Last winter, former legislator Frank Moe drew a great deal of attention when he loaded up his dog sled team in his hometown of Grand Marais, and headed 362 miles south for the State Capitol. Along the way, he gathered nearly 13,000 petitions from Minnesotans who were similarly concerned about mining projects that had been proposed for ecologically sensitive areas in Northern Minnesota. And when he arrived at the capitol, he spoke to a crowd of supporters, and then marched into the Governor’s office where he waited until he was finally allowed to personally deliver the petitions to Governor Dayton.
“Sled Dogs To Saint Paul: The Race For Clean Water” is a documentary that was created about his trip. From when he started out in deep snow near his home in Grand Marais through all sorts of weather and trail conditions and right through to his arrival in the governors office, the movie gives a unique perspective to the lengths Frank was willing to go to ensure that the voices of the people he encountered along the way were heard. In addition to the trip footage, the movie interweaves a narrative about sulfide mining and what impact it could potentially have on Northern Minnesota. The crew interviews local property and business owners, legislators, tribal leaders and community activists who would be negatively impacted by the proposed projects.
Moe has been a tireless advocate for the north woods because since retiring from politics, the lakes and streams and woods of Northern Minnesota have become his new office. He guides canoe, kayak and hiking trips in the spring, summer and fall, and then in the winter, he guides sled dog expeditions. He has researched the mining industry and its track record, and he sees their proposed projects as major threats to the way of life he and many Northern Minnesotans currently take for granted. This isn’t just a political cause for Frank. This is about huge multi-national corporations swooping in, pillaging the land, and endangering his livelihood.
The movie will be premiering tonight in Grand Marais at the Betsy Bowen’s What’s Upstairs? Theater at 6:30 and 8:00. Then show Thursday the 15th at Duluth’s Red Star Lounge in the Fitger’s Complex. Finally the documentary will appear in the Twin Cities at 6 p.m. on November 17 in the Cowles Auditorium in the University of Minnesota Humphrey Center. The showing is scheduled as part of the Midwest Mountaineering Outdoor Adventure Expo that runs all that weekend. More information about the documentary and showings is available at www.sleddogstosaintpaul.com.