Hello River Friends,
On Sunday, I kayaked the St. Croix River from County O to Sunrise Landing. It was a picture perfect day, with more turtles out than I’ve ever seen. Wild flowers are in bloom, spring bird song fills the air. And the water levels right now are just about perfect. Seize the day, your boat, and paddle. The River is calling.
Just over four weeks from now, a lucky few will be on the Namekagon River for the 6th annual St. Croix River Association Paddle. People gain confidence and friendships, and are exposed to a river that offers a wild experience in a magnificent setting just a couple hours from a major metropolitan area. We have hosted this week-long paddle to introduce new people to the rivers and the natural landscape, build community, and inspire river stewardship values.
Hosting paddle events is not our primary work. We advocate for conservation throughout the watershed. Our vision is to ensure a thriving watershed, forever accessible, scenic, and wild. SCRA works to ensure others will have a chance to get to know these rivers.
What I’ve learned in the six years that I’ve led these paddles is to expect the unexpected – plan well and share educational experiences, but be prepared to flow with the river. A river will take you to amazing places if you let it.
30 Days to River Time
River Day 6 – Friday, June 17
Howell Landing to Riverside (21 miles)
Good morning and welcome to River Day 6. The weather forecast is for mostly sunny skies, with a high of 75 degrees.
This final paddle day will be 21 miles to Riverside Landing, which is about 8 miles north of Danbury. Three scenic rivers come together on this stretch. You’ll encounter some rocky and some sandy bottoms, stretches with riffles and several Class 1 rapids. Restrooms will be at Fritz, McDowell, and Namekagon Trail Landings, and pit toilets at various campsites as has been the case all week. The Totagatic River, a state designated wild and scenic river, enters the Namekagon about six miles before the confluence with the St. Croix. All three are amazing rivers, worth taking time to explore.
Ian Karl, Experiential Programming Coordinator with Northwest Passage, will be at the historic Schaefer Cabin from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. with an exhibit highlighting the amazing collection of nature photography captured by kids of Northwest Passage.
As you reach the confluence with the St. Croix River, the river widens significantly and becomes more braided. Just because it’s wider doesn’t mean it’ll be dull. There are several fun rapids yet to be run, and the choices of routes around islands makes for an interesting ride. The take-out will be river right; look for the same sign you’ve seen all week. If you float under the Highway 35 bridge, you’ve gone too far.
This is always a bittersweet moment. Most people are tired and ready to be off the river, but sad to say goodbye to friends and to a river that has brought so much joy.
For registered paddlers using our shuttle, a van/bus will take you to Danbury to retrieve your vehicle, then you’ll drive back to Riverside landing to load up your gear and say final farewells. Are you ready?