For nearly 100 years, the Izaak Walton League has fought for clean air and water, healthy fish and wildlife habitat, and conserving special places for future generations. The organization was founded in 1922 in Chicago, Illinois by a group of sportsmen who wished to protect fishing opportunities for future generations.
They named the league after seminal fishing enthusiast Izaak Walton, the 17th century author of The Compleat Angler, a classic book about the art and spirit of fishing. It was the first conservation organization with a mass membership. Today, the League plays a unique role in supporting citizens locally and shaping conservation policy nationwide.
The League led efforts for clean water legislation, achieving initial success with the passage of federal water pollution acts in 1948, 1956 and finally the Clean Water Act of 1972. The League continues to advocate for preserving wetlands, protecting wilderness, and promoting soil and water conservation. Its Save Our Streams (SOS) program involves activists in all fifty states in monitoring water quality.
The League has 40,000 members and 300 chapters in 6 regions in 25 states across the country, including 16 in Minnesota. It has a broad agenda acting as defenders of soil, air, woods, water and wildlife. The League publishes a quarterly magazine, Outdoor America, which covers the League's activities as well as the environment. The League is headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
The W. J. McCabe Chapter of the Izaak Walton League serves the Duluth area. For more information, see W. J. McCabe.
The League has a grass roots, community based, balanced approach that allows for diverse views handling complex issues respectfully. We focus on helping citizens solve conservation challenges and enjoy outdoor recreation where they live. We work for practical solutions that balance conservation with sustainable use of natural resources.
You can join us in protecting America's outdoors by becoming a member. You will help to support the important conservation and advocacy work of the League and receive additional member benefits.
Current Environmental and Conservation Issues
In the past several years, W.J. McCabe Chapter has been involved in a wide range of issues, including:
- Opposition to the proposed PolyMet and Twin Metals copper-nickel mines
- Acquisition by the federal government of the state School Trust lands within the BWCAW
- Concerns about legislative push to sell and/or maximize the economic returns for mining and timber harvest on the School Trust lands located in our state forests and state wildlife management areas
- Advocate for the Environmental Trust Fund and Legacy Amendment to ensure that they are being invested in sound projects
- Contributing to the management plan for Hartley Park and Nature Center
- Providing input on proposals for the Western Waterfront Trail, Spirit Valley Water Access, Lester Park Golf Course and Duluth Natural Area designations
- Concerns about the cleanup of the United States Steel site in the St. Louis River estuary which caps or disposes much of the polluted sediment within the river rather than on land, and general restoration of the St. Louis River estuary
- Promoting solar energy in Duluth and combating climate change
- Develop positive relationships with area legislators and advocate for conservation policies
- Lead poisoning of wildlife from lead bullets used by deer hunters and lead shot used by upland game hunters
- Sensitive natural resources along the proposed route for the Line 3 pipeline
- Sulfate and mercury pollution and impacts upon wild rice beds and fish
- On-board treatment of ballast water on great lakes ships to stop spread of invasive species
- Support for elk reintroduction in east-central Minnesota
- Moose research and habitat improvement in northeastern Minnesota
- A range of issues related to the City of Duluth's trails, city parks and preservation of green space.
Our Sustainability Committee has done much work with others in Duluth to facilitate solar gardens and help folks who want to switch to solar power and electric vehicles. They obtained a large grant of $20,000 from the Department of Energy to help do this work We also continue our efforts to hold spring and fall youth outdoor expo events to teach kids about the outdoors, ethics and safety. We hold monthly meetings to provide a variety of conservation and environmental education opportunities. We table at several non-profit events every year, attend many meetings to advocate for conservation, write letters to the editor, and keep our members informed with email blasts.
Join us today in protecting America's outdoors by becoming a member.
For more information on the Minnesota Izaak Walton League's history up to 1972, check out Hayden, Thomas Howard (2001), Citizen leadership in conservation : The Minnesota Izaak Walton League, 1922-1972, St, Paul MN: Izaak Walton League of America, Minnesota Division.
IWLA Mission Statement
To conserve, restore, and promote the sustainable use and enjoyment of our natural resources, including soil, air, woods, waters, and wildlife.
Through the efforts of the League:
- Conservation becomes part of everyday life
- Everyone enjoys sustainable outdoor recreation
- Healthy lands and waters support thriving fish and wildlife populations
- Connect more young people to conservation and outdoor recreation.
- Conserve and restore habitat to support healthy, sustainable fish and wildlife populations.
- Ensure America’s streams, rivers, lakes, and other waters are safe for fishing, swimming, and other uses.
- Engage more people in sustainable outdoor recreation.
- Raise the profile of the League as a leading voice for common-sense conservation and sustainable outdoor recreation.
- Strengthen partnerships among all levels of the League to advance the League’s mission.
Our Chapter's Approach to Conservation:
- Develop an in-depth, science-based knowledge of the conservation issues.
- Have a passion for defending outdoor America for future generations.
- Follow the League's grassroots conservation model.
- Promote a common-sense conservation agenda in the areas of public lands, clean water and energy, sustainable agriculture, outdoor recreation, youth education, and more.