St. Croix River Association organizing paddle trip on the Namekagon River

Educational programs and a fair amount of fishing will feature in the second annual multi-day adventure this May.




3 minute read

St. Croix River kayak
Kayakers in last year's St. Croix River Association paddle trip (photo by Gary Noren)

Folks on the St. Croix River Association‘s 17-day trip down the whole river last year (to celebrate the group’s 100th anniversary) had so much fun they are planning a scaled-down trip on the St. Croix’s biggest tributary this May. The trip will run from May 20-25, and cover most of the Namekagon River.

Lots of news and information in this recent update from SCRA:

What’s there to do?
The lineup of fun and educational events is expanding almost daily. Starting the first night in Cable, paddlers will have lots of events to choose from. There will be a focus on natural history with a free day at the natural history museum, birds of the Riverway hike, ichthyology where you’ll learn about gilt darters, sturgeon and other fish. We’ll learn about current and past culture, with Louie the Voyageur, logging history, canoe heritage, amazing photography, Tenkara fishing, and for that matter, fishing in many forms. At the mid-point of most days on the water  there will be an education event of some sort. As plans firm up we are posting them, check back often

What about food?
This is probably the most often asked question we get regarding the paddle. The first thing to do is not make it complicated. The Paddle is supposed to be a fun adventure, not a stressful event, so leave the thoughts of gourmet eating for home. And if you’re cooking adverse, the good news is many of the stops will have options for you to purchase prepared meals. Check the website for each day, and it lists the options there. Only Howell Landing on day 5 is completely remote, with no services available.

Not complicated doesn’t mean don’t plan. The best thing to do is plan a menu, then reexamine it a couple of times to think about how hard it will be with limited resources. Once you plan the menu, then shop for only what you need for that menu plan. If you’re planning on eating out, don’t plan food for that night.  Please adhere to the NO GLASS rule, broken glass is a real hazard and simply not permitted. While we ask you to think about the amount of waste generated each day, we will take care of garbage disposal every day. Coolers are permitted, but you’ll be taking them on the water with you in your boat. So give plenty of thought what you really need, and only bring enough food for six days.

Check the What To Bring section of  to see if your question is easily answered there. What SCRA will provide each day is: a grill and cook stove, some cookware and utensils, wash tub, dish soap & a limited amount of extra kitchen stuff. If you have special needs you’ll want to be sure to bring it along. SCRA will NOT be providing food. We strongly suggest limiting the amount of fresh food needing refrigeration, ice for your cooler will be a precious commodity, and we don’t have an ice machine on the river. Dried food works great and there is a huge variety now available to you in the marketplace. For the unimaginative, for breakfast you can do well with instant oatmeal six days in a row. For dinner, consider a pre-package variety of dinners; they make many decent choices. If you’re the type that likes to work at it a bit, one good site that talks about meals we’ve enjoyed is or another simple reference is . Just remember, you’ll be sharing a stove, so anything that is “just add water” works best. If you have stuff to mix up like pancake batter, you’ll want to pre-measure all the dried ingredients and package it at home in meal size quantities in baggies; minimal packaging, minimal prep time. With some forethought, you’ll eat some pretty tasty meals without a lot of fuss. After all, you’ll want to be out enjoying the sunset, not spending the night over a hot stove and cleaning up a lot of dishes.

And finally, because of wild animals, no food is allowed in tents or left outside overnight. For your convienence and safety we’ll have all food items and trash stored in the transport vehicle. What that means is you should plan on a separate bag (labeled) for your food. The best measure is if food for one doesn’t fit in a backpack, you have WAY too much.

Route Map

Namekagon River paddle route map