The Boundary Waters Canoe Area is a unique wilderness area that covers over one million acres within the Superior National Forest in northeastern Minnesota. It contains over a thousand lakes and attracts more than a quarter million visitors each year, making it the most visited wilderness area in the United States. Visitors come to experience its remote wilderness character – its untouched forests and spectacular chain of freshwater lakes – through canoeing, camping, and fishing. It is even one of National Geographic’s 50 “Destinations of a Lifetime.”
The Boundary Waters Wilderness is also the economic engine for the region. In 2012, tourism provided 12% of northeastern Minnesota jobs, while mining provided only 3.3%. The U.S. Forest Service has also estimated that the Superior National Forest contributes $500 million to the regional economy each year, of which $100 million is attributed to the Boundary Waters.