"This is the most beautiful lake country on the continent. We can afford to cherish and protect it. Some places should be preserved from development or exploitation for they satisfy a human need for solace, belonging and perspective. In the end we turn to nature in a frenzied chaotic world, there to find silence—oneness—wholeness—spiritual release." – Sigurd Olson

For 366 continuous days, Dave and Amy Freeman lived in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to “to keep it fresh in peoples' minds throughout the seasons.” The journey–which consisted of paddling, camping, dogsledding, skiing and plenty of ice baths–is captured in the beautiful new short film entitled Bear Witness: A Year in the Wilderness. One goal of the trip was to raise awareness about pollution threats from proposed sulfide-ore copper mining along the boundaries of the BWCAW. Amy Freeman explains other motivations for the Year in the Wilderness and the next steps for protecting the Boundary Waters below.

During our Year in the Wilderness, we attempted to capture the intangible values that wilderness affords, which Sigurd Olson (our conservation hero) often wrote about. Videographers Nate Ptacek and Matty Van Biene joined us several times throughout the year to help us capture the essence of this Wilderness, with the goal of sharing it with millions across the country and around the world through a short film, Bear Witness: A Year in the Wilderness, produced by Duct Tape Then Beer, which was funded through several environmental grants from Patagonia.

Dave and I spent a year bearing witness to this Wilderness that we love. Today we encourage you to bear witness too. We hope you enjoy fruits of the collective labor of many people. Please share this film widely and use Bear Witness as a tool to raise awareness about the Boundary Waters and the threats proposed sulfide-ore copper mines bring to this national treasure—and take action at SaveTheBoundaryWaters.org

— On December 15, the federal government announced that it will not renew two key mineral leases on the edge of the wilderness area

— Read all of Amy Freeman’s CanoeKayak.com posts from her and Dave Freeman’s #WildernessYear in the Boundary Waters.