About Us

Who We Are  

"To conserve, maintain, protect and restore the soil, forest, water and other natural resources of the United States and other lands; to promote means and opportunities for the education of the public with respect to such resources and their enjoyment and wholesome utilization."
IWLA Mission Statement

A Different Kind of Environmental Group

The Izaak Walton League of America, frequently known as the "Ikes," is one of America's oldest conservation organizations. Founded in Chicago in 1922 by a group of anglers to form a plan of action to combat water pollution, the group takes its name from the 17th century author of the classic work, The Compleat Angler.

As you might guess from the story of our founding, the roots of the IWLA are deep in our outdoor heritage, having been founded by hunters and anglers. But we are not a "sportsmen's" group in the traditional sense. The difference is that although we work in areas as diverse as sustainable growth, public lands protection, wildlife issues, air and water pollution, and renewable energy, the IWLA, unlike some other environmental organizations, supports hunting and fishing. The simple point is this: if you're a hunter/angler that is concerned about broad environmental issues, yet have felt other groups frowned upon your lifestyle, we'd welcome you in the Ikes.

But make no mistake about it, we are first and foremost a broad based, broad interest environmental organization. To see just how broad our interests are, you need only visit our national headquarters' website. Many of our members don't hunt or fish, and that's fine too. For all Ikes share something else -- IWLA members are bound together with a love for nature. We share the knowledge that we must be good stewards now, or we'll not be able to pass on to the next generation the natural riches that were bestowed upon us. Our history proves that point.

We don't focus on a single species of animal, bird or fish. The IWLA looks at the bigger picture, striving to protect the systems in which all creatures live. Long before the terms "biodiversity" and "ecosystem management" became common, the Ikes were fighting to protect whole watersheds, bioregions, air and water quality, and wildlife habitat. We're leaders in sustainability and environmental education, and are committed to working toward solid, workable solutions for protecting and enjoying our natural resources and the communities in which people live.

In addition to many active chapters in larger cities, the League has chapters in small and medium sized towns. Just as welcoming hunters and anglers helps to broaden our outlook, so do our numerous rural chapters provide important perspectives that are very beneficial in the increasingly complex debates on natural resource issues. Our diversity is a great asset.

Another great strength is that we are truly a grassroots organization. Unlike some conservation organizations where policy decisions are made from far away and then announced to members, the League’s structure is democratic. Each chapter, like this one in Duluth, creates policy. If we believe it is important enough to share with other Ikes, we pass it as a resolution, which is then voted on at our State Convention, a gathering of all chapter officers and representatives. Passed there, it becomes policy for the state, and can then be voted on at the National Convention. The policies that guide this organization were written by men and women like us, not by policy-wonks inside the beltway, or by those who’ve never set foot in the woods. That’s why the League is looked to for good, common sense, and forward looking solutions.

If you’d like to make a difference, the IWLA is the group to join. Your thoughts can truly be implemented into action at local, state and national levels, and our efforts do indeed make a difference. There would be no Boundary Waters without the Minnesota Ikes. Voyageurs National Park may not have happened. Several National Wildlife Refuges would not be here in Minnesota, and government’s wildlife, forestry, and fisheries policies have all benefited from our input. To learn more about our accomplishments in our state, read THIS.

Please consider joining us! To learn more about our chapter, its officers and how to join, click HERE.