Boundary Waters Heritage Trails, a 501c3 to Restore Historic Hiking Trails
Founder, Boundary Waters Heritage Trails
Boundary Waters Heritage Trails (BWHT) is a new nonprofit advocacy organization with the express purpose of advocating for the preservation of historic, intrinsically beautiful trails in the Boundary Canoe Area Wilderness of the Superior National Forest in Minnesota. The IRS approved the Boundary Waters Heritage Trail application for the charitable organization, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status on December 26, 2023. BWHT was also incorporated in the State of Minnesota shortly before that date.
The purpose of BWHT is to continue the initial work of the Boundary Waters Advisory Committee (BWAC) organized in 2002. BWAC’s most recent focus was to restore the West Loop of the Powwow Trail after the Pagami Creek fire of 2011. As the BWAC’s focus is now transitioning to maintaining trails that are listed in the USFS BWCAW Trail Inventory, the BWHT intends to engage in advocacy for heritage trails that were at one time or another on the trail inventory but were subsequently removed from it.
One example is the Powwow Trail East Loop, a 25-mile-long heritage trail in the BWCA wilderness which the USFS built as a direct consequence of the BWCA Wilderness Act of 1978 along with the Powwow Trail West Loop. The East Loop of the Powwow Trail was removed from the trail inventory in 1993. In the year 2000, the White House Millennium Council chaired by Hillary Clinton designated the Powwow Trail as one of the three Millennium Trails. Remarkably today, 30 years after decommissioning, sections of the East Loop are hikeable and provide a window to the past to those hikers who are willing to put in extra effort.
The BWHT will seek to document the historic trails and return to use trails that the public enjoyed in the past. This work is in accordance with the 1964 Wilderness Act, BWCA Wilderness Act of 1978, and various wilderness environmental regulations such as the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) including categorical exclusion (CATEX). Its goal is to provide better backpacking and hiking wilderness experiences and more solitude for visitors than is available today. BWHT is looking forward to establishing a constructive collaborative relationship with the US Forest Service and developing shared objectives that ultimately benefit the public.
Two of the BWHT founders, Martin Kubik and Nero Jain, both organized the Kekekabic Trail Club in 1990 and the Boundary Waters Advisory Committee in 2002. It was through their contributions that the Kekekabic Trail Club and the Powwow Trail (West Loop) in the BWCA are open to hikers today through volunteer trail maintenance under an agreement with the US Forest Service. Other founders are Ken Hupila, retired teacher, author, and wildlife photographer in Ely, and Tiffanie Ellis, an educator in Duluth public schools.
For more information, contact Martin Kubik, at (cell) 651-214-5849, or email via: email: