Storytelling on the St. Croix

  • Article by: KEVIN GILES , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 6, 2012 - 6:38 PM

Canoe, kayak journey will feature interpretations of history, geology and river biology.

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Park rangers demonstrate some of the tools used along the riverway to log the white pine trees.

Photo: , National Park Service

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State park naturalists, park rangers and volunteer artisans will share stories of the St. Croix River Valley's history, geology and inspiration during a self-guided, 6-mile paddle on Saturday.

The St. Croix Sojourn, a day of on-river activities and presentations, will be hosted by the National Park Service and state park agencies in Minnesota and Wisconsin to promote river stewardship and watershed education.

Sojourn participants should start their trip between 10 a.m. and noon at Wisconsin Interstate State Park (St. Croix Falls, Wis.) or Minnesota Interstate State Park (Taylors Falls, Minn.). Entering state parks requires a valid annual or daily vehicle pass.

Stations during the paddle, free and open to the public, will be available between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Presentations include:

Dive Demo (scuba divers and underwater camera): See the underwater world with the help of two certified divers who will share a fish's view of the St. Croix. Main Landing, Minnesota Interstate State Park (river mile 51.5).

Northwoods Logging: Millions of white pine logs floated down the St. Croix River during the 1800s. Learn how trees were cut and transported. Blast Island (river mile 50.9).

Geology of the St. Croix Dalles: Naturalists describe the narrow gorges of the St. Croix as a gift from time. Hear how fire and ice created unique rock formations. Sand Island (river mile 50).

Freshwater Mussels: Diversity of native mussels in the St. Croix River is seen in few places worldwide. Eagles Nest (river mile 48.3).

Voyageur's Tale: Meet a fur-trader and discover the colorful group of people who came from half a world away during the 18th and 19th centuries and why they paddled and portaged the dangerous waters of North America. No Name Island (river mile 46.1).

The trip ends at Osceola Landing, featuring artists at work, a digital scavenger hunt, kayaking demonstrations and St. Croix Junior Ranger activities from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. This is also open to visitors without watercraft. Osceola Landing is on Highway 243 across the river from Osceola, Wis.

Canoes, kayaks and other equipment are not provided for the Sojourn. For more information, including a listing of canoe and kayak outfitters and shuttle services, see the National Park Service website at www.nps.gov/sacn. Additional information can be requested via e-mail at sacn_interpretation@nps.gov; or by calling 715-483-2274.

Kevin Giles • 651-925-5037, Twitter: @stribgiles

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