Saturday, February 2, 2008

Adoption site 3: The Geo-tagging begins

This project will begin at Rice Creek in Fridley, Minnesota, and continue southward for roughly 9.7 miles, to Boom Island Park near downtown, Minneapolis. If you have driven across the northern edge of the Twin Cities on I-694, or on I-94 from downtown to the north side, you have seen this part of the river first-hand, from a distance. (For a closer look, you can click on the Google Map near the bottom of this post. For the best results, select “Satellite View” when you land on that page.)

By far, this stands to be the most daunting of the three sites we have adopted. Typically, when a person or group “adopts” a river, it conjures images of a few folks walking the riverbank or shoreline with boots, gloves and garbage bags, picking up trash. But this stretch won’t be that simple. This is the section of river where I first recognized and refined the idea to geo-tag specific debris fields and large objects... and thus, Geotrashing was born. (Each of the photos you see here include a latitude/ longitude label for where they were taken. Click on any photo to enlarge.)

The challenge. On two survey trips here last summer and fall, I saw, photographed and designated (by GPS coordinates) several significant target areas. These targets held tires, appliances, and construction and demolition materials. There were more eclectic items, too, like office chairs, safes (forget it... the safes were all empty, and heavy enough that it'll take more than one person to extract them), and even a 3-foot-long Energizer Rabbit plush doll, laying face-down near the shore. (No, he was not “stillllll going!”) I’ll post early photos from last fall’s recon trip over the next few weeks, but it will take several more expeditions down this part of the river before I can finish building a reasonably complete inventory.

Upon filing the Adopt-a-River paperwork with the Minnesota DNR, I do realize that a few segments along this stretch of Mississippi have already been adopted. (It’s not like I’m the first person to realize this part of The Great River needs help!) I don’t mean to offend any of those people who have already invested their effort—and hopefully, who will continue to do so—but having seen its’ condition first-hand and up-close, I know that the job is far from done.

View Larger Map

Since we live on the north side of the Twin Cities, our intention is to scour this segment of river on weekends where we cannot make it to one of the other, more distant, adoption sites. This will be the river we work on when a Saturday or a Sunday are available, but another obligation keeps us from committing the entire weekend. For that matter, I might find it tempting to run down to the water with nothing more than hiking boots, the Garmin, and my Nikon to gather a few more targets when I have an extra hour or two on my hands.

If you’re already working on a stretch of creek or river in the Twin Cities, I’d enjoy learning of your project and your progress. Take a moment to drop me a note and perhaps we can learn from each other!

© 2008 Mike D. Anderson, Crystal, MN.

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