Sunday, February 17, 2008

Restoring a waterway which is... un-safe

(Mending the Mississippi: A Site 3 Project.) During my geo-trashing trip down the Metro Mississippi last fall, much of what I saw was predictable. But some of it… was downright peculiar. There were five safes. Yes, “safes,” as in, “someone broke into a home, gas station or store, took the lock box, and emptied it.” Then, having no idea where else to dump the evidence, they tossed the empty safes into the river. (I suppose the average thief isn’t too concerned with being environmentally friendly.)

Two of the safes were right next to each other (someone had a busy night). But the other three were scattered in different locations along the nearly ten-mile kayak run.

The Google Map below illustrates where the safes were found along this stretch of the Mississippi (click on the link just below the map to enlarge it). As I’ve explained in a previous posting, after enlarging the map it becomes possible to view the area in Google Earth, thus allowing the waypoints on this route to be transferred to your handheld GPS with just a few drag & drop maneuvers. If you decide to tackle one of these sites for removal, please let me know, so I can publish and celebrate your efforts here. But in case you’re a treasure-hunter, I must warn you: Each of the safes is empty.

View Larger Map
The photos within this posting are placed in geographical order, as if you were traveling North to South on the Rice Creek-to-Boom Island route (see Site 3 clean-up). There are five total targets in this category. Of these, two of the safes were situated very close together. As always, you can click on each photo to enlarge it, and the GPS coordinates of each photo have been embedded in the picture, placing you within roughly three meters of where the object or debris field is sitting.

A steel lockbox or safe is another good example of items that would be difficult to extract through typical pedestrian clean-up efforts. That’s why it has become one of our “categorical lists” at

For more information about this project, or to get involved, feel free to drop us an email.

NOTE: Anyone who attempts to recover the items listed in this posting does so at their own risk. Please adhere to the safety instructions and guidelines provided by the DNR. Finally, let me know if you either intend to remove one or more of these items, or that you have succeeded in doing so. Simply share your success story email, and we’ll be happy to publish it at

© 2008 Mike D. Anderson, Crystal, MN.

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