Is the stress of COVID-19 sending droves of people up North to the Boundary Waters? It’s hard to book a reservation.

This surge in visitors to the Boundary Waters reminds us of the conclusion of a 2018 Harvard study that found, after investigating 72 scenarios, tourism was the best economic option for the Northern Minnesota area around the Boundary Waters. The study projected tourism would bring 4,500 more jobs and $900 million in more revenue compared to the option of mining over the next 20 years.

Twin Metals, a subsidiary of Chilean mining company Antofagasta, has its sights on mining in the Boundary Waters region. Water, air and soil pollution are the history of mining. Mining brings short term gain and long-term destruction. Mining has its place in the economy, but not near the Boundary Waters. Future generations deserve a place to visit as we have.

The Boundary Waters attracts around 155,000 people annually. The current visitor boom, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, highlights the conclusion of the Harvard study: Tourism is the better economic choice than mining for the Boundary Waters area. Our experience is that most new visitors will return and bring others.

Calls to Gov. Tim Walz and your legislators urging them to continue to protect our precious Boundary Waters are critical. tourism protects our precious heritage for future generations and provides more economic return for the area than mining. There is nothing on earth like the Boundary Waters. Please make those calls.

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Florence Sandok, Rochester