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Couple Makes Canoe Trip from Boundary Waters to Washington DC


A couple recently completed a canoe trip from Boundary waters in Minnesota to the nation’s capitol in a mere 101 days. 

An experienced couple paddled, sailed, and portaged their way from Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) to Washington D.C. in a 101-day canoe trip.

Amy and Dave Freeman made the canoe trip in an effort to raise awareness about proposed mining in the BWCA area.

They began on Aug. 24 from Ely, Minn. and paddled 180 miles through BWCA and portaged on Lake Superior. Next, they strapped the canoe to a sailboat and sailed the next 600 miles to Lake Huron. The final leg of the canoe trip entailed over 1,300 miles of paddling through rivers and canals in Canada and eastern U.S. On Dec. 2, after 101 days, the Freemans arrived at the Potomac waterfront in Washington DC.

Their trip marks the 50th anniversary of the Federal Wilderness Act which protects the BWCA. Environmentalists, including the Freemans, are opposed to mining because it harmfully affects the BWCA.

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The Freeman’s were named on National Geographic’s list of Adventurers of the Year for 2014 for some of their epic adventures. They dogsledded and hiked 12,000 miles across America over the course of three years. Their progess was monitored by about 85,000 grade school students across the country with their Wilderness Classroom nonprofit.

Their idea for the canoe trip came when they returned to Ely and found a group who was gathering signatures on a canoe to petition the protection of BWCA. The group wanted to drive the canoe to the capitol, the Freemans suggested they ride the canoe to D.C. instead.

Along the way, the Freemans held multiple events attended by thousands of people to raise awareness about BWCA protection. They gave over 50 interviews along the way and gathered 10,000 signatures on their petition. Once in Washingon, they met with Forest Service chief, Thomas Tidwell, who accepted the canoe and plans to display it at the agency’s headquarters.

Next year, the Freemans will participate in a bike tour that will last six weeks spanning large parts of Minnesota. Dave Freeman told reporters the tour is being organized by the Ely-based group Save The Boundary Waters.

He’s looking forward to getting the word out, “I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. We’re going to try and hit as many of the college campuses in Minnesota as possible.”

Information on the canoe trip and more here.

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Couple Makes Canoe Trip from Boundary Waters to Washington DC