Thanks to the continued partnership between the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, the National Forest Foundation, and REI, 2015 marks the most successful season of the Friends’ Superior Wilderness Volunteer Connection (SWVC) program.

Now in its eighth year, SWVC is collaborative program with the U.S. Forest Service in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) in northeastern Minnesota. The program trains and deploys volunteers to complete on-the-ground ecological restoration and facilitates maintenance projects.

As an organization whose mission is to protect, preserve and restore the BWCAW, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness sees this program as an essential way to not only maintain and improve recreation resources, but to also develop and engage the next generation of wilderness stewards and advocates.

By partnering with wilderness rangers, volunteers accomplished significant amounts of work for the accessibility and ecological health of the BWCAW. As a part of the program, volunteers work on all four Forest Service Ranger Districts in the BWCAW, covering more than 1,500 miles of wilderness.

Thanks to the generous support from the National Forest Foundation, and the dedicated work from 34 volunteers over the summer, this year the SWVC program achieved its most significant accomplishments to date. During 2015, volunteers spent 804 cumulative days in the field to:

  • Maintain more than 100 miles (35,530 rods) of portage trails and 12 miles of ski/hiking trails,
  • Dig 161 wilderness latrines,
  • Maintain 1,398 wilderness campsites,
  • Complete erosion stabilization at more than 50 sites, and
  • Engage with more than 1,000 wilderness travellers, teaching them about “Leave No Trace” principles and other valuable stewardship ethics.

After such a successful season, the Friends is excited to continue to grow the SWVC partnership and advance its work to maintain recreation resources in the BWCAW and preserve its wilderness character for generations to come.


National Forest Foundation