Today: Alex Falconer, who is supporting the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness with his mouth — and his feet. Opposing efforts to open copper mining on land adjacent to the BWCA, Falconer is using his trail running acumen as an “advocacy tool,” he said, inspired by ultra runner Clare Gallagher of Colorado and her devotion to climate justice. Falconer’s project has three phases. He ran the Border Route Trail (65 miles) along the BWCA’s eastern lakes last summer, and just completed the Kekekabic Trail (41 miles) on Oct. 12. In the process, he established the unsupported “fastest known time” in 11 hours, 53 minutes and 46 seconds. He plans to run both trails consecutively in 2020. In the meantime, he’s collected more than 400 petition signatures online, and the goodwill of people he’s encountered in his trail races. Falconer is government affairs director for Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters.
With the time-intensive job, kids and regular trips to the BWCA, I really don’t have much time to read actual books. Before the fall Superior 100-Mile race, I was able to get in Kevin Langton’s “Superior.” It’s a great book. I learned a lot about the various segments of the Superior Hiking Trail, experiences on it, and specific challenges ahead of time. The Boundary Waters Journal’s quarterly magazine is a favorite, with perspectives of regular travelers and their accounts of trips and gear. A constant lately during bedtime with the kiddos is the “Lord of the Rings” books. I read them as a kid and appreciate them even more now. There’s a strong undercurrent of environmental issues particularly with regard to reckless industrial development. And it’s just a great epic story!
Gallagher is an elite trail ultra runner and has been an inspiration for my own Running for the Boundary Waters project. Trail runners as a community are becoming more vocal about protecting the environment and fighting climate change and to protect imperiled landscapes. We all have the same goal with regard to our running passion: preserving expansive lands to run across. In June, she won the 100-mile Western States Endurance Run in 17 hours, 23 minutes and immediately used her win to advocate for the Arctic. I finished my first 100-miler — the Superior 100 — this fall and could barely muster a “yea, I’m done!”
Well, “Game of Thrones” is over (controversial take — I liked the ending), so I don’t watch much anything any longer. If I have a moment to relax it is probably because at that moment I’m in the BWCA. There’s nothing better to do than watch loons swimming by, watch my kids explore the wilderness, and experience the thrill of wild places through their eyes.
I’m a political junkie, so a lot of my listening time is dedicated to political podcasts. My position at Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters feeds the interest.
I’m either running or spending time with my family. In summer and fall, we did two trips to the BWCA for my runs on the Border Route and Kekekabic trails. We were on the North Shore for the Superior spring 50-kilometer and the fall Superior 100-miler. Additional recent trips have been to Arches, Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks and Valencia, Calif., in the Angeles National Forest for trail runs. It’s fun to travel and see America’s public lands as a family and for my own pursuits, experiencing them on foot for miles and miles.