Conditions on the St. Croix are excellent and summer is heating up. There’s no better time to get out and enjoy the St. Croix River than this holiday weekend, with events from snorkeling to nature hikes. And, of course, fireworks!
My weekend plans illustrate just how much there is to do this weekend. On Saturday, I’m going to canoe several miles of the river around Grantsburg. We’ll fish for smallmouth bass and leave plenty of time for swimming and relaxing along the way. I’ll spend the Fourth with my in-laws on a beach north of Hudson, and then “ooh” and “ahh” at the Stillwater fireworks.
I’ve tried to provide an overview of what’s going on up and down the river this weekend. It is certainly incomplete! Please leave a comment or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with information about other things to do and see.
Fishing guides at 45 Degrees North Fly Fishing in Grantsburg, Wisconsin report excellent conditions on the upper river. On a river trip Wednesday, they found normal water levels and rising temps.They also found a few smallmouth bass in the 14-16″ range.
The St. Croix National Scenic Riverway website has more info about water levels.
- At Norway Point, near St. Croix State Park, the river is at 4.74′ and dropping slowly; the Park Service says conditions are good between 4.4 and 4.8′.
- At the St. Croix Falls gauge, the discharge is at 5,700 cfs; the Park Service states that 5,000 to 5,500 cfs is ideal.
The water on the the lower river is still pretty high. There is not a “no wake” zone in effect, but the river is just below the level at which such an order is usually issued. Please keep your speed down, especially around other boats, and near shore where it can damage docks and cause erosion.
The state park scene
In light of the Minnesota state government shutdown, all state parks on the Minnesota side are now closed to the public. But, you can still rent canoes in Taylor’s Falls in Minnesota. The Wild Mountain canoe rental business posted on its Facebook page that customers can park at Wildwood Campground and catch a shuttle to the river.
On the other side of the river, Interstate State Park in Wisconsin has a full line-up of activities all weekend, especially for kids and families. Events include naturalist programs about the ancient geology of the St. Croix dalles region, snakes, animal pelts, nature hikes, and more. Check out the full schedule (PDF).
National holiday, National Park
The St. Croix National Scenic Riverway has a few events going on, including a chance to see what’s under the surface on the Namekagon:
- Down by the River Film Series features a film about Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Friday, July 1 at 6:30 p.m. St. Croix River Visitor Center.
- Rivers are Alive. Step into the Namekagon River with nets and discover what lies beneath the water’s surface. Bring water shoes and dress for getting wet! Saturday, July 2 at 10:00 a.m. Earl Landing.
- Snorkeling the Namekagon River. Learn the basics of snorkeling as you explore the dazzling life of the Namekagon River. Participants must be at least 12 years of age. Those under 18 will be required to wear a lifejacket and be accompanied by an adult. Limited to the first 12 participants. Mask, snorkel, and lifejackets will be provided. Meet at Howell Landing at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 2.
Bombs bursting in air
The river is a great backdrop for pyrotechnics. Crowds will flock to fireworks displays in several communities:
- Stillwater – The show will kick off at 10:05 p.m. on Monday. Tune your radio to KLBB AM 1220 to listen to the musical soundtrack. Festivities start in Lowell Park at 7 p.m. with two jazz orchestra performances.
- Hudson – Get your pre-Fourth fireworks fix in Hudson on Sunday, July 3. The show starts at dusk and is part of the city’s booster days, with a carnival, sidewalk sales, and a beer garden.
- Marine on St. Croix – The show in Marine is also on Sunday, July 3, at 10 p.m. The celebration continues Monday with a running race in the morning and a parade at noon.
- Solon Springs – The town at the river’s headwaters will celebrate all weekend long, with fireworks and free pontoon rides on Lake St. Croix Saturday.
- Afton – There is usually a big crowd in little Afton for their parade, which starts at noon and goes down Main Street, and then turns around and comes back again. The parade is open to all, with no registration or fee required (except for politicians!).
- Danbury – This weekend is “Danbury Days,” with a parade and family activities (including a yellow floating duck race!) on Saturday.
I have no doubt that there is a lot more going on up and down the river. Please leave a comment or send an e-mail to email@example.com and I’ll add it to the list!
Have a fun, safe and river-tastic Fourth of July weekend!