More than a pretty paddle: Namekagon River trip offers education and entertainment

Annual adventure offers lots of support to paddlers, as well as numerous programs to enrich the experience.




2 minute read

Ceremonial items used by an Ojibwe drum group that performed on the 2016 Namekagon Paddle. (Via St. Croix River Association)

This June’s six-day canoe and kayak trip down 90 miles of the Namekagon River promises beautiful scenery, abundant wildlife, and experts presenting programs on and off the river.

The St. Croix River Association is organizing the trip once again — providing camp reservations, a gear shuttle, and even some food. The group is also organizing speakers and activities during the days on the water and in camp at night.

“Expect to be challenged, inspired, and to build lasting relationships with a new community of river friends,” SCRA says.

The 2018 trip will be special, as it will also help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act.

The trip runs from June 9 to 15 and costs $400. Click here for details and registration »

Program highlights:

Sigurd Olson Campfire Program – Hear from author Douglas Wood, who was a personal friend of Olson and today serves as president of the Listening Point Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving Sigurd Olson’s legacy. Olson is buried on the banks of the Namekagon in Seeley, where his wife grew up and where Olson had deep ties.

Ojibwe Culture Today or Powwow Trail – Presented by Dylan Jennings, a member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa tribal council and member of the drum group Midnite Express, which sings at powwows across the nation. He received a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology, Archaeology and American Indian Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and currently works for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission. Learn more in this video.


  • Cable Natural History Museum – free admission
  • Fireside program on owls
  • Sunrise yoga and stretching
  • Tour of Trego hydroelectric dam
  • On-river program about invasive yellow iris
  • On-river fly-tying demonstration
  • 50th anniversary of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act presentation
  • Presentation on oil pipelines crossing the river
  • Guided hikes and birding
  • And more

Paddle participants bring their own boat, paddles, PFD, tent, and other camping gear, and should have some paddling experience.