Upper St. Croix in Prime Paddling Condition, While Lower River Remains Flooded

Canoe outfitters frustrated about media portrayals of flood conditions –– and sympathetic to downstream St. Croix citizens.




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Paddling the river above Highway 70 on Wednesday, June 18th.
Marceleen and Corry Mosher canoeing the river above Highway 70 on Wednesday, June 18th.

As recent rain waters slowly flow downstream, river levels above the Dalles are ideal. That’s the report from Wild River Outfitters in Grantsburg, which sent out a press release today asking the media to specify that flood reports are only about the lower river:

Please correct reports and do not include the Upper St. Croix in the current flood warnings. While most of your audience in the Metro area and Western WI are familiar with the Lower St. Croix River near Hudson and Stillwater where there’s high water and flooding and no wake zones are in effect, it is not happening in the Upper St. Croix.

The river level today at the Hwy 70 Bridge near Grantsburg is 5’8” and dropping.  While this reading is above normal (i.e.”normal” being 3’6” – 4’0”), it is well below flood stage.  The river in this area is in excellent paddling condition.  It’s just plain fun to go paddling at this water level.  There are no large stumps or large debris floating down the river.  Campsites along the river are well above the water line.

Check river levels at the Highway 70 bridge via the “Twitter gauge” — a partnership of Wild River Outfitters and St. Croix 360.

The news is good in the Dalles, too. The Taylors Falls paddlewheelers are running, and the operators says the river’s in good shape:

Problems downstream

Stillwater bridge closed Meanwhile, in Stillwater, the Lift Bridge was closed due to high water on Monday and will probably stay closed through the weekend. The river is forecast to crest at 87.6′ on Friday and start a slow decline after that. The Minnesota Department of Transportation is only saying it is closed “until further notice.” MnDOT put concrete barriers on the bridge deck to hold it in place as its buffeted by water and debris. It’s also in the “up” position to let water and flotsam through, reports Stillwater Current. At the I-94 bridge, Beanie’s Landing is also feeling the flood. Water has made it into some of the landing’s offices, though it’s still renting a few pontoon boats, the Pioneer Press reports:
The marina’s office already has about 6 inches of water in it, but flood damage in that building is not too much of a concern, as the building has a concrete floor and walls, along with raised electrical outlets, said owner Gary Mau. What Mau is concerned about, however, is whether the river will crest in line with forecasts. “If the water comes about 2 or 3 inches above what is forecast, we’ll start to get water in our garage and basement,” Mau said.
In its press release, Wild River Outfitters in Grantsburg highlighted their sympathy for the flood’s impacts downstream:
We sympathize with the people, businesses and communities devastated by the flooding following the recent heavy rains in the Metro area in addition to northern and southern Minnesota. It has to be personally, physically and financially challenging to deal with the damage caused by the flooding.