A trip back in time to the source of St. Croix 360

Reading love letters to the river from its many fans showed the power of stories to inspire stewardship.




8 minute read

Ten years ago this summer, I created a new page on Facebook simply called “St. Croix River.” It was in a different time in Facebook’s functionality, and it was mostly just a way I thought a few friends might show that we “like” the St. Croix.

A month later, there were nearly 15,000 people following the page. It grew exponentially, thanks to an algorithm and a river of unmatched beauty.

I initially posted some favorite photos from my explorations, and “fans” started spontaneously posting their memories, and reasons for loving the St. Croix River. It was powerful to read, and it still is. I recently went back to take a look and was reminded of why St. Croix 360 exists.

It was when I read these odes to the river that I started to realize how important the river was, not just to me but to thousands of others. Many different kinds of people love the St. Croix for many different reasons.

The stories and sentiments shared in 2009 have not aged. They are only more true today, if anything. Reading them, I am recharged to tell the stories of this river, and strengthen our connections to it. Thank you!

If you have not done it yet, please contribute to St. Croix 360’s fundraising campaign and sustain this site and keep telling river stories to inspire stewardship.

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Highlights from 2009:

“this is why i still live here, in spite of the bitter cold of winter. beautiful!!!!” Julie Gray

“This is the reason I’m unable to move away!!” Jay Brockman

“Grew up on the Saint Croix in Hudson Wi. Loved it, very blessed!” Katie van Ness

“All this great stuff about the river today. Back in the 50s and 60s no yachts, no sail boats, no crowds on the beaches up river. Just canoes and ski boats. What a great time!!!” Linda Easton Matthews

“I was walking my dog yesterday by the river in Hudson near the railroad bridge and two Otters hopped out of the water on to a dock and started tumbling around playing with each other. It was the cutest thing ever, I wish I had my camera with me!!” Shelly Chaplin

“We keep our boat docked at Afton Marina and absolutely cherish the St Croix river…it cannot be beat!” Teresa Hengel Raymer

“The most beautiful river within minutes of a major urban area, God blessed us all with the wonder that is the St. Croix!” Cray McCally

“The river is magical. All my cares goes away!” Kathy Turtle

“The Croix is just a little bit of heaven. A National Park right in our back yard.” Jane Stevenson

“I’ve been hearing Sandhill cranes near the Arcola sandbar. Saw a couple of them today.” Karen Anderson Schulz

“I grew up 30 feet from the st. croix. right upriver from the gandy dancer bridge in Danbury wisconsin. the river is my brother and my friend. in fact, just last week me and my daughter went canoeing by my parents house. it was so beautiful… o how i love and miss the river….” Lisa Sabear Holmes

“I grew up on the Croix, worked on the Croix and spent my days off on the Croix. My stretch of this awesome river is like my mistress and I love her dearly.” Rich Pundsack

“My great grand father, his brothers and their father before them used to run the Soderbeck Ferry Landing in Grantsburg Wisconsin. Before the HWY 70 bridge was built, they ferried cars back and forth from WI to MN and back. 🙂” Cassie Severin

“Being from Ohio (Go Bucks!) i had never seen a bald eagle in the wild until summer 2008 when my fiance and soon-to-be stepdaughter went camping for a week in Taylors Falls….I’m 25 years old, and the sight of the Eagles flying over the river in their natural habitat was so calming, so beautiful, it gave me goosebumps, Cant wait to do it again” Danielle A Deal

“The weekend, my husband and our Lund boat! Love it!!” Jill M Leintz

“I grew up in Bloomington and my family spent time up at Taylors Falls and driving to Somerset and I have always marveled at the beauty of the St. Croix area. Then when I moved here I love it even more.” Jeanne Aamodt

“i go to camp st.croix and were always doing something on the st.croix. i met the most amazing people this year too….” Danielle Brown

“Great memories – swimming to “the island” from the dike in Hudson, boating with friends and family, and just the carefree summers we had!!!!” Jane Rorvick

“I’ve been fishing the Croix my whole life and couldn’t imagine life without her! Of coarse she’s been a mean one this summer and has not gave up to many cat’s or Sturgeon when fishing her at night, but we’ve always had a on again off again relationship. Deep down she still know I love her.” Eric Zawislak

“Love canoeing the St. Croix…and the state parks on the river are awesome!” Linda Rambow

“I love the Croix. I have canoed the northern Croix and boated the southern half. It has got to be one of the best rivers around, from the wide lake like channels in the south to the winding river rapids in the north.” Robert Metcalf

“Have been going up to the Tillman’s cabin on the upper St. Croix my whole life. Had to canoe in. Now it is a campsite and a part of the Wild Rivers Act. It still is beautiful up there and a great place to canoe down from the CCC Bridge on the St. Croix Trail, which is north of Danbury, WI.” Jean Cheeley

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“Just finished a 3 day, 2 night trip with my daughter, a great friend and her two kids. It was a fabulous time! Sand bars, islands, swimming, bonfires on the shore, kids having their own adventures, even the storm that first night (lighting hit a tree nearby!)! I highly recommend canoe camping trips to all!” Dana Watters

“River of the Holy Cross! Woohoo! Going there right now to swim!” Lisa Brainard

“Lived in Stillwater my whole life. Camped the St. Croix as a child. Now every summer spend at least a week on the river islands. Mile long Island. Across from the Boom site. It’s been 20 years of wonderful memories. Also camped on Beer can Island years ago.” Cari Cote

“When I worked at the riverboats in Taylors Falls my boss told me something that really stuck with me. He said, ‘The river will either get in your veins, or it won’t.’ It was just that simple. Guess what. It did.” Bridgette Leonard Ramaley

“A step back in time” Dan Harrington

“This is river time, the best time of the year. There is no better place to be on a hot summer day then on the St. Croix River.” Julene Kielman

“Canoeing through ‘Little Venice,’ waterskiing up river, camping on ‘Mary’s Beach,’ parties at The Boom. Saw Don Herschleb save a life at the old beach on the Wisconsin side.” Linda Easton Matthews

“We put in at Wild River State park nearly every weekend. We go up to Sunrise and end at Wild River, wonderful place!” Cathy Beedle

“I loved the St Croix… we enjoyed a combination of boating and touring between Hudson and St Croix Falls on a trip to the States (from Australia) in year 2000.” Amanda Allport-Haller

“started boating on the Croix about 10 years ago with friends and I love it. I have since bought a boat and try and spend any available time I have on the water. Tomorrow is going to be a great day out there ( fingers crossed). Let the good times roll or float.. what ever you like.” James Taveirne

“I love the St. Croix! Grew up in Hudson and spent all my summers on my families boats. I now own two boats of my own and continue to enjoy the beautiful St. Croix River!” Joe Sahnow

“Love the St. Croix, wouldn’t be a stretch to say I spent most of the summer on the river every summer as a child and teenager, canoeing and at the beach at the Osceola landing. I love to bring my boys there when I come home to visit.” Kim Ball Kaiser

“I love the St. Croix. My dad worked for the National Park Service and helped “maintain” the river for 30 years. I also worked two summers for the NPS! Some of my best summer memories!” Renee Ones

“We all need to do what we can to keep the St. Croix River clean & pristine. It is under pressure from development and can become a battleground between property owners rights and being a national public treasure that needs protection.” Jan Cuccia

“swimming my whole childhood, boating with friends, camping out on the boomsite islands, canoeing upriver with my husband – then boyfriend, learning how to swim, outrunning a train on the highbridge, floating down in a canoe each summer from the head of it, fishing on it when frozen and not frozen, sailing on it with friends, my first kiss/date with my husband/boyfriend on the edge, doughnuts on the ice in an old van…” Anne M Hanlon-Meyer

“I worked on the river for 5 years and have lived in the river valley (Osceola and St. Croix) all my life. My fiancee drives the riverboats. Even with all that, it never ceases to amaze me how peaceful it is on the water. We just can’t seem to get enough of it.” Bridgette Leonard Ramaley

“Just moved up to Taylors Falls. We always seemed to end up there during all our day trips. Now we enjoy all the local things like the tug of war across the river between TF and St Croix Falls (it’s a hoot). This years fireworks for Wanagan Days were incredible. Also it’s a wonderful thing to see the river change throughout the seasons.” Bob Nelson

“I love taking the boat out and spending time with family just cruising up and down. The kids love it!” Renee Tomal

“best swimming spot ever = anywhere you jump out of the boat” Matt Nelson

“Just moved to Hudson from Florida! Grew up in PA on the Ohio River outside of Pittsburgh. That was not a river to play on at that time. Other than my time in Yellowstone Nat’l Park, this is the most beautiful place I have ever lived. And the St. Croix is gorgeous!!” Kathy Lawrence Lopez

“I just recently spent two fun days on the St. Croix River (Lion’s Park in St. Croix Falls, WI) with my 3 kids, 1 niece & 2 nephews. We had a great time trying to catch minnows & skip rocks. What an amazing place GOD created!” Erin Larson

“When I was little, in the early 30’s, in a row boat, while my folks fished, I would watch “dead heads” come floating down the river. They would head right for our boat, I could push them out of the way. I didn’t understand what a “dead head” was then. What a story that log could tell. They say this river was so full of logs in the 1800’s, at times, you could walk across the river on the logs. Dangerous. It was a working river, but, oh, what a pleasure river now. I love it too!” Lorraine Jacobs

“My kids are now fans I only hope they can spend as many hours as I have in your water. How many times have I jumped in and from how many places. Who knows I almost don’t remember some of the times.” Erik Boe

“I had many good times on the St.croix, what a beautiful river it is. I moved away from Hudson 26 years ago and still when I go home it is more beautiful then the last time I saw it…” Kimberly L Kerr

“I mentioned it was the ‘dog days’ on the river now to my Mom. She remembered when they couldn’t swim at Bayport Beach due to the sewage from Stillwater settling in the bay. She is 80 and likely is talking about the 40’s. I read in the paper that you need to have a portable potty to camp between Marine and Taylors Falls. Every little bit helps!” Cary Stewart

“Great memories and a great idea for a page! We took a canoe across loaded with girls, beer (probably Black Label, because that’s all we could afford at that age), hot dogs and canned beans. Oh, and a boom box with the cassette tape of CCR’s greatest hits. What did we call the park down there by the caves…The Boom or Boomsite? Hung alot at the High Bridge too. Oh, and don’t forget the wonderful view from the Main Street stairs.” Jen Floyd

“My absolute favorite place in the world… it used to be home, now it is a vacation destination for my family and I .” Kelly Warner Tebben

“So close to home yet just like going to another world. Heaven like at times. Quiet slow moving water and all the wildlife. some days there is just nothing better. Lazy days with lots of fish.” Tom Tufenk


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A trip back in time to the source of St. Croix 360