The St. Croix River is one of the most beautiful waterways in the central U.S., or some might say, anywhere.
Our second adoption site is living proof. Highway 48/77 runs from Hinckley, Minnesota to Danbury, Wisconsin. Beneath the bridge over the St. Croix on the Wisconsin side, there is a public access… which delivers your body and soul into this serene waterway. By the time it reaches the historic town of Stillwater, the St. Croix River is a bustling, high-traffic waterway, capable of being navigated by very large boats, and even yachts. But further north, near Danbury, Wisconsin, it is rare that you see anyone with a motor on their boat.
There is little evidence of human habitation, except for a few canoe-in camp sites you’ll paddle by, an outpost of the Conservations Corps near St. John’s Landing, and another landing at Yellow Banks. Depending on your pace, it will take 3 ½ to six hours to arrive at the landing of St. Croix State Park (MN)… a roughly 9.6 mile journey. You can browse around on the map for a closer look.
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Julie and I are certainly not the only people to adopt this stretch of river. Conservation Corps members and other volunteers do a major sweep, mid-summer. These groups have done an amazing job of removing the large debris from this stretch of river (like two tires, a road sign and some type of a small appliance... that I specifically know them to have accomplished last year!).
The Challenge. While organized efforts have done will to remove large items, smaller trash has a tendency to resurface throughout the recreational and hunting seasons. On my late-fall voyage through this stretch, considerable amounts of small-scale litter had accumulated again (beverage containers, boat seat cushions, Styrofoam from coolers, etc.) I cleaned-up as much of it as I could in late September and the first week in October, I know there will be more to do this spring, summer and fall.
Ulterior Motives. Cleaning this stretch of the St. Croix River is not an entirely selfless act of random kindness. I have a selfish motive. It is just so beautiful. I’ve shot some of my favorite outdoor photos on this stretch of river, including those you see here (just click on any photo to see a larger version, or drop me a note if you’d like to receive a higher-resolution version by email). Bald eagles, beaver dams, wildflowers… It is simply breathtaking. And it’s a great reminder of the important work being done by the National Park Service, in their work to protect this national scenic river-way. (We can lend a hand, and enjoy its’ beauty at the same time!)
Like our first adoption site, we are participating with both the Adopt-a-River (Minnestoa) and WAV (Wisconsin) stewardship programs for this project. St. Croix State Park, about a half-hour east of Hinckley, will serve as our base-camp for this effort. We take advantage of the shuttle service available through Pardun’s Canoe Rental, which has a small outpost right at the park. So, when the day is done and we arrive at the St. Croix park landing, it’s as if we have arrived home.
If you’d like more information about participating in a river clean-up like this one, just drop me an email to express your interest, and we can provide you with further details.
© 2008 Mike D. Anderson, Crystal, MN.