What We've Done

What We've Done

Many of the wild areas Minnesotans take for granted were protected by, or even created through, the efforts of the Izaak Walton League's many state chapters. Consider that the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness would likely not exist without the Ikes.

Strong Ties To This Region

From our beginning in 1922, the Izaak Walton League of America has stood for balanced resource protection and use. And from the onset the IWLA has had strong ties to northeastern Minnesota. In fact, during the 1920s our first national president, Will Dilg, paddled in what later became the Boundary Waters with a young guide named Sigurd Olson.

Dilg promised Olson that the Ikes would do what was necessary to protect that wilderness, a promise we've kept for seventy-five years, even when doing so was controversial in our own backyard. Sig Olson went on to not only become a revered wilderness advocate, but channeled much of his efforts to preserve wilderness through the IWLA.

But we haven't been sitting still since then. Some other IWLA projects and accomplishments you may be familiar with are the Upper Mississippi River National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge, Hamden Slough National Wildlife Refuge, Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area, and Voyageurs National Park. The League-sponsored Clark-McNary Act provided the funds nearly 60 years ago to acquire land for the creation, or in some cases expansion, of the region's National Forests, including the Chippewa, Superior, Nicollet and Chequamegon National Forests. And the Minnesota Division was responsible for the creation of the Dorer Memorial Hardwood Forest in southeast Minnesota. Read more about these accomplishments, and others, here.

Think of what Minnesota and neighboring states would be like without the legacy of these public lands!

In Your Own Back Yard

The McCabe Chapter, based in Duluth, has been active in protecting wild places right here in our own back yard. The acquisition and creation of the Blackhoof River Wildlife Management Area was an IWLA project, as was the acquisition of the west bank of the Knife River from Scenic Highway 61 to the Expressway, which we later turned over to the Department of Natural Resources. Our chapter has been a leader in protecting trout streams in the region, including on-going work on the much beleaguered Miller Creek in Duluth.

In just the past few years, the McCabe Chapter has been active on numerous fronts. Here's just a partial list: