Second Annual ‘Sojourn’ Offers Paddle Tour of River’s Fascinating Features

July 13th event will celebrate and educate – with activities along the way about the river’s history, wildlife, geology and more.

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Dive demo at MN Interstate State Park during the 2012 Sojourn. (Photo courtesy Naitonal Park Service)
Dive demo at MN Interstate State Park during the 2012 St. Croix Sojourn. (Photo courtesy Naitonal Park Service)

Via the St. Croix River Association:

One week every year, the St. Croix River Association (SCRA) coordinates efforts to help people be more “River Aware”, and create a lasting river connection.  The week of July 13-21 is packed with river cleanups and fun events throughout the watershed.  And this year is special; SCRA is also observing the St. Croix’s 50th anniversary as a designated Minnesota State Water Trail.

The Minnesota State Water Trails system is the first and largest in the nation. It consists of 32 rivers and the North Shore of Lake Superior.  Each are mapped and managed for canoeing, kayaking, boating and camping.  There are over 4,500 miles of routes with public water accesses, campsite and rest areas. You can find great trip planning resources on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/watertrails.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary and kickoff River Awareness Week, SCRA will be at the Osceola Landing on Saturday, July 13th in conjunction with the “St. Croix Sojourn”. The Sojourn will be a day of on-river activities and presentations. Hosted by the National Park Service and the Minnesota and Wisconsin Interstate State Parks, this event features family fun, river stewardship, and watershed learning. It would be fantastic to see hundreds of people on the St. Croix, honoring our river.

Enjoy the day with a self-guided, 6-mile paddle down the historic and scenic St. Croix River. State park naturalists, park rangers, and volunteers will be available at stops along the way to share stories of the river valley’s past, its unique geology, and the inspiration of its scenic beauty.

The SCRA will be at Osceola Landing between 11:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. with several additional activities for the anniversary party. Temporary tattoos, snacks and cool beverages will be offered, while supplies last. Plan to try your hand at the Aquatic Invasive Species Bean Bag Toss.  Or test the waters to see some of the incredible critters that call the St. Croix home and learn why they tell us this is such a great place. Challenge yourself to learn about native plants and make a native seed ball for your garden. All the activities at Osceola Landing are free and open to the public.

Participants should plan to start their paddle trip between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. at either Wisconsin Interstate State Park (St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin) or Minnesota Interstate State Park (Taylors Falls, Minnesota). Access to the state parks requires a valid annual or daily vehicle pass. Canoes, kayaks, and other equipment are not provided.

More on the St. Croix Sojourn

A passport stamp booklet will be available to allow participants to receive a special reward at the end of the trip. Pick up your passport at either state park landing between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Have it stamped at each station along the way and arrive at Osceola Landing by 4:30 PM. to collect your reward!

All stations are free and open to the public. Presentations include:

  • Dive Demo, 10:00 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.
    Main Landing, Minnesota Interstate State Park (river mile 51.5)
    See the underwater world with the help of two certified divers who will share a fish’s view of the St. Croix.
  • Northwoods Logging, 10:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
    Blast Island (river mile 50.9)
    Millions of white pine logs floated down the St. Croix River highway during the 1800s. Learn how these trees were cut and transported.
  • Geology of the St. Croix Dalles, 10:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
    Sand Island (river mile 50)
    The narrow gorges of the St. Croix are a gift from time. Stop and hear how fire and ice both had a hand in creating the unique rock formations found here.
  • Freshwater Mussels, 11:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.
    Eagles Nest (river mile 48.5)
    The diversity of native mussels in the St. Croix River is seen in few places worldwide. Explore the life of some of the best neighbors you never knew you had!
  • Bird Banding, 11:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.
    Eagles Nest (river mile 48.5)
    Bird banding is one of the most useful tools in the modern study of wild birds. Discover why this is done and how it assists with their management and conservation.

Activities at Osceola Landing, 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

As you leave the river, have your passport stamped a few more times and collect your reward! Activities at this location will be available to the public from 11:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., and are also accessible for visitors without watercraft. Osceola Landing is located on Highway 243, across the river from Osceola, Wisconsin. Stations include:

  • Voyageur’s Tale: Meet a fur-trader and discover the adventurous group of people who came from half a world away during the 18th and 19th centuries, and why they paddled and portaged the dangerous canoe routes of North America.
  • Kayaking and Low Impact Camping: A 4,000 year old mode of transportation is now a popular way to explore the pristine waters of the St. Croix and Namekagon rivers. Discover an old way to see these rivers at a different pace, and how to help preserve these rivers for future generations.
  • Digital scavenger hunts: Explore nature through the lens of a camera while you try to find all the items on our photo scavenger hunt list and learn tips for beginner nature photographers. Digital cameras provided for your use!
  • St. Croix Junior Ranger: Children can learn about the history of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, and become a National Park Junior Ranger at the same time!
  • Water Bugs and Good Water: See some of the incredible critters that call the St. Croix home and learn why they tell us this is such a great place. Challenge yourself to the Aquatic Invasive Species Bean Bag Toss. Learn about native plants and make a native seed ball for your garden.

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