitters is a perfect example of the sort of business we need to be protecting from the harmful effects of sulfide mining. A resort founded in the late 1950s and now onto a second generation of owners, the resort depends on the pristine waters and abundant natural resources as a draw for its patrons.

The sulfide mining that is being proposed for regions that abut the Boundary Waters is a true threat to the long-term viability of an establishment like Sawbill Outfitters. When one mines for sulfide minerals, the risk exists that the sulfides will oxidize and then the moment they contact water, sulfuric acid is formed. This acid further dissolves minerals and releases metal ions such as copper into the watershed. No mining company to date has been able to successfully prevent the sulfuric acid from leeching into the surrounding environment. Yet they all seem to be confident that more environmental oversight is unnecessary.

The reason I find myself away from home tonight for the first night of a weeklong dogsled run is because I want people like Bill Hansen to be able to continue to share the great outdoors with his guests. And I want his children to one day be able to take over a thriving business from him. We all love the lakes. And while I recognize that jobs are important, the price they are asking us to pay for these sulfide mining jobs is far too steep. The long term threat to our lands and lakes greatly overshadows the short term financial gain.”

Frank’s Dog Spotlight:

“Acorn is the smartest dog on my team, and she has literally saved my life twice. Picked out as a puppy from a litter owned by veteran Iditorod musher Matt Weik of Outing, Minnesota, Acorn is the alpha female whom I can count on to keep me out of trouble. She took the lead on our first race ever when she was just a year old.”

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