More than 500 paddlers made their way down the St. Croix River last month, expecting to end their 17-day, 180-mile journey in Prescott, Wisconsin, on July 22. After this issue went to press, festivities were planned to welcome the paddlers to the confluence of the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers.
The superintendents of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway and the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area planned to exchange paddles on the water at the meeting of the two rivers in front of Mercord Mill Park in Prescott to be followed by music, food and a welcoming ceremony, flag making, poetry and an evening parade of lighted boats.
Paddlers were scheduled to leave that morning from St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park in Denmark Township and travel four miles to the confluence.
The program in the park was to include presentations by the mayor of Prescott, the chairman of the St. Croix River Association and two park superintendents and officials from the Midwest region of the National Park Service. Organizers planned a canoe raffle of a We No Nah Spirit II Canoe, a kick off of “Kinship of the Rivers” (an exchange between the Mississippi River and the Yangtze River in China and Tibet) and music about the St. Croix River by local artists and bands.
The event was to be the culmination of a series of community events and the river paddle, which started in Solon Springs, Wisconsin, at the headwaters of the St. Croix River on July 5. The paddle trip was a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the St. Croix River Association, founded in 1911, to protect and restore the St. Croix River and its watershed.
Partners and Sponsors of the paddle and events include the National Park Service, Andersen Corporation, Xcel Energy, the Katherine B. Andersen Fund of the Saint Paul Foundation, the St. Croix Valley Foundation, Wenonah Canoe, REI, Midwest Mountaineering, and numerous local sponsors.
For more information about the paddle trip, check ou the St.Croix River Association’s website www.scrapaddle.org.