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Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness (NMW) is a locally-based national organization with strong ties to the wild public lands of northern Minnesota and Canada. We advocate for the life-sustaining values of wilderness. We are inspired by the beauty, resilience, and priceless ecological and social values that wilderness provides, and we take action to defend our most exceptional wild places, especially the world-class Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW or Boundary Waters) of Northeastern Minnesota.

NMW’s central effort is the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters.

The Campaign is a national coalition we founded with the goal of protecting the Boundary Waters and downstream areas of Canada’s Quetico Provincial Park and Minnesota’s Voyageurs National Park from proposed sulfide-ore copper mining on the Wilderness edge – immediately upstream from the interconnected and pristine waters of the BWCAW, Quetico, and Voyageurs. 


Visit the Save the Boundary Waters website and get involved.

America’s most popular Wilderness is at risk and needs your support today!

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Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness (NMW) was founded in 1996 to continue a vital local tradition:

Working to protect our wild places against ever increasing public and commercial pressures so that the area’s wild character will remain intact for future generations. Founding members defined our role in the NMW Stewardship Guide. 


Today, NMW is a locally-based national wilderness and public lands advocacy group still grounded in our original roots and beliefs. We bring together diverse communities around the region, throughout Minnesota, and across the country as a unified force to protect the Boundary Waters and other wild places.


NMW has thousands of members and supporters. Join Us!



​Our mission statement

  • To protect and preserve wilderness and wild places.

  • To advocate for the protection of the BWCAW and the enhancement of its wilderness character.

  • To foster education about the value of wilderness and wild places.

  • To ensure the Wilderness and pursuit of its protection is welcoming and accessible to all.




The guiding principles of NMW are founded on the Wilderness Act of 1964 (WA), which was enacted “to secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness” (WA, Sec.2.a). It named the BWCAW as one of the original units of our Wilderness Preservation System when the Act became law. 


The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Act of 1978 expanded protection of the area as a natural forest-lakeland wilderness ecosystem of major esthetic, cultural, scientific, recreational and educational value to the Nation, and removed uses incompatible with Wilderness.


There will always be challenges to the protections for the Boundary Waters established by numerous federal laws. NMW and our coalition partners are the first line of defense against these threats by building a national movement in support of the Boundary Waters – and taking action to defeat harmful legislation and development when it arises.


NMW has formally adopted the following Policy Goals:


  1. Permanent protection of the BWCAW and its watersheds.

  2. Public policy that supports Wilderness and public lands protection nationwide.

  3. Better public understanding of the benefits and values of Wilderness and wild places for our communities and all life on earth.

  4. Stewardship and management of the BWCAW by the Forest Service, and other agencies and cooperators, consistent with the Wilderness Act of 1964 and Boundary Waters Act of 1978, and policy and guidelines created to implement those acts.