Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A crossroads for the St. Croix

This morning, my daughter sent me the first of many links I received today about the endangered rivers designation placed on our beloved St. Croix River. She had heard the story on CNN, and then read the details online. (As always, click on any image to enlarge the photo.)

Essentially citing careless land development, American Rivers president Rebecca Wodder said in her statement that, “This river is a national treasure but it is in danger of dying a death from a thousand cuts. Poorly planned development is slowly killing the very qualities that make the Lower St. Croix so special.” Note that the group has pointed specifically to the lower St. Croix as being in danger. I can only claim true familiarity with portions of the upper St. Croix, from just above Danbury, Wisconsin, to near Marine on St. Croix, north of Stillwater. (There is more power boat traffic on the lower segment of the river, which makes kayaking less enjoyable, in my opinion. That's not a problem... just a preference.)

I have a great suggestion: More people should experience the upper St. Croix River. If they could drift from Danbury to St. Croix State Park in a kayak, or paddle a canoe from the rapids of Taylors Falls to the serenity of William O’Brien State Park…

People would realize why a river like the St. Croix should be preserved for generations none of us will ever even meet.

Again, I’m not going to drone on about this announcement; it has already received plenty of media coverage. (In case you have not read it, the specific “endangered” status is proclaimed by the American Rivers organization, you can read it by clicking here.)

What I will say is that the St. Croix is in harm’s way. But that could be said of almost any river in America. The unwitting error of the endangered rivers list is that it implies only ten rivers are in trouble. (Click here to see the complete list.) The fact is, every waterway needs and deserves care, stewardship and repair. And every person is capable of rendering that aid.

Again worth stating: Anyone, on any given day, has the power to improve a place.

© Mike D. Anderson, Crystal, MN. All rights reserved.

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