(ELY, MN) — Last week, Becky Rom, National Chair of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, won the Outdoor Retailer Inspiration Award in the “Individual” category at the 13th annual Outdoor Retailer Inspiration Awards ceremony in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The Outdoor Retailer Inspiration Awards celebrate champions of the outdoor community who inspire and encourage others to enjoy, participate in, and support outdoor recreation. Annual awards are presented to individuals, organizations, and companies making an impact throughout the year in the outdoor and winter sports industries.
“Becky Rom is a truly inspiring, formidable leader at the forefront of one of America’s major conservation battles: the effort to protect the Boundary Waters Wilderness from copper mining,” said Ingrid Lyons, Executive Director of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters. “This is Becky’s life’s work. Ten years ago, Becky envisioned a path to permanent protection for the Boundary Waters by proactively banning copper mining in its headwaters entirely. This lofty goal was dismissed by many as impossible. But Becky, undeterred, set out to build the movement she still helps lead, and it has been spectacularly successful in large part due to Becky’s own relentlessness, deep well of knowledge, and leadership. Her talent and hard work have made it possible to build a broad and powerful team of allies.”
Becky grew up in and around the Boundary Waters Wilderness in northeastern Minnesota, working in her family’s canoe trip outfitting shop in Ely, Minnesota, and guiding Wilderness trips as a teen. She learned from and was inspired by famed writer and Wilderness advocate Sigurd Olson and others, and carried the mantle of wilderness defender over the decades as she had her own law career and family. Becky, in turn, now invests in and equips the next generation through her mentorship of youth in “Kids for the Boundary Waters,” a coalition of hundreds of kids who’ve taken trips to Washington D.C. to advocate and lobby members of Congress and agencies.
Becky Rom is the volunteer national chair of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, a national coalition of 400+ organizations and businesses run by locally-based nonprofit Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness.
As a result of Becky & the coalition’s tireless work, the Boundary Waters cause has gained national prominence and won historic protections. On January 26, U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland signed a Public Land Order that withdrew 225,504 acres of federal lands and minerals located in the Rainy River Headwaters upstream of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness from the federal mineral leasing program for 20 years. Becky’s goal remains enduring, permanent protection for this critical landscape.
A vast collection of peer-reviewed science shows that if a Twin Metals mine was built along the rivers and streams flowing into the Wilderness pollution and environmental degradation would be certain. The Boundary Waters is the most heavily visited wilderness area in the United States, attracting more than 165,000 visitors each year from all over the world and helps drive more than $900 million in annual economic activity and over 17,000 jobs. A peer-reviewed independent study from Harvard University showed that protecting the Boundary Waters from a proposed Twin Metals sulfide-ore copper mine would result in dramatically more jobs and more income over a 20-year period.