Friday, October 11, 2013

River Rumble '13 - Day3A

We would spend the night at Interstate State Park, from which we would launch Tuesday morning. The park was broken up in a number of small campgrounds divided by paths and trees. There was wide variety in the campsite sizes and layouts, some on hills, or in small glens, or on the river bank. With no maps of the park, that was a bit confusing at first, but we all eventually found our way around.

The individual campsites were small enough that we were
broken up into several different areas.
There are many, many camping opportunities along the St. Croix. As for state parks, there are the St. Croix State Park, Wild River State Park, Interstate, William O’Brien, and Afton State Park, all on the Minnesota side. On the Wisconsin side are the Wisconsin Interstate Park, Willow River, and Kinnickinnic State Park. There are also many primitive campsites on both shores provided by the National Park Service.

This area right down along the river was really nice, but I
was already set-up elsewhere when I realized it was there.
In the evening, we had a presentation on the St. Croix’s ecosystem and its freshwater mussels. A lot of effort is put into protecting the river and its mussels, which are mostly responsible for the river’s clean, clear water. It would normally be hard to imagine that someone could speak for an hour on mussels, and still keep the audience awake and fascinated, but he did both. It was quite an education on how important mussels are to the health of our streams, and how little we know about them. There are 60 endangered species of mussels, and there are more healthy, reproducing mussel populations in the St. Croix River than almost anywhere in the world. There are 40 species of mussels maintaining themselves here in the St. Croix while there are only 12 in all of Europe, and only 15 in all of Africa. Having more species of mussels in the St. Croix than anywhere else doesn’t mean everyone can let their guard down, and they don’t. Obviously the efforts here by environmental groups, natural resources, and the National Park Service are paying dividends.


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