Minnesota has no greater assets than its public lands and waters. Wildlife management areas. Scientific and natural areas. Aquatic management areas. State parks. National parks. National Wild and Scenic Rivers. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
Amid the glad-handing and backroom deals that are routine in St. Paul when legislators gather, scores of regular people trudged through snow Thursday to advocate in the Capitol rotunda for what was theirs — and everyone’s: public lands and waters.
Organized by the conservation group Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, with help from Save the Boundary Waters, Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever and the Izaak Walton League, among others, the rally attracted the fairly young, like Christopher Loch of Minneapolis, who has traveled the BWCA for 12 years. “I’m kicking myself for not starting earlier,’’ he said. Also present was Bob Tammen, 76, of Soudan in northeast Minnesota. “I spent a lot of my life working in mining,’’ he said. “But the most important thing we have is water.’’
The event’s show-and-tell also included visits by public-land owners with 32 legislators. The point was to remind lawmakers, implicitly if not explicitly, that taking or diminishing what belongs to everyone is very risky business, politically.