Boundary Waters Canoe Area

Izaak Walton League of America - 75 Years In Defense of the Boundary Waters

The Izaak Walton League of America began its long history of protection of what has become known as the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in 1923 when the League's first President and founder, Will Dilg, made an impassioned plea in opposition to a plan to build roads in the area. The meeting, held on a snowy April evening in Duluth, Minnesota, came about as the result of a U.S. Forest Service plan to bisect the core of the "roadless area" with a main forest road. The counties, and local pro-development chambers of commerce, then began pushing their own agenda to capitalize on the presence of this new road. "A Road to Every Lake" was their slogan, and had it not been for the IWLA and other like-minded visionaries, the canoe country would never have survived this onslaught of development.

The following timeline reflects major battles fought and won on the behalf of the Boundary Waters and adjacent Quetico Provincial Park. All are the result of League efforts either alone, or in consort with other groups: