“State of the Boundary Waters” Report

Sampling of interior pages of "State of the Boundary Waters" report by Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness; graphic design by Carolyn Porter of Porterfolio, Inc.

At sixty pages in length and with more than a year of research and writing behind it, the “State of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness” was the organization’s first comprehensive report on the health and future of the Boundary Waters since the passing of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Act of 1978.

The report included an assessment of risks of global warming and sulfide mining; status reports on the health of moose, lynx, wolves, black bear, fish, birds and wild rice; an assessment of ecological risks from invasive species, air quality, and fire; visitor impacts on campsites, water quality, and trails; damage from the 1999 “blowdown”; and the regional economic impact of BWCAW visitors. The report was distributed to Friends’ members, lawmakers, and other stakeholders.

The challenge presented to Carolyn was to design, organize, and present the information in a way that would ensure readers remained engaged throughout the entirety of this comprehensive report. The solution required the creation of multiple custom maps, the use and selection of compelling photography, custom lettering, and included unexpected elements such as footprints of an elusive vole that scampered across the page. A few design elements, such as the tree pattern seen at the bottom of some pages, visually coordinated with the Friends’ newly-redesigned website (website work completed by separate vendor).

“As always, Carolyn Porter’s design is beautiful, smart, and full of surprises.”



This report was shortlisted for a 2019 Communication Arts award in the “Annual Report” category.

Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness
Greg Seitz
Ideal Printers, Inc.
Benjamin Olson, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Ryan Mattke, Greg Seitz, Minnesota Historical Society, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, David Bradford Kane, Deb Gruhlke, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center, National Park Service, Gerry Epp, James Belmont, Minnesota Incident Command System, Steph McPhail, Matt Stroozas, Ed Baggenstoss, Tracy Knapp, Betsy Daub, David Bradford Kane, Teresa Klecker. Additional Creative Commons photos used and credited in book.