3 days until my run! But to catch up…
I fully admit I haven’t updated this blog as much as I had wanted. In my defense and to be fair to me (which I like to do), it’s been a crazy busy past couple months. In addition to a full house with three kids and a hobby farm of 4 chickens, 2 dogs, a cat and a toad… there’s also been all things for work related, training runs and extra work trips to DC.
The last month alone has seen some wild times. The Department of Interior officially renewed the mineral leases to Antofagasta’s Twin Metals Minnesota paving the way for Twin Metals to now submit a mine plan as the next step toward building their mine. As a short explanation leading up to this point:
1) The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management from the previous Administration canceled mineral lease renewals citing the inherent risk to the Boundary Waters after over 3 years of consideration and careful review of all available facts, science, economics, public health and public input.
2) The USFS then applied for a 20 year mineral withdrawal. In basic form, this would remove any mining activities from the watershed of the Boundary Waters for 20 years, giving Congress the time to fully consider the issue and potentially pass legislation to permanently remove mining from the watershed.
3) This application kicked off a 2 year environmental study to be used as the determining criteria for consideration of the 20 year mineral withdrawal.
4) The Trump administration came into power in 2017 and immediately began eroding away at this process.
- They first downgraded the environmental study
- Then announced their reinstatement of the leases (illegally and the Campaign is suing)
- Then even after having promised Representative McCollum in congressional testimony that he he wouldn’t, Secretary of Agriculture broke his work to Congress and the American people by abruptly canceling what was left of the environmental study
- And finally in May this year they renewed the leases.
The New York Times just yesterday published a long article outlining the corrupt nature by which the administration came to this eventual decision and how quickly they’ve been working to ram this mining process through.
In response to this renewal, tens of thousands of American’s signed petitions and made phone calls to Senators Klobuchar and Smith. We held a rally at the Minnesota State Capitol on a weekday afternoon and even so more than 400 people showed up demanding Governor Walz do what he can to stop this mine.
I’ve also been out to DC 3 times the past 2 months with various groups of people advocating for the Boundary Waters. The most recent of which was with 75 kids from across the country representing 16 different states through an associated Kids for the Boundary Waters organization. The kids had 65 meetings in the span of 2 days and were quite literally the talk of the Hill that week. Rep. McCollum recounted members coming to her on the floor of the House mentioning their meetings and Rep. Phillips called the kids the “most effective lobbying organization in DC!”
And with all that going on, I’ve still managed to maintain a somewhat viable training schedule (even getting a quick test run on the BRT to get a feel for the route and test my tech and gear), definitely had far less sleep than I should have, healed from stepping on a screw in our back yard (seriously…ouch!) and kept up with our kiddos music lessons and recitals, soccer games, 5th grade graduation, and so much more. One day we even got to relax!
It’s been a whirlwind past couple months but even so, to be completely honest, I can’t wait for this run to start. Imagining myself surrounded by a million acres of wilderness as I run through a small slice of this pristine area is calming just thinking about it. There is a specific humbling peace and sense of tranquility that comes from feeling so small in the presence of the vast wilderness and yet feeling so connected to something larger than life. I’m excited to just stand at the edge of a 500 ft rock cliff overlooking the forest canopy below surrounded by the lakes of canoe country. I won’t stand too long, I’ll have many miles to go before I sleep. But I will take a few breathers along the way and soak up the experience. I can’t wait!