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Boundary Waters Heritage Trails to bring back historic hiking trails

Boundary Waters Heritage Trails (BWHT) is a new nonprofit advocacy organization with an express purpose to advocate for preservation of historic, intrinsically beautiful trails in the Boundary Canoe Area.

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 which the USFS built as a direct consequence of the Wilderness Act of 1978 and later removed without public notification in 1993.

Powwow Trail was designated as a Community Millenium Trail by the White House Commission chaired by Hillary Clinton in 2000.  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 of those trails that the public enjoyed in the past.

The goal is to provide better backpacking and hiking wilderness experience and more solitude for visitors than available today.

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 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, educator in Duluth public schools.

The IRS has approved the Boundary Waters Heritage Trail  application for tax exempt statu. BWHT was also incorporated in the State  of Minnesota shortly before that date.

For more information, contact Martin Kubik, email:  wtrails2@yahoo.com, cell: 651-214-5849.

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