St. Croix River documentary will debut on TPT this Sunday

Explore the river and its history in new film celebrating the 50th anniversary of the St. Croix’s protection by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.




2 minute read

A sold-out crowd got a first look at the new 26-minute documentary about the St. Croix River by TPT in partnership with the St. Croix River Association last night at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul.

Next, the film will make its on-air premiere this Sunday, June 10, at 7 p.m. on TPT’s MN channel in Minnesota. It celebrates this year’s 50th anniversary of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act and the creation of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway.

“There is a rich history, and this story needs to be retold,” Deb Ryun of the St. Croix River Association told the St. Croix Valley Lowdown last year. “We hope it will be inspiring, and we hope people walk away saying we’re so lucky to have this. We’re really looking at that long-term protection, making sure the next generation understands what a treasure we have and what we need to do to make sure it stays the place that it is.”

“The Wild and Scenic St. Croix” was directed by John Kaul, an Afton resident and St. Croix River Association board member. At the Fitzgerald, Kaul called his work a “love letter to the St. Croix.” 

The program features interviews with former vice president Walter Mondale, Julie Galonska of the National Park Service, Deb Ryun of the St. Croix River Association, and many more voices for the St. Croix.

It also features many of the photos by Craig Blacklock from his recent book of photography.

Fifty years ago, the St. Croix River was at risk of becoming, in the words of Sen. Gaylord Nelson, ‘a floating Coney Island,’” the film’s website says. “Then, a delegation of elected officials from Minnesota and Wisconsin stepped in. In 1968, they passed the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, which protected more than 13,000 miles of riverway in 40 states. This is the story of the river’s history and its preservation.”

The film is expected to air on Wisconsin Public Television at a later date.

All scheduled air dates on TPT MN:

  • Sunday, Jun 10 at 7 pm
  • Sunday, Jun 17 at 1am
  • Sunday, Jun 17 at 7am
  • Sunday, Jun 17 at 1pm


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St. Croix River documentary will debut on TPT this Sunday