Thursday, October 30, 2008

Project Planning: The Dash for Trash 2009

The photo at the left was shot on a hazy, overcast day, and provided us with two views of the rich fall colors. (As with any of our photos, you can click on the image to enlarge it.) The St. Croix River has given us an abundance of beauty this year; now, we're getting ready to return the favor in 2009.

People who follow our project know we've been working on a project called The Dash for Trash. Essentially, this massive project will involve sending teams of people down a nearly 20-mile stretch of the St. Croix River in kayaks and canoes, gathering debris all along the way. We had originally planned to execute this task in 2008, but had to cancel the effort for reasons explained in previous postings. (If you’d like to read more about the original event plan, click here.)

Having spent some time on this stretch of river over the past month, Julie and I were able to grasp the scope of this project a little better… and take it from the drawing board to the currents of the St. Croix. Now, we’re using that experience to put together a plan for 2009. I'm hoping you'll review the plan (the dates, anyway), and give us your input.

First off, we’ve decided to execute this project as a two-day event, rather than attempt to cover the entire stretch in just one day. In doing so, we believe the pace will be safer for participants, and more beneficial to the river. Of course, a two-day event will mean more complicated logistics, as camping sites must be secured and additional meals must be planned.

At this moment, our intention is to assemble a small group of people to conduct a trial sweep on the weekend of May 16-17 (a Saturday and Sunday). Day one would begin at Taylor’s Falls, and conclude at Osceola Landing. Day two would resume at Osceola, and conclude at William O’Brien State Park. As explained in our original plan, the goal of this early expedition would be to gather knowledge. How tired will people get? What kinds of food and supplies will be needed for two working days like this? How many breaks/stops should there be (and where)?

Using the intelligence gained during the May trip, we will refine the official “Dash for Trash” event, which has been tentatively scheduled for August 29 – 30, 2009.

Again: Please improve this event by offering your input. The May dates have been chosen because they land right between Mother’s Day weekend and Memorial Day weekend. The August weekend has been chosen because it coincides with the first weekend of Minnesota State Fair. That makes it a good time for Wild Mountain/Taylor’s Falls Canoe Rental, which has again committed to providing their generous support of this project (canoes, kayaks, paddles, PFDs, dumpster, etc.). Another reason that the August dates make sense: It puts us in a position to “report on the outcome” of the project, by bringing our story to the DNR booth at the State Fair once the project has been completed.

Are you a paddler? Interested in joining us (May, or August, or both)? Do you have ideas about improving this event? We hoope you'll share your ideas, and enhance this outcome of this effort!

© 2008 Mike D. Anderson, Crystal, MN.

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