Merrimack Canoes giveaway in national spotlight

How a love letter became a love triangle to save the wilderness

“I believe in the medicines of wanderlust.” So begins the now-famous love letter of Patagonia Flyfishing
Ambassador Riverhorse Nakadate to the unspoiled wilderness of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, a
million acres of lakes, streams and wetlands that sit at the top of Minnesota like a sapphire-blue crown
jewel. But this perfect piece of earth is in jeopardy from the forward march of a sulfide-ore copper mine,
prompting the formation of a BWCA love triangle of sorts that aims to bring the issue to light, raise
money and give away more than $7,000 in prizes while doing so.
The idea rose in response to the overwhelming reaction to a recently released documentary about the
BWCA for Patagonia’s “It’s All Home Water” series. Dubbed “A Northern Light,” the short film follows
Riverhorse as he paddles the BWCA’s ancient waterways while musing aloud why anyone would ever
put a mine there. Now, Riverhorse has teamed up with Save the Boundary Waters – a nonprofit political
action group fighting the proposed mine, and Merrimack Canoes, maker of his cherished watercraft, to
give away a canoe matching his for the most heartrending thoughts about why the Boundary Waters
should be protected.
For an entry fee of $20, which will go entirely to the efforts of Save the Boundary Waters, contest
entrants have a maximum of 200 words in which to explain why the Boundary Waters (and places like it)
should be preserved. Entries will be judged by Riverhorse with the help of Save the Boundary Waters
staff, and non-writers take note, they will focus more on from-the-heart substance and insight than they
do on style and prose. The grand prize will be an artisan-built, wood and composite Tennessean canoe
by Merrimack Canoes – a $3,500 value – outfitted identically to Riverhorse’s and christened Northern
Light II. Emblazoned across the floor will be a custom decal showing the BWCA region most threatened
by the push for mining, along with Riverhorse’s mantra, “I believe in the medicines of wanderlust.”
Runner-up winners will be chosen as well, winning things such as a handcrafted Gunflint paddle by
Sanborn Canoes, a Legend Xtreme XFS68MXF Spinning Rod from St. Croix Rods, a Cooke Custom Sewing
Hybrid Pack, Abu Garcia spinning and baitcasting combos from Fishing Hall of Famer Steve Pennaz, a
Frost River Pack, an Ice Package by Northland Tackle, a keepsake cloth map from True North Map
Company and more. Only 1,000 entries will be accepted between now and December 31, 2020. Visit the
contest page HERE for full rules and information.


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